Chelsea Market Food and Culture Walking Tour

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!

Food Tours of NY

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.

Chelsea Market Food Tour

Chelsea Market Restaurants

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!

Chelsea Market Food TourDeep Fried Oreos

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!

Chelsea Market Food TourSteak Tartare

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.

Chelsea Market Food 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.

Chelsea Market Food Tour

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.

Chelsea Market Food Tour

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 Food Tour

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!

Chelsea Market Food Tour

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?

Chelsea Market Food Tour

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!

The Highline

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!

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chelsea market restaurants

I paid full-price ($54) for this tour and was not compensated in any way for this review.

 

 

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Bangkok Tuk Tuk Tour

With a city as huge as Bangkok, I knew a tour would be the best way to explore. I also knew I would not be up for schlepping around in the heat of the day.  So, I was pretty excited to find the Expique Tour:  Bangkok Night Lights / Tuk Tuk Tour.  For a very reasonable 1850 Thai Baht (about $55) we had a 4 hour nighttime tour of Bangkok via tuk tuk.  While not specifically advertised as a food tour, it definitely centers around food!  I was quite full by the end of the night.

Expique - Bangkok Night Lights TukTuk Tour

The tuk tuk tour begins at the Krong Thonburi train station, where we were met by our tour guide, Natt, as well as Expique owner, Simon.  Our international group totaled 9 – 3 couples (Italy, Austria, Germany) and 3 solo ladies (US, Puerto Rico, Australia) and we were divided into 5 tuk tuks for the evening.  We were each given a small pamphlet with a map showing the places we’d visit, as well as a few key phrases and random facts.

Expique - Bangkok Night Lights TukTuk TourChinatown

Our first stop was the Klong San Market, where our local food sampling began.  I really liked the fish balls, which were little fried dough balls sprinkled with a spicy red sauce.

Expique - Bangkok Night Lights TukTuk TourFood Market - one of my favorite items of the night - fish balls with (hot!) chili sauce.

We then stopped by Wat Prayoon on the banks of the Chao Praya river.  It was quite beautiful lit up at night.

Expique - Bangkok Night Lights TukTuk TourWat Prayoon

Mid-tour, we had a sit down dinner at Thipsamai, supposedly the best pad thai in Bangkok.  I have no real reference point, as my only previous pad thai experience was at Uwajimaya in Seattle, and I was not a fan.  We were whisked past a long line out the door, and given menus to select our entree, and tall glasses of cold tangerine juice.  I went with the guides recommendation, shrimp pad thai, which was quite tasty and, interestingly, wrapped in a cooked egg.  (Eggs show up in strange places in Thailand, like on every club sandwich)

Expique - Bangkok Night Lights TukTuk TourShrimp Pad Thai in an egg wrap

Expique - Bangkok Night Lights TukTuk TourWe had quite the international group - Puerto Rican, American, Australian, 2 Italians, 2 Germans and 2 Austrians!  Thankfully everyone spoke English and of course the hot Italian boys were gay.

With full bellies, it was back to the tuk tuk for more adventure.  Next up was Wat Pho, famously known as the home of the Reclining Buddha (which, sadly, I did not see as it was closed earlier in the day when I tried to visit) With no crowds of tourists, we were free to roam around the exterior of the temples.  Our guide explained how all the tiles were porcelain from China, originally used as ballast to weigh down the ships coming back.

Expique - Bangkok Night Lights TukTuk TourWat Pho

We then moved on to the flower market.  It is amazing how many street markets I saw in Thailand and Cambodia – all of them rolled out and rolled up every day. The flower market was huge, stall after stall filled with fragrant flowers, and women making Buddha offerings with flower buds.  Such a treat for the senses!

Expique - Bangkok Night Lights TukTuk TourFlower Market

Our last stop was in Chinatown, where we again entered a restaurant and enjoyed some sweet treats.  We had white bread cubes which we dipped in a delicious bright green custard sauce. And I finally got to try mango sticky rice with coconut milk..so good that I was recently searching Yelp to see where I can find it in Chicago!

Expique - Bangkok Night Lights TukTuk TourFinally got to try Mango Sticky Rice - delicious!

At this time, it was nearing 11pm, and we had the option of retaining our tuk tuk drivers for a ride back to our hotels.  I gladly chose this option and enjoyed a breezy ride back to the Aloft hotel, arriving way past my usual bed time!

Expique offers several tours in Bangkok, and they are reasonably priced and well organized.  Throughout the tour, we were given cold bottled water, and even cold washcloths to cool down – an extra nice touch in the crazy heat! I would highly recommend this tour, or any other option from Expique if you are visiting Bangkok.

For all of my Bangkok pictures, click here!

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Bangkok Tuk Tuk Tour

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