My friend Jennifer and I spent several hours on a recent afternoon at the popular Chelsea Market (http://www.chelseamarket.com/) in New York.
The architecturally stunning building (inside and out) that’s home to this indoor food fair has undergone several transformations from the original National Biscuit Company complex in the 1890s. Its rich history includes production of such classics as Oreos, Saltines, Mallomars, Barnum’s Animal Crackers and Fig Newtons. The massive ovens of old were replaced with newer ovens and then moved to other locations. In their place are two buildings that house tech companies, the offices of the Food Network, and on the bottom floor, the stores and restaurants that comprise Chelsea Market.
You can’t help but take in the blended style of vintage/modern industrial warehousing with the high vaulted ceilings and exposed ductwork, wooden doors fitted with thick plate glass, and brick façade that hugs the walls. Old-time clocks that you’ve seen in train stations hang here and there, and the seating throughout the long hallway can be anything from metal bar stools to a wooden box or a built-in bench made of rock that sits next to an enclosed waterfall.
Below are some highlights from the shops that we visited.
- The Filling Station (http://www.thefillingstationnyc.com/) offers a bounty of flavored olive oils, balsamic vinegars and salts, specialty oils and craft beer. We sampled saffron, espresso, green tea, lime, merlot, Spanish rosemary and Thai ginger salts (and took home jars of Fleur de Sel, Lime Fresco and Velvet de Guérande salts).
- Bowery Kitchen Supply (http://www.bowerykitchens.com/) is a cook’s paradise, with everything from wooden spoons and measuring cups to specialty knives, cookware, glassware, baking supplies, and even pot racks and worktables. Keeping in mind that we took the train, I was limited in my purchases here, but I snapped up some a couple of flat whisks, which are great for stirring sauces.
- Spices and Tease (http://spicesandtease.com/), puts out amazing aromas as you approach the store. The co-mingling scents tingled our noses, beckoning us into this shop filled with herbs and spices, teas and sugars. You can mix and match products in small or large tins or tubes and create a custom gift pack. Yes, we bought something here, too (Za’atar, a spice blend of sumac, oregano, thyme and sesame seeds; and two tea blends).
- Posman Books (http://www.posmanbooks.com/) is a family-owned independent book chain in New York. This location boasts a variety of cookbooks and books about cooking in addition to its regular collection.
- Amy’s Bread (http://www.amysbread.com/locations/chelsea_market) is a must-stop if you’re a bread lover or need a pastry pick-me-up in the morning or a cookie or cupcake to get through a long afternoon.
In addition to the shops, stop for lunch or dinner at some of the restaurants in the market (Morimoto, Friedman’s Lunch, and Buddakan, to name a few). Chelsea Market also hosts pop-up events such as sample sales from fashion retailers. Or sign up for a food tour of the market and the nearby Meatpacking District if you have some free time during your next visit to New York.
Tagged: Amy's Breads, Bowery Kitchen Supply, Chelsea Market, Filling Station, flat whisk, Fleur de sel, National Biscuit Company, New York, olive oil, Posman Books, salts, Spices and Tease, vinegar, Za'atar