Hope you guys enjoyed your Columbus Day off, I sure did. My brother and nieces were off for Columbus Day so we headed to NYC. My mom joined us too, she loves the city too. It was a fun day in New York City, not to mention the weather cooperated perfectly with us, sunny and gorgeous!
My driver brother (hehe) picked me up and we drove into the city... I sure felt special because I usually take the PATH train into the city, driving in is so much more convenient. We walked around Union Square park where art and food stalls were setup so people can roam around and browse.
The food stalls were mostly organic and my brother who is organic-obsessed bought a baguette, a Spinach-Onion Pizza Bread, and some Apple Cider without sugar which was shared amongst the 5 of us. Today was all about eating so we decided to share and try a bunch of different foods without feeling stuffed.
We then headed 10 blocks north into the Flatiron district to experience Eataly. Have you heard of it? So last week while watching Rachael Ray's talk show, The Good Wife actor, Josh Charles, was on the show and mentioned Eataly as one of his favorite places in the city. Rachael Ray second that and I had to check it out. Strangely enough, my cousin, Nandini, mentioned the panini at Eataly was amazing later in the week... by this point I had to check this place out for myself. So I dragged my family to the Flatiron district mainly for Eataly and to sum it up, it was nothing short of spectacular. The New York Times has described this place as an, "Italian food hall, a culinary extravaganza, from arancini to zabaglione." I second that. 🙂
After Eataly, we walked around Madison Square Park, I was so engrossed by the jewelery stalls at the park.
We continued 5 blocks north and saw a Halal Truck (Middle-Eastern Food)... yum! My mom's vegetarian so we got her a falafal sandwich, the rest of us split 2 Chicken & Rice entrees each for $5. Seriously, good food does not have to come with a price tag. I absolutely love NYC street food, but don't eat it as often due to the number of calories.
We picked up some dessert and headed over to my cousin's place to see their baby... poor thing was sick... hope you feel better... little nn! It was a day filled with culinary experiences... my suggestion is to grab a few people and head into a city and split items to really experience different kinds of food on a budget.
200 5th Avenue (cross st. 23rd)
New York, NY 10010
NOTE: There are 6 Eataly locations worldwide, four in Italy, one in Japan, and luckily, one in New York City.
Eataly is described an an, "Italian food hall" that consists of a bunch of food stalls and several sit down restaurants. Most of the time people grab their food and go.
There is a wide range of products sold here, everything from jams to chocolates to pastas. Eataly was crowded and we were there on a Monday so be prepared to wait in line. While browsing you'll hear people speaking in different European languages, in particular, Italian, if the Italians eat here, it must be good, right?
You'll also find kitchenware selling here - it's definitely not cheap.
Everyone, Casual Dining, Kid Friendly, Groups.
Italian, Bakery, Cafe.
MENU - $ (Caffe Lavazza & IL Gelato qualify under $, others may be $$ to $$$)
Here are the stalls at Eataly.
Caffe Lavazza - there is no online menu for Caffe Lavazza, but I took a picture of the menu. The virgin drink prices range from $1.85 to $4.50. I love how each item has a picture next to it... SO HELPFUL... when I go to Starbucks and wanna try new drinks, I'm always asking them what is in the drink. In general, people eat with their eyes, so visualizing the drink was helpful at Caffe Lavazza.
IL Gelato Menu. The gelato at Eataly are $3.90, $4.90, $5.90 (small, medium, large).
