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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mario Batali’s EATALY – OMG!

Photo credit: mrsdewinter, flickr

Last week, I was in New York City for the first annual New York Produce Show. Yes, we have produce mini conventions all over the country and this one was amazing.

Typically, regional produce organizations host one day expos, where vendors (produce sellers) from all over the country (primarily from growing regions like California, Texas, Florida, and Washington State), gather to show their produce to local retailers and chefs.

Surprisingly, there has never been a produce show for the largest metropolitan area in the country…until last week!

Frieda’s was there, along with more than 200 other produce companies. During the expo, we stood at our booth and handed out samples and talked with clients from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was a long day, but well worth it. It was like a mini-family reunion.

I was traveling with three other women from my office and we were deciding where to go for dinner. There was no doubt in my mind where I wanted to go: the newly opened EATALY, conceived by famed chef Mario Batali. Called “America’s greatest food store” and “Disneyland for food lovers.”

I have to admit that when I saw the name “EATALY”, I thought it was a little corny. But, actually, I found out that the first EATALY exists in Turin, Italy. And, after visiting the 50,000 square foot megastore, across from the newly revitalized Madison Square Park on 23rd Street, I was hooked.

They have a wine department, a cheese and meat counter, homemade breads, an amazing selection of cookbooks, and a fresh produce stand. It was lovely to see Frieda’s Zululand Queen Baby Pineapples on display there! There are many more sections, so check out this map to see the layout of the store. And the places to eat. Oh my!

We arrived there on a Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. and the placed was mobbed. I had been told that the vegetarian restaurant (called Le Verdure) served some amazing and flavorful food, so that is where we dined. We put our names in and waited for 45 minutes for a table. We wasted no time, as we went to the cheese area, purchased a few glasses of Champagne and wine, which came with large chunks of Parmesan cheese and stood at a table and relaxed.

For dinner, I enjoyed freshly made tomato soup, roasted beet salad and an open-faced spaghetti squash sandwich served on the most amazing, flavorful, decadent freshly made rustic bread I have ever gorged myself on.

Sensory overload is an understatement. But if you love Italian food and culture, EATALY is a definite MUST for your next trip to New York City. (Check out this article!) And if you are looking for authentic Italian ingredients, this is the place to go.

Enjoy!
Karen

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