Grand Central Terminal is one of the most iconic train stations in the world and I am so lucky to live so close. Growing up, I often took Metro North into the city and would pass through the station and walk by the gilded clock without much notice. But as I got older, I started to appreciate the art, history and grandiose architecture. In my early twenties, my mom would take me on tours of the station, learning interesting facts as we romanced about who had walked before us. Learning about FDR’s private train that would roll in on a secret track below the station to be taken to the Waldorf Astoria to prevent people from seeing him struggle with his Polio, is still one of my favorite stories. The stories are endless, the history is powerful and the memories strong, but now a days, it’s all about the food.
Grand Central Market is nestled between the Graybar and Lexington Passages and as you enter the glass doors, you are greeted with aromas of cut flowers, fresh ground coffee, curry spices, and baked bread. It is a foodie’s dream come true.
I have done many ‘vegan, gluten free’ Google searches for in and around the Grand Central area, but never came up with much, so this week my husband suggested I did a v/gf take on the market. I hope to bring some of the flavors, smells and smiles from my time there to you:
I began walking through looking at each display case, not only scanning for vegan or gluten free ingredients, but rather admiring the colors, smells and people behind the stalls. As I walked, I passed roasted vegetables, an olive and pickle bar and vegan chia pudding!
Once I got to the end, I had a good idea of where to go and I went right to Dishes. They had a rice paper wrapper spring roll with homemade smoked tofu that looked amazing.
I asked all the questions and it was vegan and gluten free! Woot woot! Next up, Eli Zabar’s homemade potato chips. I know, I know, not a healthy choice, but it was a small(ish) bag and they are unprocessed. And, they tasted of REAL potatoes. It is sad how far we have come in the junk food, chip aisle in the supermarket from a real, crisp potato chip! As a kid, my dad used to make homemade potato chips with me and these tasted just like them!
I didn’t need any new spices, but I always stop at the spice stall for a picture and smell, of course. If you ask for a specific smell, they whip out this fancy, silver stick and waft the ground spices under your nose. It’s quite the scene.
You must go just for this experience! It is straight out of a movie. As I continued to walk through the market, I snapped a few pics of the lovely looking figs, lady apples, persimmons and chestnuts as I dreamed of holiday recipes to come. The produce is pricey, but worth a visit, even if it is only for an Instagram post;)
After I walked two lengths of the market, it was time to head down stairs for a coffee. Irving Farm had another gluten free, vegan treat awaiting my arrival with the homemade granola on the counter and vegan chocolate.
Oh, Grand Central, you never cease to make me smile, whether I am going home to see family, transferring on the subway or visiting your food market, you are beautiful.
PS It is the perfect time to go now as well with the holiday market bustling! I am already on top of my shopping;)
Ever find great veg friendly eats that was unexpected? I want to hear about it!