The 'Only in New York' Podcast Goes to Enoteca Maria

The 'Only in New York' Podcast Goes to Enoteca Maria
Episode three of Culture Trip’s Only in New York podcast hears the tasty trip Jillian Anthony and Alex Shebar took to Staten Island and Enoteca Maria, a small restaurant that lets the city’s grandmothers take centre stage.

Hop on the Staten Island Ferry and head over to Enoteca Maria, a small restaurant where grandmothers rule the kitchen. Owner Jody Scaravella put an ad out for Italian grandmothers who wanted to share their native cooking with others — over a decade later, the Nonnas of the World includes chefs from Puerto Rico, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and many other parts of the world. We caught up with Jody while tucking into a delicious meal from on-duty Italian grandmother Maria.

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Episode’s Transcript:

Jillian Anthony: This is Only in New York by Culture Trip.

Alex Shebar: Culture Trip is the go-to platform for travel where you can go to get informed, plan, and book awesome experiences and places you want to stay all over the world.

Jody Scaravella: My name is Jody Scaravella and I own Enoteca Maria. And, I do not know if it is the only thing you can do in New York, but I really love the culture that New York represents – in its people and its institutions, and that is the attraction for me. We are immersed in culture.

JA: New York City is the greatest city in the world. That is just a fact.

AS: We are New Yorkers and we will fight you on this.

JA: We have got 8m people and 62m visitors a year who love our world-famous entertainment.

AS: So many dining options, you could not get through them in a lifetime.

JA: The breathtaking skyline.

AS: And of course, the terrible weather.

JA: The world-reviled subway system.

AS: Rats the size of your face.

JA: But it is all worth it because the city surprises you every New York minute.

AS: Okay, do you want to know the best things to do in each of the city’s five boroughs?

JA: Guess what? You are in the right place.

AS: I am Alex Shebar.

JA: And I am Jillian Anthony. This is Only in New York by Culture Trip.

AS: Let us visit Staten Island.

JA: All right. We are getting on the ferry and we are going to visit Enoteca Maria, a famous Italian restaurant known for its cooking from grandmothers from around the world.

AS: So I have never heard of this place before and that does not mean that it is not famous. It is just I had not heard of it. But it is delightful. Jillian. They have these grandmothers, and they are all different nationalities, and they cook cuisines that either they grew up making or that they love. It is so cool.

JA: Uh-hum. And it is a very homey vibe, and of course, very authentic cooking, which a lot of people, you know, that is what is important when people are looking for restaurants.

AS: Yeah.

JA: All right. We are on the southern tip of Manhattan about to get on the famous Staten Island Ferry, orange-blue ship, and head over to Staten Island to go to the famous Italian restaurant, Enoteca Maria.

AS: Making this trip would make anybody hungry and I am already starving. So we better get on there. Let’s go.

JA: Let us go.

AS: Let’s get out of here.

AS: We are not the only ones with thoughts about Staten Island. Here are a few people we caught up with on the street.

[Train honking.]

Public Address System: Welcome aboard the Staten Island Ferry. Please take a moment and pay attention to the following safety announcement.

Man 1: It is like the most luxurious form of public transportation. There’s plenty of space. They let you have alcoholic beverages. You know, there is like a bar and they serve snacks and things like that. So you can really just spend the entire day out there if you really wanted to and not spend like much money at all. So it is really a fun way to see New York.

JA: So we are on the Staten Island Ferry.

AS: Greetings, from the Staten Island Ferry.

JA: It is a beautiful day. It is like 68, some clouds in the sky…

AS: Yeah. I should have worn a jacket. That was my mistake.

JA: It is pretty chilly and windy up here. And it is my very first time on the ferry.

AS: That is so exciting.

JA: I know.

AS: How long have you lived here?

JA: I’ve lived here for eight years.

AS: Do you feel like, is that a point of pride at this point that you are now like, “Oh eight years, have not been on,” or are you feeling shame?

JA: No. It is actually… It is very sad. I have not been to Staten Island in my eight years.

