October 2, 2007

Days of Beer and Goombas

September in Pittsburgh brings with it two events that are must-attends in our household: Oktoberfest at Penn Brewery and Little Italy Days in Bloomfield.

The food at these celebrations isn’t fancy. Bratwursts and knockwursts and German-style potato salad are prerequisite dining at Oktoberfest (alas, the potatoes were a little undercooked this year, but the dressing was spot-on). You won’t find much in the way of high-end or even classic Italian fare at Little Italy Days. Well, let me rephrase that. What you will mostly find are a few classic Italian dishes popular in America -- simple baked pastas, sausage and peppers, cannoli -- and Italian-American classics like the warm and flaky pepperoni roll pictured above that we disappeared into our bellies in a matter of minutes.

Aside from the pepperoni roll, which came from the stand outside of our favorite Italian grocery, Groceria Italiana, we also enjoyed a pretty good slice of pizza from the stand outside of Angelo’s pizzeria and the gnocchi with sausage and olives from the stand outside of the recently opened CafĂ© Roma. The gnocchi itself was perfect—firm, but not hard, and an inviting texture that held the gravy quite well. The latter, a red sauce, of course, was overpowered by too much garlic—but we still scarfed down the whole thing.

Some delicious gelato and espresso -- the former mostly consumed by the young 'uns -- and some inappropriate-for-children, old-school jokes from a Dean Martin impersonator (back-to-back jokes about carnal relations with the neighbor's wife) and we called it a day. Fantastico!

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