January was a weird month. The weather wasn’t particularly wintery, but a cold descended over most of our heads and hearts, and team SAVEUR decided to start looking for love in a hopeless place (of course, love here means good food). From Paris to Brooklyn, here is where we went and what we ate in January.
Arthur Avenue, The Bronx
New Year’s Eve gets all the attention, but it’s New Year’s Day that I most love to celebrate. We often throw a party at our house or get together at a friends or neighbors for an over-the-top DIY brunch. Usually we crack open a bunch of oysters and crab and drink Champagne, but this year I made an inspired last-minute run up to Arthur Avenue—the center Little Italy in NYC’s Bronx borough—and the brunch took on an Italian theme.
At Morrone Pastry Shop, I snatched up a huge wheel of bread with a paper-thin, ultra-crispy crust and a center so soft and doughy I thought it might be raw on first squeeze. (It wasn’t, and it reheated perfectly in the oven the next morning without drying out.) At Teitel Brothers, a small corner store lined with towers of imported canned goods, a helper packed me a hefty sack each of green Castelvetrano olives and spicy giardiniera—a classic pickled condiment of assorted vegetables, great on sandwiches and cheese boards, that makes the back corners of my mouth pucker and salivate just from thinking about it. But the best stop of all was at Calabria Pork Store, where a literal curtain of homemade salamis hangs overhead, and you can’t possibly walk away without at least a handful of varieties of cured pork product (I got hot capicola, sweet salami, and prosciutto). At the end of the day, we stopped for lunch at Mike’s Deli inside a small indoor retail market on the Avenue, where I had a cute old man with a New York Italian accent assemble me a sandwich the size of my arm with all of the foods I’d been eyeing all day. Because the first taste is always the best, and I couldn’t wait for mine. —Stacy Adimando, test kitchen director
Mr. Panzerotto, The West Village
My family first discovered the panzerotto—a deep-fried turnover, classically stuffed with tomato sauce and mozzarella—one long-ago summer from a boardwalk vendor at the beach in Wildwood, N.J. It became the treat I would ask my mother to prepare every year on my birthday. Several summers ago, I enjoyed one as I strolled down a charming street in Otranto in Italy’s Puglia region, the birthplace of the panzerotto, where it is a favorite street snack. Now, these crispy, chewy pockets of goodness have arrived in my hometown of New York City, in the West Village, at Mr. Panzerotto. And it just happened to be my birthday when I heard about the shop. Naturally, my husband and I went there posthaste.
The panzerotti are made to order with several fillings, savory and sweet. We chose the classic tomato and mozzarella, as well as one with sausage, broccoli rabe, and scamorza. As we waited in the tiny, tile-walled shop, two men came in, ordered, and sat there chatting in Italian. The fried hand pies were every bit as good as I remembered: piping hot, yeasty, chewy, oozing with melted cheese and bright with tomato sauce or meaty with sausage. Best of all, now I don’t have to wait for my birthday to have another. —Donna L. Ng, copy chief
It was one of those knee-deep-in-fresh-powder kind of days in the back bowls at Vail Ski Resort in Colorado. The kind of day that make your knees weak, exhausts you entirely, and builds up a larger than life appetite. While Vail’s food scene is fairly decent, there’s nothing better than home cooking at the cabin with the warmth of the fireplace in the background. We decided it was a perfect night for my friend’s traditional Ukrainian borscht. A nice hearty mixture of beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions, and garlic, something his family from the Carpathian Mountains made to survive the harshest of winters. By the end of dinner all that exhaustion had diminished, giving us just the fuel needed to hit the slopes yet again the following morning. —Michelle Heimerman, photo editor
Somewhere in Brooklyn
January was not a particularly travel-filled month for me, but I did make some pho that took about as much time as a trip around the world. —Katherine Whittaker, assistant digital editor
When the New Year arrived, I took off on a plane headed to Taiwan. It felt like returning home. I arrived in the early morning and immediately stopped at the first cart hawking buns and a bowl of sweet roasted soy milk. And at the same corner a man roasted sweet potatoes in a fire pit. Taiwan is a country where walking and eating will take you further than scouting out the latest restaurants, but the few times I sat down for a meal were just for stinky tofu. Every vendor there guards their brine like a palace secret. Temples dedicated for the fermented bean curds line the markets all over Taiwan. It’s a smell that ribbons around you, beckoning you to seek it out.
