Monday, October 8, 2012

Beyond Date Night: San Gennaro Festival

I am way behind on this post but our most recent "Beyond Date Night" adventure was the Feast of San Gennaro. It is in NYC’s Little Italy (this was the 86th annual celebration) and lasts for 11 days each September. The atmosphere is somewhere between crowded carnival and street food festival with a little fine dining mixed in. I'd been the first year I moved to the city (over a decade ago) and Ash had never been so it was something different for both of us. We had a blast and along the walk to the festival, we made two new (to us) discoveries.

First, we spotted a line of people waiting outside of a little booth (or actually a little window cut into a wall). Above them was a colorful sign for Baked by Melissa. Generally, if some baked confection is worth lining up for, I (and my insatiable sweet tooth) want to try it. Ash and I stood in line for some of the tiniest mini cupcakes I've ever had (they are about the size of a quarter). That said, they packed a flavor punch and we weren't disappointed. We got the box of 6 ($5.50) and tried peanut butter cup, cinnamon, red velvet (2 because the Southern girl in me loves red velvet cake), smores and cookies and cream. Everything down to the box is super cute and I see why people line up for these tiny bites. There are nine locations in the city. I may not line up in the future but I'd definitely call ahead and order them for an event.

Not more than two minutes after walking away from Baked by Melissa, my eyes fell upon a set of 10 large canvases and a few painted mirrors propped against the side of a building. The artist was sitting on the street corner (Spring Street and Mercer Street if you're interested) selling his works. The work is made from a series of lines and it is stunning--at least to me. I’m saving for a large scale beauty for my living room.

So, we tried new sweets, viewed an outdoor "art gallery" and then, we headed to the festival. After about an hour of pushing through the crowds, window shopping, sampling food and visiting various vendor booths, we ended the night with a nice dinner at a gingham covered table for two outside. We had our fill of calabrese salad, rice balls, huge portions of homemade pasta, tiramisu and, of course, really good wine. Fun times.

The Baked by Melissa logo. The tie-dye cupcake was on the sign that attracted us.
There is also a tie dye cupcake on the menu.  

Our assortment of minis.

The crowd!

This was one of the attractions in the kids area.
It reminded me of the movie Big so I had to take the shot.
Rice balls. Cheesy, rice goodness.

Beautiful and fresh calabrese salad.

Sweet end to a great meal.

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