Foods of New York: Chelsea Market & The Highline Food & Culture Tour
When Karla and I booked our US trip, we only had three things in mind: visit family and friends, watch broadway, and FOOD — lots of it! So it only made sense to have New York as our first stop. And one of the neighbourhoods not to be missed is the iconic Meatpacking District. Thanks to Foods of New York, foodies like me can now take a bite of the Big Apple through the Chelsea Market & The Highline Food & Culture Tour. Read on to see our food tour in New York highlights.
About the Chelsea Neighborhood
Built in 1997, the Chelsea Market is an iconic indoor food hall, shopping mall, office space, television production facility, and art gallery all in one. It features more than 35 food vendors. Selling anything from soup to nuts to tahini to pickled horseradish. Sitting on the former Nabisco factory complex, Chelsea Market has transitioned from butchers in meat lockers, to a whole city block of restaurants ran or owned by celebrity chefs.
Want to take a break from all the munching? Come up and walk along the picturesque Highline. Built in the spring of 2009, the Highline is an abandoned, elevated railroad track that’s been converted to an elevated urban oasis. It’s NYC’s only elevated outdoor park, in fact.
Chelsea Market & The Highligine Food and Culture Tour
Meetup Point: The Chelsea Wine Vault
The 3-hour food and culture tour starts at the beautiful Chelsea Wine Vault. This is where we met our fun and trusty guide, Joe. Who in turn happily welcomed us back to New York and gave us a bottle of water for the tour. Once everyone arrived, Joe gathered us in a circle, gave us our tour booklets and a rundown of our 8-stop food tour for the day.
Stop 1: Creamline
No trip to the Chelsea Market is complete without having some Oreos. And New York surely knows how to please with those awesomely-wicked Fried Oreos! Sure we’ve had them back in Manila. But what I loved about Creamline’s version is the dough and the dip. The dough batter was generous and fluffy- almost doughnut-like.
While the pairing dip was cold whipped cream instead of ice cream we’ve grown accustomed to. Light, fluffy, and tasty. Who says you can’t have dessert as appetizer, right?
Trivia: The world-famous Oreo cookie was invented in 1912 at the original Nabisco Factory where the current Chelsea Market stands today.
Stop 2: Dickson’s Farmstand Meats
One of the most iconic food that New York’s known for are hotdogs. They’re fun, savory, and easy to make and eat. But what sets those by Dickson’s Farmstand Meats is the quality and taste. A homegrown brand, Dickson’s Farmstand offers artisanal meats and house-made charcuterie.
The hotdog itself was well-seasoned and meaty, obviously well-made by hand. While the buns were soft and buttery, adding good flavor and texture to the whole bite.
Stop 3: Buon Italia
It’s also no secret that New York City has the largest population of Italian Americans in the United States. In fact, New York is home to third largest population outside of Italy. As such, the New York food scene has a very pronounced influence of Italian flavor. Opened 20 years ago, Buon Italia has almost been around as Chelsea Market has.
The once brick-and-mortar Italian store is now a well-visited specialty shop that both tourists and locals frequent. From pastas, sauces, meats, and cooked food, there’s just so much to love about this Italian grocery store.
And one of which is their famous Zucchini Crostada. Pizza in form, the Zucchini Crostada is a quiche-like dish that’s both tasty and unique.
Stop 4: Saxelby Cheesemongers
Soon as we finished with our crostadas, we headed out to the store next door, Saxelby Cheesemongers. Saxelby first opened shop in 2006 in the historic Essex Street Market. Located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Today, Saxelby Cheesemongers is the country’s top purveyor of fine American farmstead and artisan cheese.
Well, to be honest it doesn’t take much to impress us with cheese because we’re cheese monsters ourselves. But we can say for sure that the Cheddar and Cheese Fig combination was nothing short of spectacular. Creamy, sharp, salty, and sweet all at the same time. Will definitely be back!
Stop 5: Sarabeth’s Bakery
They say passion fuels success. And we can say the same thing about Sarabeth’s Bakery. It’s owned by the highly-acclaimed baker and restaurateur Sarabeth Levine and her husband Bill. Together, they run a 15,000 square foot jam manufacturing facility and a 4400 square foot wholesale bakery, café and retail shop in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market.
I’ve always been a fan of biscuits, pairing it with savory chicken or sweet jams. The biscuits we had at Sarabeth’s Bakery were quite good. Golden brown and crusty on the outside, warm and soft in the inside. The orange marmalade and strawberry jam were also fabolous!
Bonus Stop: Chelsea Market Baskets
There’s nothing like seeing local art and craft when travelling. And that’s something that I thoroughly enjoyed in our bonus stop at Chelsea Market Baskets. But not to be missed are their unique Ginger Cookies.
I haven’t had such in the past so I clearly didn’t know what to expect since I normally don’t like ginger. But to my surprise, I did enjoy the cookies. They were soft and buttery with a kick of spice. Perfect with tea or coffee!
Stop 6: Cappone’s
It doesn’t get more Italian than this: Cappone’s Smoked Mozzarella Sandwich. A sandwich filled with a big slice of tomato, a huge chunk of creamy mozzarella cheese, and some basil leaves.
Karla liked it but I found it a little bland to taste. Maybe it’s just me. 🙂
Stop 7: Luzzo’s Pizza
Pizza, Pizza, Pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza? And if you’re looking for an authentic slice in the meatpacking district. Head over to Luzzo’s Pizza. And go for a Margherita, no less. The slice was big and the generous amount of cheese was a definite plus.
At this time, we were so full (and jetlagged) that we literally needed something to keep us awake. Fortunately, Joe led us the Highline. Where we spent a good 10-15 minutes marveling at the whole area, passing by two of the surviving meatpacking factories. Before heading down to our last stop.
Stop 8: Ample Hills Creamery
We toured on hot, sunny day so a trip to the creamery was perfect. To end the Chelsea Market & Highline Food tour, we had the famous Ooey Gooey Butter Cake ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery.
It’s nothing like we’ve tasted before really. It was literally like butter cake that’s been churned up and turned into ice cream. Loved the chunky bits too!
All in all, I’d totally recommend doing the Chelsea Market and Highline Food & Culture Tour on your next trip to New York. The tour guides are engaging and knowledgeable. While the food tastings were good representations of what New York tastes like – fun, rich, and yup, TASTY. See you at the next bite!
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