Off we went on the superbus to our first stop, Chelsea Market. If you watch the Next Food Network Star on the Food Network, you've seen this market before. In fact, the entrance to the Food Network Studios is at the end of the hall. We were tired and bleary, but excited. A film crew was waiting for us, to tape our sleepy selves as we emerged from the bus to meet Curtis. Curtis was as friendly and charming as can be. Very relaxed, no pretense at all. Oh, and absolutely gorgeous, too. The cameras just don't capture it all. It was going to be a fun day.
The market was a ghost town save for a few vendors. We made our way down the hall to wake up with some coffee and conversation at Ninth Street Espresso.
Curtis was very appealing, but given the early hour, I was feeling a lot of love for the baristas...-
The affection was further solidified when they handed me my cappuccino...
We next ventured into the Manhattan Fruit Exchange. Sorry, no photos. We were being filmed as we walked through, plus it was so cold, I don't think I could have operated the buttons on my camera.
On to Amy's Bakery for bread. I nearly wept at the sight of it all. This is what I miss living in a smaller town:
From there it was a brief walk to Buon Italia for olive oil, balsamic vinegar and prosciutto. Curtis seems pleased with the prosciutto offerings:
He also gave us a great tutorial on choosing olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Speaking of the latter, he got a little cheeky and decided that, since, Green & Black's was footing the bill, we should buy the most expensive bottle in the store: a 3-ounce bottle for $139.00.
Me, Sunali, and Erika. The espresso had really kicked in by this point:
Curtis instructing us on fish selection:
We had all the ingredients for a 3-course lunch, so we shipped off to the James Beard House. This was James Beard's actual home home for many years up until his passing away:
Seared Scallop & Arugula Salad with Balsamic-Bittersweet Chocolate Vinaigrette, Oven Roasted Organic Tomatoes, & Crispy Prosciutto
Herb Encrusted Rack of Lamb
Chocolate Pots de Creme au Chocolat with Vanilla Bean-Berry Compote
Assorted Breads from Amy's Bakery
Champagne, Wine, Coffee
Working on the rack of lamb:
The kitchen time passed all too quickly. The it was upstairs to the dinning room to eat. There were two wonderful paintings of James Beard. This is my favorite. According to the house curator, it was painted by an artist in exchange for meals at the Four Seasons (Beard helped conceptualize the concept of the Four Seasons and the revolutionary idea in American dining that is now taken for granted: that food and meals should follow the seasons).
A few bits of flotsam and jetsom:
Me & Lindsey:
The salad course. It was amazing, definitely my favorite course:
Curtis serving us some of the big pot de creme. It took a while longer than expected to set up, so they also brought us some of our winning desserts, made for the earlier filming, for us to enjoy.
I couldn't resist taking a photo of Lindsey's dessert place. If she didn't have such impeccable manners, I think she would have licked the plate :).
And that's it! A whirlwind of fun! We flew back that same evening, patting our bellies all the way.
It's been a little crazy since I got back, but I'm raring to go with new recipes and lots of cooking. I'm planning on making July the month of quick and easy vegetarian meals. An added benefit is that they also happen to be very budget-friendly.
Thanks for your patience, dear readers!