Festa Italiana On The Mount, Main Walk With The Old Church Looming Beyond. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Festa Italiana On The Mount: Columbus Day Weekend Of Fun Celebrating Italian Culture, Good Food And Drink, Live Music…All For Charity

This Columbus Day weekend, Mount Loretto was literally Staten Italy, as Catholic Charities of Staten Island hosted its third annual Italian Festival at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, Mount Loretto campus, located in bucolic Pleasant Plains by the sea on Hylan Boulevard, right near the southernmost tip of Staten Island, and our state. The Italian festival celebrates Italian culture, on an island with over 175,000 Italian-Americans.

Festa Italiana on the Mount, as it is billed, a Columbus Day Celebration, was sponsored by Shop Rite, The Nicotra Group, and our Borough President James Oddo. We should all appreciate aid in helping this festival to happen, as it’s all for a good causes, or rather causes. Yes; Mount Loretto is a hub for help, a literal helping hand to Staten Islanders in so many ways.

Admission was a suggested five dollars, including free parking, and all donations go toward helping Catholic Charities of Staten Island fund its various programs that benefit the larger Staten Island community.

There were kiddie rides and food aplenty! There was even a cannoli eating contest sponsored by Mark’s Bake Shop. There was even a beer and sangria garden so that you could mellow out and enjoy a brew or two. If you were looking for live music this weekend, this was the place to be. A sound stage with a great sound system complete with ample bass set the scene for the many musicians who performed over the span of these last three days.

The sounds of Frank James, the Giglio band, Vincent Medugno, Louis Parmaparma Jr. and the Witnesses, Just Us, and Charlie Romo echoed through the air on the Mount; a grassy lawn with folding chairs was the perfect way to relax and enjoy the day.

The Susan Wagner High School Marching Band also send their brassy tones adrift on the breeze; by now the band has a history of performing at the Festa Italiana, having done so since its inception three years ago.

There were over forty vendors in all, providing a fun and interesting time for people of all ages and interests. Lefty’s Cigar Truck, which debuted on the island at this year’s Richmondtown festival, as well as many other vendors selling kids toys, crafts, and a lot more, kept the crowds buzzing and browsing. The giant Food Crusher truck, of the Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund, also present at this year’s Richmondtown Fair, was stationed behind the statue of Mount Loretto’s founder, Father Drumgoole, right in front of the towering cathedral.

All this was very cool, but in the end, it was all about helping Mount Loretto thrive, and not just entertainment and fun; it’s all for donation and giving, after all. If you’re feeling left out and are considering a vending booth next year, remember that all associated fees are 100% tax-deductible.

There’s so much going on at the campus, it’s difficult not to leave something out. Some of Mount Loretto’s various programs focus on helping challenged individuals. The Kenny Residence, a 24-hour residential alternative care facility, provides full-day nursing, speech therapy, speech therapy, as well as community integration for its residents.

Day habilitation, a program affiliated with Sea View Hospital and Meals on Wheels, helps young people with developmental disabilities who have recently graduated a program with opportunities for the future, including paid employment.

Vocational training programs for young people with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities is a big part of Mount Loretto. Individuals are provided with help based on their unique needs with the goal of preparing each individual with a skill-set, as well as coaching, that will serve as preparation for future employment. Kids ages 7-17 with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities, as well as those who are mobility-challenged, can benefit from the on-site After-School Programs provided at Mount Loretto.

Senior programs are another significant focus at Mount Loretto. Client advocates help our elder citizens, as well as families, and other individuals, with meting their basic life needs, including housing, heat, electricity, health care, and more. The Case management program even provides emergency food, as well as helping individuals apply for relief grants.

The West Brighton Senior Center helps keep adults over 60 with ” nutritious meals, exercise, art and culture programs, recreational activities, and health services.” These are freshly made meals, healthy and balanced. The St. Edward Food Pantry may also be found at Mount Loretto. It’s open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, from 10 AM until 1 PM.

As Staten Island continues to struggle with opioid addiction on a mass-scale, Carl’s Recovery Center, also located at Mount Loretto, places addiction recovery front and center. And, it isn’t just one service this program provides; it’s a plethora of vital outreach efforts to the island.

Peer to peer counseling helps those people addicted to drugs, by setting up communications with a counselor, many of whom had themselves struggled with substance abuse in their past. Family interventions are a though subject. Carl’s Recovery can also help families plan such a vital event, easing minds by answering any of the many questions that surely come up.

But that’s not all. Narcan training, available five days a week, is there to help Staten Islanders learn the protocol to administer this lifesaving drug. In fact, the Island’s rate of overdose deaths dropped sharply once police and EMS were provided with Narcan. The more citizens know how to use Narcan, the better we’ll all be prepared for unforeseen opioid-induced crises in our families and streets.

