This weekend I headed to my neighborhood’s local market with my friend Stefanie. We were both on a quest to pick up a few Holiday gifts — and of course we had to go on the weekend because we have both been so busy with work during the week. On the weekends, the Chelsea Market is packed with locals and tourists — all determined to discover the newly opened stands and shops throughout the market.
While waiting for Stefanie to arrive, I strolled through a few of my favorite places. For one, I spent some time in The Lobster Place taking a few photographs to show all my readers. I watched as fresh sushi was made (yum! I love avocado on my sushi!) and I took in the smell of the store… All fresh fish! The smell reminds me of New England — the place I grew up for the first half of my life.
During this time of year the most gorgeous lights are hung in the very center of the Chelsea Market. They drape down below the clock and light up the market place. These are not up year-round and I love when they are put up at this time of year!
The Chelsea Market stretches a full avenue long, going from 9th Avenue to 10th Avenue. There are two entrances/exits both are on each side of the market. On the 10th Avenue end this weekend, there was a small petting zoo with cows. City children gathered ’round to pet the baby farm animals. I love seeing things like this… especially in the heart of Manhattan. It just shows that you truly can find just about anything in the city — and the city children get a taste of country life. Yes, I believe that children should experience the fresh country air. But I do believe that the city is a fantastic place to raise children.
On Saturday night I went to the new Spanish-Moroccan fusion restaurant only 1 block from the Chelsea Market (and only a few blocks from my apartment). I went with my boyfriend, his cousin, and his cousin’s wife. Ventanas is a new tapas restaurant located on 16th Street and 10th Avenue. The menu is large and may seem overwhelming, but you want to order plenty of plates because the portions are rather small (this is the only down-side to this restaurant). We ordered the following: Pisto (Spanish Ratatouille), Guacamole with Plantain Chips, Ceviches de Camarones (Shrimp Ceviche), Croquetas de Bacalao (Codfish Croquets), Frituras De Queso De Cabra (Goat Cheese Fritas), 2 Empanadas Espinaaca (Spinach and Manchego Empanadas), Albondigas (Lamb Meatballs), and Dulce de Leche Empanadas for dessert.
We enjoyed everything! Perfect bite-sized tapas that everyone was able to share with one another. I love tapas-style meals because everyone is engaged with one another over something as simple as the food on the table. Instead of ordering your own plate and keeping it to yourself — you are able to pass the plates around while saying “yum! Try this, you’ll love it!” The food also came out quickly so we would order 2 or 3 plates at a time! That way we weren’t too overwhelmed with an obnoxious amount of plates on the table. We all enjoyed the food, but we also loved the music playing in the background. Lots of exotic tunes had us practically dancing in our seats — like The Gypsy Kings (a French band that plays flamenco-style music), as well as other current, more popular songs as well. But I was excited to hear some music that I grew up to! My father often played The Gypsy Kings and over the years I managed to memorize some of their songs like Bamboleo. Besides the music, I loved the decor as well. You felt like you were some place exotic the moment you stepped into the restaurant. The shapes, the colors, the plush booths — you felt like you were in Morocco!
At 10 p.m. a belly dancer came out and circled the restaurant for some extra entertainment. A few rowdy people got up and danced with her — which was great entertainment for us! By 10:30 some tables were cleared off and pushed to the side and a bunch of people started to get up and dance … including us! I wasn’t expecting my tapas-style dinner to turn into a dance party! But we were all quick to jump to our feet and make our way to the dance floor!
This is such a fantastic place to go with friends! Order some drinks, get a little rowdy, but overall experience some fantastic food! Watch how much you order though, because the bill can get pretty high rather quickly!