Sunday, December 28, 2014

Arthur Avenue

Food, Frank and the Italian flag, what more encapsulates Arthur Avenue. 

One Christmas, we invited a Jewish couple to our dinner.  They were so grateful because, as they said, we had saved them from a back-to-back double movie feature and dinner at a Chinese restaurant afterwards.  Sometimes, we all have that outside-looking-in feeling.  For me, it's the perennial hope that I'll have a Malay makcik invite me over for her Hari Raya lontong lunch (like my lucky friend Mo), or a Jewish nana include me in her Passover seder meal.  Lately, I've also been wishing for the legendary "7 fishes Christmas Eve spread" that Southern Italians prepare before they head off to midnight mass.  I can only imagine the marinated scungilli,  baked clams and grilled whole fish….

Nonetheless, I got a whiff of how Italian-Americans would prepare their Christmas feast when two friends and I went to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.  I've included the article from Saveur magazine to give readers an introduction to the two short streets close to the Bronx Zoo.  That day, we started our morning in a bakery, sitting next to an old man speaking Italian to a younger man.

Soon enough, we witnessed others along the sidewalk conversing in the old language.  I felt transported to a different world, a real immigrant enclave devoid of the gawking tourists (if I discount myself and my iPhone camera), of real shoppers stocking up for their pantry like usual.

Home to fresh mozzarella made on-site. 

Perhaps, these photos tell a better story.  Enjoy the feast.

Freshly made ravioli at Borgatti's Ravioli and Egg Noodles (632 East 187th Street, 718/367-3799). 

Addeo Bakery (2372 Hughes Avenue, 718/367-8316) 
Fresh pizza dough, great to take home for the kids. 

Stocking up on pasta sauce, risotto and olive oil. 

Sausages hanging out to dry.  
Sal Biancardi is the third generation to run this store. 

Coming home to try out the fresh ravioli from Borgatti's.  

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