Last revised: November 12, 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Chelsea Market - FOOD TASTING TOUR

Today was a fun 'Food Tasting' day! Karen read about a Chelsea Market/Meatpacking District Food Tasting Tour, and we bought e-tickets on the Internet for a Friday tour.

We allowed some extra time to find Chelsea Market, arrived early, and walked around the area. Karen was fascinated by this hotel with the round windows across the street.

We took the (very efficient, clean and fast) NY Subway from Times Square to 14th St. and walked to the Chelsea Market on 15th St. for our 3-hour walking tour. Chelsea Market is the largest wholesale and retail food concourse in Manhattan.

Chelsea Market was built within the former Nabisco factory complex where the OREO COOKIE WAS INVENTED  (Karen's favorite).

In 1912, Nabisco had a new idea for a cookie (two chocolate disks with a cream filling in between). The name is a combination of taking the 're' from 'cream' and placing it between two 'o's in chocolate - making 'o-re-o'.

The 22-building complex fills two entire blocks and in addition to the huge retail concourse, provides office space for the Food Network,, NYC cable station NY1 and more.



We met our group in front of the Chelsea Wine Vault (by a large neon wine bottle). Our tour guide, Bob Gelber, gave each of us a cold bottle of water and briefed us on what we should expect on our tour, including lunch at an Italian restaurant.

                First stop was Eleni's Bakery    

Great Cupcakes and Brownies and hand frosted Cookies. Our Tour guide's favorite was the Cranberry and Blueberry Everything Cookie, of which we all got a sample.  "MMMMM!"


Next we stopped at Lobster Place (a huge high-end fish market). Here we got to sample one of several very tasty soups: piping hot Lobster Bisque, Manhattan and New England Clam Chowder to name a few.


Lobster Place is New York City's largest purveyor of live lobster, selling over a million pounds to the city's finest hotels and restaurants each year. They offer a complete line of finfish, shellfish and shrimp where you are given daily access to the same top quality, fresh seafood products purchased by Manhattan's most distinguished chefs.

Chelsea Market Baskets offers the most delicious and unique gourmet food products from around the world. The have wonderful foods and gifts and great gift baskets.  One unique item is their Italian Candied Orange Peel, cooked in a simple syrup for hours, then dusted with sugar. They're soft and slightly sticky and provide a burst of citrus that is tangy but sweet. Eat it straight from the package or add to dessert recipes such as brownies, tarts and pound cake.    They also offer Vance Kitira Candles, and Castelbel Soaps.                                                                             

Our excellent tour guide, Bob Gelber, offered samples of special crackers with parmesan
 cheese, and topped off with Confit-Fruit spread made by L'Epicurien in Provence France.

Another Bakery - Amy's Bread Shop - Bakery. Amy Scherber's bakery makes some of the best bread in New York. She won Time Out Magazine's Best Bread in NYC 2003 for revolutionizing bread baskets across the city with her signature semolina-fennel-golden raisin rolls and warm, dense organic whole wheat walnut bread. Her bakery empire now supplies more than 100 restaurants and stores with their daily bread. She has over 150 employees, over 200 wholesale deliveries daily, and 3 retail stores.             

Next was Sarabeth's Kitchen. Her bakery (wholesale and retail) opened in Chelsea Market in 1998. She also has restaurants in New York City - Central Park South, between 5th and 6th avenues, and Key West, Florida.

She has an award-winning "Legendary Spreadable Fruit" now being produced in a 15,000 sq. ft. factory in the Bronx. They are sold in the finest department stores, gourmet shops and specialty stores in the USA, Caribbean, Canada, Japan and South Korea. The finest fruit spreads and jams in the gourmet industry.  

Sarabeth's cookies contain only the finest all-natural ingredients - rich creamery butter, pure white or brown cane sugar, unbleached flour, Belgian chocolates, fresh almonds, pecans, walnuts etc., nary a hint of preservatives, artificial flavors or additives of any kind.   

The photo is of her famous "Chocolate Chip Cloud Cookies". An accidental invention when one day a baker put in a little too much brown sugar. Sarabeth added sliced almonds for a nutty flavor.                                     

MORIMOTO - (Japanese Restaurant, Sushi Bar and Lounge)

Our tour guide, Bob Gelber, was very knowledgeable about this famous New York Restaurant and shared some information about Masaharu Morimoto, a well-known Japanese chef, best-known as the third Iron Chef Japanese on the TV cooking show Iron Chef. He is also known for his unique style of presenting food.  In 2001 he opened his own Morimoto Restaurant in Philadelphia, has this one in the Chelsea in New York City, one in Mumbai, India and another Morimoto in Boca Raton, Florida. Morimoto appears as the Iron Chef in Iron Chef America.

When you visit this expensive restaurant, you may see Masaharu Morimoto behind the glittering sushi bar in his flowing robes and samurai ponytail. The best dish on the occasionally erratic menu is Morimoto's inspired homage to Peking duck, comprising a crunchy duck leg, a duck egg, and a sliced duck breast sandwiched not with scallion pancakes but in a foie gras-infused croissant.                                                                        

Bob Gelber telling part of our tour group about this famous restaurant near the glass partition
which is actually plastic water-filled bottles lit from within. No samples at this stop. Eating here
is not merely about the food, but taking in the whole experience from the extraordinary decor
to viewing the 8 sushi chefs at work creating beautiful dishes. Reservations recommended.


On our way to the last stop (and lunch) of our tour, Bob took our tour group through a new development called the High Line. This abandoned, elevated railroad track has been converted to an elevated park or greenway eventually connecting the Javits Convention Center and the trendy Chelsea Meatpacking District. The park's planting design is from Piet Oudolf of the Netherlands. Major backers of this project have included Diana von Furstenberg who lives in the Chelsea area, and hotel developer Andre Balazs of the 337-room Standard Hotel next to the High Line at West 13th St.

The park has naturalized plantings that grew on the disused railroad tracks. Pebble-dash concrete walkways and park benches invite brown-bag lunches to enjoy the view and great outdoors.

Our final stop on this wonderful 3-hour food tour was at Buon Italia (Imported Italian Foods), where we enjoyed a very tasty lunch. Some of the favorites on the menu include imported buffalo mozzarella (regular and smoked); crotenese (aged goats milk cheese); Virgin Olive oils 'product of Italy'; vinegars, Setaro pasta, lemon ricotta cake, olive spread, artichoke spread, packaged Italian sweet treats, fresh made pastas and truffles.

The philosophy of Buon Italia is to search and develop the very best individual product in every possible category and to import it and present it at the best possible price. They are a unique retail operation, as well as wholesale in the fast-growing Chelsea Market, new home for the studios of the Food Network.                                           

Thanks to our tour guide, Bob Gelber, for a wonderful introduction to New York City.
We would highly recommend this New York City Food Tasting and Cultural Tours and
food events. 

Our tour guide, Bob Gelber (resident of New York City for over 30 years) gave us one of the best walking (and eating) tours we've ever experienced. His knowledge of the Chelsea area and historical background, along with his sense of humor and cordial personality made this 3-hour experience a fun and memorable time. We'd highly recommend Bob for future tours.



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Last revised: November 12, 2011

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