by Nicole Dupuis | Images: JWessel
“When you put amazing people with common interests in a culinary destination, the sky’s the limit, and that’s what this trip was all about.” —Ellie’s Events & Catering Coordinator Kristi Dukoff
This past June, we hosted our first Culinary Bliss Tour of New York City with an incredible group of staff and guests. The premise was simple: bring together a diverse group of people with shared interests in a major culinary hotspot, and see what magic unfolds. It was a wonderful, weekend-long escapade inspired by previous adventures with the Gracie’s staff, most notably last October’s culinary cruise of the Mediterranean with Chef Matt Varga and Executive Pastry Chef Melissa Denmark.
Our goal on this trip was to introduce an intimate group of guests to the incredible sights, sounds, and tastes of one of the world’s top cultural and culinary meccas (which we are lucky enough to live a mere 3 hours from!). Overall, the trip brought us even closer with our guests than before (if that was even possible). It was incredibly gratifying to see the delight and wonderment on our companions’ faces as they relaxed into the experience, shared a smile or joke with their neighbors, or tasted something new and delicious that perked up their taste buds and left them wanting more. We’re already planning our next trips for 2017 and would love to have you join us for what one traveler called a weekend of “pure bliss!”
Our trip kicked off at the Eataly “La Piazza” on 5th Avenue, where we enjoyed several rounds of taglieri, or mixed appetizer boards piled high with meats, cheeses, and pickled goodness (washed down with only the best Italian wine, of course!). Eataly was a favorite stop of Bar Manager Kristi, who loved the warm, welcoming atmosphere simply brimming with culinary delights (you know what we’re talking about, Eataly fans!). After thoroughly whetting our appetites at the Gran Bar, we began the trek across Manhattan to The Breslin for dinner.
The Breslin is a British gastropub inside the Ace Hotel that Eater once referred to a “monster meatery.” While we were certainly set in the protein department, veggies also made some delicious cameos throughout the evening, notably in a beet and watercress salad that we enjoyed as our first course. This special dinner was truly a perfect ending to our first action-packed day in the Big Apple.
Sunday morning began bright and early at Bisous Ciao, a minimalist bakery specializing in French macarons in traditional and seasonal flavors. (This was great market research for our sister bakery Ellie’s, by the way, who specializes in all things sweet and Parisian!) Upon entering, we were greeted by row after row of colorful macarons, spanning shades from both the bold and the bright to softer, more muted pastels. Heavenly, flaky croissants, refreshing iced coffees, and fragrant teas also made their way into our breakfast repertoire. No doubt about it—Bisous Ciao was a perfect way to start our NYC Sunday, and definitely worth a visit the next time you find yourself in the Greenwich Village area!
So how can you top a day that began so deliciously? There’s really only one answer: with cheese, of course! Murray’s Cheese was the next stop on our Sunday itinerary, and boy oh boy, was it a hit. This New York staple carries more than 250 cheeses from around the world, boasting everything from classic European tommes to new artisan American finds. We dabbled in the bold and the stinky, tangy and complex before deciding to walk off our midday feast with some sightseeing around the Transit Hub World Trade Center.
Le District was one of the last stops on our tour. This massive French food hall offers an authentic French shopping experience where culinary needs are met simply by walking from one market to another. Crepes were our chosen source of fuel before the ride home, which we stuffed with savory goodness from prosciutto to peppery greens.
It was beneath a bright blue sky dotted with sparkling clouds that we made our way back to our coach bus, bellies and hearts full with wonderful memories from the weekend. We’re already missing each and every member of that enthusiastic, intrepid group of explorers who joined us on our inaugural Culinary Bliss Tour. It truly was an epic adventure and we’re currently planning our next trips for 2017!
For the latest on Gracie’s culinary tours, wine dinners, Star Chef events, and more, visit our website at: graciesprov.com/happenings