The San Gennaro Feast BY MELISSA CLARK PHOTOS BY JASON LINETSKY
etropolitan Magazine’s boss of all bosses, Chase Backer and I took to New York City’s Mulberry Street in Little Italy to enjoy the festivities of the annual San Gennaro Feast. Popular fare included delectable sausage and peppers, soft as a cloud zipollis and of course, “take the Canolis!” Is your mouth watering yet? The feast has been celebrated on the same street since September 1926, in honor of Saint Gennaro. This Napolitano ritual takes place from September 13 – 23rd. Restaurants, cigar shops, and souvenir stores all participate in the celebration. Chase and I got the VIP tour from “Brooklyn’s Own Joe Causi”, a legendary DJ for over 30 years. First, Joe brought us to Mulberry Street Cigars. The pungent and distinctive smell of hand-rolled cigars got our attention. A family-owned business since 1999. Joseph Tuzzino AKA “Joe Cigars” gave me and the boss a walk & talk around the establishment.
Indian statues decorated the front window, as the walls were covered with photos of celebrities like Adam Sandler, 50 cent, Melanie Griffith and Danny DeVito, just to mention a few. “Joe Cigars” revealed that this was the spot where John Gotti stopped by first, before the boss of the Gambino crime family turned himself in to the Feds. This place has history written all over it. Next up, we made our way through the feast. Music played, carnival rides whirled and thousands of happy visitors crammed the streets of Little Italy to sample the delicacies and enjoy the incredible aromas emanating from the booths. Joe then invited Chase and I to join him at the original Vincent’s Restaurant as he took the liberty of ordering for us. Joe ordered “Galama.” Now, Joe being full Italian, he quickly schooled us that an authentic Italiano replaces their C’s with a G; this became a language lesson that had us all laughing. First up was the famous combination calamari, and fried shrimp with a side of mild, and hot marinara sauce. The
calamari was tender and perfect. The shrimp lightly fried with a delightful crunch as it melted in our mouths. The sauces? “Oh Madone,” the mild one tasted as if grandma cooked it for hours in the Old Italian kitchen. If you like spicy, try the hot sauce. It complements the fish with a lively twist. Next was Vincent’s signature dish linguine with white clam sauce, which consists of fresh chunks of clams in the shell drowning in clam sauce. Not only was this fantastic but let’s not forget the satisfying finale of dipping our fresh bread into the remaining juice. A nice glass of Cabernet toasted the evening and Joe was off to do his live show on WCBS 101.1 FM. We were honored to be guests on Joe’s show. Chase spoke about our adventure and Metropolitan Magazine’s recent accomplishments on the air. We cannot thank Joe Causi and the folks over at CBS enough for their kindness. Special thanks also to comedian Vic Dibietto, Nick Rotondo, Mulberry St. Cigars, and The Original Vincent’s for hosting us.
December 2018 | 34
Featuring Katrina Campins.