With the whirlwind return of Missy K and her parents to New York City, I felt the need to make her father's eyes sparkle with glee. I knew what it would take when it came to Italian-born Papa Tony -- Italian food coupled with more Italian food. Frankly, the same could be said for Missy K and her lovely mother.
I had no choice. I had to take them to Eataly.
I may have likened the gargantuan market as Italy-meets-Epcot, but the entire Missy K clan was enraptured.
Have you ever seen a wide-eyed 84 year-old light up with joy like a child on Christmas morning? Now, I have. At Eataly, of all places. It was quite a sight! You would have thought that Tony had died and gone to heaven. Being from Italy, he knows that heaven wouldn't be complete without a never-ending selection of cheeses, salumi galore, line-caught fish, freshly baked pastry, an assortment of gelato and a dizzying array of pastas.
I couldn't help but find a bit of bliss when sharing antipasti with the family. Even though my first impression of Eataly was that it was too much -- too abbondanza -- somehow my perspective had been altered. Gorgeously plump olives, chunks of pink mortadella, wafer-thin slices of salty prosciutto, pillowy slabs of mozzarella and briny, mouth-puckering anchovies were devoured with relish. Glasses of vino washed it down nicely.
And, that was only the beginning.
A fennel and apple salad followed, along with hearty lasagna, spaghetti pomodoro and tagliatelle served with black truffles. Strong cups of espresso and a flurry of Italian desserts capped things off with a sugary, caffeine-infused rush.
Not sure if I will ever become a regular at Eataly, but I know that when Missy K and her relatives are in town, that's the first stop on the list. I guess going there with real Italians suddenly makes Eataly feel less like an amusement park and whole lot more like the Amalfi Coast.