Sunday, February 13, 2011
Italy is Eataly says just one of the many signs throughout this megastore and restaurant that is perhaps a one of a kind. Mario Batali, famous chef of Babbo, occasional TV chef star, and his partner, Lidia Bastianich, have opened this gourmet grocery, food market, and restaurant to bring not only good food to the city, but also their philosophy- which they have emblazoned everywhere. If the food wasn't amazing and the spectacle mind blowing, I might have found the signage a bit irritating. Every stand had a mantra, advice to spare, and just for a dash of 'authenticity', subtitles in italian. But who cares about the words? Can we get to the good part- the food, the wine, and the food, and the wine, and the food?
Ryan and I decided to head to the heart of the store first for a light lunch. The Piazza, as it is called, is in the central rotunda, and tables- no chairs, just standing height- are spread throughout. We started with wine- I had a glass of barbera d'alba, which was earthy, vegetal, and a little funky, and really wonderful. Ryan had a dolcetta d'alba that was purple in color, and tasted fruity, with cherry and raspberry.
We ordered the meat and cheese plate sampler, as well as a tricolore salad. The salad was delish, with radicchio and arugula, nice and peppery, and topped with shaved parmesan and an aged balsamic vinegar. We tried several types of cheeses, an aged parmesan, a taleggio, and a gorgonzola, as well as a creamy and light fresh ricotta, and Ryan tasted a few types of prosciutto as well. Complimentary loaves of bread and olive oil and honey complimented everything wonderfully.
But can I mention my favorite part??! When it was time to go shopping, we ordered a second glass of wine- to go! I had a really wonderful glass of prosecco and then off we went- glass in hand- to look at all the wonderful items for sale.
The produce section is really wonderful- they carry all different kinds of mini vegetables, as well as lots of harder to find items.
We also picked up some imported olive oil, fresh pasta, house-made mozzarella, a bunch of fresh basil, and my all-time and impossible to find favorite, pecorino peppato- an aged pecorino cheese with peppercorns...
I was too full from our lunch to try the coffee bar, gelato bar, or the bakery, but I will not make that mistake twice. Everything looked so good!! And rumor has it later this spring they are opening a roof top bar... I'll be there!!