Recently on our trip to Ecuador we got lucky and found some vintage treasures. One of the most unusual was a pair of embossed glass Coca Cola jars from a drugstore. My wife, who is originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, said she remembers seeing this kind of jar in the small drug stores when she was a little kid in the mid 60’s. They were used to distribute candy.
Category Archives: Food & Drink
Someone reminded me today of what used to be the best bread in NYC – Zito’s. Sadly it closed its doors in 2004, after 80 years in business.
When I moved to NYC in 1986 I stumbled across Zito’s within the first 2 days, as I strolled across Bleecker Street, exploring my new city. It was a cold October day and the smell of warm bread beckoned me inside. I sampled a whole-wheat baguette and was hooked. I made the pilgrimage to Zito’s regularly for the next 18 years, weekly while I lived in NYC and then at least once a trip when visiting during the years following my departure from the best city on the planet. The thought of Zito’s brought back a flood of pleasant memories about what would become my perfect NYC day, that I repeated for many years, until Zito’s closed its doors.
My perfect outing always started with Zito’s. After purchasing a whole-wheat baguette I would walk a few doors down to my favorite lunch spot on Bleecker & Carmine. It was an Italian soup counter called the Bleecker Luncheonette. They had a soul-warming green minestrone soup that would warm your heart.
Bleecker Luncheonette changed to a full service Italian restaurant 5 years after I arrived in NYC, killing its old world charm. The pasta was still good, but I always preferred the old days when it was a family-run counter with barely enough seats to hold the old-timers during a cold rainy lunch hour.
My Zito’s journey over the years actually included four stops on a typical outing, and that outing was always best on a Tuesday. A few blocks from Zito’s and the Bleecker Luncheonette was a great storefront selling freshly made pasta, called Rafetto’s. Rafetto’s cheese & spinach ravioli, in a box of 50 was a staple dinner for my 12 years in the city. Even after moving to the West Coast, every time I would visit NYC (and still when I go back) I would pick up a few boxes of ravioli and haul them back home.
On Tuesdays it was a double bonus, when across Houston Street, Joe’s Dairy was smoking a fresh batch of buffalo mozzarella. You could smell the smoke from 2 blocks away. I would push through the smoky threshold, shuffle across the sawdust on the floor, and buy myself a soft ball of smoked cheese.
A bowl of hot minestrone soup, a loaf of whole wheat Zito’s bread, a batch of Rafetto’s cheese & spinach ravioli, and a ball of Joe’s smoked mozzarella… those were the days!
Whew, the day with the kidlets, or mini-Amigos, as I like to call them, was a success. No crowds, no skiing, only tubing, topped off by a deee-liscious Wasabi Mary in the lodge!
I gotta make some of these:
Combine lime juice and wasabi with a whisk, until wasabi dissolves. Pour into a pitcher, and add veggie juice, worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce and salt. Chill. Stir in vodka and serve over ice, with a stalk of celery or pickled asparagus. Serves 8.
Serves 8?! Not in my book! And just for the record, I prefer our local Vodka
Made in Bend, Oregon by Bendistillery. Get some and enjoy. Their Gin, made with local Juniper berries is really delicious as well, but we will save that for the summer.