Food treasures in New York City

Chelsea Market: So Many Culinary Finds

Ninth avenue between 15th-16th streets

You would never know looking at it, that inside the large brick building on Ninth Avenue and 15th Street, is a culinary amusement park. The building began it’s life in the 1890’s as the National Biscuit Company complex, where everything from Saltines to Oreos were baked. But a half a century ago the company moved out.¬†In the 1990’s, the investor Irwin B. Cohen organized a syndicate to buy the principal National Biscuit buildings. It was re-opened as The Chelsea Market; keeping the architectural feel of the original factory with a winding arcade of food stores, restaurants, and specialty shops. Today, if you visit, you’ll find tourists wandering alone or in groups taking photos; chefs and foodies buying specialty items; and neighborhood office workers eating lunch.

I often go to Chelsea Market on my way to or from the High Line, usually with an out-of-town visitor. But mostly, it’s to visit my favorite stores. They have everything I need to create a great meal. Here’s how:

lobster place

Start at The Lobster Place where you can choose fresh fish, salmon

shrimp, crabs, clam , sushi or, of course, lobsters.lobsters

Next, head to Manhattan Fruit Exchange to pick up ingredients for a salad and some vegetables for side dishes. The store not only offers a wide variety of produce but there is so much depth within each category.

So many chile peppers to spice up your dish

So many chile peppers to spice up your dish

Many more mushroom options than in your average supermarket

Many more mushroom options than in your average supermarket

To create an interesting marinade for your fish or vegetables, or a flavorful salad dressing, stop by The Filling Station. This unique store contains flavored dark and white balsamic vinegars like cinnamon pear, dark chocolate, or espresso. My favorite is a white balsamic lemongrass mint.vinegar bottle

The Filling Station also sells flavored extra virgin olive oils, like blood orange or chipotle, as well as different kinds of unrefined, natural flavored salts.

You can taste as many vinegars and oils as you like

So many vinegars and oils to taste

The best part? You can taste any of these before buying, and if you bring your bottle back for a refill, there’s a discount on your next purchase.

If you’re missing the right saute pan, need a vegetable peeler, or just enjoy, as I do, browsing through kitchen equipment, then stop into Bowery Kitchen Supplies. bowery kitchen

The store is a cornucopia of kitchen tools, pots, pans, serving dishes, knives and everything in between. If you’re planning on visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday, then bring along your knives. Margery Cohen, of Samurai Sharpening Service, has a table right outside of Bowery Kitchen, where she’s been sharpening knives since 1997.

Before you leave Chelsea Market you can pick up brownies, cupcakes or cookies for dessert at one of the specialty stores, as well as a bottle of wine. It’s a culinary experience not to be missed.

December 10, 2012 Posted by | Food, stores | , , | Leave a comment