Sunday, March 18, 2012

Orchids and Red Sauce in The Bronx (Warning - Photos Rated 'R')

The New York Botanical Garden in The Bronx is a real gem, as honestly are each of NYC's botanical gardens. I'm obviously partial to the Brooklyn garden, but Staten Island's is not to be missed, with its one-of-a-kind-on-the-east-coast Chinese Scholar's Garden. The garden in The Bronx also has its charms. It has what I understand to be the very last bit of old growth forest in New York City, for example.

Spring is a great reason to visit any of these gardens, but on top of that there is an absurd orchid show at the garden in The Bronx, through April 22.

I'm telling you, this is worth the trip.

Really? Seriously?

Some of the orchids will make you blush.

These cannot be possible. But they are.

And it's not all orchids. There are orange-haired flowers.

I'm not fully convinced that these are real flowers.

There are space alien flowers, too.

And because we are people whose real reason for doing anything is actually the eating and drinking part, after the garden you can walk (maybe 20 minutes) to Arthur Avenue, the main drag in Belmont, the Little Italy of The Bronx. This place blows away the Little Italy in Manhattan, which at this point is not much more than a tourist trap. The bakeries, the delis, the cheese and antipasti shops, the restaurants...oiy vey!

A buddy and I took our daughters on a recent Saturday to see the orchids and then to Arthur Avenue. We ate lunch at Dominick's.

Calamari were among the very best I've had. Fried perfectly, so tender, served with the best "red sauce" I've encountered. The calamari were seasoned beautifully, just the right amount of salt - they didn't need the tomato sauce. But the tomato sauce was so very very good, it was hard to know what to do.

Linguine with shrimp and marinara sauce was also excellent.

Two of the three meatballs vanished in the 4 seconds that it required to take this photo.

If you go, make sure to visit Mount Carmel Wine & Spirits on 187th Street. Chambers Street Wines, this isn't. All I'm saying is that you'll be surprised and excited by what you find in the Piedmont section.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess it was inevitable than someone would put the word out on Mount Carmel Wines and Spirits . I'm sorry it was you.
Thankfully I bought up the last 4 bottles of Bartolo Mascarello's 2005 dolcetto last month. Whew!!

Next time you're in Belmont try Zero Otto Nove for pizza and the Terranova bakery...I've never been to Dominic's (lines were too long when I tried) but on reading your post I'll persevere the next time.