Well, we'd just stepped out of Wicked (which was excellent, thank you for asking), and we knew we should eat something small prior to our 11 PM reservations for Babbo. Our New York hosts suggested Chelsea Market, an indoor food market with numerous options. Located right next to Morimoto (a restaurant that we've been to in Philadelphia many times, but not yet in New York) and across the street from Mario Batali's Del Porto and Tom Collichio's CraftSteak, this could very well be where the famous chefs do some of their shopping.
With food purveyors specializing in Thai, Italian, Seafood, Deli, Soup, Pastry, and other food options, you should be able to find something for everyone. I enjoyed some excellent Gai Pad Grapao Supp - a dish of minched chicken, onion, chilis, and basil over rice - from Chelsea Thai Wholesale. I also had a chocolate peanut butter cupcake from Eleni's Cookies which was quite nice. It was both better in quality and less expensive than Kick Ass Cupcakes back home.
The Other Half went to The Lobster Place and said that his Clam Chowder was as good, if not better, as anything he'd had in Boston. A couple of our party also had egg salad sandwiches and/or pickles from Friedman's Deli. These were decent (the otter said Stage Door's egg salad was better.)
So for an inexpensive meal that can satisfy the needs of many different palates, or to buy gourmet foods at some of the little local shops, consider Chelsea Market. It's a fun place just to walk around, but it's better to walk around with a little something to nosh. ;)
- The Happy Bear