Italian Sandwiches

A few months ago,  I noticed an Italian Cafe opened up in my neighborhood. Every time I walk by, I make a note to myself to check  it out. Recently after a Pilates class, I decided to finally stop in and grab lunch.

Piccolo Cafe is a Tuscan jewel in Gramercy. The decor is very rustic and Italian with communal wooden tables. The menu is written on a large blackboard behind the counter. Within seconds of being inside, you’re immediately taken away to Tuscany. The aroma, menu and atmosphere. Va Bene!!!!

I scour the menu. So many options that sound delicous. Behind the counter a voice tells me that there are some specials that aren’t on menu. Sure, confuse me even more. Butternut Squash Lasagne, Gnocchi, Black Bean Soup with Truffle Oil and a few others I can’t remember. I don’t need the carbs today but the soup sounded wonderful. I’ll go with with the Black Bean Soup and the #12 Panini. Perfecto.

While waiting for my order, I notice bottles of EVOO on a stand. “Do you bottle this yourself?”  “We have a friend in Tuscany that does it for us.” “It’s the oil we use in our kitchen.” Authentic Tuscan Olive Oil? I’ll take a bottle.

Before I know it, I’m handed a brown bag containing my Italian delicacies  and skip home in anticipation. Immediately I’m in the Italian frame of mind. I sit down at the table with a place mat and cloth napkin and prepare to dine. My Father would be so proud.

I open my container of soup and am immediately hit with the scent of truffles. I dip my spoon in and take a taste. OH MY WORD…THIS IS THE BEST SOUP I’VE EVER EATEN!!!!!  I sit back in my chair with a huge smile on my face. It was a puree of carrots, onions, celery, garlic and black beans with a drizzle of truffle oil. QUE BONO!  Next is my sandwich.  Creamy Stracchino cheese (similar to Brie), salty but  tender Proscuitto, peppery Arugula sandwiched between 2 layers of light and airy flat bread. The Ultimate Sandwich!!  Dipped in my soup, it was the perfect meal. Even the complimentary side salad was perfection.

Needless to say, I was blown away by this tiny cafe and can’t believe I haven’t tried it sooner. Just being there and chatting with the owner, made me feel like home….My homeland Italia.

With Christmas being right around the corner, you can pick up a large or mini Panettone which is customarily eaten on Christmas eve and Christmas morning.  And the olive oil I picked up? PERFECTO!

Grazie Piccolo Cafe for bringing authentic Tuscan fare to NYC. I will definitely be back. There’s a Truffle Omelette with my name on it.  Ciao!

Happiness, $25 and under.

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About The Author

A fierce love of food and twin careers in real estate and fashion taught Rose to look for the hottest item and the hottest deal. Perfect attributes for creating When friends and clients needed a great meal at a great price, she could rattle off restaurant names the way a sports nut ticks off batting averages—but with a lot more home runs. Now it’s all at Cheapeats, where you’ll find “Happiness, $25 and under.”


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