AS: Wait. Okay, hold on. Now, that is different. The thing on the ferry is one, that you have never even been to Staten Island.

JA: No. Neither.

AS: Okay.

JA: It is sad.

AS: Yeah.

JA: That is not okay. So I am glad that I am here.

AS: Leave a horde of Staten Island, listeners, outside now, throwing things at our station.

JA: Well, I mean, I have always wanted to be on the ferry. It is obviously one of… It is a tourist gem. It is a local gem. It is free.

AS: It is free. And how unique is that in New York?

JA: Very unique. There is a bunch of tourists on the boat with us and its really cute. Everybody is really… You go right past the Statue of Liberty on the ferry.

AS: You do. A lot of cameras immediately appear.

JA: And it is one of the best views of the statue you can get if you are not going on a tour of some sort.

AS: Absolutely great.

JA: And everybody is taking pictures, and having a good time, and it is really sweet. If you are a really smart person taking the ferry, you are going to rush up to the third level and go directly to the right side of the boat outside because that is where you pass by the Statue of Liberty.

AS: Yeah, it was really cool. You know, we walk into a beautiful giant station and then I tell you which doors to go into and doors open. Everyone kind of rushes onto this gigantic boat. The spirit of America.

JA: You do not need tickets.

AS: No. No tickets needed.

JA: Which is… It is like… like everything in New York always has a line. But this line, you know, you are gonna get on and you do not have to fight your way unless you want that prime spot by the rail.

AS: Yeah, and then you just start elbowing people, children, the elderly.

JA: Yeah.

AS: Then you get up to the third floor with a…

JA: And I should fact-check this before I say it, but I guess I can later. You know, I think you can also get a… you know, a nice coffee. You can get some snacks here. I think they sell beer, we will double-check that. It is only about a 20-minute ride. So it is nice and easy. It runs every 30 minutes and you can take it right over to Staten Island, then right back if you want.

AS: Twenty minutes getting on and drinking a beer feels like a challenge, but I think we can do it.

JA: Oh, yeah. We are on our way to Enoteca Maria to have a delicious meal at this very famous restaurant, Italian restaurant.

AS: Yeah. Well, it is an Italian restaurant? I thought it is a multicultural restaurant.

JA: I think that it is, in general, an Italian restaurant.

AS: Fascinating.

JA: Then they also host multicultural chefs from all over the world. They call them the Nonnas of the World because they are grandmothers, literal grandmothers from all over the world that are immigrants here and they cook their regional cuisine, and they switch off on weekends and have all sorts of different women in to do this.

AS: I actually love that. See, I still think my grandmother’s cooking is the greatest cooking that has ever been.

JA: Where is your grandmother from?

AS: Hungary. Yes. Yeah. It is so nice – goulashes and kugels, some Jewish cuisine.

JA: Delicious.

AS: Seriously delicious stuff there. Yeah.

JA: Yeah. Maybe she could do it sometimes.

AS: So I am very excited about this. I know I know very little about this restaurant except that it is supposed to be legendary and amazing.

Woman 1: I think Staten Island is really a place people do not realize has so much cool stuff. A friend took me to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, I think it is called, and there is a lot of cool historic buildings, like nine botanic gardens, like, just right off the ferry. There is the Staten Island Zoo, which was actually pretty affordable. We went to this recreated town from the 1600s, I think it was. That is like on a hundred acres or so of land. It is called Historic Richmond Town. It was like going into a time machine, on Staten Island, of all places. It was really cool.

Female Voice-over: We hope you are loving the Only in New York podcast as much as we are. Head to theculture trip.com/onlyinnewyork to find every episode on our website. That is theculture trip.com/onlyinnewyork. We would not want you to miss a single episode as we explore the five boroughs of New York City. So please make sure you subscribe and follow us along on this journey. And while you are there, we would love to hear what you think about the podcast. Leave us a review, and five stars is a great way to show love.

AS: We sat down with Enoteca’s founder Jody for a chat, which would then be followed by an incredible meal.