A 12 Step program, help with placement in an outpatient program, and helping to plan long term care at recovery facilities across the nation round out the program’s many offerings. If it seems like the donations are going a long way, they surely are. That isn’t even a complete list. Co-located on the Mount Loretto campus, we find PS 25, the South Richmond School, a Department of Education school focusing on special education programs serving NYC residents from 10 to 21. And, the charity supports the Staten Island CYO, or Catholic Youth Organization. We know it’s a lot, and we’re grateful. For more information, please visit their website at: https://www.catholiccharitiesofstatenisland.org/programs/

Festa Italiana At The Mount Sign Outside MountLoretto Campus On Hylan Blvd. Image Credit - Staten Islander Dot OrgMount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019.

Festa Italiana At The Mount Sign Outside Mount Loretto Campus On Hylan Blvd. Image Credit – Staten Islander Dot OrgMount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019.

The Nicotra Group Was One of Festa Italiana On the Mount's Sponspors. Thanks, guys! Image Credit - StatenIslander.Org

The Nicotra Group Was One of Festa Italiana On the Mount’s Sponspors. Thanks, guys! Image Credit – StatenIslander.Org

Festa Italiana At Mount Loretto, From Hylan. Image Credit - StatenIslander

Festa Italiana At Mount Loretto, From Hylan. Image Credit – StatenIslander

Catholic Charities of Staten Island Signage On Hylan Along Mount Loretto Woodlands. Image Credit - StatenIslander.Org

Catholic Charities of Staten Island Signage On Hylan Along Mount Loretto Woodlands. Image Credit – StatenIslander.Org

Across the Street, An Old Fence Separates Mount Loterro Unique Area. Remember When These Were Comon On SI? Image Cred - SIslander

Across the Street, An Old Fence Separates Mount Loterro Unique Area. Remember When These Were Comon On SI? Image Cred – SIslander

A Patch of Pokeroot Across From Mount Loretto Campus. Image Credit - Staten Islander News Organization

A Patch of Pokeroot Across From Mount Loretto Campus. Image Credit – Staten Islander News Organization

Pokon, As It's Called In Language Of the Leni Lenape. Seeds Are Deadly! Image Credit - StatenIslander

Pokon, As It’s Called In Language Of the Leni Lenape. Seeds Are Deadly! Image Credit – StatenIslander

Mount Loretto Unique Area Designation Sign For thr State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Image Credit - StatenIslander.Org

Mount Loretto Unique Area Designation Sign For thr State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Image Credit – StatenIslander.Org

Red, White, and Green Streamer and Italian Flag Decorate Mount Loretto Entrance. Image Credit - Staten Islander News Org

Red, White, and Green Streamer and Italian Flag Decorate Mount Loretto Entrance. Image Credit – Staten Islander News Org

he Old Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne Background, Foreground Festa Italiana At The Mount Kid's Rides. Image Credit - Staten Islander dot Org

he Old Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne Background, Foreground Festa Italiana At The Mount Kid’s Rides. Image Credit – Staten Islander dot Org

A Stamped Hand Permits Entry to the Event At mount Loretto. Image Credit - Staten Islander.org

A Stamped Hand Permits Entry to the Event At mount Loretto. Image Credit – Staten Islander.org

Chalkiti On The Central Path Through the Fair. Image Cred - Staten Islander

Chalkiti On The Central Path Through the Fair. Image Cred – Staten Islander

Sound Stage At Festa Italiana On The Mount At Mount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019.

Sound Stage At Festa Italiana On The Mount At Mount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019. Image Credit – StatenIslander.org

THe Band Geting Ready To Play At Festa Italiana On The Mount, 2019.Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Band Getting Ready To Play At Festa Italiana On The Mount, 2019.Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Church Was Buiult In 1891 To Serve The Destitute Children Living On The Grounds. Note Feasta Italaina Booths, Foreground. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The Church Was Buiult In 1891 To Serve The Destitute Children Living On The Grounds. Note Feasta Italaina Booths, Foreground. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The FoodCrusher Monster Truck. Carl V. Bini Foundtion. Note LoveEarth Vegan & Allergen-Friendly Bakery Text. Have To Stop There. This Reporter Is Vegan.Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The FoodCrusher Monster Truck. Carl V. Bini Foundtion. Note LoveEarth Vegan & Allergen-Friendly Bakery Text. Have To Stop There. This Reporter Is Vegan.Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

TheFoodCrusher.Com Monster Truck, From The Side. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

TheFoodCrusher.Com Monster Truck, From The Side. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Wow! Look At The Front Suspension On The Food Crusher! That Can Handle NYC Potholes With Ease! Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Wow! Look At The Front Suspension On The Food Crusher! That Can Handle NYC Potholes With Ease! Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Statue of Father Drumgoole, Founder of Mount Loretto With Two Of The Resident Children Living On The Mount. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Statue of Father Drumgoole, Founder of Mount Loretto With Two Of The Resident Children Living On The Mount. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The Old Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne Is A Foreboding Structure. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The Old Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne Is A Foreboding Structure. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Twisted Steaks. Looking Toward The Sound Stage At Festa Italiana, 2019. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org

Twisted Steaks. Looking Toward The Sound Stage At Festa Italiana, 2019. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org

