Choosing a neighborhood in NYC to explore first was a no brainer for me! Despite being in and out of NYC for years—I had never actually been to Little Italy!
For those of you who know me—you’re ashamed. I respect that. Believe me, no one can be harder on me for this than me.
For those of you who are getting to know me, my family emigrated from Italy in the 60s. Including my own father. So, me visiting Little Italy should have happened LONG ago.
Nevertheless, it finally happened.
I couldn’t think of a better person to join me on this journey than Amanda-- except maybe my writing partner, Robert, who also ventured out us. (But more on him later, we have some exciting news!).
Maybe it was all the sights, or the smell of pizza, (most likely the gelato stands on every corner), but when we arrived I couldn’t have been more excited.
I was surprised at how small Little Italy has become. Now, it is really just one long street—but it is still full of amazing restaurants, cafes, bakeries, bistros, and specialty shops.
My favorite shop was the oldest cheese shop in America, Alleva!
Inside, they have a wide selection of meats, cheeses, homemade pastas and sauces. I was in Heaven. The smells and merchandise hit me with severe nostalgia.
… I should plan a trip home soon…
But man did my heart skip a beat when I saw the wheels and blocks of fresh parmigiano reggiano! In addition to my impeccable hair and chiseled jaw-line, I inherited a LOVE of parmesan cheese from my father!
If I wasn’t FUNemployed, I think that $30 for a block of cheese would be completely reasonable.
But as it stands, I am FUNemployed. So Amanda, Robert, and I would have to enjoy Little Italy on a budget.
Enter technology. Stage left.
If you visit NYC, make sure to sign up for Scout Mob! Amanda found us an awesome spot called Toby’s Public House. They have two locations- one in Little Italy and one in Brooklyn.
I know what you’re thinking, Toby’s Public House? That doesn’t sound authentic.
I was inclined to agree with you. But Amanda challenged me to trust her.
I-- was wrong. (You will never hear that again)
They have a big, beautiful brick oven. Everything is made by hand. And the wait staff is made up of Italians! I was once again happy.
But the best part is that it is FUNemployed approved!
With Amanda’s app, Scout Mob, they offered 50% off our lunch (up to $15 discount)! So we decided to share two pizzas. It was more than enough for the three of us and we saved major cash!
Bufalina Pizza: fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, and olive oil- $17
Spinach Pizza: fresh spinach, pecorino toscano, ricotta, mozzarella, and white truffle oil- $16
I went through a painful, internal struggle eating with two vegetarians. Did you know they even made pizza without pepperoni? Me neither. But, both pizzas were delicious nevertheless!
(She is going to kill me for this picture)
Our check came to $33. Minus the $15 from Amanda's App + $7 for tip (ALWAYS tip as though you didn't get a discount. ALWAYS. A.L.W.A.Y.S.)= $8.33 each!
It was totally worth it! The amazing food, the chill atmosphere, even my subpar company. And, we also took a joke from Toby's that lasted all day.
After she saw this, Amanda referred to every bathroom as the 'pipi' room. Or, making a 'pipi' stop. Or, "we are in public, you can't 'pipi' here, Ken."
Ok, ok-- pizza and 'pipi' are fine, but I had NO intention of leaving Little Italy without first getting one of my favorites- a cannoli!
Cannoli: noun from the Italian for "little tube"
There are SO many different kinds of cannolis. But I was craving something simple- ricotta creme with chocolate chips.
So, after much debate, we settled on a bakery called Ferrara.
And then this happened:
So many choices- we went into decision overload! I am not a huge sweets person-- but even I was struggling to stay focused.
And then-- I saw them. And for $4-- the world became clear again.
The bakery was the last stop of our day. So, having spent $8 for lunch and $4 for my cannoli-- we were able to get in and out of Little Italy for $12 each. If I had ANY self-control at all, it would have been even less!
It felt amazing to be surrounded by a community that reminded me of home and the people I love the most in this world. I will definitely be going back again-- and next time I will be adding a glass of wine to my grand total...
Arrivederci from Little Italy!
Until we meet again!
Thanks for stopping in! Make sure to follow me on twitter (@kenarpino) for more up-to-date adventures!