Sunday, October 31, 2010

$500 Saturday

         Hello All! I know this is a beauty blog but I have always stated right from the beginning that sometimes this blog may be about my other passion in life-FOOD!! and what better place to go looking for good food than to a place owned by Mario Batalli and the Bastianich family? For those of you not aware, Lidia and Joe Bastanich along with famed chef Mario Batalli have recently opened up the gastric playground known as Eataly, located at 5th and 23rd in NYC. Eataly is a 50000 sq ft culinary experience and a bit overwhelming when you first walk in-I was actually dizzy for the first 30 minutes. My loving (and generous which we will get into later) boyfriend and I decided to spend our Saturday afternoon there. We went with a plan and decided to first scope the place out and then shop-we even came equipped with a cooler. We took note of where the cheese shop was located, with delicious cheeses that we had never heard of, then the butcher and the fresh pasta counter where they make all the pasta's right in front of you. They also have a produce section with some of the most beautiful produce I had ever seen, and the walls are lined with every imported Italian seasoning, canned tomato, dried pasta, anything you can possibly think of.
        Then I noticed something, something so wonderful I think every food palace should adopt this rule-people were walking around food shopping with glasses of wine! Wine people! Alcohol! Do you know what happens when people shop whilst drunk? They spend money! How ingenious an idea is that? Stop and Shop should offer shots of Tequila as you walk through the door and I'm sure their sales will increase by at least 40%!
         So after we scoped out our food booty, we decided to snack a little. Sprinkled throughout this mega food asylum are food stations, mini restaurants where you can eat a meal or just have some pickins. They have a spot to eat pasta and pizza, a spot to eat fish, veggies, a rotisserie section , a gelato section and a dessert section. We decided on the section for pickins as that seemed to be where the alcohol was being served. So how this section works is you can either A.) stand around and wait for a spot to become available to sit down and eat, or B.) claim one of the marble bars that you can stand and eat at. We opted for B because A was taking too long. The snacking menu offers a variety of cheeses and meats, also a selection of shellfish, Italian sushi, crostini, and olives. We decided on a salmon fish roe caviar selection, which was the special of the day, and a tasting platter of different cured Italian meats and cheeses including Ricotta, Fontina, Gargonzola, Pecorino Romano and Taleggio. Accompanying our food choices were a dry white wine for me and an Italian beer brewed by monks for Lovey. My very generous Darling wanted nothing to do with the Salmon fish roe crostini. The fish roe was bigger than expected and quite salty in a good way. It was served with an arugula salad and was good but I would not order it again. We were standing next to 2 women visiting from Germany who seemed to be very judgemental of my caviar choice. One of them announced she would never put caviar on crostini-only veggies or cheese. Then she announced she would never eat caviar! Did I mention that you share these standing only marble tables?  Our next course-the meat sampler was delish but nothing you couldn't get at a good Italian salumeria. The accoutrements, however, were spectacular! Candied orange peel, honey harvested directly from the nectar of the Gods and figs spiced with hot pepper flakes. Our German tablemate upon seeing our meat platter proclaimed "Finally! Some real Italian food!" as if she were having trouble finding some in the middle of the Italian Emporium she was at.          
         After 2 glasses of wine for me, 3 beers for Honeybuns and a lunch bill totaling a whopping $100, we decided to do some dangerous drunk shopping. Our first stop was the pasta counter-I really could have ordered everything they had to offer. Me and Honey do make our own pastas so we decided to purchase pasta's that we wouldn't normally make for ourselves. I chose an agnolletti pasta stuffed with 5 different types of cheese and Darling chose an agnolletti stuffed with pork, veal and cheese. Agnolletti is a pasta resembling a tini tiny pouch stuffed with tasty goodness. Also at the pasta counter were delicious truffles-black, and the very expensive white. Truffles are a kind of mushroom that grow underground. They are fragrant and quite delicious and lend a very distinctive flavor to pasta, potato, or veggie dishes. Truffles are small-smaller than a golf ball-about the size of a shallot-so one white truffle the size of a shallot cost $109. Yep that's right-$109 so of course we bought one of each! Hey, we were drunk-I told you this was a brilliant marketing idea. Oh and they last about a week-so for the next week anything that comes within 6 inches of my hand will be sprinkled with truffle shavings-pasta, potatoes, cereal, yogurt, iced tea, the air I breathe-whatever, it is going to taste like a white truffle. For the record, the black truffle cost about $11 and they forgot to charge us so it evened it out, no?
          Next stop-my favorite counter-the butcher. 2 porterhouse steak for almost as much as the truffles, then the cheese counter for a delish Burrata cheese which is basically mozzarella with ricotta in the center so when you cut into it a yummy sweet cheese oozes out. We rounded it out with some marinated olives that I loved but Sweetie Pie did not, a maple yogurt smoothie, and the beer brewed by the monks. All of this shopping while walking around with a glass of wine in my happy hand!
          This place is basically insane! You have to be drunk to spend your hard earned money on these delicacies but I have to say-we had sssooo much fun! And as Sweetie said to me when I tried to talk him out of the gold truffle, "when else are we ever going to do this?"  So even though it was an expensive day (for Honey), it was a priceless day for us!!