A wince always accompanies the first time. But once you bite into the deep-fried tofu skin slicked with spicy chile oil, and the brine bursts out of the gooey interior, you’ll be hooked. And there’s a good chance that the plane ride back will have you seeking for it even in your memories. —Nissan Haque, digital production assistant
I rang in the new year at a beach house on Long Island. While admittedly not the ideal time for a beach house excursion, we spent the long weekend alternating blustery beach walks and cozy card games inside. And wine. Lots of wine. We had a loose menu set in advance: a couple chickens, armfuls of vegetables and greens to roast, and eggs galore for breakfast frittatas. But the showstopper for New Year’s Eve was a 10-pound, 60-day-dry-aged beef rib roast, pierced and stuffed with rosemary and garlic cloves and paired with no fewer than six bottles of meticulously selected wine that I was too smitten by the beef to remember their names. Sometime, later that night there was also a chilly plunge into the Atlantic, but champagne details are fuzzy, you know? —Alex Testere, associate editor
Ten years ago, I lived in an attic apartment in Paris without heat, internet, a phone, or a real shower. I was poor as hell and ate jambon-beurre or peanut butter and jam most days, saving enough euros to buy cheap wine at Chez George on Saturday nights. I was a living, breathing foreign exchange student stereotype. But with a last name like ‘Pariseau,’ it felt predestined, so even though I was always hungry—huddled in front of a space heater and stealing internet from the Galeries Lafayette—looking back, it sounds almost romantic.
This January, I returned after a four-year hiatus, with the sole purpose of walking, eating, drinking, and showing my Italian-American boyfriend the quintessential French city I’d slummed around in as a 20-year-old. After a night of drinking an enormous amount of champagne, wine, and late night cocktails to the tune of French piano ballads, we were extremely hungover. Slogging through a day of requisite museum-going and pastry-eating (the chocolate-pistachio escargot and floppy, sweet croissants at Du Pain et des Idées helped temporarily), we dragged ourselves to Rue de Martyrs just as night fell. Occasionally, when I had a few extra bucks, I’d walk a few blocks from my apartment to this sloping street lined with old school cheese, wine, and roast chicken vendors, and treat myself to a thick disk of fresh goat cheese and a jar of creamy, whipped farm yogurt. —Leslie Pariseau, special projects editor
Going to the Ace Hotel is like being everywhere and nowhere all at once. It’s laid back approach to sophistication is, in fact, rather luxurious. As my partner and I zipped around PA and Ohio for the holidays, we took an evening for ourselves at the new Ace hotel in Pittsburgh. It’s hidden inside an old renovated YMCA, off in the east end of the city, on a magic little block of culinary opportunity. We had delicious negronis and French 75s at The Livermore, a classy, but unpolished bar glowing yellow just around the corner. And down the block sits the restaurant Spoon, now helmed by chef Jamilka Borges. We got to try her unbelievable mushroom soup and cumin crepe. Ace Hotel itself provided perhaps the most satisfying of all—breakfast in bed, focaccia and croissants from their in-house pastry chef. We succeeded in suspending time, in allowing for indulgence. —Allie Wist, associate art director
New Orleans, LA
I left the bustle and bluster of New York City winter behind and headed south to Lousiana cow country. Five days of shuffling heifers and bulls from pasture to pasture on Kent Farms’ cattle ranch were punctuated by pit stops at some seriously authentic Cajun eateries, antiquing for food styling props, and one spectacular whole animal butcher shop that would have fit right in up here in Brooklyn.
At the end of the week, I eased my way back to city life by spending 3 days in the foodie mecca that is New Orleans, where I was lucky enough to meet the culinary and civil rights legend, Leah Chase. Mrs. Chase, 94, still runs Dookie Chase, a 5th Ward Creole restaurant that she and her late husband took over in the 1950s. The restaurant became an important meeting and organizing place for people of color during the 1960s and the walls are adorned today with a staggering collection of African-American artwork. Mrs. Chase’s warmth, encouragement, and fantastic food were exactly the sustenance I needed before heading out to the NOLA Women’s March on the 21st. While smaller than some of the coastal sister marches, New Orleans showed up with a party like only that city can: with brass bands, dancers, costumes and beverages to keep everyone smiling through the drizzly day. —Kat Craddock, test kitchen assistant
I’m usually in Austin for two reasons: to visit grandma or to party. That said, Austin is a great town to be hungover in: we’ve got breakfast tacos, warm cheesy kolaches, and even some killer ramen to bring you back to life. This time around, for the first time ever, I decided to eat Italian food—yeah, I missed New York City—at ELM Group’s Italic. The rustic, casual spot offers just as much comfort as any Southern food. As proof, here is the main event pizza (accompanied by pork belly bucatini and penne rigate bolognese) that I would eat sober, drunk, or hungover. — Dan Q. Dao, deputy digital editor
Trying times call for overflowing ice cream sundaes, and no one does it better than Eddie’s Sweet Shop, the hundred-or-so-year-old soda fountain and ice cream parlor in my home town of Forest Hills, where everything is homemade from the ice cream to the excellent hot fudge sauce to the unapologetically thick whipped cream, which my grandmother would call schlag and is rich enough to support a spoon stabbed in on its end. Little has changed at Eddie’s since it opened—the name a couple times—but the tile floor, marble counter, and antique wood fixtures are as timeless as ever. — Max Falkowitz, executive digital editor