We saw some women-run businesses in that bustling food mecca--and the final stop on the tour was Blackbarn shop/cafe/bar, which I had reported on for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME.
Here is the recap. Click on the business name after each bullet to see the sites.
- Amy's Bread. I've long loved the blue exterior of the location on Ninth Avenue--I passed it often on my walk home from Hearst Magazines to the Port Authority. I met my friend Celia at Chelsea Market for lunch and we went to Amy's. I have the cookbook, hard to resist. The place is famous for old-fashioned layer cakes and more. Owner/founder Amy Scherber wasn't in, but the samples of chocolate sourdough bread were--and they were yummy.
- Fat Witch Bakery. Have you been to this one? Supercute brownies cut into neat little squares and wrapped carefully in cellophane, like afternoon-snack gifts. Just add milk. We met owner Patricia Helding, warm as a fresh batch emerging from the oven. Her line has grown to include everything from brownie mixes to adorable totes. Helding grew up in a suburb outside Chicago with "a mother who baked a lot"--and said she likes witches. [The one on the label is endearing.] If you like baking pies, bake pies, said Helding, but stressed that this isn't just brownie-baking but running a business. Next treat on the line: Something called Orange Crunch, so look for it. We each received a small, chubby Fat Witch brownie that I tried to save for brownie-lover Punch, but did not. The baker said she admires Starbucks founder Howard Schultz. I mean, I don't drink coffee, but he created a brand, and even though the logo has changed over the years, the brand is intact and thriving.
- Zach & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm. What a small, small world. Beautiful Summer, who runs this business in NJ with her husband [they named it after their two children], said more than once to me, I know you. I know you from somewhere. Then she figured it out. It turns out the family lived in the corner house on our block several years back--but moved farther out into "the country" after a couple of years. They have 5.7 acres now. My friends Claire and Pat and their four kids live in that corner house and now I know it well! Check the zingy flavors, including beetroot and matcha. Time for a stylish new honey wardrobe for your pantry. Summer even said they kept a big Tupperware full of honey on their son Zach's nightstand and gave him 2 big tablespoonfuls every night for a while and it cleared up his allergy/breathing issue.
- BLACKBARN. This is a must-see, with a mixologist who stirs up cocktails like "Sweater Weather" [for winter] and "Garden Party," which we had, plus beautiful wines like Fleur de Mer petal-pink rosé from the lavender hills of Provence. We were surprised with a full lunch here. If you like the plates you eat on, you can also buy them, said Kristen Zeff, who co-owns the spot with her husband, Mark. I was drawn to pink plates.....and a handcrafted espresso dark chocolate bar, which I plan to go back for.....the farm-to-table food was so good. Portobello mushrooms with polenta cakes and Chicken Milanese Sliders...oh my yum. The store offers merchandise from Africa, a personal care line made in NY--and a bespoke floral counter with breathtaking blooms. Enjoy.