Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bits and Morsels plays bocce ball

Outside Il Vagabondo.

Sunday night at Il Vagabondo. This oldie but goody has been open for over 40 years at 351 East 62nd Street. It’s a convenient location to reach no matter where or what you are coming from, as the restaurant is suitable for every occasion. The clientele is a blend of locals and travelers from all corners of the world who love the casual scene and no-frills Italian food. However, what makes the restaurant unique is not so much the food as the Bocce court that is free for all customers to play.

Not too long ago, the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant was mainly Northern Italian and the locals would come to unwind with some comforting food, a glass of wine, and a game of bocce. It has an old school yet hip, Bobby Darin-esque vibe. Il Vagabondo originally started out with one dining room with a bocce court.
An 'official' photo from the Bocce Court from when they opened in 1968.
Over time they have expanded to the townhouse next door adding a few more dining rooms and an open kitchen. The open kitchen is an impressive sight. Not only is it spotless but it's equally as efficient.

The menu features all of the classic Italian comfort foods: stuffed mushrooms, manicotti and Chicken Parmigiana. The portions are big and the prices are reasonable. The food is simple and delicious. The service is not rushed and no one rushes you. Il Vagabondo is dinner and entertainment all in one, making it the perfect date spot — a game of bocce always makes for a great ice breaker.
The Bocce Court today.
Il Vagabondo
351 East 62nd Street
The bar. The Bocce Room.
Il Vagabondo's Manager, Charles Galliera.
Parmesan and olives. Seafood salad.
Tricolor salad. Penne with tomato and mozzarella.
Chicken Francaise with fresh asparagus. Manicotti.
Veal chops. Veal Vagabundo - veal layered with eggplant, prosciutto and cheese in a wine sauce.
Chicken parmigiana. Sides of pasta.
Tartufo, cheesecake, tiramisu, and cannoli. A closeup of a cannoli.
As far as healthy treats that don’t taste healthy, these new Kashi bars are pretty good. More importantly, they do the trick when you're craving that candy bar but do not want to consume the calories, fat, and sugar that goes along. The Kashi Roll bars are made of chewy nougat surrounded by nuts and crisps. They have 12 grams of protein, so they should satify your hunger until supper time. [Calorie Lab]

Neapolitan cake. [Smitten Kitchen]
How amazing does this cake look? I’m not much of a baker but this Neapolitan cake is quite inspiring. The whole cake is made up of nine large, stacked almond cookies layered with jam. The pictures alone are making me hungry. [Smitten Kitchen]

Now more than ever, restaurants are offering gluten-free menus to accommodate customers with Celiac Disease. Some even say going gluten-free can have many health benefits, even for us gluten gluttons. However, the proof is not in the pudding just yet. [Zagat Buzz]

We will all dearly miss Chef Christian Albin. He died of cancer last week at age 61. He was the executive chef at the Four Seasons restaurant, which only recently held its 50th anniversary. Chef Albin kept a low key profile in one of the world's most famous restaurants, and he is known for creating savory seasonal dishes before that became the norm. [The New York Times]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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