On our first visit to Arthur Avenue, we were bummed out to find all the markets were closed (it was a Sunday). Still, we succeeded in procuring some fig pastries and peach shaped cookies from Morrone Pastry Shop and Cafe, an old school shop seemingly run by a gaggle of long finger-nailed girls. Both were yummy in the way that only handmade baked goods can be.
Next we headed to Tra de Noi on a whim, and it turned out to be amazing. Real hearty home cooked Italian, not at all the kind of bland tourist spot one grows weary of in Little Italy. I devoured a heaping dish of clams and pasta and Mike had a plate of poussin that made us all envious and honored just to be able to smell it.
One the next trip, we made sure the markets would be opened and started with the biggest of them all: The Arthur Ave Retail Market. There I was confronted with lots of manly manliness at a counter full of dudes working Mike's Deli who had limited patience for a girl who didn't know exactly which salami she wanted. I ended up just asking for the best one which I was informed was the sopressetta. Best, indeed. It was one of the smoothest and flavorful I have ever had, and it makes the shrink wrapped grocery ones seem insignificant.
We also opted for smoked mozzarella. Actually, a shit load of smoked mozzarella, a hunk so large it looks more like a loaf of bread. Luckily we had a couple extra mouths to help in the devouring (though we've still only dented the monster). Lastly, I could not resist the marinated artichokes, especially since I had been in such an artichoke mood all week with this week's recipe.
We didn't stop there, however. The butcher shops looked too inviting, so I walked out of Biancardi's with a pound of red, lovely filet mignon at a price much lower than most places with half the service. I was tempted to get a rabbit they had hanging in the window – but something like that takes time and planning, so I will have to return once I've found the perfect recipe. Both at Biancardi's and meat stands in the retail market many specialty cuts and parts can be found which was the most exciting thing off all: calf brains, sweetbreads, hearts, livers, tongue, and more! They're all at Arthur Ave. and I am so excited, especially since the butcher we met was so kind and helpful.