The Imports Mix, a “house favorite panini.” The anticipation triggered by the oil-soaked paper is almost as pleasurable as the eating. Almost.
My main sandwich man in New York nailed it once again, this time a bit north of his usual beat, sending me to Poughkeepsie on sandwich intel. He heard it from a guy, who heard it from a guy. Thank you, MMSMINY, once again, for steering me right.
When Rosticceria Rossi and Sons made their debut in 1979, I was graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and packing up my apartment just blocks away. Poughkeepsie’s historic Italian neighborhood – the Mount Carmel District – was home, at the time, to several bakeries, but no rosticceria’s. Rossi’s fills that gap with gusto.
Just a couple blocks off the Mid-Hudson Bridge, Poughkeepsie’s Little Italy hugs the river and feels cozy, tight knit and secluded. Give the wheel a hard pull and there you are. Your own private Italy.
Head to the back to order a sandwich, then browse the packed shelves and cases, drinking in the scents, while the strapping sandwich man loads your focaccia or ciabatta with prosciutto, sopressata, copper, olive salad, “spicy sauce”, arugula, whatever your pleasure. Giant pork roasts lounge in wait. Roasted peppers are mounded high, slick with olive oil.
Time simultaneously marches on and pauses in the Mount Carmel District. While Rossi’s is newish for this hood, the Caffe Aurora, opened in 1941, remains unchanged, at least since 1979 when I was last in. The potted palms flourish, the cookies abound, the air of quiet anticipation is deep and velvety yet. Espresso and cannoli for old time’s sake. And new.
Later the same day, on the grass, the majestic Hudson gliding by, I sank into my panini and sighed. Mmdemmlimmcious…