I couldn’t visit New York without stopping by both of these food court meccas, could I? So as I mentioned in my last New York recap post where I basically draw little hearts all over Russ & Daughters, I had one day off from the conference. After eating the best bagel and lox sandwich in my entire life, I needed a little walk… so I walked to Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market became my progressive lunch stop. Later that evening, I would visit Todd English Food Hall for dinner. Here is my photo recap of the scenes from Chelsea Market and Todd English Food Hall. Warning, this is a very photo heavy post!
I browsed the Chelsea Market looking at all the shops, even bringing back some snacks from The Nut Box and learning about spices at Spices and Tease. If you haven’t heard of Chelsea Market before, it’s a giant building- a whole city block long- which hosts an indoor food hall that includes shop vendors like I just mentioned as well as cheese vendors, bakeries, and imported Italian specialty food.
It also is the home to many small booths just like you might expect in any food court mall, but here the vendors include big names like Buddakan, Morimoto, Sarabeth’s or an outpost of the highly ranked sandwich New York chain Num Pang. You can get fine Maine lobsters (Lobster Place) and escargot, Australian meat pies (Tuck Shop), made fresh daily pastas (Rana), conversation cookies (Eleni’s) or crepes (Bar Suzette) and more.
I walked around a long time, wanting to eat everything but settling for just feasting with my eyes. There was a lot to look at just in terms of the building itself with its stripped down architecture including safe deposit boxes that surround one elevator shaft, glistening starry strings of lights that sparkle as curtains in a hallway with a large clock, a fountain gushing water echoing the richness of the food bounty surrounding its location, and various art, old and new, adoring its halls.
I ogled all the food in the shops and food booths and on people’s tables also like it was another form of art all around me.
For lunch, I followed a recommendation to Dickson’s Farmstand, where I had the rotisserie chicken with brussels sprouts and potatoes. The poultry at Dickson’s is brought into the city every morning from Amish farms in Lancaster Pennsylvania or live poultry market in Queens. Dickson’s calls in their order for their chickens fresh each day. The chickens are cage-free barn raised without hormones or antibiotics and have a vegetarian diet. I couldn’t help but want to support this old fashioned way of sourcing.
Oh, did I also mention that this building is also the office of Food Network, and they film Iron Chef America and used to film Emeril Live here? During my visit I was still in the midst of reading From Scratch: Inside the Food Network, which I already reviewed in another blog post so I was also letting my imagination fill in the blanks of the tales from the book on how Food Network was formed and grew up as I also people watched during my visit.
Todd English Food Hall
Later that same day, I browsed the Todd English Food Hall, located in the basement of the Plaza Hotel. I walked there from my hotel, which gave me a little time to walk around Central Park at dusk by Columbus Circle as I walked there along W 59th and watch the moon rise.
Keep in mind that the Todd English Food Hall is in the Plaza basement floor. So, rather then going up the steps past the doorman to enter the hotel, look for the sign and doorway, which will then lead you to escalators down.
While Chelsea Market had been an upscale take on a food court, the Todd English Food Hall is a modern take on European specialty markets. There were lots of rows of beautiful goods, and in a few places there were some stools so you can sit at a bar and enjoy a bite to eat at some of the booths that offered food service rather than just food goods. There are nine such food booths, representing nine kinds of food stations (Burger Grill, a Seafood/Oyster Bar, Asian Noodles and Dumplings, Pasta Bar, Flatbread Pizza Bar, Sushi Bar, Taqueria, Cheese & Charcuterie, and a Wine Bar and Patisserie).
For our dinner we ate at the restaurant within this underground food hall. Here, the menu includes some selections from each of those food stations, but it is brought to you at the table instead of sitting at one of the individual food stations. You don’t get access to the whole menu of each station though – for instance you can’t order the lobster roll, but you can a whole grilled lobster, or you can only have 3 choices of tacos.
There was a lot of wine going on at this dinner, and also I wasn’t exactly starving for a lot of dishes given my visit to Russ & Daughters and Chelsea Market and Momofuku Milk Bar earlier in the day. So, my pictures here are a bit more limited. We started out with a side order of Brussels Sprouts with pancetta, roasted jalapeno, red wine vinegar, and butter. Although I won’t be adding pancetta to my regular roasted brussels sprouts standby recipe, I did like the addition of the roasted jalapenos for a little extra kick!
When you dine here, do not miss out on the Rigatoni Bolognese. It uses Todd’s Old School bolognese, veal reduction, and pecorino – here we happened to switch out the rigatoni pasta with gluten free spaghettini for my gluten free friend (you can also substiute Whole wheat for any pasta dish of your choice). That sauce is incredible- I can just eat that sauce by itself with a spoon. 10/10. Would go there and order this pasta dish again, as well as more new things to try, but this is a dish worth repeating. The Veal Agnolotti with veal confit, truffle, and parmesan was good, but that bolognese was even better.
If you are meeting a group of friends in New York, definitely consider stopping by either Chelsea Market or Todd English Food Hall for a meal together. By having a good group, you can try a lot of different things at these places, and the possibilities are just amazing that you will want to take advantage of numbers to try as much as you can! If you go to Todd English, make a reservation – otherwise if you are trying to eat at the food stations since it is a bar it is better to be a small party of 1-2. For Chelsea Market, there are some tables but if the weather is nice consider taking your food outside and walking to the High Line park.
I still have two more meals to cover from my time in New York (it sure seems like I ate a lot huh in the 6 days I was there…): Pearl Oyster Bar, and Ivan Ramen!
Other New York highlights from this trip that I have blogged about:
- An excellent lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar
- Best Bagel Sandwich in New York: Russ & Daughters
- Midtown Manhattan Lunches – Xian Famous Foods, ‘wichCraft, Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish
- Bouchon Bakery Rockefeller
- Momofuku Noodle and Momofuku Milk Bar