…Don stopped by in the morning and we speed up to Arthur Avenue. Objective: sandwiches for lunch. We arrived to the Bronx from the Lower East Side in less than 30 minutes, no time wasted.
There, we made our first stop at Casa della Mozzarella for roasted red peppers, prosciutto di parma and the highlight of the day…
“How much do you think we need?” he asked.
“Er, a pound?”
And so three pounds it was, three pounds of luscious fresh mozzarella softer than a baby’s bottom, cotton balls of milky sweet heaven twisted just minutes before by the two fellows pictured above.
Mozzarella safely in tow – we made twenty steps up the street, turned to the left, walked one block over and straight into the warm comfort of the Madonia Brothers Bakery. Endless loaves of bread up ahead, an enormous case devoted to biscotti, and rings and rings of prosciutto bread to our right.
Two savoury prosciutto studded rings for snacking and a loaf for the sandwich.
And then, “how about cannoli?” he asked. And of course, one should never be silly enough to deny cannoli. Filled to order.
So four it was. Two to eat the second we got in the car – while the shell was crisp and crackled into the soft, cool and sweet chocolate chip speckled cream. Two saved for lunch.
A pause in at the butcher next door for guanciale, and just as quickly as we arrived, we left, speeding back down to the city.
We dashed into the apartment, eager to run back out before the Greenmarket would be flooded with Saturday shoppers, and paused only long enough to open up the container of mozzarella, and observe the plush white knobs before plucking up the first of many and gently easing it apart. Oh, gorgeous. Supple and sweet like you’d never think to imagine. We strung it apart, splitting it down the middle. And then another. And another. And over and over again until one of us, I cannot remember who, suggest we stop before there would be none left for the sandwiches. Oh yes, the sandwiches, how silly to have almost forgotten!
A morning stroll to the Greenmarket for Ronnybrook heavy cream, tomatoes and plenty of basil. The soon-to-be sandwiches demanded fresh pesto.
And so he toasted the pine nuts. He chopped the garlic, made magic with the basil, aged parmesan and a dash of salt. And I did what I do best when good food is around. I tasted.
I tasted the pesto. First a dabble. Then a bit more. Followed by the spoonful. We moved onto nibbles of prosciutto, just a little more mozzarella and oh heck, why not a little snack. Yet another bocconcini unraveled, a vibrant smear of pesto and sliver of sweet roasted pepper. All wrapped in paper thin prosciutto and popped in the mouth just so. Who would ever, ever desire to eat out again?
But there was a plan. And there was a mission. And though there were delicious distractions, we got to work. Bread sliced opened, sherry vinegar, a never ending stream of mozzarella, untangled and layered upon with prosciutto and the bright red peppers. Pesto on top. Pesto on bottom. Cracked pepper. Maldon salt. And we were good to go.
Almost. A mason jar filled with Don’s cold brewed Counter Culture toddy and roasted almond milk – spring dessert and drink tied into one, the most delicious liquid I’ve experienced.
And then we set off to watch the 7th annual NYURI performance in Washington Square Park. More photos from the event on Flickr.
The picnic spread: sandwiches, cannolis, and coffee.
We met Sofia at the park, where she proceeded to share crisp almond tuiles from Oro Bakery. Ahhhh, the world is filled with too much good food. Awesome spring-time weather also doesn’t hurt.
One last bite, a splended Saturday
Cacti are back at the Greenmarket, and we made the middle one ours. Named it Helix
Casa della Mozzarella
604 E 187th Street
Bronx, NY 10458
Madonia Brothers Bakery
2348 Arthur Avenue
Bronx, NY 10458
375 Broome Street
NY, NY 10013