Rana Pastificio & Cucina at Chelsea Market
After my Foods of New York Tour, I decided I should do more eating. Heck, I’m at the epicenter of one of the greatest foodie cities in the world, I gotta make the most of my time here! So here I go again, seeking out my next food adventure. The beautiful handmade pastas behind a glass counter caught my attention. This is Giovanni Rana’s Rana Pastificio & Cucina, Italy’s renowned producer of fresh pasta for the past 50 years is debuting its first location in North America.
It was 2:30 pm and the restaurant was packed. Luckily, I found a seat at the bar and asked the server what I always ask when I’m at a new restaurant – what dishes are you known for here? You can always tell when someone is passionate about food or the restaurant they work in by their answer. I hate it when they tell you that everything is good and that it’s hard to pick what dishes are best. The 80/20 rule absolutely applies to restaurants. I digress. So Carlos was my server, and might I add, a very good one. He told me that the two most popular items at the restaurant are the Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli served in a crispy parmesan bowl and the Lobster Ravioli, Pan-fried Chanterelle Mushrooms. I opted for the Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli and soon learned that the girl beside me ordered the same thing.
It wasn’t before long that we became engrossed in a conversation about the food scene in New York City. She said it would be a shame that a foodie were to visit NYC and not visit Brooklyn, as it has become the foodie hotspot in New York from about two years ago. She went on to give me directions to her two most favorite spots in Brooklyn, and assured me that it was just an easy subway ride from Manhattan.
I also learned from her that Grand Central had undergone a massive renovation a couple years ago and is now another slick foodie hotspot, including a must-hit oyster bar. It turned out that she manages the lease inside Grand Central and she even offered to give me a quick tour if I came during her work hours. During my short time in New York, I’ve actually made a quite a few friends and find New Yorkers to be very friendly.
So much to see and too little time. I wanted to take her advice and visit both Brooklyn and Grand Central, but it will have to be on my next trip back.
By the way, the spinach and ricotta ravioli was amazing, and I loved the crispy parmesan bowl equally, although my new found friend found the parmesan to be too tart for her liking.
What should one do after a hearty serving of pasta? Well, why not eat again! Since I am stuffed to my gills after a food tour of the Chelsea Market, and a fair portion of ravioli, I decided the next best thing would be to do some exercise and to walk up an appetite for my next meal !
The beauty of Manhattan is that it’s not very big, so you can get to most places by foot. Especially because I host walking tours in Vancouver, I am accustom to being on my feet and walking a lot. So off I go to Eataly, the huge Italian supermarket which is also home to several Italian restaurants, bistros, pizzeria, gelateria, coffee shop and cooking school.
When I got there, it was quite busy, so after walking around and picking up a few things, I decided to buy dinner so I can relax and eat-in at the hotel . I decided that melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto, aged cheese, crispy crackers and some fresh fruits would make a good dinner for tonight. After a long day of lots of walking and eating, I rewarded myself with this simply but delicious supper.