A few days before Christmas, I set out on one of my favorite shopping trips of the year. I love to shop at both Eataly and Buon Italia in Chelsea Market for all of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Italian food. From olives, to salumi and mozzarella, I love to shop for both meals and bring all of my favorites home for my family to enjoy. The two days become a glutenous eating and cooking fest, the shopping tip is the pre-game. This year was no different, I planned my day so that I would end at Eataly around lunch time since I had made a 1:00 solo reservation at Baita, the pop-up restaurant on the roof which is normally Birreria. It is a cozy space that makes you feel like you are in a ski lodge in the Italian Alps, lap blankets and all. The menu has an overall rustic feel with dishes ranging from mulled wine to braised pork shoulder and polenta. If it hadn't been 65 degrees that day, I would have felt like drinking a cioccolata calda to warm up, but the decor alone helped to put me into the Christmas spirit.
I decided to try two small plates and enjoy a glass of white wine. The first dish was Uova, Speck e Patate, a poached egg over speck and a potato pancake. The egg was perfectly cooked and the combination of the speck/egg/panacke created a perfect bite.
For my second dish I got the Strangolapreti con bro e salvia, spinach triangle shaped gnocchi in a butter and sage sauce. I actually had ordered something else, but someone next to me was having this dish, so I called the waiter over and had my order switched. I made a good choice. They were light, but rich at the same time and perfect complement to the egg dish. This seemed like a go-to dish, as I saw quite a few coming out of the kitchen.
All in all, I definitely recommend getting to Baita before the winter ends. Go on a cold day for the full effect and spend some time taking in the scenery. The pop-up will be in effect until March.
Eataly is located at 200 5th Avenue in Manhattan, 23rd street and 5th Avenue.