Emily and I stopped by New York's real Little Italy on Saturday afternoon after hanging out at the Botanical Gardens for a few hours. Arthur Avenue feels like a movie set--it's a small neighborhood and it is filled with little old Italian ladies dressed in black, handsome men wearing too much cologne, middle aged women with tin foil in their hair standing outside the beauty parlor smoking, fat guys with jump suits and lots of gold jewelry, and the sound of Italian being spoken. Everyone seems to be straight from Central Casting. It is one of those places that makes me grateful to be a New Yorker. Just to know it is there makes me feel better about the world. When I'm there I feel as if I've died and gone to heaven.
The bakeries are good but the butchers are better. I always go to Borgatti's for fresh pasta (Their ravioli is amazing but today I got spinach pasta instead). A guy on line behind us told Em he comes all the way from Brooklyn to get his pasta there. There are a lot of Italians in Brooklyn, so that's saying something.
But my favorite place is the indoor market--the guys making cigars, the vegetable stand, the pizza shop in the back that is tremendous. I especially love the pork sausage dudes, who feed you slivers of cold cuts and small chunks of cheese and say mangia, mangia. After giving me a taste of romano cheese today, the guy helping me pounded his chest once with his fist and said, "I'm gunna need a rolaids soon."
Em and I had a slice of pizza and I got a couple of few things, nothing crazy--some dried and fresh pasta, romano cheese, a bag of dried oregano, a hunk of pancetta.
Here's a look.
We didn't stop for canolis, but man, I love this stuff (not that we got any, but that doesn't mean I can't look...and drool).