As you’ve probably noticed, two things that make our lives as moms better are shopping and food. No surprise, then, that shopping FOR food ranks high on our list of favorite activities.
One day this week, we stole a little time, sans kids, to head to Eataly, Mario Batali’s new Italian-themed mega-eatery and food emporium in the Flatiron District. Lunch! Browsing! Beautiful food everywhere you turn! Fun.
(And if you’re wondering about taking the kids, make your way to the end of this post. I have thoughts, people.)
But, first stop, lunch. Pappa al Pomodoro on a rainy fall day.
You’ll find restaurants and food stands by type at Eataly — pizza and pasta, panini, seasonal vegetarian fare, fish, gelato, pastries, and espresso. You can also shop — for fresh pasta, fish to take home, bread, meat, cheese, salumi, and tons of specialty food items from Italy. At the fresh pasta counter, we happened to catch an employee as she was putting out a platter of just-cooked, buttery raviolis to sample. Mmmm.
After you have something to eat, marvel at the staggering array of housewares and specialty foods — jam, pesto, canned tomatoes, spices, olive oils, fancy balsamic vinegars, cookies, crackers, candies. And honey. Beautiful jars of every kind of honey imaginable.
Before you leave, sample a chocolate truffle, pastry, or some gelato — and chase it with an espresso.
Take something home! We took a rotisserie chicken, which, I admit, isn’t particularly exciting or Italian. But it is one of our easy, no-cook dinners for a busy cool-weather day. And it was exceptionally delicious and juicy. Pair it with some veggies for the kids and dinner is DONE.
Now back to the question of going to Eataly with your kids. I have to say, I did not see a single child there. Not one. But I’m chalking that up to the fact that it was a rainy Monday, and crowds were down in general. When we go back — and we will — I would most definitely take the kids. Here’s why:
It’s big (40,000+ square feet!), bustling, and loud. Your kid making noise or getting fussy is likely to go unnoticed.
There’s lots to see — food being cooked, cool displays, a friendly guy at the fish counter making the mako shark “talk” and “eat” another fish (and that was just for the grown-ups!)
The food is kid-friendly. No, with the kids you probably won’t be dining at the fish restaurant, but there’s pizza and gelato. You’re set, mama.
One note: leave the stroller at home if you possibly can. It’s a big space, yes, but it’s jam-packed with stuff, and I think navigating a stroller on a more crowded day would be pretty un-fun.
For more Eataly deets, read New York mag‘s Q&A with Mario Batali.
Eataly is located at 200 5th Ave. at 23rd Street.