Papazzio: An Old Bell Favorite Flavors Lee’s 30th
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
There are weekends when this column must take a backseat to other things. Lee’s surprise 30th birthday party was such an occasion.
While Lil, Allison (who came in from school), family and friends made the Saturday night festivities at our home warm and wonderful, there is one special member of the Queens Tribune family that I wanted to thank.
A longtime Tribune advertiser and friend, Papazzio’s Dominick Bruccoleri, catered the event. I’ve known Dominick for years and used to occasionally eat at his fine Bell Boulevard establishment going back some since 1990 when it first opened.
Papazzio is a neighborhood gem with a reputation that draws people to Bell from across the borough as well as nearby northwestern Nassau County. It’s really fair-priced, fine dining with superb service in an elegant setting – what more could you ask for?
Although, in this column, my endorsements are usually political, consider this my strong vote of approval. Papazzio uses only the freshest and finest ingredients available. Their talented kitchen has been turning out culinary magic since Bell Boulevard became northeast Queens’ hottest street.
This past weekend, it was the catering that reminded me that Papazzio goes that extra step for its customers. Lil ordered by phone earlier in the week. Three phone calls with questions and arrangements and each time – no matter who she spoke with — she said they were friendly, knowledgeable, courteous and consistent. The catering – as well as the restaurant menu – is online. They will tweak and vary to meet your needs. They provided sternos, warming trays, focciacia, butter, parmesan – shaved for the salad and grated for the pasta — and more.
As Lil and I turned down Bell to go pick up the food, Dominick called to say he was taking the food out of the oven and wanted to make sure we were on the way so everything would be hot. We pulled up in front of the restaurant and in a matter of two minutes Dom and his staff loaded our car and we were on the way home. The friendly, efficient service was as evident on the pick-up as it is every night at the restaurant.
And then there was the food. The appetizers: a tray each of cold antipasto, mozzarella and tomato, tri-colored and Caesar salad, each with the perfect dressing packed in tightly sealed containers. Two pastas: penne in vodka sauce and Rigatoni Messinase – both perfect with the rigatoni perhaps receiving surprise acclaim from the 30-year-old sophisticated dining crowd. The Veal Marsala and Chicken Francese were wonderful, but Dominick’s Chicken Papazzio – breast of chicken with tomato, spinach, eggplant, mushrooms and mozzarella in a white wine sauce — was probably the hit of the evening. Everything was perfect.
Like all restaurants in today’s economic climate, Papazzio is working harder than ever to bring in customers and deliver fine dining at fair prices. Some of the specials they offer: at the bar, Mon through Fri 5pm-8pm, 2-For-1 drinks and 1/2 price appetizers; $4.95 lunch pastas to go; $10 dinner pastas Tuesday or Wednesday; 1/2 price salad or appetizer, Sun or Mon. While some of the specials include 25 percent off a bottle of wine Fri or Sat or a free glass of wine on Thurs may have conditions and specials can’t be combined, their prices are always fair. Call and ask about available specials. But try the place.
As a matter of fact, tell Dominick I sent you and see if he’ll send over a glass of wine on the Trib.
Every Thursday Night, Papazzio features internationally acclaimed jazz musicians. And any night parties of 10-12 can dine in a private room in the wine cellar. The list of reasons to try Papazzio is endless.
Dining there or bringing home, please tell them Mike sent you.
Enjoy and thanks Dom for making Lee’s 30th very special.
Oh, and Happy Birthday Lee!
Papazzio: 39-38 Bell Blvd,
Friday 11:30am - 11:30pm
Saturday: 5pm -11:30pm
Sunday: 3pm- 10pm
Kennedy Smear Manufactured From Confidential Info
As the full story of the Paterson administration’s attack on Caroline Kennedy reaches the public, the tale grows worse.
It began with a flurry of calls to the media on Jan. 22 by persons speaking for Gov. Paterson, attacking Ms. Kennedy on tax and nanny issues and questioning her 22-year marriage to Edwin Schlossberg.
