Those of you who know how much I like to cook won’t be surprised to learn that my top pick among the Friday afternoon learning excursions at the CREW Network Convention was Taste the Trend: Experience the Food Halls of Manhattan.
Led by Faith Hope Consolo (Chair of the Worldwide Retail Marketing, Leasing and Sales Team at Douglas Elliman Real Estate), we received a behind-the-scenes look at three of the top food halls in Manhattan. Faith, who is well known as the Queen of Retail, regaled us with hilarious and interesting stories, and also told us that we were going to learn, have fun, eat and drink well, and receive gifts.
That’s right – gifts! On our chatter-rich bus to our first stop at Chelsea Market, Faith gave each of us a lovely tote bag to hold our goodies. Mine was a chic black leather bag from Neiman Marcus that I will definitely use again!
Chelsea Market is composed of 17 different warehouse buildings circa 1890 – all of different heights and levels – which have been combined into an eclectic food and shopping experience, with office and a television production studio on the upper floors. Think of a skyscraper on its side, and you’ll get an idea of its vast space. It takes up an entire city block bounded by Ninth and Tenth Avenues and 15th and 16th Streets. It was once an abandoned Nabisco warehouse that Jamestown, L.P., had the foresight to redevelop into a vibrant use, which intersects the High Line on the 10th Avenue side.
Faith led us to Bar Truman, where we snacked on delicious appetizers (the fried cheese coins and the mushroom crostini were delish) and a refreshing glass of wine, while listening to a fascinating presentation about the history and redevelopment of the buildings. As we left, we each received a cookbook entitled Chelsea Market Makers: Recipes, Tips and Techniques from the Artisans of New York’s Premier Food Hall.
Our next stop was upscale Brookfield Place at 200 Vesey Street (formerly Three World Financial Center) with 2.3 million square feet of rentable area. An incredible collection of ultra high-end retailers (think Burberry, Hermes, Gucci, Bonobos, Lululumon, Michael Kors, Zegna, Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo… you get the picture!)
But our destination wasn’t clothing – or even the gorgeous indoor Winter Garden.
Our mission was to experience food. So, we toured Hudson Eats on the second floor (a star-studded lineup of restaurant kiosks), and then ventured to Le District, a 25,000 square ft. French-inspired marketplace.
At L’Alsatian, we were treated to more food – a flavorful array of cheeses, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, wine, and more – as we passed hors d’oeuvres, that we enjoyed al fresco looking out over the Hudson.
But wait – there’s more!
Our last stop was Eataly Downtown – the 40,000 square foot marketplace founded by Oscar Farinetti, with renowned chefs Mario Batali and Lidia Matticchio Bastalanich.
Eataly, quite simply, is dedicated to all things Italian.
Their produce, flowers, breads, cheeses, and pasta selections were beyond belief!
Can you imagine a Mozzarella Lab, where you can watch a talented cheesemaker making fresh mozzarella? Of course, we happily sampled the still-warm mozz with a little extra virgin olive oil!
We ended our tour with gelato samples, and thanked Faith for a fantastic four-hour experience!
Nancy Olah (Nancy Olah Law) handles commercial real estate and business law transactions, with a focus on serving developers, the construction industry, and design professionals working on sustainable projects in the Carolinas. Nancy is a past President of CREW Charlotte (2005), and also served as a CREW Foundation Trustee (2007-09). She is currently a member of the CREW Network Industry Research Committee, and is co-chairing CREW Charlotte’s new leadership program, “Becoming an Authentic Leader,” in partnership with KPMG and Athena International. Nancy is a CREW Network Foundation Woman of Vision, and is a past recipient of the Athena Leadership Award – Corporate (2013), North Carolina Leaders in Law (2014), Mecklenburg Times 50 Most Influential Women (2014), and South Carolina Leadership in Law (2016). Nancy is starting her eighth season as a high school mock trial coach, is a cookbook author (Fool a Carnivore), and food blogger. Nancy is an avid scuba diver, and lives in Fort Mill, SC with her wonderful husband and son.
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