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 Roma was formerly Caffe Ronca, opened by Italian immigrant Pasquale Ronca in 1891 and run with his brother Giovanni who came to NYC a year later. It was a hangout for NYC’s literati–writers, artists, musicians, actors. Pasquale would go on to be impresario for Italian songs for the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 1952, Vincento Zeccardi, an immigrant and former church ceiling painter, bought it, and it is still in his family today.
Posted in Bakery, Cannoli, History, Italian, Local, New York
Tagged bakery, Caffe Roma, cannoli, Little Italy, Mulberry Street, New York, New York City, NYC
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.
What’s more refreshing on a hot summer day than lemon ice? Nothing! Except maybe lemon gelato.
I’ve been eating a lot of lemon ice lately, and if you’re in Little Italy, you may be tempted to get lemon ice at Ferrara, which is OK. But if you walk up a few blocks on Mulberry Street to Caffé Roma, the lemon ice here is really good. I had lemon ice at Coney’s Cones in Coney Island recently, and it wasn’t good–very icy and syrupy. L&B Spumoni Gardens makes some delicious lemon ice.
But don’t discount lemon gelato as a refreshing summer treat, and the lemon at Mo in Little Italy is perfetto with the sour-fresh taste of lemon and just enough sugar to sweeten it.
Posted in Brooklyn, Gelato, Italian, Local, New York
Tagged Brooklyn, Caffe Roma, Coney Island, Coney's Cones, Ferrara, gelato, L&B Spumoni Gardens, lemon ice, Little Italy, Mo