JA: We are in Enoteca Maria, sitting on a beautiful, sunny table at your restaurant.

AS: We have survived the Staten Island Ferry to get here.

The Staten Island Ferry is one of the last remaining vestiges of an entire ferry system in New York City | © Eric Farrelly / Alamy Stock Photo

JA: Yes.

AS: Well done.

JA: Yeah, and when we came up the street today, you were enjoying a beautiful, sunny, a suntan outside, shirtless, and enjoying the sunny day.

JS: Well, it is the last few days. And you might as well try to make the most of it.

JS: Capitalize.

AS: This restaurant is amazing. This is my first time here. I think Jillian, it is your first time here?

JA: Yes.

AS: Our first time here. Tell us about this restaurant.

Jody Scaravella: So my name is Jody Scaravella and I own Enoteca Maria. Well, this restaurant was conceived about 13 years ago and the plan was to feature our grandmothers from different regions of Italy and they would cook the food that their mother or their grandmother made for them when they were a little girl. About three years into the project, we developed the concept of Nonnas of the World and we created a virtual book on our website, which you can add your grandmother – her story, a couple of photos, her recipe. But I was working on another job at the time. So I retired in 2015 and we were able to actualize the concept.

AS: Yeah, that is so great. How many submissions did you get?

JS: We have about 30 or 40 submissions on there.

JA: Did you originally advertised in an Italian language newspaper nearby?

JS: When we first opened up, I put an ad in the America OG and it read “Cercando casalinghe mercucinare y regional typicao” which basically means we are looking for housewives to cook their regional cuisine.

AS: That is wonderful.

JS: So we got a lot of responses from that and that is how we began.

AS: What has it kind of evolved into? This beautiful sort of collection of cuisines and people. Talk to me more about that.

JS: We kind of introduce people to different cultures. So when you come in and you sit down and there is a woman from Syria, or there is a woman from Uzbekistan, or there is a woman from some non-mainstream cuisine, and she is right in the kitchen, the open kitchen there, you get to meet that woman and you get to try her food. It kind of takes down all those walls, you know, any preconceived notions you might have about that culture or their cuisine, or you know.

AS: Food is the ultimate connector. Honestly, I always believed that.

JS: Music. Yeah, music, art. Those are things, those are the vehicles that take you across that border comfortably.

AS: You can’t be angry at somebody if you are eating delicious food with them. It just is. It is just our together.

JS: Exactly.

AS: What has been your biggest surprise?

JS: I am learning so much about food. I always felt that I had some good general knowledge about Italian cuisine. I used to… jar the tomatoes, and I used to make prosciutto, and you know, lots of goodies. But this has really broadened my perspective. On a Thursday, I will come in and we will get deliveries and I will make, because I love to cook, so I make the bolognese for the week. You know, the ragu for the week, and that is what we use all week long. So I really love to cook. That for me is a passion.

AS: It seems like it is a passion for the nonnas as well. Absolutely, you are loving it.

JS: The ultimate passion.

JA: And you have visitors come from all over the world because you are famous, right? I mean this restaurant is pretty well known all over the place.

JS: We have been really fortunate. We have gotten so much international press. I mean, we have been on Japanese television, Chinese television, Argentine, Greek. I mean, the BBC just did two pieces on us about a year ago. It does not stop.

AS: Yeah. I mean, is that unexpected? Or you are kind of like, “Yeah, everyone loves Grandma’s cooking. Of course, they want to talk about it.”

JS: Well, yeah. But no idea that it was going to become this much of a talking point, you know. It is, you know, clearly when people are sitting in the restaurant, it evokes memories of their grandmothers and their mothers and I hear it all the time.

AS: I am already getting that. We are feeling it here.

JA: You are from Brooklyn, right?

JS: I was born in Bath Beach, Brooklyn. About 35 years ago, I bought the house across the street from my mom. So after everybody passed away, I had to get off that block. So about 14 years ago, I bought a little house on the hill over here. It was all very serendipitous. I had no plans of buying a house in Staten Island. I was looking for an investment property and no plans of opening a restaurant. I have no idea what I am doing. I never had a restaurant before. I never worked in a restaurant.

