Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Eataly – Flatiron District, New York

Posted on: Friday 23 September 2011

‘Italy is Eataly.’ And Eataly is the size of all five David Jones Foodhalls in one location combined with the absurd Scandinavian navigation of IKEA.

I was exploring the Flatiron District after lunch at Shake Shack and I found myself at the entrance of Eataly. I stood on the sidewalk for several minutes, observing the speed of the foot traffic in and out. I finally walked in, thinking I’ll do a quick lap and exit.

All my senses were on alert. Cutlery clanging on china, diners conversing and shoppers ordering, the decibel of the din would be near noise pollution. The hum of human activity and the kaleidoscope of colours was a sight to behold. The aroma of freshly ground coffee wafted through the air. I breathed in deeply, to ease the anxious feeling of being enveloped in a large crowd, and to absorb caffeine!

I got lost in Eataly. Unlike IKEA, there were no arrows on the floor, no dividers for a path and no map. Directionally challenged, I weaved and wandered until I took a photo of every section and every restaurant.

The Eataly website lists twenty sections in their market and twelve places to eat. Below is a selection of them!

Wood fire ovens and counter seating at La Pizza and La Pasta for Neapolitan pizzas and al dente pasta.

Il Pesce serves fresh seafood including whole fish.

Paninoteca‘s chalkboard menu highlights regional specialties.

A pretty display of single portion cakes and tarts at Dolci.

With such a concentration of eateries, Eataly is ideal for progressive meals. Apéritif at Birreria, appetizer at one restaurant, main course at another, dessert at Dolci or Gelateria, and conclude with an espresso at Caffe Lavazza or Caffe Vergnano.

A stainless steel espresso machine is the centrepiece of Caffe Vergnano, a standing only espresso bar.

Caffe Lavazza is at the Fifth Avenue entrance and you can while away an afternoon people watching.

Cone, cup or to go, the Gelateria has three sizes and many flavours of gelati.

The market is well stocked with dried pasta.

Shelves are laden with sauces.

Marinated, stuffed and in brine, jars of olives aplenty.

Bottles of olive oil and vinegar of varying grades.

A multitude of packaged biscotti.

Preserves and conserves of every fruit.

Chilled local and imported beer.

Sliced and packaged salumi.

Boxes of cheese wedges.

The butcher has some local and organic meats.

The requisite hanging and dangling salumi.

The bakery bakes daily on site.

Bags of flour are stacked high for handmade fresh pasta.

‘The mozzarella you eat at Eataly is never more than two hours old.’

I had a fleeting urge to roll one of these Parmigiano Reggiano wheels around Eataly.

The fishmonger’s seafood is ‘never frozen’.

The fresh produce are piled high in wicker baskets.

The greens and root vegetables are neatly presented.

Beautiful trays of mushrooms.

Some on vine, others wrapped in protective foam, the tomatoes were glossy and vibrant.

A curated bookstore on Italian culinary culture.

Basic dinnerware and glassware.

Melamine glasses and bowls in rainbow hues.

A ten point manifesto and a motto, ‘eat better, cook simpler’.

I left contemplating how local European style delicatessens and providores can compete with a corporate marketplace that is Eataly.

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