I caved. I couldn’t help myself. I needed to witness EATALY, Mario Batali’s newest venture where people are flocking to learn, shop, and taste all things Italy. From a nutritionists perspective one would think it’s a field day of potentially “clogged arteries”. On the contrary, if you haven’t learned anything about me at all, it’s that I encourage eating ALL FOODS, REAL FOOD and MODERATION. The buzz and word on the street is that it’s a tourist extravaganza and a bit like Grand Central, with FOOD surrounding you at every turn. Nobody’s running to catch a train here, but they sure are running around EATING and crowding every food counter. My friend was kind enough to humor me (Westchester Girl gone Wild) and start Saturday evening with a short wait on a line oozing out of the storefront. My patience was going to allow 10 minutes before I walked away. Five minutes later we were in. The wait wasn’t as long as others have claimed (around the block and waiting for 1 hour!).
My first impression was it appeared to be a never-ending warehouse of goodies, and the bustling crowd caused a bit of claustrophobia. First stop, beverage bar of course! Moving along with glass of wine in hand, oops (just don’t spill on the truffles or cheese!), one glares at tall rows of treats, shelf upon shelf. Feeling a bit overwhelmed we continued perusing the aisles one by one, cheese, chocolate, espresso, fresh fish, gelato, oh my!
Every counter and table was buzzing with diners, not a single empty seat or corner to gather at. My personal goal was to find this vegetable butcher (who wasn’t there, oh well) and the olive oil section. Bingo! Olive oil section is right behind La Pizza & Pasta . We were able to speak with a very nice young man, Nick, who was more than willing to give us a full course or just a small lesson on olive oil (I foresee a future interview). Since I ran out of my olive oil from Italy (sigh) it was an easy sell for the $34.00 bottle of this amazingly healthy oil. Other purchases included an olive bruschetta, fresh ricotta cheese, prosciutto for husband, and pasta. Amongst the maze of confusion its hard not to find something to fill your hearts desire.
After the olive oil we found the truffles. Not cheap, always pretty to look at. A few steps around the maze and I spotted the vegetables. A very nice selection, squash, figs, golden beets, potatoes and lobster mushrooms caught my attention.
Final thoughts. While we didn’t dine at any of the restaurants, and the crowds were a bit challenging to manipulate with a grocery basket in hand the overall experience appealed to my favorite form of entertainment, FOOD. You should check out the on the website which provides 24 different sections in EATALY for exploration, I promise you’ll hang around for at least an hour. Added bonus, the store is offering Cooking Classes from famed chef Lidia Bastianich (Beware, they fill up quickly). EATALY is a super sized italian market, with dining experiences for every palate…I’ll be going back.
HAVE YOU BEEN? WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE?