Thursday, January 6, 2011

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is Seafood Heaven!


New York City is composed of a multitude of different ethnicities, often living for many generations condensed into their own small neighborhood in each borough of the city.  Most New Yorkers and tourists know of the "Little Italy" neighborhood in Manhattan, where the famous Feast of San Gennaro is held each year, and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, whose Italian ethnic markets I've blogged about previously, and there are also predominate Italian neighborhoods in both Queens and Staten Island.
Arthur Avenue in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx is synonymous with another "Little Italy" area which stretches across East 187th Street from Arthur Avenue to Prospect Avenue, and is similarly lined with delis, bakeries, cafes, and various Italian merchants and restaurants. (All photos will enlarge when clicked on once, and then clicked on again when they open on a new page)


The Provolone cheese balls were wearing Santa Hats in this Arthur Ave store window!

According to the Arthur Ave website: "Among the notables born and raised here are actor Chazz Palminteri, author Don DiLillo and rock star Dion DiMucci, whose group, Dion and the Belmonts, is named after a local street (Belmont Avenue). Joe Pesci began his acting career after being discovered by Robert DeNiro at a local neighborhood restaurant, where Pesci worked as the maitre'd."


My husband was born in Southern Italy, in the Provence of Reggio Calabria, and it is customary every Christmas Eve for a Southern Italian to have a "Feast of the Seven Fishes."  One of his favorite fishes to eat is baccala, a cod fish that has been dried and preserved by salting (photo above on the left), or stocco, an air dried cod (photo above on the right.)  Obviously these type of fish are not readily available in most markets so a visit to an Italian neighborhood is a must before Christmas, to buy this fish and to begin to rehydrate it for cooking at home. We made the trip from Brooklyn up to the Bronx to attend the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, which is in close proximity to Arthur Ave and decided to shop for our baccala while we were there.


We stopped at Randazzo's Seafood located at 2327 Arthur Avenue. A part of Arthur Avenue for over eighty years, a third generation of the Randazzo family runs the store.


Their website states that fresh fish comes in daily, many varieties imported from Italy!


They specialize in fresh clams, mussels, live crabs and lobsters, and they had a clam bar outside where you could stop and have a half or whole dozen oysters or clams shucked, to be eaten right then and there!


The array of fish inside for sale was dazzling!


There was every type of fish and shellfish imaginable!


One visit to this store and I could buy every fish I needed and more to make my Feast of the Seven Fishes! We did indeed buy a nice big piece of baccala and I prepared it two ways after I reconstituted it by soaking it in many changes of water. I fried the thick portions and I made the thin portions "Florentine style" which you can see in this post.


This is some of the seafood I prepared for Christmas Eve. Top left in the photo collage above is a platter of crab cakes, fried shrimp, and fried baccala, top right is baccala Florentine, bottom left are baked lobster tails oreganata, and bottom right is stuffed salmon.  We all love seafood in our family, so this is one of our favorite holiday meals!


There are many other wonderful seafood markets along Arthur Avenue.


There are also many wonderful restaurants that serve seafood...


...and all kinds of Italian cuisine specialties!

I have much more to show, so part two of Arthur Ave will be coming up soon!



I'm adding this post to Michael's blog Designs by Gollum "Foodie Friday," Sandi of The Whistlestop Cafe Cooking "Friday Favorites Linky Party, Laurie of Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for "A Few of my Favorite Things-Saturday," and Beverly of How Sweet the Sound for "Pink Sunday" as there were a few pink shrimp and lobsters among my photos! Thank you to all the gracious hostesses of these events for allowing us to share in all the fun!





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72 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

HI Pat, Another blog friend of mine has an Italian husband also--and they had the "Feast of the Seven Fishes" on Christmas Eve also. I had never heard of this ---so it really caught my attention.

My Daddy used to fix fried oysters on Christmas Eve. I loved them --and still do. George and I have to drive to the beach to get some really good --and fresh--seafood. We love it ALL....

You all must have had a fabulous Christmas Eve Dinner.... YUM!!!!!! I don't have a fav---since I love it all.

Hugs,
Betsy

Theanne... said...

Love this post...thanks for sharing!

Buttercup said...

