Saturday, December 24, 2011

Salumeria Season

Italians are renowned for the culinary contributions, but none is more indulgent than the Holiday antipasto.

"Antipasto" translates to [a meal] "before the meal", and typically consists of cured meats, pickled vegetables and artisanal cheeses.  In many ways, antipasti (plural) is a status symbol for Italian-Americans, with a lavish spread being indicative of property and good financial fortune.  If you have the means, you should purchase your antipasti from a true Italian pork store.  You'll pay a bit more for the premium Italian imports, but the quality is unmatched, so long as you go the right place.  My recommendation for NYC locals is Sorriso's Salumeria located along the outskirts of Astoria, Queens.

Sorriso's Italian Pork Store
44-16 30th Ave
Astoria, NY 11103

Sorriso's is a family run business (as are most Italian pork stores), and the staff is always well-informed, outgoing and amiable.  I prefer Sorriso's over the competition partly because of the service, but mostly because they stock superior products at more reasonable prices.  I won't knock places like Fiacco's and Eataly in Manhattan, but I also won't waste my money there.

Whether you're stocking up on antipasti for the Holiday, or just want an over-stuffed sandwich, go out of your way to give these guys a shot -- you won't be disappointed.

© 2011 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable -

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

They Call it Curry Hill...

Kalustyan's is a specialty store w/ a strong concentration in international spices.  While it's great to find garam masala, black rice and gojujang sauce all under the same roof, the real beauty about this place is the hidden deli counter located on the second floor.


123 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Make your way just past the registers on your left as you enter and head upstairs.  The walls are lined w/ exotic tea blends from the world over and the freezers are stocked w/ yummy Middle Eastern delights.

Two very gracious older men run the well provisioned station towards the back.  You can get some meat items, but I'm always drawn to the colorful array of hot vegetable options at the counter.  A large, three item veggie plate runs about $10 and is enough to fill you three times over.  Personal favorites include the butter beans, spinach, stuffed grape leaves and "mujadara" -- a dense rich blend of lentils and rice.

© 2011 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable -