Spring Mid-Terms (or How Baked Ziti with Meatballs Saved My Life)

This is my first year in New York.

Many view their first year in New York as a test. For me, it's Spring Mid-Term season. Well, if you can call this Spring. I would call it 'Second Winter', but I'm a desert kid.

For those of you not perched on our spectacular little island (archipelago?), let me let you in on a little secret: it has rained for six days straight. I've been told not to complain about the weather in New York. I've been reminded by benevolent forces that what I'm noticing is that New York actually HAS weather, unlike the sometimes subtly dampened climate of my youth. So, I'm learning to actually use an umbrella. And to recognize hot pink Wellies as a legitimate fashion decision.

Despite all of these positive steps in the right direction, sometimes, when you work in Midtown and have to wear fancy clothes no matter what the weather outside is like, you need a little extra help staying positive. Here's where Papa Perrone comes in.

Folks, I give you... LUNCH.

I apologize for the quality of this photo (aren't blurry photos what food blogs are all about?), but I had to take it with my phone, quickly, before I shoved the rest of it down my gullet.

This hulking behemoth of a lunch plate, baked ziti with homemade meatballs, tops out at $8.50. In a neighborhood where you can hardly get a cup of soup for under $10, Papa Perrone is truly a hero. He parks his large, extremely well-equipped food truck right around the corner from my office, on 55th between Madison and Park.

Guys, take another look at this, I'm not kidding:

Some people turn their noses up at food from carts/trucks. Stupid people. Who hate their taste buds and love to waste money. Papa Perrone's truck has a longer line trailing from it every time I go, with good reason.

Don't get me wrong, I'll eat a sandwich from Pret on an off-day as well, but there's no way it could ever compare to lunch from this man, for a few reasons: This man is about taste, generosity, an un-flinching love of perfect marinara and a general air of good-naturedness every time I see him. Also, he will put anything on garlic bread.

Sometimes, when it's really miserable outside, it's so nice to know that there's someone out there who loves your stomach as much as it needs to be loved. That someone is Papa Perrone.

Papa Perrone's
55th btw Madison & Park