All this happened the day after she withdrew from the contest for the Senate appointment by Gov. Paterson, so the smear could not have been intended to influence her decision. It was intended either to punish her for not having taken the governor’s telephone call the night before when she was deciding on her course, or to give him cover for abandoning his original preference for her and deciding to choose Sen. Schumer’s candidate, Congresswoman Gillibrand.
Public reaction, stoked by the press, was strongly negative to the governor’s apparent intentional trashing of a well-regarded American icon, who had lost her father and her brother tragically. Members of Paterson’s staff who were not involved in the smear were upset, first, that he did it, and second, that he didn’t listen to the cooler and wiser heads that he also pays to advise him.
The leaker was first identified on Jan. 26 in Elizabeth Benjamin’s Daily News blog: “Gov. Paterson’s decision to go nuclear on Caroline Kennedy was a hatchet job run by a pricey out-of-state consultant who specializes in political scandals, disgruntled administration sources said.
“Judy Smith, a Washington-based PR guru and former Bush White House deputy press secretary, orchestrated the ill-conceived character attack on Kennedy, sources said Sunday. There was an internal agreement among Paterson staffers to refrain from attacking Kennedy.”
Ms. Smith may well have been the last person he spoke to before approving the barrage. It has been reported that this governor is particularly responsive to the wishes of the person who has most recently had his ear. If those stories are true, it is a serious reflection on the governor’s intuitive intelligence and basic common sense. Those are necessary qualities, especially for a person whose access to information and outside opinions is significantly impaired by a physical handicap.
Now we come to what we believe is the most sordid part of the story. The “dirt” that Judith Smith was alleged to have passed around was disclosed by Ms. Kennedy herself in her “confidential” answers to the Paterson questionnaire in January. That material was properly not released to the public since it called for significant personal disclosures. The incidents referred to occurred 15 to 25 years ago, were resolved, and had nothing to do with Ms. Kennedy’s qualifications for the Senate. They would have been dismissed as trivial.
What recourse has a voter when the state’s chief executive behaves so badly? Basically, none. Connecticut’s last governor went to prison for fraud. New Jersey’s was compelled to resign (his sexuality being an excuse, not the cause of his problems). Illinois’ Blagojevich was just impeached for trying to sell a Senate seat. And the governor of New York last year resigned because he would have been impeached if he had tried to stay in office - not really because of his sexual misconduct, but because the Legislature loathed him and used his foolish encounter as an excuse to get rid of him.
In politics, as in life, redemption is usually possible. We have a dozen suggestions for the governor to consider. If he adopts any of them it will be in his interest as well as good for the state. Here we go.
1. Always tell the truth when you can. When you can’t, remain silent.
2. Don’t joke too quickly about serious matters. They may be very important to other people, if not to you. Think before you speak.
3. Fire Judy Smith, whether or not she was the leaker.
4. Apologize to Caroline Kennedy for whatever you or your staff did to injure or degrade her. Ask her to help the State.
5. Get a number of people to read you stories from the newspapers and tape radio programs. Do not be overly dependent on any one individual.
6. Ask Michelle Paterson to leave Emblem Health, which is seeking approval for transactions that would involve millions of dollars in personal enrichment for individuals, and which the City of New York and Mayor Bloomberg are trying in court to prevent. Ask Michelle to be a real First Lady, your eyes and ears, and report to you on what is really going on around the state and in the agencies.
7. Use the internet and cable television to keep New Yorkers informed of what you are doing, and what is happening in state government. We need a C-Span for New York State. If we already have one, hardly anyone has heard of it.
8. Appoint commissioners of independent stature, and encourage them speak to the media when appropriate.
9. Put a referendum for a Constitutional convention on the ballot in 2009. Persuade the people to approve it.
10. You don’t know whether you will be elected in 2010, or even for certain whether you will run. Make decisions on matters before you on the merits, without regard to your ambitions. That is often the best way to fulfill those ambitions.
11. Do not sign legislation increasing burdens on states and counties without their written consent.
12. Require the State Public Employment Relations Board to consider ability to pay in making its determinations on wages and contracts.
Life is good. Nobody died over the Senate appointment. Think of what happened to Blago, who had a similar vacancy to fill. Consider yourself fortunate.
Not4Publication.com by Dom Nunziato