There never is enough time to see it all and I know I tell Isabel every trip, "I wish we had another day or two...." You just do your best to squeeze in as much as you can. One thing I have found through travel is the similarity between cooking and architecture. I know - that sounds crazy but the more I do and learn of each the more I have come to appreciate their similarity. It all comes down to the ingredients. Without good ingredients in cooking or in architecture you cannot have a great recipe or a fantastic building. I have also learned that smaller dishes with amazing flavors is much more satisfying that a big dish with a lot of content but no flavor. Same with designing homes. Condense the recipe, use a few key, fresh ingredients , and top it off with artistic presentation and BAM (to quote Emerril Lagasse) you have the perfect recipe or the perfect home. The big difference is I can prepare a wonderful dinner in two hours but a home can take up to two years..... I love cooking in that I can get that same appreciation and love back a lot quicker!
So of course I always have to pay homage to one of my Food Network idols, Mario Batali. I love this guy and what he has accomplished. I love his cookbooks, his shows, his love of Italy, his inventiveness. So we started the night with a little happy hour antipasti and a Manhattan in Manhattan at Chelsea's Market. I love this place - a definite stop while in NYC. You can also take some time to walk the Highline which goes right by Chelsea's Market.
Well we finished our happy hour too early to go home so why not walk a few blocks across town from Chelsea to Greenwich and Mario Batali's Babbo Ristorante and Enoteca. Generally, because of the fame of Mario this is not a walk in and grab a table or a spot at the bar place but we got there early and found two seats at the bar - which i prefer anyway because you always meet new people - and we were set. How about a little lamb's tongue vinagrette with oyster mushrooms as an appetizer topped off with a entre' of roasted rabbit. Of course a little saffron panna cotta and a cappuccino to cap it off. Delicious. Amazing service, fabulous wine list beyond belief and impeccable presentation. Always great music too by the way.
So the next night where else but another Mario Batali venue this time Eataly. I love the Eatly neighborhood of NYC. Located right across the street from the famous Flatiron Building this is definitely another great spot to put on your list. Mario has captured it all in his Eataly eatery. Its a sensory extravaganza both visually, aromatically and of course your palate will also not be neglected. I love his variety of venues all under the Eataly roof. From the pasta bar, to the peace bar, to the Manzo bar, to the produce market, fish market, gelattaria, to the coffee barista. I could come here every night and never run out of ways of mixing it up. Again - everything is done in impeccable style and delivery. Well done!
I wish we had and Eataly in Scottsdale! Maybe we will just need to create one!