Total Bill: About $50.00 for two

It takes Tina to get me to finally take time out to explore some of the most unique culinary experiences this city has to offer, and explore we did at  Batali’s widely-noted opening of Eataly in Manhattan’s Flatiron district.

As most people know, the point of this place isn’t simply to bring (even more) Italian food to New York, but to transport a slice of the culture into this 50,000-something square feet of space, right smack in the middle of the city.

While my latest trip to Italy’s inland and coastal cities is a hazy memory, I’d like to think that this grand tribute to Italian cuisine is an authentic microcosm of the motherland. Regardless, I guess who’d know better than Batali.

Anyway! It can be a bit overwhelming, jam packing centuries of culture into this Manhattan duplex, but you can figure out your own method to the madness. T and I started in the Piazza, where we ordered a platter of mozzarella and prosciutto with pear jam. While we were both a little disappointed in what was essentially really fine ham, it was probably because we got the most basic order. The pear jam and handmade mozz were amazing, and there’s a whole section of the market devoted to prosciutto, cured through a variety of maturities.

Then we made our way to Le Verdure, where Caroline joined us for a Winter Salad and penne. The penne pasta was cooked at a noticeably savvy buoyancy. While it was a pretty basic dish, you could tell it was done with expertise as the bits of mozzarella melted like butter in your mouth.

From there, we wandered the halls, which housed everything from cooking utensils and wine to foreign fruits and an encyclopedic collection of cheeses.

The last stop was naturally the desserts wing, where we bought a scoop of hazelnut gelato and dumped it into a shot of Lavazza espresso to make our own affogato. Not sure if that was considered sacrilegious, but it was a pretty delectable way to end the trip.


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