Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Outer Borough Experience - The Bronx, Part I

As a city girl, I think it's important to learn about different parts of the city you love, not just the ones you're used to. Yes, I can go on and on about all the great things there are to do in Manhattan (and believe me, I will) but I thought it would be fun to let you in on a couple of things going on in the outer boroughs. So, for the next 3 days, I'll be taking you to "Da Bronx".

Why The Bronx you ask? Well, let's see...

I grew up in The Bronx.

After college, I moved back home, to The Bronx.

After living on the west side of Manhattan for years (yes, I miss you too) and moving back from F-F-F-Florida (eeek), I ended up back in Riverdale, which is also in The Bronx.

So, The Bronx it is.

This week was my brother-in-law's birthday so one night we were all having dinner together and the topic of his birthday, and more specifically, his CAKE came up. You have to know my brother-in-law. He is very, very, VERY particular about his food!!! My sister mentioned she wanted to make him his favorite dessert - tiramisu.

At first, his eyes lit up with excitement.

Then after about a minute, his crazy pickiness set in. That didn't take too long.

"OK, but you know, I like it a certain way. I don't like it with too much cake, and the cream has to be a certain way, and what kind of coffee are you going to use and..." Blah blah blah, on and on and on.

My sister and I just looked at each other and said "fuh getta bout it!!" (yes, sometimes The Bronx in us does slip out)

So, the next day we decided to head on over to Arthur Avenue. We'll definitely be able to find tiramisu there!! The question is, will he like it?

If you're a Food Network fan, you've more than likely heard and seen it mentioned on quite a few of their shows. It's a small Italian section of The Bronx, known for all of their great food.

When we first approach, we see they still had their holiday decorations up. It struck us both odd to see a menorah hanging up since it is such a predominantly Italian neighborhood.

arthur ave-1

But then again, it is NY, right?!?

This area is still old world - nothing modern about it. The streets are lined with lots of little markets and restaurants.

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Everyone seems to know each other also. The people living and working there have very heavy Bronx accents and then the next minute they switch to fluent Italian. It almost feels like you've stepped into a Godfather movie. (one of my favorites! - Part I and II, of course)

We have certain stores we like to hit up when we're there. Our "favorites".

Our first stop is Madonia Bakery where they have the BEST olive bread!

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I'm telling you, this thing is LOADED with olives!! Not just a little here and there, but every bite!

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And, it's only $5. Cash only please.

They have lots of different breads and cookies, but this is our olive bread place.

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Next we head over to Teitel Brothers. - a small Italian market (ironically owned by Jews, hence the menorah)

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jam packed with lots of Italian meats, cheeses, fresh pasta from Italy and tons of other delicacies.

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My usuals here are fresh mozzarella, freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano, olives, pine nuts, pasta and canned San Marzano tomatoes. They calculate how much you owe them by adding it up on a paper bag. Once in a while they'll break out the calculator.

There was a couple there that stopped by on their way back to Florida! It's becoming very touristy. I probably looked like a tourist as well with my big ol' camera hanging around my neck!

Then we head back to this big indoor market. I don't even know the name of it but it is close to Madonia Bakery and it doesn't look like much from the outside but when you go in, there are lots of smaller open markets in one. This is where we go to get our veggies.

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This place to me, in particular, is a trip! When you walk in you feel like you've stepped back at least 60 years. You can picture your grandparents shopping here. There's even a guy rolling out cigars!

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Our next stop, and the main reason we came here was to another bakery down the block called De Lillo Pastry Shop. This is where we get our sweets.

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It's also a very narrow bakery with cakes in one case, then the pastries, then cookies.

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Score! We found it! Tiramisu! They even had chocolate mousse cake, his second favorite, so we got a portion of each. I couldn't leave without getting something for my family so I got the mini cannolis and the rainbow cookies. You know the ones - kind of cake-like with different colored layers and has a marzipan kind of taste to it. I think the real name is Venetian cookies, but everyone always calls them rainbow cookies. These are one of my favorites. The hubbs also. We even ordered them from here for our wedding!

So, that was our excursion to Arthur Avenue. If you're a foodie, I highly recommend you head on over. Try one of the restaurants while you're there also. If you live out of town and can't make it, no worries. There's even an Arthur Avenue cookbook!!
Yes, I do own it. I love cookbooks!

Oh, and my brother-in-law had a VERY happy birthday.

He sure better have!

1 comment:

Maria D. said...

Okay, now I'm hungry! Thanks for sharing this.

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