I was thinking this morning that I spend an awful lot of time in the Bronx (went to favorite restaurant Roberto's again last night), and as those of you who know me know, I am constantly singing it's praises, so I am going blog a bit today about my favorite food finds in Little Italy aka Arthur Avenue in the Bronx:
1. Casa della Mozzarella
The best mozzi around (mozzarella for the non Italian bunch). Made fresh in the store. I prefer the medium salted ball. The husband likes the bocconcini but I think they are a little too salty and you miss the melt in your mouth center that the ball has. It all depends whether you like your mozzi a little chewier or a little softer. The best bet is to buy both because really it is like arguing over whether you'd rather have silver or gold.
2. Madonia Bakery
A few different products here. First, love the pizza dough. It is great to keep in the freezer and pull out when you want a quick dinner. The medium round loaf of bread is perfect for making panini's with mozzi and prosciutto. Ask them to slice it for you. Finally, the olive bread if it is hot out of the oven is a must have, but you need to eat it while it is still hot. Arthur Ave is not a place to go if you aren't hungry. Expect to eat your weight on any given trip.
3. Full Moon Pizza
The cornmeal tinged crust cracks when you bend it and the cheese is always perfectly browned. The sauce is the best I've had in NYC.
4. Biancardi's Meats
When I go to Arthur Ave, I take the train from Grand Central and bring a backpack. I buy as much meat as I can fit in the bag. Usually it includes 1/2 lb prosciutto, 2 shell steaks, 2 large pork chops, a chicken cut into 8 pieces, hard sausage, 4 of the thinnest veal cutlets you can get, 4 links of spicy sausage, and 3 lbs of short ribs. This will last me a month in the freezer. I usually pay about $100-$150 for all of it which is without about half of what I would pay in the city.
5. Arthur Avenue Market
The olive stand on the right side of the market toward the back has the best large green olives. They are slightly sweet with just a hint of salt. Truly addictive. Sometimes I stop for the broccoli rabe pizza at the stand in the back of the market. They also make a great penne a la vodka. On the left side of the market, stop at the case that has bowls of marinated veggies and various spreads. Ask for the hot pepper spread. It is so spicy, but a thin layer on the panini adds just a touch of spiciness that brings the whole thing together. I've also used it to spice up sauces, add to a boring chicken breast dish, or sometime when no one is looking, just eat it by the spoonful.
6. DeLillo's Pastry
Best cappuccino around.
7. Borgatti's Pasta
Stop here for fresh pasta. Allow at least 1/2 hour because the Italian grandmother behind the counter doesn't move for anyone. The place is all ambiance and character. You can order the pasta as thick or thin as you want it, they cut it to order. Best eaten that night. Also great are the pasta tubes and the ravioli.
You can find all of the merchant's addresses at this webssite. http://www.arthuravenuebronx.com/merchant_list.htm
Anyone in for a walking tour of Little Italy soon?
Here's a link for Roberto's.