JA: Wow.

JS: So it was all, I was just really just trying to comfort myself because I lost those people that were important in my life. So I was, you know, I did not want to let go.

AS: Yeah.

JS: So I was just trying to backfill that part of my life.

AS: And you did that with food.

JS: I did that with food and my friends. I mean, some of these grandmothers look like my grandmother. Some of them sound like my grandmother. Yeah. My grandmother lived to be a 100 years old.

AS and JA: Wow.

JS: But she passed away about 20 years ago. So, you know, it has been a long time.

JA: So it is a really personal, meaningful place for you and you have fans from all over the world. But what is it this restaurant means to the community around you? I mean, I have been seeing people come by and say hello to you.

AS: They have been knocking on windows. They have been waving.

JS: Well, you know, I mean, you can’t help, you know, if you are here, someplace for 13 years, you can’t help but meet everybody and you know, interacting in the community and become part of it. And I am grateful for that. Staten Island was until, you know, maybe 60 years ago, was a lot of farms. So it really is more of a rural area than Brooklyn.

AS: Yeah. By far.

JS: Ever was. So yeah. It is this something calming about it. It is loaded with parks. Staten Island is just overflowing with parks. Everywhere.

JA: I think it is the greenest borough.

AS: Yes, I would make that claim.

JS: So, you know, I really appreciate that part of it.

JA: Could you tell us a little bit about your decorations? You called them toys. Yeah, there is a Hulk, Superman.

AS: We have got Superman. We have got Godzilla.

JA: King Kong.

AS: And some blimps.

JS: Well, you know, I am 64 years old. So I guess when you start out, you are playing with toys and then, you know, in the end game, you start playing with them again.

JA: Full circle then.

JS: Yeah. So that is why. I have come full circle. You know, this is my man cave.

AS: Full of nonnas.

JS: My man cave full of nonnas, and have my toys and I need them. You know.

JA: That is great.

JS: I mean, this is clearly a joyful place. You know. It is joyful food, joyful toys, decorations. It just, it feels fun. It feels like a lively, wonderful place.

JA: So for the people that want to come and dine here, many people do? How far in advance should you make reservations?

AS: Because there are about eight tables, maybe. They really are not that many here.

JA: A few bar seats.

JS: Yeah. It is whenever you have, you know, you feel you would like to come, if we don’t have a spot, we put your name on a waiting list, and reservations are always changing, you know. Try a week or so in advance so you can get the time that you are looking for. I mean, as you can see, it is Friday. It is one o’clock and there is plenty of room. So it is not always jammed. I mean, it would be nice if it was, but it is not always packed. But, yeah.

JA: And you are open Friday through Sunday?

JS: Three days. We just do three days. We open at 12 noon and our last seating is 8.15pm. On Sunday, we try to end the day at 7.30pm, our last sitting. Because the nonnas got to go home.

AS: Nonna needs sleep too.

JS: It is enotecamaria.com. At the top of the website is a link to the menu. You can see who is cooking that day. You can see the wine list. On the right of the website is a link that says Nonnas of the World calendar. We usually have that scheduled a couple of weeks out.

Male voiceover: Getting the itch to travel? Plan your next getaway with Culture Trip. Use the Culture Trip app to find places you like, save them to a wish list, and add as you go. You just a few clicks away from adventure.

Man 2: Actually, one of the coolest things you can do in Staten Island is to go to the Staten Island Yankees baseball game. The ballpark actually has a view of Manhattan behind it, and you can see the kind of like, the full landscape as the game is going on. It is a really spectacular view.

Woman 2: I like in New York because it did taken me over here. If given the chance before I am making money over here, and the life. That is why I like in New York. New York, for me, beautiful. Nothing probably be better than New York.

