August 3, 2015
This past weekend, I decided to turn off my TV for a few hours and visit one of the best NYC attractions: The Bronx Zoo. While spending time outside and/or looking at animals is not on my ideal list of “Fun Activities,” I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon at the zoo. I got to see lions, and monkeys, and a tiger, and…ok you get it.
About halfway through my afternoon, I started feeling a little faint. Something between the lack of water and the abundance of camel dung had me starving. Knowing that I had big plans for dinner (more on that in a bit) I didn’t want to get something too substantial or filling.
So, as I walked along the path from Africa to Asia, I spotted a tiny booth with the words “Dippin’ Dots” written on it. I have to say, I love Dippin’ Dots. I know it’s just ice cream in little tiny balls, but when I grew up on the Space Coast of Florida with the Kennedy Space Center only a few miles from my house, I was instilled with the belief that Dippin’ Dots was, and is, the ice cream of the future. I had to have a cup.
The moment those little dots of ice cream touched my tongue, I was transported back to 1997 at Space Camp. It was the perfect cure for my heat stroke and appetite.
For dinner, since I was already in the Bronx, a few friends recommended that I head to the historic and semi-famous Italian strip on Arthur Avenue for some amazing Italian food.
Arthur Avenue reminded me of a compact and consolidated Mulberry Street, featuring dozens of authentic Italian restaurants, bakeries, and little shops. There were so many places to choose from, we honestly just stopped into the first place we found, where a gaunt Italian man was standing outside singing an old Italian song. Or Bruno Mars, it was hard to tell.
The restaurant I went to was called San Gennaro.
Walking in, San Gennaro only had 10 tables in the entire restaurant, with 4 of them being occupied by other visitors. We were greeted by an enthusiastic gentleman of about 60 years old who rolled through the 8 minutes of specials with ease and clarity. He mentioned an eggplant rollatini as an appetizer special so we ordered that while we read through the menu.
Whenever I go to an Italian restaurant, whether it be a genuine one or the Olive Garden, I always get the same dish: Veal Parmigiana. And Saturday night was no different. I like to order the same dish when I try new places, that way it is easier for me to compare and contrast. Plus, I love veal parm.
It came to our table within just ten minutes of me ordering, which was great since I was starving. I enjoyed the dish very much, with my only comment being it was a bit too saucy. I am not a big fan of marinara sauce (gives me agita) but this dish had so much sauce on top that I literally had to take a spoon and scoop some of it out onto a separate plate.
All in all, I enjoyed the day at the zoo and especially loved visiting a new area of New York and being immersed in the Italian culture. Arthur Avenue was a very cute and quaint spot of the Bronx and I recommend to anyone visiting the zoo or the Botanical Gardens to stop on this famous strip for some delicious pastries or a very filling and authentic Italian meal.