Periodically, there’s an article about how Little Italy is dead or dying. Yes, it’s more of a tourist destination and less of a neighborhood where Italian people live. There are still some Italians there, and there are Italian-American-owned businesses there. A recent article in the New York Times made me want to write a series on Little Italy Isn’t Dead and feature some of the businesses there.
Caffe Palermo is home to the king of cannoli, but they also have other great pastries too like this wonderful cassata cake. The café was opened in 1973 by John DeLutro. It’s definitely a must during the San Gennaro festival.
cassata from Caffe Palermo
Posted in Bakery, Cannoli, Dessert, History, Italian, Local, New York
Tagged Caffe Palermo, cannoli, Little Italy, Mulberry Street, New York, New York City, NYC
New Yorkers are a resilient bunch with much pride in their city. The bombing in Chelsea on September 17 would not deter them from carrying on. The bombing occurred only two days into the ten-day San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy, but it didn’t keep the crowds from coming. That’s good because it’s an important year for the festival–its 90th anniversary.
September 19 is the feast day of San Gennaro and that is the day organizers celebrated with a mass and procession from the doors of the Most Precious Blood Church on Baxter Street around Canal Street and up through Mulberry Street.
Most Precious Blood Church
This year’s grand marshal was Joe Causi. A Bronx Tale‘s Chazz Palminteri also made an appearance at the festival. (Tony Danza was the grand marshal of the parade last year, but this year, I had my second run-in with the actor. I was shopping in Alleva Dairy, the country’s oldest Italian cheese store, when a man said, “Excuse me, ma’am,” and brushed past me. It was Tony. Years ago, I ran into him on Bleecker Street and I asked for a photo to which he rudely said no.)
Before Mass, I pinned a dollar on the statue of San Gennaro and got a pamphlet about him as well as a pin and prayer card. Inside the church, there is a large presepio (Nativity scene) from Naples on display.
Street vendors sell everything from American food to fair festival food like roasted corn,
to pizza and cannoli
to Italian tchotchkes
to traditional Italian foods like these Italian cookies, taralli, mostaccioli and biscotti.
I ate at Sal’s Pizza on Broome near Mulberry for pizza, sausage and broccoli rape. At Sal’s, you get a side order of pasta with your entree, the traditional way.
For dessert, some cassata and coffee at Caffe Palermo.
Posted in America, Cannoli, Fair, Festival, Italian, New York, News, Pasta, Pizza, Restaurant
Tagged biscotti, Caffe Palermo, cannoli, festival, Little Italy, Most Precious Blood Church, Mulberry Street, New York, New York City, pizza, presepio, procession, Sal's Pizza, San Gennaro, San Gennaro Festival, taralli
Last year, I did a Two for Tuesday on San Gennaro cannoli and compared the cannoli from Ferrara and La Ferrara. This year, I’m featuring cannoli from Caffe Palermo on Mulberry Street and Caffe Roma on Broome Street. Caffe Palermo has a sign advertising the best cannoli, and it is also the sponsor of the cannoli man.
I thought the cannoli cream and shell were good and had a hint of cinnamon.
Caffe Roma’s cannoli cream was a little less ricotta-y than Caffe Palermo’s and the shell was a bit more cinnamon-y.
My favorite cannoli in Little Italy would probably be a combination of Ferrara’s and La Ferrara’s.
OK, I know it’s two for Tuesday, but I’m going to throw in the frozen cannoli. I had wanted to try this last year. It’s a cannoli shell filled with soft serve vanilla, chocolate or swirl ice cream. I got vanilla. The soft serve isn’t the best quality, so I would opt for a real cannoli over this.