another day, another blizzard

Coming out of the subway yesterday afternoon at the intersection of Broadway and Madison Square Park was like stepping into a Stieglitz photograph:  the imposing prow of the Flatiron Building seemed ready to sail up Fifth Avenue, yet it was delicately ethereal, too, seen through a sudden wet gauze of new snow.  The precipitation was unexpected, which made it all the more magical.  Who’d have anticipated that another blizzard was hot on the heels and by morning I’d rise to find the city practically paralyzed yet again.

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eataly yum yum

Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s Italian food emporium, Eataly, has to be the oddest resto-market combination in the city.  Sprawling over 50,000 square feet in the Flatiron District, it’s a grocery store, gelateria, pizzeria, macellum, bakery, and handful of restaurants rolled into one. (There’s a wine shop, too, with it’s own separate entrance.) As visually appealing as a funhouse – and equally confusing at first – it’s a sensory overload of pasta, olive oil, cured meats, and  Italian specialties tailor-made for the hungry shopper.  Anyone familiar with Batali’s Otto will recognize the stand-up salumeria, where you can order a healthy board of salume and a bottle of wine at a reasonable price without the hassle of sitting down to a formal meal.  I should put formal in inverted commas, however, as the fish, pizza, and pasta eating stations appear to have all the casual appeal of a food court at the mall.  Having finished a generous snack of meat and cheese – plus a trio of crostini topped with oil-cured tuna, cannellini beans, and spaghetti squash, respectively -  I still had a glass half-full of Montepulciano.  So I did what everyone else seemed to be doing and took my drink, grabbed a basket, and went shopping.  Suddenly Eataly went from being more than a market, more than just another foodie clusterfuck – it became a cocktail party.  Trust me: it’s much more fun to talk to the cheese monger about the provenance of fresh ricotta when you’ve got a drink in your hand.

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