Saturday, April 11, 2015
Another NY Pork Store: Love At First Sight
"Yoo next? What can I get cha, sweethaaart?"
There is no hurry here. The countermen greet every customer like a regular with old jokes, gentle chiding and continuing commentary on the choices available. I might have walked onto the set of the Sopranos. I love it here.
I am almost overwhelmed by the choices. Esposito's makes a variety of cheeses, dried salamis and sausages but they are famous for their housemade Italian sausage, made to order sandwiches (in a shop with no menu board or evidence that sandwiches are on offer) and more recently ready-made Italian favorites like eggplant parmesan, filled pastas, and meat filled aranchini, trying to keep up with the quickly changing and gentrifying neighborhood.
A fixture in Carrol Gardens for nearly 90 years Espositos is an old time "Jersey" pork store a moniker from when Jersey produced the best pork in the area and people cooked at home. I want everything but I have come on a mission to bring authentic New York Italian sausage home to James.
I take the thin coiled sausage of their "plain" flavor (they don't have the broccoli rabe variety I was dreaming of -- I had to go to Faicco's for that) and because I can't resist and I know James will love it half a dozen fennel flavored links. That's more than enough to pack the plane but I go on. My man behind the counter offers up a spicy house cured salami.
"It's dry," he offers. "Kind of like a spicy pepperoni."
I take that and a neatly tied dried Soprasata.
"I like spicy," I explain. "But my husband (a convenient explanation for James -- boyfriend just never seems to do it) not as much."
"My kind of girl," he declares, laughing and packing my goods.
I head towards the subway smiling and carrying a heavy bag.