Great post and one of my favorite places in New York. I am very partial to Madonia's Bakery and never miss a chance to go there. I just signed up for a food walking tour of the neighborhood. Don't have a date, but of course that will be a subject for a post.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Pat, What a spread! I want to come to your house next year. Please share the lobster oreganta recipe:) What a great store, I'd be in fish and seafood heaven, and I love how the neighborhood sounds.

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
This is a part of New York that I am totally unfamiliar with!

You do such a great job with your posts-its almost like experiencing it personally!

Your seafood looks wonderful!

Some of the fish in the market....well I'm not so sure about it. LOL

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - I haven't been to Arthur Ave. in decades, but I'm going to make a trek - after your next post though. Isn't there an Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy too?
I too, want that lobster oreganato recipe.

Christy said...

oh how i love arthur avenue! my parents grew up in the bronx and we make a trip to "the ave" every time we are in town. rigoletto's is a family favorite. thanks for sharing this wonderful place that has so many great memories for my family!

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

You're photos are always so beautiful and I love the stories that go along with them. BUT, I gotta be honest and tell you that, not being a huge fan of seafood (I eat shrimp ... that's it for seafood ... well, not much just FISH, either) this made my tummy do flip flops. Take that as a compliment, though: If the photos and descriptions weren't fantastic, it would have had no effect on me whatsoever. :o)

Ginny said...

I would have bought one of the Santa hat cheeses, I love provolone! Gosh, New York just has everything! A big lovely fish market, we just don't have anything like this anywhere! Now I want to know how the store smells. But they say that good fresh fish does not smell fishy. How on earth were you ever able to make all those kinds of fish? It's challenging for me to even make two things at once.

Pondside said...

The Great Dane and I are seafood lovers, but we have given it up for big family celebrations since our son developed an allergy to fish and shellfish. We'll treat ourselves when the holidays are a memory.
I'd certainly love to live near even one of those shops! I enlarged every photo and had a good time 'shopping'!

pam said...

You are SO BLESSED with such wonderful markets....so much fresh food on the coasts. Your Christmas Eve dinner looked amazing.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pat, that seafood is absolutely amazing! I always love reading your posts, and I got so tickled at the little cheese balls with Santa hats. LOL!

I have never heard of that fish, but it sounds really good. And your pictures of everything you fixed look yummy! You are so amazing to me. I love that you live near so many great restaurants and markets... that seafood looked top drawer. NYC is truly one of the most amazing places on earth. I'm so glad you are telling us all about it.

XO,

Sheila :-)

Lovella ♥ said...

Again I learned some new things here today. I had never hear of the Feast of Seven Fishes.
I have always claimed to love Italian food and I can see now that I need to relook at my Italian cookbooks to see what I've been missing.

Trotter said...

Hi Pat! Hope you entered 2011 in great shape!! Can you believe, that I've never visited the Bronx... Some eighty times in NYC and never... not even the Zoo... Have to get there soon... ;)

Blogtrotter Two is visiting the third largest artificial lake in the world (by volume). Enjoy and have a superb weekend!

Jojo said...

I'm so excited to take your tour of Arthur Avenue. This is one of the neighborhoods that I love to visit!!!! They have some fantastic markets (with great prices I might add). I bought a gorgeous bean pot (made in Italy) in one of the most beautiful colors or aqua for only $24!!! This is also where I discovered rice balls!!!! Here is a link to my post about rice balls on my friend's blog http://discoveringjuliachilds.blogspot.com/

Gracie said...

I just love fish, any kind of it, so I was in Heaven reading your post and looking at your photos! I can't wait to read more about it (as soon as I get back from my little vacation in London).

Farmchick said...

Your Christmas Eve feast sounds heavenly to me!

Old Kitty said...

Joe Pesci was a maitre'd?!?! Joe Pesci?!!? Really?!? Nope, my brain does not compute this at all! LOL!!

Oh I do like those cheeses with the santa hats!! LOL!! That's so cute!

Pat - your fish dishes look sublime - bet they were so yummy too!!! What a great way to celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes!

I noticed some blue eel type creatures in one of your pics. That's just weird!! Blue eels!!!

What another fabulous virtual trip down some of the very famous Little Italy!! Great to see many generations still keeping up their businesses and offering fresh wonderful produce! Thank you!!

