One thing I am always trying to do when I am traveling is to visit the local market.
Even if they are flooded with tourists, nothing shows you local life better than these markets. Oh, the crispiest of the breads at the market near St. Placid metro station in Paris! Oh, the juiciest of the shrimps and octopuses at San Miguel Market in Madrid! Oh, the delicious pasta at San Lorenzo Market in Florence! I could go on and on…
Not only food, of course. All kinds of arts and crafts, local clothes and fake Louis Vuitton purses, old ladies buying milk and cheese and bargaining with the sellers, all the tourist buzz – there is just something to the markets that gives you a real taste of the city.
Before I first came to New York, I’ve never even thought that there might a market there – for me New York was a city of skyscrapers and market just didn’t fit into the picture. But now Chelsea Market is one of my favorite places to visit whenever I am in Manhattan. It’s definitely more touristic than a farmers’ market somewhere in the Southern France, but it is definitely a place to not be missed when you are in Big Apple.
Filling the entire city block bounded by Ninth and Tenth Avenues and 15th and 16th Streets, it’s a spacious venue, that is home to numerous restaurants, shops, galleries, boutiques and media and broadcasting companies.
Come hungry and you will have a choice of fresh home-made pasta at Buon Italia, sushi and beyond at Beyond Sushi, eight different sorts of oysters and gigantic fresh-boiled lobster at (obviously) The Lobster Place. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Li-lac Chocolate (my favorite is chocolate-dipped orange peel), get some quality coffee running your veins at Ninth Street Espresso.
Buy a beautiful bouquet at Bastille Flowers and spend time picking up the right spices combination to take home with you at Spices and Tease. Don’t forget to check the wine selections at Chelsea Wine Vault.
Or come in the evening with someone special and treat yourselves to a very special omakase state-of-art dinner at Morimoto by Masaharu Morimoto. (Oh memories…) Or take your girlfriends for a night in Tao and pretend you are Sex and the City squad, sipping Cosmopolitans and chatting about men.
After all, it’s New York and it won’t leave you disappointed.