AS: Before we ordered our meal, it was time to meet Maria. Now, Maria was the nonna who was running the kitchen that day. She had actually moved to Brooklyn from an area near Naples nearly 60 years ago. And today, at Enoteca Maria, she truly delivered the very best tastes of her homeland with all the expertise that six decades and cooking can offer. Mmm, so good.

JA: Okay. So maybe you can tell us first what are you cooking right now?

Maria: I cut up the zucchini, I put in the flour and fry. And now, I am making a chicken parmesan. I am making the gravy, cheese, and mozzarella.

JA: It is delicious.

M: Yes. This is all the fried zucchini.

JA: Can you introduce yourself?

M: Yes. Myself.

JA: What is your name and where are you from?

M: My name is Maria coming from Italia. Torella dei Lombardi, Avellino.

AS: And how long have you been cooking?

M: All my life.

AS: Yeah.

M: Over here, I am already three, four years.

AS: Okay.

M: Oh, yeah. I like it over here.

AS: Oh, yeah. Why do you like it over here?

M: Because everybody is good, so nice. Everybody who comes, I like it. I do the ravioli, gnocchi, cavatelli, sausage, ragu, everything, you know. Lasagne. You like it, I am sure.

Preparing ravioli at Enoteca Maria | © M.Sobreira / Alamy Stock Photo

JA: I love lasagne.

AS: I am sure you cook good food. People are going to like you too. Yeah.

M: In Italia, food is the best.

AS: Food is the best.

M: It is the best.

AS: You and I are friends now. That is it.

M: I have a job. Everything.

JA: How long have you worked here?

M: I think the four years.

AS: What is your favorite thing to cook?

M: I like to cook a fresh herb pasta.

AS: Mmm.

M: Because everybody, they like it. They all did… They make it this pasta.

JA: How long have you lived in the United States?

M: Ah, a long time. I came here in 1961. I like it over here.

JA: How do you use food to connect with people that come into the restaurant? Are people always talking to you and telling you…

M: I talk to other people. Is everybody happy? I am going to go there on the table because a lot of people, I want to know what do they think? They get to tell, “Thank you for the ravioli. Good, good good.” And I am very happy, you know.

JA: And that is why you cook because it brings them joy.

M: Yeah, sure, I enjoy it. Better. Everything, the better.

JA: You said you make fresh pasta daily.

M: I do. Over here.

AS and JA: Wow.

M: Yeah. Yeah. I am have been doing it over here.

AS: Is it hard? I have never made pasta.

M: No. I make it over here. I put the cavatelli over here.

AS: Yeah.

M: I cook it all the way.

AS: Okay. My cooking skills are very bad. I feel like I could chop up an onion. That is about it.

M: No, no, no.

AS: No?

M: No worry, no worry.

JA: Have you taught your family members how to cook?

M: Well, my grandchildren, my daughter. My son, forget about it.

AS: Yeah.

M: He likes it cooking more…

AS: He just likes to eat, right?

M: They want to eat like you.

AS: Yeah.

M: I make you something, I like it.

AS: Yeah. Here we go. I like it too.

M: You will like it here. Everything. I say, okay. He likes it cooking. “Ma, you are making me a zucchini.” Okay. Like we all love you, all right. You know, my grandchildren, they like to cook.

JA: Do you want to tell us what you are cooking today? And kind of take us through it a little bit.

AS: Oh, that sauce looks incredible.

M: This is salsa…

AS: The giant pan of just delicious sauce.

JA: What is in there? The meat?

M: Meat? The Georgia sausage? See? The precious sausage. Nice. Everything is fresh over here.

AS: I think this food looks so fresh that you will be able to smell it as you are listening to this.

M: Yeah. Do you see this pan?

JA: She is stirring a giant saucepan with beautiful sausages in it.

AS: So how do you feel that people, you know, have come from all over the world to eat your food?

M: They come because they saw me on the television. The people that come over here, they are coming at because say, “Oh, Nonna Maria make this so very good.”

JA: You are a celebrity.

M: They will come.

AS: You are a celebrity.

JA: Do a lot of Italian people come to eat?

M: No. Americans do because they wants Italia food because the Italia food, Italia food. You Italia too?