Take care
x

Maria M. Boyer said...

I am definitely coming to your house for Christmas Eve next year, Pat!! : ) Oh, to have the world at your fingertips. I can't even find half the ingredients I want to cook with in our little corner of the world, let alone such fresh selections as this!! Wonderful!

Donnie said...

New York has some of the finest stores and restaurants ever. I love when a store is able to specialize in just a few products because they always have more selection there.

Carol said...

Great post, Pat! We've gone to my Sister in law's to celebrate and they have the Feast! So good. Never been to Arthur Ave, but there is a Randazzo's on Emmons in Sheepshead Bay, that was amazing. Years ago anyway!
Nothing like great seafood!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I'm hungry now!! For fish. And, it is 6;30 AM. LOL! You did a great job of whetting my appetite, Pat!

EliFla said...

OMG...When I'm going to come back to New York I have to visit Staten Island and Queens.... as I told you in my previous comment..I am a New York City addicted.... anyway...in my blog some days ago I posted a recipe of a typical venetian dish "baccalà mantecato", made with dried fish cod...(there is also the English version if you scroll down the post).... your husband if from Reggio CAlabria??? I live in Sicily, Catania, on Etna Vulcano and often from my kitchen I see Calabria !!!! HAve a beautiful weekend in wonderful Brooklyn, hugs, Flavia

EliFla said...

This is the link for "venetian creamed cod fish"..hugs Flavia


http://cuocicucidici.blogspot.com/2010/12/la-mia-venezia-e-il-baccala-mantecato.html

Kat said...

Amazing. I love seafood, the rest of my family not so much other than shrimp or lobster. I bet I could find something they would like in these stores! I just love your tours of all the great places in NY. Cait was supposed to go last year, but their plans fell through. They are going to try again this summer, and I'm making her a folder of your blog posts to help plan her trip! Kat

Snap said...

Pat,

Thanks for the walk down Arthur Avenue. I'm hungry now and I'm going to your house on Christmas Eve! ;D ;D ;D

steviewren said...

My gosh Pat, you must have cooked all day Christmas Eve! I'm not much of a fish person, but I do love shrimp, crab and lobster.

I'm wondering...how long does it take to get from Brooklyn to the Bronx?

Jo said...

Hey Pat,...I agree with EliFla, I too am a NYC addict...love to read your post, Have you ever thought about doing tours for us
out-of-towners?

Jo
LazyonLoblolly

Mister Meatball said...

Madonna!

I'm gonna have a heart attack right now!!!!

TheRobotLunchBox said...

That really is seafood heaven! I wish I could buy such wonderful looking fish in the UK! The dishes you made look really great too!

Sheila said...

Your pictures of the fish you had for Christmas Eve look good enough to eat Pat. I grew up on an island and have always loved seafood. Ever since our daughter lived and studied in Italy she's cooked our Christmas Eve dinner and we call it our Italian dinner. The menu changes though so next year maybe we'll have seafood. An interesting tour - thanks!

From the Kitchen said...

I can't wait for part 2! Honestly, except for coming home sated with seafood, I felt as if I were right there with you. When we visit NY, we try to find off the Michelin places to eat--usually so delicious and also offering up a "slice" of the neighborhood inhabitants. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this post.

Best,
Bonnie

Pie Lady Pat said...

Makes my mouth water! We are so happy in our small town to have fresh fish from the Great Lakes and a few flown-in varieties. Your markets there are fabulous!! Thanks for the great post! And Happy New Year!

podso said...

I am amazed at all your photos and how much you get around the city and share with us! You do a great blog! Thanks!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Pat, I am convinced that my husband and I were Italian in a previous life (lol)! We love fish, and would love the dishes that you cooked for Christmas Eve. Just the thought of stopping in the stores on Arthur Avenue is exciting. I'm looking forward to the next post. Have a wonderful weekend.
♥, Susan

merrilymarylee said...

You are such a treasure trove of information! Had never heard of the Feast of the 7 Fishes. I don't think we have any Italian ancestry, but hey! it sounds like it beats lutefisk by a mile!

I LOVE the provolone Santas!

Grace said...

