Ah, I love the alliteration. About a week ago there was a street fair on Columbia Street, not far from where I live. It wasn't a very big street fair by any means, just a few blocks on Columbia Street and then a few more on Union Street. Still, it seemed to get the neighborhood out and the kids all seemed to be having a good time.
Columbia Street Fair
It was a beautiful sunny day and there was a bit of live music.
Geezers At Play
I am not sure who these guys were, but they were pretty good at covering oldies. Their cover of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" was really dead on.
I always like to keep an eye out for street art and this piece of work caught my eye.
We pretty much covered the whole street fair in less then half an hour but as we hooked up Union Street we spotted this restaurant that looked like a real oldie but goodie.
Ferdinando's Focacceria Ristorante
It really was an oldie but goodie too, having been around since 1904. Having stumbled upon it though, you better believe that I will be back. This is everything that an old, family run, authentic Sicilian restaurant should be. It doesn't look like much has changed since it opened. White painted tin ceiling, a red and white mosaic floor, pictures of old Sicily on the wall, just perfect.
Nothing overly fancy, that's for sure. But enough interesting stuff to keep your eye occupied.
The menu had a lot of interesting stuff on it and it was too bad that I wasn't hungry enough to try more. Rest assured, however, that I will return. The Trippa, tripe in tomato sauce with peas would be my most likely choice. If I am feeling adventurous I might go for the Vastedda, a Sicilian style sandwich made with spleen, layered with ricotta and grated cheese and then baked.
Don't worry though, they also have a lot for the less adventurous eaters as well. Everything from Penne alla Puttanesca, one of my favorites, to stuffed Calamari. Damn, I am getting hungry just writing this. You don't see Linguini con Seppia (cuttlefish in black sauce) on too many menus.
I actually was planning on having more than the Pulpa all' Insalata that I ordered, figuring that it would be just an appetizer.
Bar Man And Pulpa
This was just excellent. Plenty of octopus marinated in a mild vinaigrette with garlic and some other secret spices. Just delicious. Even with that I could have at least gone for the spleen sandwich, but what the Mysterious Chinese Woman kind of put me over my limit.
Mysterious Chinese Woman And Her Rice Ball
You should never order anything bigger than your head. Rice balls are a traditional Sicilian dish and one that you don't see on too many menus. This one was outstanding. It is called Arancina and it is filled with chopped meat, peas and a nice sauce. As you can see, it is also topped with plenty of cheese and has a tasty tomato sauce poured over the whole thing. Because it only cost $3.50 we didn't think it would be so big and kind of thought it would be like an appetizer. Wrong. After we shared the octopus salad and the rice ball we were too stuffed to order anything else. It probably didn't help that we got a nice bowl of delicious homemade bread as well.
Let me assure you, we will be back here again in the not to distant future and I will keep you posted on our visit. In the meantime, our enthusiasm for Ferdinando's was matched only by that of the guy behind the counter.
Everyone Was Happy
One of the neat things about Brooklyn is that you can always stumble across someplace unexpected. Ferdinando's Focacceria Ristorante was a real find. It might be a bit tricky to find, though, because this little slice of Brooklyn is kind of cut off by the BQE. Be sure to check a map if you aren't familiar with the area.