Eataly, NYC

Eataly, NYC

Ever since Eataly NYC opened in 2010 I’ve been dying to visit the high-end Italian food market/ mall. Earlier this week, I fulfilled my desire to visit and made the trek to NYC for a food-filled day, with Eataly as one of my stops.

Eataly NYC is located on 23rd street & 5th Avenue.

Eataly NYC is located on 23rd street & 5th Avenue.

In 2007, Oscar Farinetti first founded Eataly in Turin, Italy. It was part of the initial vision to expand locations elsewhere in Italy and New York City. Today there are 31 Eataly locations with two in the United States (NYC and Chicago) and 16 throughout Italy. Among the planned future locations in the United States are Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles and a second in NYC.

Today there are 31 Eataly locations.

Today there are 31 Eataly locations.

The New York City location is owned by a partnership including Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich. And if you didn’t know this beforehand, you would realize it as you walk through the market because Mario, Lidia and Joe’s products proliferate throughout.

Mario Batali, Lidia and Joe Bastianich's products proliferate throughout Eataly NYC.

Mario Batali, Lidia and Joe Bastianich’s products proliferate throughout Eataly NYC.

Eataly consists of two main branches: a high-end Italian food market and seven sit-down restaurants with both table and bar seating all contained within a mall-type atmosphere.

Eataly has seven sit-down restaurants with both table and bar seating serving a variety of foods.

Eataly has seven sit-down restaurants with both table and bar seating serving a variety of foods.

We chose to eat at La Pizza – La Pasta. I’ll be providing you with my full review very soon, but will say it was delicious!

The market is split into two main sections: House made and the Best of Italy and America. In the house made area, there is fresh food made in house. You will find fresh-made bakery items, mozzarella, gelato, pastry and pasta. I was fascinated to see the fresh pasta being made both by machine and by hand.

The fresh pasta is being made by machine - fresh ravioli!

The fresh pasta is being made by machine – fresh ravioli!

The chefs are making fresh gnocchi by hand.

The chefs are making fresh gnocchi by hand.

There is every kind of fresh pasta you can think of available for purchase from the pasta counter.

The fresh pasta counter has so many different varieties.

The fresh pasta counter has so many different varieties.

The Best of Italy and America market offers beauty, books and housewares, beer, beverages, dry pasta and rice, coffee and tea, dolci and chocolate, olive oil, vinegars, preserves and honey, sauces and condiments, dairy, cheese, and salumi.

The dolci and chocolate section was very tempting.

The dolci and chocolate section was very tempting.

I was amazed to find chocolate torrone. You can easily find the vanilla nougat candy, but the chocolate is a rare find. I’ll save this for Christmas Eve dinner.

Chocolate torrone - an amazing find for the Christmas holiday!

Chocolate torrone – an amazing find for the Christmas holiday!

You also can find the freshest products in the seafood and butcher counters.

Eataly's fresh meat counter.

Eataly’s fresh meat counter.

The produce is fresh from local farms.

Produce fresh from the local farms.

Produce fresh from the local farms.

The salumi offers a variety of imported Italian cold cuts and cheese.

The salumi had a wide variety of italian cold cuts and cheeses.

The salumi had a wide variety of italian cold cuts and cheeses.

I was amazed at the size of the whole Parmesan cheese wheels!

"I'd like a little Parmesan cheese, please."

“I’d like a little Parmesan cheese, please.”

The concept behind Eataly is to challenge the predisposition that quality products are only available to a select few. The market/ mall brings good eating and shopping to all – not limited to connoisseurs. Eat Better, Life Better Today. The shirts worn by the staff exemplify this philosophy.

Love this philosophy!

Love this philosophy!

We truly enjoyed our time at Eataly and look forward to returning and trying more of the products and restaurants.

 

Have you ever been to Eataly NYC?

What’s your favorite authentic Italian food product?

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Bundt Cake

When I was a kid, every year my aunt would make a wonderful pumpkin pecan cake for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie, but remember loving the cake. I asked her to share the recipe with me so I could carry on the tradition.

This recipe is very simple to make because it starts with a cake mix.  I slightly modified the recipe to include mini chocolate-chips instead of pecans. The cinnamon, pumpkin and chocolate combination is amazing. The cake is so moist it literally melts in your mouth.