I live 10 minutes away!! My dad goes often. There is a fantasic "cheese" store but they make fresh ricotta and mozarella. The "Marketta" is fabulous (inside market) Mike's Deli is in there and the coldcuts and specialty items are amazing. We buy our espresso there and they put in a brown bag. I love your blog posts, maybe because it is "home" to me. So we are back to snow thankfully they are saying it is not bad and the buses have chains on. 5th avenue and Central Park looks so beautiful. Hugs Grace xoxox

Lily Hydrangea said...

So interesting! I never knew about Arthur Avenue or Joe Pesci being discovered by Robert DeNiro either.

Helen said...

I love your NYC posts!!!

iLoveShelling said...

Always love to see NYC... especially window/blog shopping. Those provolone santas.... a riot! All that seafood, I'm getting hungry for NYC

Oliag said...

I wouldn't know what to buy first! Great shots from inside the store:)

We aren't Italian but have made seafood our Christmas Eve celebration food too...pared down to a seafood minestrone.

RI has so many people of Italian heritage that you would think they would have at least one great seafood store...there was one when I was growing up but it recently closed its doors...

Vittle me this... said...

wow these pictures are amazing! I think I need to make a trip up to the Bronx for some octopus!

Donna said...

Oh my gosh, would you look at all that seafood! Yum, makes me hungry.

I love seeing all the sights of NY!

Hugs,
Donna

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thanks everyone for all your wonderful comments!

I love to cook and making a big holiday meal like this is a tradition I've been keeping for decades so it's become easy.

Marie and Linda i promise to do a blog post about the lobster oreganata the next time I make it!

Stevie --It is a trek for us to get to the Bronx. By subway over an hour and we have to switch train lines along the way. By car it is 40 minutes to over an hour as there is always heavy traffic. That is why we don't go too often.

H said...

I'm looking at all of those types of seafood and I'm afraid I can't get at all enthusiatic about eating octopus! Some of the shellfish though...

Vagabonde said...

New York during the holidays is THE city to visit for sure. I took my daughter once to NYC at that time and we had a wonderful time. But if we can’t make it to New York, looking at your blog is the next best thing as you show us so many beautiful decorated trees and buildings. When I go to New York and see what can be bought in all the gourmet shops, fish shops, etc., it is hard not to buy anything. Being in a hotel it is impossible to cook. Last October when we went I did buy several types of cheeses and placed them in my suitcase – could not resist… Thanks for commenting on my blog and in return I wish you a wonderful 2011 full of joy and all the things that make you happy. Tutti i miei auguri per un felice anno nuovo.

Claudia said...

My mother went there before New years and they got their New Year's Eve dinner - a tenderloin. I would have gone for the fish. Hard to get here. Your Christmas Eve dinner warms my soul - sometime during the Christmas Season of 2011 I will try your baccala recipe. (My mother won't eat it and the Haas's won't eat it!)

ARLENE said...

Pat, thanks for a trip down Memory Lane. When I attended Fordham I used to bring a cooler with me so that after class I could shop. Of course, I always had dinner before driving home to the hinterlands. I look forward to Part II.

Jil~Say It With Roses said...

Hi Pat...I just finished dinner but looking at all the pictures of delicious seafood made me hungry all over again.
I have family in NE NY and they love to go down to the city...I am sending your blog to them. I think they will enjoy it and find new places to explore.
Jil

thestonerabbit said...

Whoa! That's a whole lot of fish for sale!! We don't have that kind of variety in KCMO!! :)

Your Christmas Eve food looks wonderful....and I am not a big seafood fan!

I hope you have a great Pink Saturday!!

L, Dana

diane b said...

What a magic area...Arthur St. I love seafood too. I'm coming to your house next Christmas Eve.

Margaret said...

Hi Pat, Wishing You and your family all the Best in 2011! It is always such a treat to visit Your blog! Your warmth and enthusiasm and talented writing and photos are wonderful! Thank-you for sharing. I certainly have Arthur Avenue on my list my next visit to New York! Your Christmas Eve dinner looks mouthwatering to me as I love fish or seafood! Thank-you for your blog friendship and I look forward to your sharing your lobster oreganato recipe and your future posts...
Margaret from B.C.

Betty said...

Hi
Wow!!! Thank you for your visit to My Cozy Corner. Wonderful post. I love the Italian traditions. I was in Italy this summer. The weather was perfect and the trip was an experience of a life time. I would love to visit New York sometime.
xo
Betty

Tracy said...