Coffee + Gelato shared between 3 adults + 2 kids (ages 12 to 14):
1 Cremespresso + 1 small Gelato ~ $8
RECOMMENDED HEALTHY EATS... choices below are based on my knowledge of food and nutrition. If you are watching your weight, at IL Gelato opt for a small Frutta Gelato (Fruit Ice-Cream) that you can share with someone. At Caffe Lavazza, opt for a drinks without cream, whole milk, and whipped cream. There is no online nutritional information available for Eataly - IL Gelato & Caffe Lavazza, please use your own discretion when making a decision.
|HEALTHIER EATS @ EATALY - CAFFE LAVAZZA & IL GELATO|
|CAFFE LAVAZZA (opt for skim/low fat milk); (go for small)|
|Espresso Macchiato (w/skim milk)|
|Cappuccino (w/skim milk)|
|Latte Macchiato (w/skim milk)|
|Gran Filtro Dark Roast|
|Gran Filtro Decaf|
|Iced Coffee (w/skim milk)|
|Iced Latte (w/skim milk)|
|IL GELATO (Opt for a small Frutta & share)|
|Mela Verde (apple)|
At Caffe Lavazza, we got a Cremespresso which is, "espresso blended with milk and cream and then frozen to a sorbet texture." There are no words to describe how insanely good this was, but I'll try. The Cremespresso was thick, rich, a mild flavor of coffee, just the right amount of sweetness, and indulgent. It was heaven! I could have drank the whole thing in 1 shot, but my brother said to take small sips.. OK, whatever! 🙂
The next time I visit I already have my eyes set on the Bicerin (espresso, hot chocolate, and thick cream) and Cioccolata which is Italian Hot Chocolate... it's probably thick and delicious. This place makes me think twice about going to Starbucks, I think Caffe Lavazza is my next coffee stop in the city. They seriously need to open up more locations throughout Manhattan.
Our next stop was IL Gelato. I wanted to get 2 gelatos, but we couldn't decide on another flavor so we ended up getting the Nocciola (hazelnut) gelato. This was the best gelato I have ever had in the United States, it really tasted just like the one I had in Italy. It was fresh, creamy, light, full of flavor, and not too sweet. Excellent! Even my mom enjoyed it and she's very picky about her food. 🙂 Next time I'll give the Pistachio gelato a shot.
On another recent trip to Eataly, I ordered the Bicerin which was espresso, hot chocolate, and thick cream. For someone who is more of a tea drinker, this drink was way too strong for me. I thought it would be similar to the Cremespresso, on the contrary it was extremely strong and bitter. It would appeal more to espresso drinkers.
My friend, Marian, had the Espresso Torinese which was espresso and foamed milk with hot chocolate and a sprinkle of cocoa. Marian thought the drink was good, but not worth $3.50 for the amount given. She said the hot chocolate was at the bottom so the drink became sweeter towards the bottom.
I also got a vegetarian panini... all they had was the 4 Cheese Panini with Arugula. The bread and cheese tasted really fresh, however I wasn't accustomed to the unique flavors of cheese. Personally, I wouldn't go back for a second on this particular Panini, instead I would be excited to try a veggie panini with vegetables.
VERDICT - 4.5 / 5
Eataly slightly reminded me of Chelsea Market, however Eataly was much brighter and more crowded. I love the idea of walking into a place and having all types of courses available... such as, paninis, pizza, pasta, coffee, desserts, gelato, wine, seafood, and more. You really don't have to go outside for anything, it's all in this one place. Eataly is conveniently located near Madison Square Park so you can get your food and head to the park. I bet that was a strategic move.
I would love to see more locations of Caffe Lavazza in the city, it would give Starbucks some much needed competition. At the very least, Caffe Lavazza should open up one location in downtown Manhattan, can you imagine how much business the office crowd would bring? I can only hope they open up one location across the river for us Jersey people. 🙁
I totally regret not having the Mozzarella & Basil Panini. There was such a long wait for a panini and I wasn't brave enough to stand in line for that long. Next time I'm so getting a panini and a dessert with some coffee. Eataly has something for everyone, let me put it this way, it's like starting off your day shopping at Sur La Table and then heading to Barnes and Nobles and then hanging out a much fancier Starbucks with desserts and then chilling at some Italian restaurant. In short, it appeals to everyone! You should check out Eataly and save yourself a trip to Italy... haha... it is truly amazing and an experience that should not be missed!