JA: No.

M: Oh, it is okay. Because everybody like in Italia. I am making fresh ravioli. Fresh. Fresh. Spaghetti aglio e olio. It is good too. Everybody wants spaghetti aglio e olio.

AS: Yeah. Good spaghetti meatballs.

M: Yeah.

AS: That will make you happy.

M: I will make it with fish. Today, I make a fish too, you know, with onion, butter, everything. Yeah. I make a nice seafood. Maybe you like it.

AS: Oh, well, I think we will.

JA: And we can’t wait.

M: Family. That is a family. Tell me your family. They are not combing my hair over here. The people, they, while they go home, they coming to me and say, “Thank you. Thank you very much. Your food, beautiful. I like to come back.” Come back here because over here everything is fresh. So, thank you so much. Okay, let us see.

JA: So they leave with love.

AS: It is a place of love.

M: True.

AS: Yeah. That is a good way to put it.

M: And make a lot of photograph with you.

JA: You are a true celebrity.

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Barbara Valentin: My name is Barbara. Barbara Valentin. I am a grandmother of three. I am a server and I am also a nonna. This month, I am going to do roasted pork chops with sautéd onions, white rice, red beans. My appetizer is beef empanadas and my second entrée is a chicken stew. It comes with a lot of vegetables, you know, some old school seasoning and white rice on the side. It is all Puerto Rican from Mayaguez. That is where my family is from. I saw the ad for a server on Craigslist and I walked from my house and I came in and I talked to Joe, he hired me as a server.

I do not know if I did that great my first couple of days. I guess my personality kept me here, but I was a hot mess. Then when they found out I was a grandma, and they were, like, “Would you be willing to represent Puerto Rico and cook here once a month?” And I was like, “Hell, yeah.”

I have been cooking for my family all these years. I would love it, you know, to cook outside the box in San Juan, which is what they call the capital of Puerto Rico, which is the main shabab, as they say. It has a lot of white rice and red beans. They call that habichuelas guisadas and white rice. Then in other parts is a lot of models which are mixed. You know, arroz con gandules, which everybody knows that as being the Puerto Rican, you know. So I do a lot of rice at home. I do a lot of empanadas. Last year was my first Christmas. I did pasteles with my family. That is a lot of work. A lot of work. But I got my daughter and some of her friends to come and help me. They complained a lot but we got it done.

JA: So you came over here and started listing off all this amazing food we can eat.

BV: Yes.

JA: It is so kind of go through. Tell us what you would recommend to people coming to eat here and what, you know, what makes it special?

BV: Sure. For my appetizers, I always go for the burrata because who does not know what mozzarella tastes like? Then it is creamy. Who does not want that creamy mozzarella on a piece of focaccia bread that we put on the table? So I always go for that. I always go for the ensalata, the gorgonzola because when you see the way they bring it to you, the way they present it, the presentation of the salad. You are not even going to want to eat it. That is how beautiful the salad is. Then it tastes even better. The way they presented is absolutely beautiful and I think that that gives us that extra star we need to make five stars. So I think that is why I always push the gorgonzola. I also pushed the meatballs because when people hear Italian food, they automatically assume spaghetti and meatballs.

AS: That is right.

BV: Which spaghetti and meatballs really do not go together, if you want to know.

JA: Wait. Why?

BV: I do not know. In Italy, they do not actually put meatballs on top of spaghetti.

AS: Have you Americanized this dish? Is this what happened here?

BV: Yeah.

AS: In America, we are just like, well, we will just combine them.

BV: Right. I push the melanzane because we do get a lot of vegan customers and they like to be able to have that because it comes with vegetables and all the funghi in crosta, the mushroom. A lot of vegan people, they love that as well.

AS: And then you mentioned there was a dish that you do not actually like carrying that much.

BV: Yeah.

AS: Do you want to talk about that one?

