Category Archives: Event

Top 10 Foods to Get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival

This list of top 10 foods to get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy is the definitive guide to the traditional foods eaten by Italian Americans.

1. If you try nothing else at the San Gennaro festival, you have to try cannoli.

La Bella Ferrara cannoli

Where to get cannoli:  the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

2. Sausage and peppers sandwiches–When Italians go to festivals, this is what they get.

Where to get sausage and peppers–at a stand.

3.  Zeppole are fried dough balls in powdered sugar–a staple of Italian festivals.

Where to get zeppole–at a stand.

4.  Clams

Where to get clams–at a stand, Umberto’s Clam House on Mulberry.

5.  Pizza/calzones

Where to get pizza/calzones–Sal’s on Broome Street (the fried calzone is to die for!), the first pizzeria in America–Lombardi’s on Spring Street.

6.  Torrone–Italian nutty nougat confection

Where to get torrone–at a stand or at Ferrara on Grand.

7.  Italian cookies

Where to get Italian cookies–the legendary Ferrara on Grand, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, at a stand.

8.  Gelato

Where to get gelato–Ferrara on Grand, Caffe Roma on Broome, Mo on Mulberry.

9.  Pasta

Where to get pasta–Puglia on Hester, Vincent’s on Hester/Mott, Benito One on Mulberry.

10. Italian pastries

Where to get Italian pastries–the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com

***All writings and photographs are the intellectual property of me, unless I’ve noted otherwise, and can only be used with permission. If you are inspired by this blog, please use professional courtesy to note it.***

Save Village Halloween Parade!

OK, this post isn’t about food, but it’s about a NYC institution.  One that I love and have been participating in for 16 years:  the Village Halloween parade.  This year is the parade’s 40th year, but it may not happen if it doesn’t get the funds to survive.  You can help:  donate!

This was my costume in 2001 as a tribute to firefighters after 9/11, and it landed me on the news.

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This was my costume in 2003 as a tribute to the troops overseas.

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Probably my most popular costume with the crowd was head-to-toe pink in 2002.

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Paper’s Super Duper Market

I went to Paper magazine’s Super Duper Market in Nolita today.  The second annual pop-up shop features food vendors from New York and across the country.  My favorite yummy ice cream Humphry Slocombe from San Francisco was there again, and of course, I got secret breakfast again.  I swear this is soooo good!

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There were a lot of interesting food vendors with anything from jams, salsa, ice cream, popcorn, pies and pickles to blintzes.  I got a taste of a maple bacon corn bread at Jack’s Chedbred.  This was out-of-this-world good, and I want to try other flavors.

Jack (on right) of Jack's Chedbred

Jack (on right) of Jack’s Chedbred

I also got a free Super Duper Market/American Express tote bag and a strawberry fruit strip and a box of raisins from Target.  Tomorrow is the final day of the market, so be sure to check it out.

Galette des Rois

Celebrate Epiphany tomorrow, January 8, at the French Institute with a Galette des Rois, the French cake served plain or with frangipane (almond-paste filling).  Each cake has a feve, or charm, and if you find it, you are crowned king or queen!  Tickets are $30.

NYC Brunch/Dinner Club

I have two dates set for my NYC brunch/dinner club.  I’m trying Barraca in the West Village (chef is Jesus Nunez, formerly of Gastroarte) and Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East Side.  I have one spot left for Barraca and two left for Yunnan Kitchen, if anyone is interested in joining us!

Smorgasburg

I finally made it to Smorgasburg, a weekly outdoor food festival on the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Smorgasburg is not exactly what I thought it would be.  I thought there would be food purveyors more like the market near South Street Seaport with foods and goods that you take home, but it’s more like a food court with stands of Indian street food, ramen, banh mi, smoked meats, grilled cheese and more.  I got a Bolivian pork sandwich and soda from La Casa de Camba.

Bolivian pork sandwich

The colorful stand was a fun spot with lively music playing and a bar on the side for patrons to sit.  The pork sandwich was very good.  I got mine mild, as I’m not a fan of spice, but it came in mild, medium and spicy.  The soda was refreshing.

Bolivian soda

A gruyere grilled cheese from Milk Truck:

Milk Truck grilled cheese

I did pick up some creative jam, grapefruit with smoked salt, from Anarchy in a Jar:

jam and marmalade

Fishs Eddy Launches Lotta Jansdotter

Fishs Eddy launched its line of designer Lotta Jansdotter‘s porcelain today.  Bright shades of blue with shapes that resemble flowers.  I met the designer today at the Fishs Eddy shop on Broadway today.  She is as bright as her playful creations.

creamer and coffee mug

San Gennaro Festival 2012

The San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy kicked off this past week.

Mulberry Street

This is the 86th year of the feast that celebrates the patron saint of Naples.  September 19 is the feast day of San Gennaro, and there will be a Mass at Most Precious Blood church followed by a procession down Mulberry Street.

Most Precious Blood church

Foods that are traditional at Italian festivals include fried dough called zeppole, served with powdered sugar.  My grandma would make zeppole on St. Joseph’s Day.

Other Italian festival favorites include sausage and pepper sandwiches, clams, and fried calamari:

sausage and peppers

shucking clams

There are a lot of other Italian foods available at the festival, including Italian cookies and pastries, gelato, and pizza as well as fair foods like fried Oreos and funnel cakes.

Italian cookies

St. Joseph’s Day sfinge and sfogliatelle

fresh-cut torrone

struffoli (a Christmas treat)

Union Square Wines & Spirits

Union Square Wines & Spirits recently hosted a wine tasting of NYU alums.  There were some trays of Murray’s cheese (standard at a NYC party) and Italian meats, pates and other finger foods.  The event was for the NYU Women’s Initiative and the wines of the evening were all produced by female-owned wineries.  We were given some info on the wines and the women who make them.  Then the sampling began, from white to red:  Lini 910 NV Labrusca Lambrusco Bianco (Emilia-Romagna, Italy); Shinn Estate Vineyards 2011 Chardonnay (North Fork of Long Island); Heidi Schroeck 2009 Ried Vogelsang (Burgenland, Austria); DeMorgenzon 2011 Garden Vineyards Rose (Stellenbosch, South Africa); Foradori 2009 Teroldego Vignetti delle Dolomiti (Trentino, Italy); Herdade do Esporao 2010 Quatro Castas (Alentejano, Portugal); and Dominio de Atauta 2009 Parada de Atauta (Ribera del Duero, Spain).

My favorite of the evening was the Austrian wine.  It had a crisp, clean taste that appealed to me.  I enjoyed learning about wineries run by women.  This was a perfectly planned event for a women’s group.

In addition to hosting private events, Union Square Wines & Spirits also hosts its own tastings.  Some upcoming ones include vodka, gin and a tapas party.