Arthur Avenue In The Rain

11 Apr

Most weekends, at some point in time, I suggest to the boy that we do something a little outside our comfort zone. Let’s take MetroNorth up to Garrison, or let’s go hang out on Coney Island, in the rain, or, let’s go to the Folk Art Museum (okay, totally within my comfort zone, but way outside of the boy’s) or, let’s take the ferry to Hoboken and hang out by the river. Nine times out of ten, I am met with a stare that needs no words, but I’ll translate for you, “Huh, are you serious?”

So, on Saturday morning with the rain pounding down and the sky all gray and blah, I was shocked to hear my suggestion of a trip to the Bronx to check out Arthur Avenue meet with enthusiastic approval. I guess I gave the boy that stare, because he provided me a very simple explanation, “I bet they have really great fresh mozarella up there!” How silly of me to forget about the mozz!

And off we went (after a quick check of NY1 of course), books in hand for a very long subway ride to Fordham Road. Our only directions were; get off at Fordham, and then head east. Sounded easy enough, perhaps on a day when the rain wasn’t bouncing off my skull and my umbrella turning inside out. It seemed like an eternity, that walk up Fordham. The wind seems rawer that far north, perhaps its the hills. Either way, finally, we saw a sign. Turn right for Arthur Avenue. Hallelujiah!

Turn right we did, but it barely looked different from some streets in the Lower East Side. Would we know when we hit the good stuff? Oh yes we did! Cross one street and, well, to co-op a phrase, bada bing! Hello Arthur Avenue!

Since we were freezing and soaked, we made the indoor market our first stop. What a trip! Right off the bat, a buncha guys sitting around rolling cigars. Further on, produce, olive oils, grains, pastas, and then we hit the sandwiches! Hol-y COW! Made on pizza bread! And to think we just ate! To co-op another phrase, doh! The meat cases were studies in offal and amazing cuts of meat. One guy had at least four different kinds of heart. Anthony Bourdain would have felt very comfortable here.

We picked up some fresh mozza (natch), some cured meats and a spaghetti pie from Mike’s Deli, and some pepper relish and fresh peccorino from another stand. The rain was just too much to handle after the market, so eschewing Bronx bread for LES bread (for fear it would get wet), homeward we headed.

The fresh mozza had nothing on DiPalo’s, but the pepper relish, oh the pepper relish! A hundred times better than the stuff I get at that-place-on-Grand-Street-I-can-never-remember-the-name-of! It really helped boost the spaghetti pie which was nothing like what I was expecting. The “pie” was basically a seriously bland frittata with spaghetti and some meat in it. For some reason, I had visions of “deconstructed” lasagna. One of my co-workers told me, I was probably expecting a timbale.

Actually, I don’t know if I was expecting a timbale, but I do know that I am utterly obsessed with this idea now! Too bad it’s Easter this weekend, otherwise, I know what I’d be doing in the kitchen!


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