I may never get to Italy (sob ...) but at least I can say I've been to Eataly.
I had heard of Eataly only a few days prior to the Book Blogger Convention, which took me to New York last Friday. Tweets were a'flyin all week about this place, so when it was mentioned among our little group of bloggers getting together for dinner, I was secretly thrilled and doing a happy dance in my head.
This place is the Italian version of heaven. (On a more down-to-earth realistic note, imagine Wegmans but with only Italian foodstuffs.) Stroll around the aisles and you half expect the likes of, I dunno, Frank Sinatra or Pavarotti or Andreas Boccelli to come crooning up to you.
The concept behind Eataly, according to their website, is "to make high‐quality Italian foods available to everyone, at fair prices and in an environment where people can shop, eat and learn." From my perspective, they certainly accomplish that - and then some. Eataly is an experience.
We only had a 35 minute wait for our table (in New York City? on a Friday night? mamma mia!) so stroll around Eataly is what we did. (We being my wonderful
... and cookbooks, with Lidia Bastianich's being prominently featured.
(She is a partner in Eataly, along with son Joe Bastianich and chef Mario Batali.)
I'm betting there were more than 99 bottles of beer on this shelf ...
This is probably my favorite restroom sign ever.
I was being a total cheesy New York tourist by taking all these pictures ....
(They are real rinds of cheese!)
These desserts were almost too pretty to eat (although, that really wouldn't have stopped me).
For these, I would have gladly risked a three-day migraine.
(Chocolate is a major migraine trigger for me, so I have to eat it sparingly.)
I loved the signs and posters that were all over the place.
Ash, Kim, and Florinda shop for souvenirs of the chocolate variety ....
... while I took more pictures of decadent desserts.
This one almost didn't look REAL.
I mean, this is a freakin' masterpiece.
Jars of honey, jams, mustards, and preserves.
Florinda and I loved this little pram.
I confess. There were a few times in Eataly when I thought of Jonathan Bloom's book American Wasteland: How America Wastes Nearly Half Its Food (and what you can do about it).
I especially thought about it here at the meat counter.
(That's only about a third of the meats at this particular counter.)
This guy was making dough - whether for bread or pizza, I'm not sure.
Finally, our table was ready (we were absolutely starving after walking around this place.)
Teresa convinced me to try a Rhubarb Soda, despite my skepticism and it being my first time trying rhubarb (a revelation that nearly caused Ash to fall off her chair).
I am officially a fan of rhubarb. This rhubarb soda?
So, so, so good.
I think rhubarb has a bit of a PR problem, sadly.
I'm betting I'm not the only person who never tried it because of the name.
Ash, Colleen, Teresa, and I had pizzas for dinner while Florinda and Kim had pasta.
Mine was this margherita pizza, pictured below.
I ate the whole freakin' thing.
"God, I could eat here for every meal, every day," I wrote on Facebook.
Especially if people like these wonderful, amazing, kindred book-blogging souls are with me.
From left, Teresa from Shelf Love (with glasses), Colleen from Books in the City, Ash from English Major's Junk Food, Florinda from The 3Rs Blog, Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness, and yours truly.
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