New York City, The Big Apple, whatever you want to call it, New York comes with its built in hype. Hype that I think it often doesn’t live up to (maybe that’s just the out-of-towner in me). There is no doubting that there are some of the finest collections of restaurants in the world in New York, but it’s never really done anything for me, or at least not any more than a city like D.C. or even Baltimore (which has a very underrated food scene).
I took a quick trip up to New York on the train (super convenient) and visited one of the more popular areas of New York’s food scene, Chelsea Market. Built within an old cookie factory, Chelsea Market is where the Oreo was created. Moving away from its cookie past, Chelsea Market has become a posh center where food and big name companies share a space. The main area houses shops and restaurants that provide everything from farm to table cuisine to Japanese Mexican (yeah I couldn’t really understand that one either).
Chelsea Market creates an eating experience that takes the risk out of it for the diner. Some of these places would probably be things normal diners wouldn’t try on their own, but under the auspices of Chelsea Market, people try the food. The food in Chelsea Market is very good, it’s not going to melt your face off, but it’s a solid place to go if you have an afternoon and several thousand calories to spare.
As soon as you enter Chelsea Market (oh let me say it’s very crowded, especially if you go around lunch time so be mindful of that), you’ll see a few quality dessert options for after your meal. You can get a gourmet cupcake at Eleni’s, a delicious brownie at Fat Witch, or delicious cookies at Ruthy’s Bakery. I sampled the cookies at Ruthy’s and was very impressed, it was exactly what you want out of a cookie. Not too soft, not too crunchy– just right.
From there, you make your way onto one of the main eating areas, there are lots of great options here and I could only pick a couple to try. I was drawn to this first place, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, because of two things. One, they’re an active butcher shop and deli. Two, they have fresh mac & cheese in the window!
Dickson’s sources all their ingredients from local farms and all their meat is high quality. We went for a spicy Italian sandwich with a side of mac. It was really good, my only comment would be that they pressed the sandwich too much to the point that it was very crunchy. But with all that, it was still very good. The mac and cheese was solid, not better than what I make at home, but it was good.
After leaving this main area, you’ll see a litany of more awesome food choices to make. Unfortunately, I only had two days to sample the food here so my tastings were somewhat limited. On my second day at Chelsea Market, I had to try the Savory Pie stand, I am a sucker for savory pies. The whole concept of wrapping a delicious meat and cheese filling in a flaky crust makes sense to me.
First we tried the mac and cheese pie which was really really good. The crust was soft and buttery, while the mac and cheese was creamy and had a sharp cheesy flavor which I liked. The little bits of sweet corn amidst the mac and cheese were actually a nice addition.
Then we had to try the obligatory chicken pot pie, this had a great buttery crust as well with a delicious filling. I personally would’ve preferred more chicken in the filling with some cream but it was still overall a great lunch item.
Yeah no diets here folks, I won’t be on my deathbed someday wishing I ate one more salad… but I would regret not trying these delicious foods.
On the day we went to Dickson’s we tried the Doughnuttery for dessert. This place is awesome, it’s basically a fresh mini donut place that covers the donuts in different flavored sugars. We got the 6 for 6 and split the flavors between strawberry and banana, these were both incredible and super light. You could eat like 10 of these bad boys and not flinch. I definitely recommend going here if you are in Chelsea.
What would a trip to New York be without a slice of their famous pizza? Or as Michael Scott from the Office would say, “I always like to come to New York a little bit early and hit some of my favorite hunts, like right here, is my favorite New York pizza joint. And I’m gonna go get me a New York slice. [Michael walks toward Sbarro.]”
I’ve had the unofficial best pizza in NYC, Roberta’s, during past visits to New York. That I would say is probably going to please the traditionalists more than the pizza I had at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza.
But that doesn’t mean this was an inferior pizza. It was just different, this pizza is very crunchy on the bottom, which it sort of has to be for the dense sauce and toppings, and the pizza slices are huge. Three slices turned into 3 meals for us. We tried the Margherita, Meatball Parm, and Vodka Sauce pizzas and they were all delicious. They are super filling, so we took most of it home to eat later. Overall I was very impressed, the sauce was delicious and homemade, meanwhile the toppings and cheese were both mild and flavorful.
So what do you do after you’ve stuffed your face in Chelsea? Go to the High Line park which is just a block away from Chelsea Market. This is a park built out of an old rail line. It’s pretty incredible and makes for some great views. I would say that it’s very crowded and at sometimes can feel pointless but it’s still worth seeing. And you can walk the length of the park to digest all the food you just ate.