Friday, September 26, 2014

Mama Mia! An Italian Filled Day at the Greenwich Village Foods Of NY Tour

By: Finance Foodie

Over the years, I have taken many a New York City food tour – being a food writer, I've always felt food tours, when conducted properly, are helpful in discovering culinary gems that I otherwise would miss. However, as the popularity of food tours exploded and the number of operators multiplied, it’s been harder to separate the good, bad, and just plain ugly tours…

…So this past weekend, tired of mediocre and novice companies looking for a quick buck, I decided to check out this OG in the food tour game, Foods Of NY Tours. Since 1999, Foods Of NY Tours has been giving food tasting and cultural walking tours through New York City's most delicious and historic neighborhood (it's a hard job... but somebody's got to do it!). The company offers a variety of neighborhood tours, but I decided to go with the tour that started it all – the Original Greenwich Village Food Tour.
Joe's Pizza
Our group of 10 met right in the heart of Greenwich Village. After a quick intro and promise of an afternoon filled with rib sticking Italian by our effervescent and unusually-friendly-for-a-New-Yorker tour guide Rahim, we set of to our first stop – the legendary Joe’s Pizza. Like any good New Yorker, I’ve visited this Holy Grail of NY Pizza many a time before (usually in the wee hours of the morning after a night out) – so it was refreshing to actually see the spot during the day.
Our next stop was O&Co., my favorite shops for gourmet olive oil, where we had a sampling of their divine olive oil & spreads on bread. This was followed by a quick stop at the neighborhood butcher Faicco’s Italian Specialties (no website), where we sampled an Arancini (deep fried Italian cheese and rice ball) – delicious but surely not nutritious. Three winners out of eight – a good start for sure!
Pesce Pasta
We walked a few blocks down to Pesce Pasta, where we sat down and had a fist size meatball topped with sauce – this was probably my least favorite tasting of the tour, as the dish was too meaty for my liking (perhaps it would have been better if paired with a starch).
Rafele Ristorante
Our next stop was Rafele Ristorante for another seated tasting. This dish, a classic Eggplant Rollatini paired with a slice of Focaccia, fortunately was much better. I also liked the ambiance of Rafele, especially the open kitchen and outdoor patio.
Milk and Cookie Bakery
I was feeling quite stuffed by this time so I was glad we took the long architectural route to our next stop – Milk and Cookies Bakery. I had seen this bakery on Groupon and was intrigued, so I was secretly glad I got a sneak peak before I committed my $10. This was my favorite new discovery tasting during the tour – the massive chocolate chip cookie was fresh out of the oven and the gooey chocolate chips melted in my mouth! It was so good I was tempted to ask for seconds!
Rocco's Pasticceria 
For the 7th stop, we headed to Murray’s Cheese shop for a few bites of cheese and then ended the tour on a sweet note (literally) at Rocco’s Pasticceria with a fresh filled mini cannoli.

Whew, what a lovely and tasty way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon! The Original Greenwich Village tour did not disappoint - I can't wait to explore more of New York's hidden culinary delights through Foods Of NY Tours (and of course, share with my readers) - so stay tuned!

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