A few years back, I had the opportunity to make the cake for my aunt at Thanksgiving before she passed. She told me the cake was delicious – better than she made. That is the highest compliment I could have received!

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Bundt Cake Recipe

1 pkg spice cake mix (18 oz size)

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup canola oil

3 large eggs

1 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix (sugar free is okay to use)

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup water

½ cup mini chocolate chips

Dash of flour to dust the chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease the bundt pan liberally, first with butter or Crisco and then sprinkle flour and tap the pan to ensure it’s coated all around, including the center tube.

Mix all the ingredients together, except the chocolate chips, at medium speed for 4 minutes. Dust the mini chocolate chips with a small amount of flour. This will ensure they stay mingled throughout the cake and don’t fall to the bottom. Fold the chocolate chips into the cake batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, ensuring it’s evenly spread around the pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake 40-55 minutes. The cake is cooked when it springs back when touched lightly and when a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.

The cake is cooked when it springs back when touched lightly and the  toothpick comes out clean.

The cake is cooked when it springs back when touched lightly and the toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the bundt pan for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack.

Invert the cake onto a cake plate. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature. Serve it with whipped cream, no frosting needed.

 

This dessert is perfect for a crowd as the bundt shape cuts easily into 24 pieces. If there are any leftovers, do not worry. The cake will stay moist for several days if kept in an airtight container.

This dessert is perfect for a crowd as the bundt shape cuts easily into 24 pieces.

This dessert is perfect for a crowd as the bundt shape cuts easily into 24 pieces.

With the fall holidays coming up fast, try this recipe on your family and friends as a change from the traditional pumpkin pie dessert. “Let them eat cake… instead of pie.”

 

What’s your favorite dessert for the fall/ winter holidays?

What’s your favorite pumpkin-flavored baking recipe?

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

It’s a fierce argument that splits some Connecticut families and friends and it doesn’t involve the Yankees and Red Sox baseball rivalry. In the New Haven County that debate includes who makes the best pizza – Frank Pepe’s or Sally’s. Not being from the New Haven County, I haven’t participated directly in that debate, but have heard about it often.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is a third-generation owned and operated pizzeria.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is a third-generation owned and operated pizzeria.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is a third-generation owned and operated pizzeria. It has seven locations in Connecticut, one in Yonkers NY and will be expanding into Boston soon. The establishment’s history began nearly 90 years ago in 1925 with the first location in the Wooster Street neighborhood of New Haven, CT.

The establishment’s history began nearly 90 years ago in 1925.

The establishment’s history began nearly 90 years ago in 1925.

Frank Pepe’s grandson Gary Bimonte carry’s on the family tradition using the recipe, methods and passion for the Napoletana style pizza that patriarch Frank Pepe grew up with in the town of Maiori, on the Amalfi coast of Italy.

Frank Pepe’s grandson Gary Bimonte carry’s on the family tradition.

Frank Pepe’s grandson Gary Bimonte carry’s on the family tradition.

According to the rules proposed by Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, neopolitan-style pizza’s dough may be no more than three millimeters thick and baked in a stone oven. Frank Pepe’s follows that tradition.

Frank Pepe’s follows the neapolitan pizza tradition.

Frank Pepe’s follows the neapolitan pizza tradition.

Last week I had the opportunity to sample Frank Pepe’s pizza when the West Hartford location celebrated its one-year anniversary.

I had the opportunity to sample Frank Pepe’s pizza when the West Hartford location celebrated its one-year anniversary.

I had the opportunity to sample Frank Pepe’s pizza when the West Hartford location celebrated its one-year anniversary.

We were treated to a selection of Pepe’s popular thin-crust, coal-fired Neapolitan style pizzas, including their award-winning white clam pie.

The award-winning white clam pie!

The award-winning white clam pie!

The Pepe’s menu offers diners the opportunity to build their own pizza from a variety of toppings.

Pepe’s menu offers diners the opportunity to build their own pizza.

Pepe’s menu offers diners the opportunity to build their own pizza.

Additionally, the menu offers several specialty pies that include: Pepe’s original tomato pie; white clam; white spinach, mushroom and Gorgonzola; and margarita.

The menu also offers several specialty pies.

The menu also offers several specialty pies.

From July to September the menu also includes Pepe’s fresh tomato pie.

Pepe’s fresh tomato pie.

