Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Feast

There are a few things you should know about The Feast:
  • It's dirty, noisy, and forever-crowded.  
  • You can't find parking.  
  • It's overrun w/ bridge & tunnel types, they flock to it like moths to a flame. 
  • It's obscenely over-priced.
  • It's the same shit year after year.
That being said, I encourage everyone to check it out at least once. There are some genuinely tasty treats to be had, so long as you know where to look.  Go during the early afternoon hours, preferably during one of the first few days --  there will be less of a crowd and the food will be most fresh.

The Feast of San Gennaro dominates Mulberry Street for a week and a half each year in late September. This year,  the festivities took place between September 16th - September 26th -- so if you're reading this, you already missed it -- maybe next year.
If you only try one thing at the Feast, make it one of Mr. Fontana's Artisan Cannolis. The minis are like none you've ever had -- pumpkin pie, peanut butter & jelly, birthday cake -- some real inventive stuff.  Check out their website, they deliver cannolis to your door!  Otherwise, wait until next year and visit the stand located on the  corner of Hester & Mulberry.

Stuffed Artisan Cannolis

Pumpkin Pie Mini Cannoli

Delicious?  Absolutely.


As far as other edible goodies go -- there are plenty of places to load up on zeppoles, sausage & peppers, bracioles, and torrone, however, there is only one place to get my favorite, the mozzarella steak sandwich on garlic bread.  The stand is located on the corner of Kenmare & Mulberry.  The meat is gristly and the price is high, but I still have one every year.
Sausages & Braciole.
Clog up those arteries!


Even if fatty meats and deep fried sweets aren't your thing, you should visit just to people watch.  What a
colorful array of patrons this year!  Let's see who passed through in 2010 (extra special video footage after the jump!) --

Wasted NYC tax dollars.
1930's style freak show.

San Gennaro, the patron saint of health code violations.
Old Asian woman who picks through trash.

Guys who look like this...

A bunch of slack-jawed prancers all dressed in red.
A man you wouldn't trust alone w/ your child.
...and of course, the Mogwai Man!

© 2010 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer Dying Fast

Sweet & sour summer veggies -- a fine accompaniment to any pasta dinner.  I've been sitting on this recipe for a while and I want to share it before the summer's inspirational bounty completely eludes us.

I like to troll the local farmer's market and lovingly harvest the finest zucchini, eggplant, and tomato I can find.  With a dish this simple, you have to make sure your produce is top notch, otherwise you're in for an epically transparent fail.

For optimal results, cut the zucchini and eggplant into uniformly sized pieces and cook over high heat in batches. Get a nice sear on the veggies without overcooking them -- we want toothsome veggies, not a mouthful of muck.

Eggplant & Zucchini Agrodolce

1 medium eggplant, 1/2 inch slices
1 large zucchini,  1/2 inch slices
1 TBS minced garlic
1 hot Italian pepper, thinly sliced.
1 tomato, diced
2 TBS basic sauce
1 TBS honey
1 tsp vincotto (balsamic to substitute)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
salt to taste
  1. sauté the zucchini and eggplant over high heat.  don't over-crowd the pan, you want to get nice color on the  veggies -- work in batches.
  2. add garlic, hot pepper, and a dash of olive oil.  sauté until fragrant; 1-2 mins. 
  3. add the diced tomato w/ its juices, the tomato sauce, and a splash of water.  simmer until the tomato starts  to break down; 4-6 mins.  
  4. add honey, vincotto, olive oil and red wine vinegar.  simmer for another 4-5 mins.  garnish w/ parsley and  thyme -- serve hot or at room temperature.  

© 2010 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Muzzie Munchies

Plans for a “Ground Zero Mosque” have opened a fizzy can of Islamophobia all over NYC's lap. Time and time again, Muslims find themselves the ire of our entire nation.  Why? Because people fear what they don't understand, this is understandable.  My suggestion for all the ill-informed protesters out there -- replace your fear with curiosity and your hate with hunger. Exploring a culture's food is a quick and delicious way to get familiarized w/ its people -- at least enough to squelch most unsubstantiated xenophobic anxieties.

A man who clearly misses the point.
I recently spent the afternoon at an Indonesian food bazaar hosted by a local mosque.  There I was, surrounded by Muslims and would you believe that NO ONE was burning American flags, beheading reporters or crash-landing planes into financial centers?!?  Crazy, I know!  I'm pretty sure I was charged a dollar more for the shrimp toast and chicken satay than the locals, but that's pretty standard in-group/out-group shit.

Indonesian Food Bazaar
Masjid Al-Hikmah Mosque
48-01 31st Ave., Astoria, Queens
Random Sundays throughout the summer

The various nibbles were all very palatable, but the Gado-Gado was the star of the show.  Gado-Gado is a traditional Indonesian salad of shredded cabbage, string beans, carrots, fried tofu and rice cakes. The aforementioned ingredients are tossed with an explosive mortar & pestle ground peanut sauce and topped w/ crunchy shrimp chips to finish. Each batch is made to order by a skilled team of hijab-clad women.

--permissibly delicious!

 © 2010 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -