Festa Italiana

I just spent three days at the Italian Festival in Bloomfield, one of Pittsburg, Pa.’s many ‘little Italy’s’.

I was there seated at the same spot for three days, which was located right beside the center stage, with a display of my book”Always on Sunday”, selling and signing copies to members of that Italian community.  I can still hear Che la luna, Volare, Oh Marie, and the Tatentella ringing in my ears!  It was nonstop music, food, laughing, dancing, kissing, hugging long lost friends….tutti Italiani, everything Italian….and the outfits!!  mama mia!  You don’t have to be a genius to figure out just how proud Italians are of their heritage, judging by the amount of red, green and white outfits were floating around. Even the dogs had Italian flag scarves around their necks and someone was selling a terrible Italian towel!

It was a very festive atmosphere and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.  I especially liked the strolling guitarists Edwardo and Vincenzo, playing their romantic serenades, encouraging couples to dance on the sidewalk, which they did!

It was very interesting talking to those who would stop ata my table, inquiring about my book, which is a story of my childhood in the Italian neighborhood of Sharpsburg located across the river.  You could litereally tell the same stories from my book and just change the names and neighborhoods!  Comparing these stories with total strangers made for an enjoyable afternoon.

And need i talk about the smells of the hot sausage, peppers and onins, the tomato sauce wafting everywhere and those walking around with homemade cannolis with the sweet ricotta filling oozing out…

The shouts of those participating in the ongoing bocce game across the street made for some lively entertainment!  I felt so at home, hearing little snippets of Italian conversations all around.

Viva Italia,  and God BLess America!!  I can’t wait until next year!

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Published in: on SeptemberUTCbSun, 28 Sep 2008 23:17:26 +0000000000Sun, 28 Sep 2008 23:17:26 +0000pmSun, 28 Sep 2008 23:17:26 +000008 9, 2008 at 2:20 p09  Leave a Comment  
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Pomme Frites, Anyone?

The other night, my husband and I took our son, Anthony, to his favorite restarunt to indulge in an order of steamed mussels and pomme frites.  I’m not sure if calling french fries ‘pomme frites’ or having them in a little Belgium influenced cafe makes them taste so much better, but boy, were they good!  And the basil flavored mayonnaise served for dipping instead of ketchup…delicious!

We felt as though we were on vacation having a late night supper in a little European sidewalk cafe.  The atmosphere was very friendly, relaxed and interesting with an eclectic group of patrons enjoying a meal in this small eatery located in one of Pittsburgh’s unique neighborhoods, Point Breeze.

Lately, the inner city has been flooded with many of these small cafes opening up in a concentrated effort to revitalize parts of the city’s older  and depressed neighborhoods.

The Point Brugge Cafe, where we ate, has been established since the late 70’s and is still very popular.  The mussels can be ordered in two different sauces, both very distinct and equally good.  We usually order the tomato based sauce flavored with fennel and herbs, but last night we tried the white wine, garlic sauce which was slightly creamy… both excellent for soping up the extra juice with bread ( the best part, for me).

If you love mussels like we do, I highly reccomend this small neighborhood cafe.  You won’t be dissapointed. However, you may have to increase your work out routine,  but it’s a tradeoff well worth it!

Published in: on SeptemberUTCbMon, 08 Sep 2008 01:10:59 +0000000000Mon, 08 Sep 2008 01:10:59 +0000amMon, 08 Sep 2008 01:10:59 +000008 9, 2008 at 2:20 p09  Leave a Comment  
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Dear and it’s many uses

I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been thinking about the word “dear”.  The ways in which to use this word are numerous.  The most common is a salutation for a letter, Dear _____, which has fallen by the wayside with the demise of snail-mail.  Greeting for e-mails are Hey, Hi, Whats up?… much more informal.  However, I’m not sure, but a “Dear John” letter has stayed pretty constant whether sent via internet or way of the US Postal Dept. 

“Dear Heart” is one of my all time favorites. The woman behind the cheese counter at Penn Mac in the Strip District calls all her customers by that moniker and she likewise is called the same, although her name is Carol.  It just makaes you feel good when you hear her call out,  “What can I get for you, Dear Heart?” 

“Yes Dear”, “No Dear” is heard often in a marriage between spouses  and sometimes I have to think it carries some amount of sarcasism! 

“Oh dear”, and “Dear me” can be either a comment of surprise, disbelief, confusion, fear, desperation…and I’m sure a few more emotions.

“You ar a Dear”!  denotes praise, thanks, and general approval.

And this last one, may not be familiar with many of us, especially the younger crowd…”it’s is just too dear!”  interpretation: too expensive.  I can remember my Italian grandmother, Nana, saying that about almost everything!  But those were the days when everyone was in the same boat, so to speak, poor!

I like dissecting and digging into the meanings and usage of the English language, we have such an expansive vocabulary and to me as a writer, I find it very interesting and useful.  I sometimes read a thesaurus like a novel.  Strange but true! 

But if I have left out any other uses for the word “dear”, please let me know.

Published in: on SeptemberUTCbTue, 02 Sep 2008 19:46:35 +0000000000Tue, 02 Sep 2008 19:46:35 +0000pmTue, 02 Sep 2008 19:46:35 +000008 9, 2008 at 2:20 p09  Comments (1)  
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