BV: Yeah. The capuzzelle. It is the lamb’s head. It is delicious. It is absolutely delicious. It freaks me out, though. I have to carry a head on a plate and then they put it on this beautiful carving plate. It is like old-school, Italy-type, you know, and they put this big head on this plate and it has these beautiful oranges. I mean, it is just absolutely beautiful. But it is a head.

AS: So you are saying that one is not vegan, then.

BV: I don’t know. Isn’t that funny? Is it? I do not think so.

JA: So also, you guys have a big wine list. Can you tell us about that?

BV: Yes. The wine list goes from white to red. All types of white wine, all types of red wine. It is important that you have the right wine so it brings out the taste and whatever else you are eating. So I learned a lot about full-body.

JA: We have a table full of amazing food in front of us. We have already had stuffed artichoke, focaccia bread, the most amazing soft burrata. Where did it go?

AS: Oh my god, the burrata.

JA: Over there.

AS: I got the burrata here.

JA: Okay. I got so nervous.

AS: I am hoarding it like a dragon and his treasure. I am not sure I am alive right now. I think I might have died. There is too much food.

JA: A beautiful gorgonzola salad with pears, and we have yet to dig into the insane-looking lasagne. The piece of lasagne fills the whole plate, and it is a big plate.

AS: The nonna earlier was talking about lasagne being loved and why. You know, everybody loves lasagne. Then it comes on your table and you just… You are overwhelmed with joy, and yeah, that is true.

Everybody loves proper, home-made lasagne | © Sergio Amiti / Getty Images

JA: And we are drinking Grandpa Chacha’s home-style wine from Italy.

AS: You know what? That is actually the name. I thought she was kidding when she said it.

JA: Nope.

AS: It is honestly incredible – like, it is a really good red wine. So thank you, Grandpa Chacha.

JA: And across the street, I am watching two young men do pull-ups on the scaffolding.

AS: Welcome to Staten Island, Jillian. Why do you think Italian food is so delicious?

JA: Because it is all cheese and bread.

AS: Cheese and carbs, and sauce. You know, I think it is the most homey type of food.

JA: Umm. Oh my god, that lasagne is so good.

AS: We’ve just been eating the lasagne at the same time, and I think our eyes cartoon-like exploded.

JA: So, so good.

AS: We put happiness. That is an incredible lasagne.

JA: Of course. The nonna told us today that all of this pasta is freshly made.

AS: Right. Everyday.

JA: Which, as you ask, is… I think you said something like is that hard? It is crazy. It is like a super long process.

AS: Every single day is insane. Yes.

AS: Jillian, what else do you love about Staten Island?

JA: Well, this was my first time there so I can’t say I can’t recommend anything else personally. But I will say I have heard a lot about Fresh Kills. I have heard that it is a gorgeous green space in Staten Island. I think that Staten Island has the most green space of the five boroughs, if I am correct.

AS: It is true. Yeah.

JA: In Fresh Kills, it is a park. You can go hiking and be on the water in summertime. I have heard really good things.

AS: It is beautiful. And we have just done it but my favorite thing is riding the Staten Island Ferry. You can grab drinks. You can see sights. You can take it for free, which is unheard of in New York. And it was a lot of fun taking my co-host there for the first time and see her hair get ridiculously windswept.

JA: Well, it was fun for me too.

AS: Yeah. I am glad.

JA: I am Jillian, and I remembered all over again why I love lasagne.

AS: And I am Alex, and I am so full and I am about to go take a coma nap. See you next time on Only in New York from Culture Trip. Created for the curious.

Female voiceover: For even more to do in Manhattan, head to theculturetrip.com. We have got insider guides, great tips, and surprising finds all over the borough. Can’t wait to hear more Only in New York? Great news! There is another episode coming your way this Monday. Come along with us to explore another amazing borough of New York City. See you then.

Male voiceover: The Culture Trip podcast is presented by Culture Trip. Copyright 2020. Produced by MouthMedia Network. Read more about New York at theculturetrip.com and follow us on Instagram and Facebook @culturetrip. Thanks for listening and happy travels.

Female voiceover: This is MouthMedia Network. Amplify and connect.