Chelsea food tour with Hawaiian Airlines

I’m on day three in New York, part of my #AlohaNYC trip with Hawaiian Airlines. Last night I joined Hawaiian Airlines‘ Jeremy Althof and Asiana Ponciana along with Amuse Bouche blogger and New York food scout Bradley Hawks on a food hop in Chelsea. Bradley won Hawaiian Airlines/Urban Spoon’s contest for best New York food blogger, which means he’s taking the airlines’ new nonstop flight to HNL! Congratulations Bradley! He was a gracious, genial host, first guiding us around Chelsea Market, where we found this cookie sporting some ‘olelo Hawai‘i at Eleni’s. Perfect for our #AlohaNYC trip.

When I left New York to return to Honolulu in 2003, this former Nabisco factory (where Oreos were born!) was only half full, and home to the Food Network. Now it is chockablock with food venues and shops. Bradley steered us to the Lobster Place, a seafood market that sells fresh oysters, fish, gravlax, and uni served in giant vana shells! And, of course, lobster rolls. Chunks of sweet meat with a bit of mayo and lots of pepper. We stopped at Jacques Torres Chocolates (oh, that’s MR chocolate, according to his URL), where I had a Liquid Caramel bonbon. A chocolate shell cracked in my mouth to release a stream of caramel with a hint of rum. Jeremy, who also used to live in New York, bought some Fat Witch brownies for his wife.

Then we walked across the street to Tom Colicchio’s Colicchio & Sons, in the soaring space that used to house old-school steakhouse Frank’s Restaurant. It’s now a study in browns and rustic textures, with a giant bar as its centerpiece. Skilled mixologists ply you with amazing cocktails such as a rich Vertigo, made with Amaro Averna, ginger beer, and fresh lemon juice. I pretty much love anything made with ginger beer (and now Amaro Averna too!). Bradley’s a favorite customer here and we were greeted like returning heroes. What I thought was going to be a quick snack stop turned into a full dinner in the more casual front room, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the Hudson River on the right, and the High Line on the left.

It was hard to choose from the well-edited menu—there wasn’t a single thing I didn’t want to try. We settled on a parade of dishes, from a Crayola green salad featuring three different kinds of peas (it tasted like it was just picked from a garden) to an egg-topped boudin. There were a lot of hushed “mmmmms.”

From there we crossed the street to a shiny, graffiti-free elevator of Mountain Dew-colored glass up to the storied High Line, for a post-dinner stroll. This low-flying bird’s eye view of the city is a knock out experience, the lush greenery scenting the air with country amid an uber urban view—and peeps into people’s living rooms in new futuristic buildings (I guess the future is now). It was the perfect dusky end to the day.

Thanks Hawaiian Airlines and Bradley!

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