Oh, sooo good... I just love your foodie posts, Pat! Those Provolone dressed up for Christmas are very cute--so clever. I've a bad vegetarian when it come to seafood, that has been the hardest to give up--for I do like the occasion seafood pasta dish or sushi. I like the idea of fish for Christmas Eve. My parents used to make fried oysters (in a cornbread crust, if I recall rightly) for Christmas Eve buffets sometimes--those were so good! I feel hungry now... haha! Hope you're having a great weekend, my friend ((HUGS))

Sue said...

Pat, I wish I liked fish and seafood, but growing up out west, we just didn't eat it. I have a very limited palate, much to the chagrin of the husband, who could go out for seafood and fish all the time!
Once again, you've been informative re: the entertainers who have ties to the area. I always learn something from ya! :-)
~Sue

La Petite Gallery said...

Pat my cousin took me to a fish Mkt in Bayside. It was just like these, the fish everywhere. A delight to see just like in Europe.
I have been to many seven fish dinners.
You are so lucky to live there. I have asked the super markets in Maine- Haniford and Shaws to get me the baby frog legs even (frozen). NO NO
The Groc. stores here are AWFUL.
yvonne

Char said...

That looks like the perfect place to find just about anything that lives in water. The blue crabs remind me of when we lived in Maryland, their shells are so pretty. Happy Pink Saturday, Char

Sarah said...

What an interesting post...thank you for sharing it!

HaPpY pInK sAtUrDaY!
Sarah

Kathleen said...

Da Bronx, LOL. My bil, Irish born, moved there with his 13 bro and sisters when they came here legally.
Love the cheese with the Santa hats, how cute!

Fun With This and That said...

I love NY. was there last fall.I'm too old my grandaughter want to live there. I hope she can.How ever it cost allot .She clams she will sleep on any where. Happy PS laura
will be back

Yvette said...

I've never been to this section of the city. Never even knew there was a 'Little Italy' in the Bronx.

We lived in the Bronx for a couple of years once upon a time. Just before the neighborhood went downhill. Too bad. My favorite Jewish deli had the best waiter, Sam, and the best sandwiches and motzsa ball soup.

Pat, your Christmas fish entries look SO DELICIOUS!!!

Gail said...

Looks like the place to be for a fish lover.
Happy PS

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

oh pat....you know i LOVE cooking and shopping for food...this looks like heaven...looks like much more of a little italy than san francisco...which i LOVE...

great post, my friend

kary
:-)
xxx

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Margaret -- thanks you for your comment --I wish you had a blog or e-mail address so I could visit you!

Sarah said...

Pat, you have me craving fresh seafood! Thanks for taking us along on another shopping excursion!

Riet said...

HI Pat. Every time I come visit your blog I learn something. I love looking at your photo's of New York and its ...everything. Food, shops, restaurants you name it and you tell us about it. Thank you so much. Have a nice Sunday.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

When I read your posts I want to hop on a train and get to NY as fast as I can. Loved my visit today.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

hi pat...i have to get to new york

:-)

i love all this "foodie" stuff...

i am dying to go Eataly...and love this fish market and want to go to Sarabeth's !!!! Have you seen that new magazine called "Where Women Cook?" it is wonderful..a big article on the Chelsea Market. i am feeling some jam making coming on soon too...

:-)
kary
xxx

Janie said...

Hi Pat,

Oh Arthur Avenue..Little Italy...yum! (I am half Italian) I Love your pictures of the City.

Are you ready for more snow?

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Oh Pat, I am so envious. We do not have fresh seafood available in my area. Your Christmas Eve fish looked soooo delicious. Loved the tour of this area of NY. I wish blogging had been around back when we were living in New Jersey and made many trips to NY City. I would have had much better information about where to go and what to see. (Loved the cheese balls with Santa hats - how creative!) Thank you for linking to Favorite Things. laurie

RNSANE said...

I am a seafood fanatic myself...I especially like shellfish and seafood stews that have a little bit of everything in them, especially the butter and garlic kind. Yummy.

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday - a bit belated.

Pat, I love, love, love seafood. So, you know I love this post. Your Christmas feast must have been divine.