A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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Arthur Avenue – Italian Food Mecca in the Bronx

June 25th, 2004

If you are not able to get to Italy this summer, then take a trip to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. It is a tiny Italian neighborhood that has changed very little over the years, and that is what is so great. Pasta is made fresh all day long. Every third store sells sausage and Parmigiano Reggiano. A fishmonger shucks clams on the sidewalk. And the espresso shop reminds you of Italy, not of Starbucks. Arthur Avenue has maintained its authenticity, with many fabulous stores. It is alive, and worth visiting just to see how the neighborhood has maintained its culture. But it is also a mecca for fresh, high quality Italian food, with the added bonus of being very reasonably priced.

Biancardi's

Biancardi's

Although there are many excellent stores in this six block enclave, there are a few that I always visit. For meats, Biancardi’s is outstanding. There must be 10 butchers working here, they offer everything from lamb chops to guincale (meat from the cheek of a pig). The quality is great, and the prices are a steal compared with Manhattan. Calabria Pork store is another butcher, and sausage is one of its specialties. Just look up at the hundreds of dried salumi hanging from the ceiling and your mouth will begin to water. For pasta, Borgatti’s Ravioli and Noodle shop can’t be beat. They make fresh pasta all day long right before your eyes, and their cavatelli is my favorite. Down the block is Teitel Bros, a deli with cans of tomatoes and olive oil stacked to the ceiling. Although they have all the typical sliced meats and cheeses, it is the place to stock up on canned goods.
Olive Oil & Tomatoes

Olive Oil & Tomatoes

Gallon size cans of olive oil, tins of salt packed anchovies, Italian tuna, and big cans of tomatoesÂ…the prices can’t be beat. Mike’s deli in the main market area is the place for mortadella, prosciutto, and provolone, and they make killer sandwiches for lunch. If you want a more substantial lunch, try Roberto’s for a huge dish of fresh pasta. Madonia Bakery is a must for those with a craving for Italian cookies, or some biscotti. And since you will start eating the cookies before you get home, why not have an espresso to wash them down.

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