Eataly is perhaps the most ascetically dizzifying grocery store around. Although quite the tourist trap, one has to appreciate its efforts to be (over)stocked with gourmet Italian delicacies. Jordan said he would love to try the squid ink pasta sometime, just for the heck of it.
As the old saying goes, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do", so while waiting for a friend to arrive, hubby and I grabbed some gourmet Italian coffee. The lines were uber confusing (one for order and another for pickup; there were no signs of course, or if there were it was in Italian), so we helped direct traffic a bit for poor coffee-mongerers who were lost and caffeine-deprived.
I got some hot chocolate and hubby got a cappuccino. I'm normally not a fan of hot chocolate but oh-my-oh-my it was divine! It was kinda like drinking molten dark chocolate foam. I actually couldn't finish it because it was too heavy, but I think it'll pair nicely with a light fruit tart or soufflé (so it doesn't get too congested).
We somehow managed to grab a four-people seat in La Verdure, the crowded all-veggie section of the in-house restaurant, ironically situated between the meat and the fish section (and next to the bathroom). Hubby commented that it was quite of weird eating in the middle of a grocery store, but being a foodie I kinda thought the concept was neat.
While waiting for our order, we dipped some light rye in olive oil. The complex texture of rye complemented the slightly fruity olive oil well (or was that because of my congested sinuses?). The waitress recommended the house special of the day, which went right over my head, since half of what she said was mambo Italiano.
Cannelloni with stuffed ricotta cheese and basil
Two of us go the cannelloni with stuffed ricotta cheese. The texture on the homemade egg noodle was cooked just right - not too al dente and not too soft. The ricotta and basil mixture was substantial, while the sauce on top complemented the mild taste nicely.
Risotto con piselli e aspargi
I got the risotto sprinkled with green peas and asparagus, with parmigano reggiano. I had confused risotto with fusili, so until I got my plate, I was under the impression that I ordered some sort of pasta. But to my surprise, a bowl of cheesy congee was presented before me, with pieces of fresh asparagus and green peas mingled in between. And it almost tasted like congee too - fluffy, light and seasoned just right for my tastebuds. My only complaint is that the peas were a little overcooked (granted, it is hard to control while cooking with rice).
Verdure alla piastra
Jordan got the warm farro salad with shredded cabbage, broccoli, carrot, asaparus and I think pieces of shallots. He didn't comment on how it tasted but I'm sure it was quite lovely.
Afterwards, we got some gelato. The lineup was quite long, and the patron behind us was complaining - "Does it take that long to scoop up ice cream?"
Alas young grasshopper, it was not just any ice cream. Frishte recommended the salt caramel, which was indeed out-of-this-world. She got pistachio, a smoothly blended nutty flavor where you could actually taste pistachio bits. The salt caramel was wickedly cracked ice I must say, but I recommend the small size because the sweet-saltiness can be too much of a flavour bomb after a while. It also melts pretty quickly so don't be embarrassed to lick the edge of the cup to avoid sticky fingers!
Salted caramel cracked ice (notice the drip around the edge?)
Thankfully we got a little exercise while eating our gelatos by walking a few blocks to the theatre. I was highly tempted with the soft pretzel, but my innate dietician advised me otherwise (especially since I haven't eaten really anything for the past week).
Although "The Avengers"was a little below our expectations - too much special effects, not enough story line - the meal was bellisimo. Four out of five stars for Eataly.
Hard to find seats