This year’s Open Market “block party” at the Meatpacking District’s legendary Highline Stages featured gourmand treats and grog from 27 locals bars and restos, DJ sets by Coco & Breezy, a silent auction, raffles and the most beautiful crowd this side of New York Fashion Week. I was as impressed with the bargains from the fashionable local stores as I was with the insane treats that I stuffed myself with. There were separated from Alice + Olivia, The Kooples and Vince for under $100 and prices got lower as the evening went on. People who purchased VIP tickets got to come in super early (at six pm) and were treated to a bag of treats, many of which are sold at nearby Chelsea Market.
Do you know that the first table that I headed to upstairs was my favorite Meatpacking District resto Fig & Olive? I went to its opening party years ago and have attended many events there. The food and service are consistently great and the fare is very crowd-pleasing. They had a huge assortment of dogs and olives–no surprise–but a great spread of Mediterranean appetizers including crudités, hummus and homemade pita bread that they make in their own kitchen. I hope that they did not mind me grazing at their table for so long. My favorite item was simple–toast style crackers with crime fraiche and their homemade fig jam!
I tried Simo pizza for the first time and it was true coal oven style which I adore. I live for those little black dots, large fresh Basil leaves, homemade marinara and fresh mozzarella. I will be going to this place the next time a friend asks me to take them for “real Neopolitan” pizza! The cute Neopolitan guys in the booth were very generous with their slices, too! Next time bring some crushed pepper though, LOL!
Salmon rolls from Catch were a crowd favorite–as a matter of fact you could not get near this table. These people really have an artistic flair as their sushi was served on circular wooden slabs. I swear that I saw party guests go up six or seven times!
STK served braised short ribs over jalapeño flavored polenta. This was insanely good (not insanely spicy as you might have expected) and I will confess right now that I made three trips to this table. The meat just fell apart. It was too good to be true for us meat eaters in this hip crowd (probably half of which were vegans)!
Bodega Negra not only had killer tortilla soup but they had the prettiest and most authentic looking booth. There were Mexican bowls of authentic spices including different types of whole dried peppers. Such a friendly team at this super hot Mexican eatery’s booth as well!
Common Ground had plenty of Mediterranean type nibbles including crudités, hummus, artisan cheeses and homemade pita. This table also had a nonstop stream of grazers! What is unique about Common Ground is that it is a coffee house by day (where the welcome you to come sit and work on your laptop or phone) and bar by night–and they have casual eats available at both times.
Dessert-wise, I went nuts for Ample Hills Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream–and the Root Beet With Sprinkles And Marshmallows also rocked my world. This was some of the creamiest ice cream that I’ve ever had but i think that they need to rename the brand Ample Hips! It is hard to stop eating these flavors that are 100 per cent original and rich!
The legendary Bubby’s more than impressed with their Tart Cherry Hand Pies. I ate one to finish off the evening–I thought it should end with a blast of flavor and boy, did it. The homemade cherry filling was honestly only slightly tart and you could tell that these lovely sweets had only been baked and cooled a couple of hours before the Open Market block party event started. My only regret of the entire evening was not putting a few of these babies into a napkin and slipping them into my backpack!
If you want to keep tabs on the Open Market block party event for next year, go to http://www.meatpacking-district.com/events-all/. The event’scommittee has some of the “Meatpacking District Superstars” including First Lady Of West 14th Street, Diane Von Furstenberg. Regular tickets are $150 while VIP tickets are $350.