What do I like most about Chelsea Market? Both the building and shops are full of enchantment and surprises. An unimaginative, fluorescent lit big box this is not! For starters, this once upon a time National Biscuit factory, where ovens baked everything from Saltines to Oreos, is now host to a multitude of specialty shops vital to the gourmand in all of us. The market’s layout gives the impression of punching through its walls into a bygone era of factory dynamism with historic pictures and displays affixed to the exposed brick walls. It’s also unabashedly modern in a rough hewn sort of way serving its current merchants and the shoppers who course through in droves. Different colored lights strategically placed, a waterfall, and benches seemingly chiseled from stone serve as a reminder that you’re in the City’s most prominent arts district. Eating nooks built into the walls accommodate those who want to gnash quickly and move on. Here are some of my favorites:
Hale and Hearty Soups: Every type of soup and salad pairing you can imagine! As they put it You can eat here every day for three months and never have the same soup twice.
Ruthy’s Bakery and Cafe: The fruit tarts are my favorite but at this Zagat rated bakery, you can order a wedding cake shaped in the exquisite likeness of a wedding gown or pick out one of their colorful cupcakes that transcend the traditional into poodles or flowers.
Manhattan Fruit Exchange: Every fresh vegetable, garden-variety and tropical fruit, herb, grain, nut, and fresh-squeezed juice imaginable even in the dead of New York winters.