Carroll Gardens is a historic neighborhood in Brooklyn, filled with a history of Italian culture. This can especially be seen through all the family run restaurants, bakeries and specialty shops, which have been in business since 1904. Another unique character and a favorite of mine are all the religious statues in the front yards, found while wandering along the side streets. At this time of year especially when we are approaching spring and the celebration of Easter, there is a Good Friday procession not to be missed. I have only seen this performed in Italy and the fact that they still carry on this tradition through the streets of Brooklyn is why I love living here.
Family owned Ferdinando's opened in 1904 and specializes in authentic Sicilian Cuisine. Originally it started out serving the nearby dock workers of the Red Hook Waterfront. When Ferdinando's son-in-law Francesco Buffa took over the place in 1975 he expanded the place while still leaving all of its old school charm. They are well know for their Panelle Sandwiches, made from fried chickpeas and flour, topped with ricotta and grated cheese, served in a house-made semolina roll. Most locals pair that with a Manhattan Special, a Brooklyn made espresso soda. My personal favorite though is the Arancina, I am perfectly happy just eating one of these baseball size rice balls filled with chopped meat, peas and sauce, topped with ricotta and finished off with sauce and grated cheese. Locals that have left the neighborhood still return to enjoy good food and memories here. Ferdinando's Focacceria, 151 Union Street, Brooklyn, New York.