Yesterday Carroll Gardens had its Summer Street Festival shutting down 6 blocks of Smith Street and providing me with “out the front door” entertainment.
Sula lasted about 20 seconds walking on the hot asphalt before she began trying to duck under tables and steal the eye level ice cream cones from unsuspecting toddlers. I took her home where she could pant in private and headed back to the street.
It was a good 95-98 degrees and it took me only 1 block before I was drenched in sweat and thirsty. A very sexy look I might add (not). A rosewater lemonade from Zaytoons at least took care of the thirst part.
Stinky Brooklyn (a fab cheese shop in my hood) hosted Stinkfest 2010, an all out 2 minute cheese eating contest open to all who dared! I watched in both disgust and “car crash curiosity” as 25 participants shoved big chunks of cheese down their face. It was like human mice gnawing away at mach speed. The winner is now 3x reigning champ and well, yeah, he looked like he could put some cheese down. 1 lb actually.
The closest contender only put 1/2 as much in their cheeks.
A few more blocks of sausages, pepper & onion stands, t-shirt vendors and starving artist wares and I was again parched. I took it more seriously this time and ducked into a cafe with the soccer game on and free mimosa til 2. Hell yeah! While I was tucking into my second mimosa a retired Carroll Gardens police officer decided to befriend Ms. Heather. Chit chat chit chat…blah blah…oh you are new here! Oh you are Italian? So, you have had Joe’s prosciutto balls then right? (insert sound of needle scratching across album and room going silent). What are prosciutto balls and who is Joe?
Next thing I know this man (I met only two mimosas ago) is taking me to Joe. Mr. Officer is shaking his head in disappointment that I haven’t done a better job in exploring the old Italian food shops and restaurants. He is right. He tells me all “you tourist residents” think you know Brooklyn. HA! The real Brooklyn is not on Smith St. (turns out Joe’s actually is). Should I worry that this complete stranger is leading me to something called a prosciutto ball? It would be a good serial killer pick up line. Retired-cop my left eye! Then he pulls me into a little door.
Inside Joe’s is almost a joke and I wonder if this is like getting PUNKED by the locals. There are a few salamis and hams in the fridge. The shelves are seriously dusty with a few tomato and pepper cans. No seating. But there is Joe. Mr. Officer tells him I have never had the balls (a little embarrassing that). He orders 6. Fridge opens and there they are. Ok, looks pretty basic. No biggie. Mr. Officer obviously is not aware of my refined palette.
6 balls go into the back room where (yeah I peaked) a young fella is frying them up. They barely touched the oil and he was pulling them out. By now the line is about 6 deep and Mr. Officer is announcing to each customer (all of whom he knew) that I was having my first. Lots of surprised faces and sweet women telling me that in so many words “your ass will never be the same”. Great.
Joe hands me a hot prosciutto ball. I bite. The breading is so lite and delicate. A soft crunch and then warm melty homemade ricotta and mozzarella hit your tongue. Tiny flecks of ham bring salt and salivation. There are a few spices here and there and then my eyes rolled back in my head.
I can’t say anymore. Its sort of like having the best sex EVER and not wanting to talk about it less it prove false.
I drifted home on a prosciutto ball high with that same silly “post afternoon wild romp sex” grin.
Joes Superette, Smith St., Brooklyn. (Joe lost his U on Superette a few decades back so look for Joes S Perette). I’ll be there.