Recently I discovered a gourmet Italian grocery at the corner of Grand and Mott, Di Palo Fine Foods, that sells handmade ravioli stuffed with fresh ricotta cheese.
These are one of the few things I have ever tasted that I can honestly call better than sex. (Lindt milk chocolate truffles also fall into this category.) Unfortunately, plenty of other New Yorkers feel the same way, as the wait for counter service often lasts more than an hour.
And though the staff is friendly, the level of organization there reminds me of a saying my harpsichord instructor taped to her wall: "In heaven, the police are English, the cooks are French, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian, and everything is organized by the Swiss. In hell, the police are German, the cooks are English, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, and everything is organized by the Italians."
Besides, much as I love cooking, I enjoy dining out even more. Which leads me to the paradox of Little Italy: how it can be home to outstanding gourmet food stores alongside restaurants that evidently do not use any of their products.
Last week I went to Di Palo's, took a ticket, and went around the corner for a quick lunch while I waited. I chose a Mulberry Street eatery that will remain nameless (they posted their Zagat write-up out front, which should have been a warning). The pasta tasted, well, like something out of a can of Chef Boyardee.
Since I plan to do all my Italian food shopping in Little Italy from now on (there are also wonderful groceries on the northern corners of Grand and Mulberry, but I cannot remember their names), can anyone recommend any worthwhile Italian restaurants in the neighborhood?