08.06.10: dinner (The Manhattan Fruit Exchange inspires another Latin dinner)

Quesadillas with Pico de Gallo, Chile-Rubbed Chicken and Avocado

[E here! As a bit of a preface, this trip came about because the truly lovely Kitchen Witch happened to be in town for BlogHer '10 a few months ago and I sent her a list of some of my favorite places to go in the city. Originally it was only meant to be a restaurant list, but as the months leading up to the event went by our ventures to restaurants were few and far between, and many were a hike from Midtown. So I also gave her a bunch of our favorite stores that would be within a reasonable subway/taxi ride for her, and she suggested meeting up on that Saturday at the Chelsea Market to wander around. We took her shopping at Buon Italia and the Manhattan Fruit Exchange; above is the result of that shopping trip. I know it seems wholly unseasonal to write about this now, but we wanted to give you guys a break from braises and stews and think happier, warmer thoughts of summertime--I know I can use them. Carry on!]

The summer is a great time to enter the Manhattan Fruit Exchange with an open mind and a pure heart and wait for the store to speak to you. The selection is constantly impressive and the prices are some of the best on the island. On a Saturday, I have no problem going there and just filling my basket with stuff until it gets too problematic to lug around. Cash only, so be prepared.

On this particular afternoon we were beside ourselves with enthusiasm and child-like delight to be showing D the only decent remaining food store in Chelsea Market (thank you very much, Emeril Live!)*. I filled my basket with summertime goodies and a few avocados for good measure because dammit, I work hard, I pay my taxes, and I’m going to have avocado whenever I want. In the summer, buy tomatoes and eat them whenever possible until they turn south in September. That’s how they do it in Italy and say what you will, but those people understand what to do with seasonal food. To top it all off I decided to roast a chicken because, well you know, working and taxes and such. My trick is covering the bird with pureed chipotles in adobo. Once before roasting, reapplying a few times during the cooking.

So, friends, be existential, embrace what’s in front of you and ignore your expectations and live in the food-moment. Live long and prosper, friends. Cook on!

*I have to add that I love that show, always have, even today. However, shooting it in Chelsea Market for all those years has turned that place into yet another NYC shopping mall/amusement park/tourist trap, rendering it useless to residents. Price of doing business, I know, but still. At least the Exchange is keeping it real.

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3 comments
  1. Nikki said:

    I totally agree about the Chelsea Market! I usually avoid it but I am going to have to get myself to the fruit exchange this summer.

    • michael said:

      The day after I posted this, I caught another old ep of Emeril Live where he’s parading all these beautiful fishes and meats from ‘downstahs’. The Exchange is totally worth elbowing through all the crowds past all the super-expensive eateries. Also, the Chelsea Wine Vault is worth a visit.

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