09/26/17 10:24am

Despite appearances, this is not a cannoli.

A lifetime ago before I came to Queens, I lived in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood that realtors hopefully called Park Slope vicinity. It was a short ride from there to Bensonhurst where I would indulge my Sicilian heritage with vastedda—the ricotta and calf spleen sandwiches—at Gino’s Focacceria and pastry at Villabate. Back then, Villabate and Alba were two separate shops. These days they’ve united to form confectionery powerhouse Villabate Alba.

Recently I found myself back in the County of Kings and decided to take a walk from Together, Brooklyn’s sole Burmese restaurant, to Bensonhurst to visit Villabate Alba.

“I’ll have that chocolate-covered cannoli,” I said to the young Chinese girl at the counter pointing to a little number with a broad swath of chocolate in the center flanked by white icing and capped with pistachio. (more…)

09/10/14 10:45am

Is this Bensonhurst? Nope, it’s Astoria.

This Queens boy has a secret. A long time ago I lived in a galaxy far, far away called Brooklyn, in the lesser star system Park Slope. Back in the early 90s one of the best things about the hood—and back then it was still the hood—was the relatively short ride to then mostly Italian-American enclave of Bensonhurst. I’d stroll around 18th Ave., aka Cristofo Colombo Blvd., visit Villabate for pastries and inevitably wind up at Trunzo Bros. The old school salumeria/grocery shuttered a few years ago and I still miss it. So for this week’s Sandwich Wednesday I decided to check out Astoria’s Sorriso Italian Salumeria. (more…)