Pepe’s fresh tomato pie.

While I enjoyed a slice of several different pizzas, my favorite was the white spinach, mushroom and Gorgonzola specialty pie.

My favorite was the white spinach, mushroom and Gorgonzola specialty pie.

My favorite was the white spinach, mushroom and Gorgonzola specialty pie.

Following the classic, Italian restaurant style, Pepe’s serves wine in stemless, four-inch glasses. Some people use these glasses for juice or other beverages. They are a great casual alternative to regular wine glasses, completing the old school charm.

Pepe’s serves wine in stemless, four-inch "juice" glasses, completing the old school charm!

Pepe’s serves wine in stemless, four-inch “juice” glasses, completing the old school charm!

The generosity of the Pepe’s team continued with a beautiful tray of traditional Italian desserts. The platter included pizelles, angel wings and pumpkin cookies. I felt right at home since my mother makes pizelles and angel wings, which she calls rosettes.

Pizelles, angel wings and pumpkin cookies - my favorite Italian desserts!

Pizelles, angel wings and pumpkin cookies – my favorite Italian desserts!

Often touted as a “New Haven Institution,” Pepe’s is ranked #1 in The Daily Meal’s “101 Best Pizzas in America” and claims several “best pizza” awards here in Connecticut.   I agree with the experts and give it “two thumbs up” in my book!

 

Have you tried Pepe’s pizza?

Where do you stand in the Pepe’s versus Sally’s pizza debate?

What’s your favorite pizzeria restaurant?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was invited to Frank Pepe’s complimentary anniversary celebration for the media, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience at the event. 

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata is one of our family’s all-time favorite dinners. In fact, I think it’s my son’s favorite meal. He often requests I make it before he heads back to college — “his last good meal.”

Best of all, chicken piccata is an easy dinner to make. So you don’t need to wait until the weekend to make it! It’s a great weekday meal, because it’s quick to whip up and looks like you’ve spent hours slaving to make this dinner. It only requires one pan, so it’s an easy cleanup too!

Chicken piccata is a dish that originated in Italy and was primarily made with veal. The word piccata refers to a way of preparing the meat, which involves slicing it very thin, coating and sautéing it, and then serving it with a sauce made from the pan drippings.

Chicken piccata is one of my family’s all-time favorite dinners!

Chicken piccata is one of my family’s all-time favorite dinners!

Chicken Piccata

¾ cup all-purpose flour

4 – 6 thin boneless, skinless chicken cutlets

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. capers, drained from their brine

1 ½ c low sodium chicken broth

1 c lemon juice

1 lemon, sliced

4 tbsp. unsalted butter (divided)

Salt & pepper to taste

Rinse the chicken cutlets off in water and dry on paper towels.

Pour the flour into a quart-sized plastic bag. Place two of the cutlets in the plastic bag at a time, shaking with the flour to coat on both sides. Once coated, place on a plate and repeat with the remaining cutlets.

In a large and deep skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of the oil and 2 tbsp. of the butter over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and it’s simmering.

Lay the cutlets down into the hot pan and allow to cook (about 3-4 minutes) until golden brown. Flip the cutlets over and continue to cook (about another 3-4 minutes) until golden brown and the meat is no longer pink. Remove the browned cutlets to a clean plate.

Lower the heat to medium. To the warm skillet, add in the remaining butter, chicken broth, lemon juice and capers. Use a whisk to scrape up any the browned bits for additional flavor into the sauce. Once the sauce has come to a simmer, gently add back into the sauce the cooked chicken cutlets and lay the lemon slices on top of the chicken cutlets. Cover and continue to simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes.

The chicken piccata is simmering in the delicious sauce!!

The chicken piccata is simmering in the delicious sauce!!

Transfer the chicken to a platter. Spoon the sauce generously over the chicken and top with the sliced lemon.

Chicken piccata hot from the stove.

Chicken piccata hot from the stove.

Serve warm. Pair it with angel-hair thin pasta or rice and a vegetable. Enjoy!

I like to pair the chicken piccata with angel-hair thin pasta.

I like to pair the chicken piccata with angel-hair thin pasta.

Yields 4-6 servings, depending on the number of chicken cutlets.

 

Do you like chicken piccata?

How have you ever made chicken piccata?

What’s your favorite chicken recipe?