Food tours are one of my favorite tourist activities while traveling. I’ve had great food tours in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap and Mexico City. I had one day to spend in NYC so of course I wanted to incorporate a food tour into my schedule. Google and TripAdvisor led me to Foods of NY Tours, rated as TripAdvisor’s #1 New York Food Tour. They have 6 different tours on their calendar, with additional options for private groups. While the Brooklyn Tour was really tempting, ultimately I decided on the Chelsea Market Tour, in part so I could get a glimpse of the Highline I’d heard so much about. I cannot recommend the Chelsea Market food tour highly enough!
The reservation process was quick and easy, and detailed instructions were emailed and texted to me well in advance of the trip. The New York weather went from 60 to 30 and snowing overnight, so the Chelsea Market tour was perfect because we were indoors most of the day. We met up with our guide, Curt, who was quite possibly the best tour guide I’ve ever had! If ever there was a perfect person for their job, Curt has found his calling! His hilarious stories and witty observations kept us entertained while we stuffed our faces with way too much food.
Our first stop was at Creamline, a “farm to tray” spot with classic American food. Our tasting here was a deep-fried Oreo with delicious whipped cream. Nothing like starting your lunch with a big fried ball of dough! Not gonna lie, I’d totally buy these again!
Next up was Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, a butcher shop in Chelsea Market offering artisanal meats and house-made charcuterie. Our tasting here was steak tartare, made from home-schooled bi-curious cows, according to Curt. If you told me I would eat steak tartare, I would have said you were crazy. But, the power of not wanting to look like a child is strong! It was served with potato chips, and I took a teeny-tiny bit. It was good, and I was soon diving in for seconds and thirds!
We then strolled over to Lobster Place, where Curt reminded us several times this wasn’t a tasting stop, although we did get a small sample of their lobster bisque. This stop was mostly for a photo opp with a big lobster. I would have loved to try the lobster rolls here, but was too stuffed by the end of the tour.
After torturing this poor lobster, we headed over to Cappone’s Salumeria where we sampled a hero sandwich. I was already starting to feel full at this point, so the sandwich was good, but I wanted to save room for everything else that was yet to come.
Buon Italia was next on our stroll. This was more of a grocery store than restaurant and had so many varieties of cheese, pasta and meats. Definitely a fun place to come if you have a dinner party to plan! Here we had a slice of delicious frittata.
For me, the sleeper surprise of the tour were the meat pies and kale salad at Tuck Shop. Oh my, I would definitely love to come back here for lunch! So, this is two times in my life that I have enjoyed kale, for anyone who is keeping track…Mom!
Chelsea Market Baskets is not specifically a food stop, but a gift shop. We were offered a sampling of different salts, although served on cucumber sticks, so I passed on this portion. Not a fan of cucumber, unless it’s in a lotion or facial mask!
Just when I thought I might burst, we headed to SaraBeth’s Bakery. There’s no way I’m skipping a bakery sample, so I sucked it up and tried the biscuits and jam. SaraBeth has a pretty cool story from making jam in her kitchen to building a food empire, and her bakery is walled with glass windows so you can watch all the action. We saw bakers applying a crumble to pies and SaraBeth herself rolling up rugelachs!
Can you believe we’re still eating? Me neither!!!
Our last food stop was at L’Arte Del Gelato where we chose from all their flavors for a tiny cone of gelato. I was super full, but there’s always room for gelato, right?
Before we headed outside, we made a quick stop at Morimoto. No, we weren’t sampling any of their famous food, we were just there to check out the crazy Japanese toilets. You know when you sit down after someone in a meeting room or restaurant and the seat is warm, which is kind of weird? That’s how I felt about a heated toilet seat. Anyhow, Morimoto looked super cool and chic and like someplace I would be totally out of place in. More fried oreos, please!
We then left Chelsea Market and headed outdoors for a short stroll on the snowy Highline and then up to the swanky roof of the Gansevoort Hotel, where our tour concluded. At the beginning of the tour, we were given a booklet with a map and overview of all the shops, as well as coupons for some of the shops in Chelsea Market. After the tour, we headed back to the market for a bit of quick shopping before heading back to our hotel.
I’m now writing this from my home in Chicago and my mouth is literally watering as I remember all this amazing food. My waistline is also suffering the aftermath of this food extravaganza, but YOLO, amirite?
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be back in New York, but I will absolutely make time for another Foods of NY Tour!
I paid full-price ($54) for this tour and was not compensated in any way for this review.