Boston, Massachusetts and La Bella Donna

Little Italy, Boston, is known for a few things – like shopping, small charming streets and most importantly, FOOD.  On any given day, the line spilling out of Mike’s Pastries can seem to go on forever.  However, a good cannoli is a good cannoli, and Mike’s cannoli’s are damn good.  That said, I have a salty/cheesy tooth, not really a sweet tooth, so although I appreciate the cannoli’s, it’s not worth my waiting in line.

On my visits to Little Italy, I prefer to check out all the different delicatessens’ versus pastry shops, as it’s a salt lover’s dream.  Once in a while, I’ll find one I haven’t been in before.  While lost (yes lost) one warm summer day on one of the many side streets, I stepped into a tiny little meat and cheese market for a bottle of water, and was immediately taken back to my life on Via Serpente, in Roma.  In fact, the shop wasn’t that much bigger than my micro apartment had been. Hanging from the ceiling were hunks of Prosciutto, Coppa, Salami and Bresaola.  Loaves of bread lined the back wall, and the cooler held an array of cheeses that would make an Italian cry (not that it’s that hard to do so.)   Even more impressive, was what was sitting ever so gingerly on the top of the cooler; tuna stuffed red cherry peppers in olive oil.  I had hit the food jackpot, and while trying to contain my excitement, I swore I heard harps playing, ever so faintly, in the background…

I ordered water, six stuffed peppers and a sliver of Asiago cheese to take with me from the man behind the counter.  He was one of two young and handsome Italian American men working in the deli that day.  As he was getting my peppers and cheese ready an old woman with beautiful white hair, a crisp white shirt and pressed jeans walked in the door.  “Ah Bella! Come Sta,” the younger of the two called to her.  She answered in Italian, but soon they were chatting in a mix of English and Italian.  As I paid for my food, I heard her ask him, “Do you have a girlfriend yet, David?”  His answer was absolutely brilliant; “No no Bella, I’m waiting for a woman like you and I can’t find one anywhere!” Even I smiled at that one, as I watched her cheeks blush and head tilt back as she giggled.  Taking my bag I walked by her as she held the door open for me.  “Grazie. Buongiorno,” I said, walking out.  “Prego, prego.  Buongiorno Bella,” she replied, still beaming….

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