Rice Balls! A Sicilian Favorite! "I Got Balls" Food Stand. What Would An Italian Festivsal Be Without Sicilian Fare? Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Rice Balls! A Sicilian Favorite! “I Got Balls” Food Stand. What Would An Italian Festivsal Be Without Sicilian Fare? Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Italian Festival Signage Thanking Sponsor Borough President James Oddo's Office For Sponsorship Of The Event. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Italian Festival Signage Thanking Sponsor Borough President James Oddo’s Office For Sponsorship Of The Event. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The Old Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne From An Angle. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Old Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne From An Angle. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Streamers Stretched Across The Main Thoroughfare At Festa Italiana. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Streamers Stretched Across The Main Thoroughfare At Festa Italiana. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

There Was Also A Henna Booth, As Well As Vendors Selling Clothing. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

There Was Also A Henna Booth, As Well As Vendors Selling Clothing. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Just Us Band Making An Announcement. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Just Us Band Making An Announcement. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Just Us Band Making An Announcement. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Just Us Band Making An Announcement. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The Spacious Green Lawn Where The Audience Sat And Enjoyed The Vibes. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The Spacious Green Lawn Where The Audience Sat And Enjoyed The Vibes. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Deep Fried Treats Cart And The Old Church At The Italian Festival. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Deep Fried Treats Cart And The Old Church At The Italian Festival. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Just Us Performing. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Just Us Performing. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

I Got Balls Rice Ball Cart, Long Shot. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

I Got Balls Rice Ball Cart, Long Shot. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Atrendees Sit And Chill By Statue of Father Drumgoole. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Attendees Sit And Chill By Statue of Father Drumgoole. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

I Got Balls Rice Ball Cart, Long Shot. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Festa Italiana At Mount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019. Sponsored by Borough President James Oddo, The Nicotra Group, and Shoprite. Image Credit: Staten Islander.Org

The Old Church. Incredibly Immense Architecture, From Just A Few Feet Away. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The Old Church. Incredibly Immense Architecture, From Just A Few Feet Away. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Montalbano's Of Rosebank Sausage And Peppers Food Stand. Another Italian Favorite. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Montalbano’s Of Rosebank Sausage And Peppers Food Stand. Another Italian Favorite. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Sitting On The Steps Of The Old Church With The Sounds Of Just Us Echoing Around. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Sitting On The Steps Of The Old Church With The Sounds Of Just Us Echoing Around. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Another Shot Of The Church. The Large Cut Stones In The Waning Light Of Late Afternoon. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Another Shot Of The Church. The Large Cut Stones In The Waning Light Of Late Afternoon. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

If It Hadn't Been For Father Drumgoole, We Wouldn't Have This Amazing Place To Hold Events Like Festa Italiana Or A Site For So Many Community Aid Orgs. Image Credit: Staten Islander

If It Hadn’t Been For Father Drumgoole, We Wouldn’t Have This Amazing Place To Hold Events Like Festa Italiana Or A Site For So Many Community Aid Orgs. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Statues. Above The Doorway of The Church. Who Is Depicted? Image Credit: Staten Islander

Statues. Above The Doorway of The Church. Who Is Depicted? Image Credit: Staten Islander

Imagine How Indigent Children Must Have Felt Walking Up These Stairs To Mass On Sundays. This Place Was Just For Them! Image Credit: Staten Islander.

Imagine How Indigent Children Must Have Felt Walking Up These Stairs To Mass On Sundays. This Place Was Just For Them! Image Credit: Staten Islander.

A Plaque Explains Some History Of The Mount Loretto Site. The Sisters Of Saint Francis, Along With Many Homeless Girls, lived Here. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Plaque Explains Some History Of The Mount Loretto Site. The Sisters Of Saint Francis, Along With Many Homeless Girls, lived Here. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Old Church's Bell, Retired. Dated 1883. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The Old Church’s Bell, Retired. Dated 1883. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Another Olf Church Bell. This One's Dated 1881. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Another Olf Church Bell. This One’s Dated 1881. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Notice The Fresh Flowers In The Hand Of The Child, Raised To Give Them To Father Drumgoole. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Notice The Fresh Flowers In The Hand Of The Child, Raised To Give Them To Father Drumgoole. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Statue Is Dated 1899. Robert Cushing, Sculptor. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org

The Statue Is Dated 1899. Robert Cushing, Sculptor. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org

Attendees Milling About, Considering What They Should Eat At Festa Italiana. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Attendees Milling About, Considering What They Should Eat At Festa Italiana. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Step right Up! Win Prizes! Games, Games, and More Games! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Step Right Up! Win Prizes! Games, Games, and More Games! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Stella's Secret Door Boutique And Other Vendors Line The Walk. Image Credit: StatenIslander

Stella’s Secret Door Boutique And Other Vendors Line The Walk. Image Credit: StatenIslander

There Were People Of All Ages At The Italian Festival. Image Credit: Staten Islander

There Were People Of All Ages At The Italian Festival. Image Credit: Staten Islander

On Line For Some Good Eats. Image Credit: Staten Islander

On Line For Some Good Eats. Image Credit: Staten Islander

John's Catering Presents Tep's Truck Treats Drew Quite A Crowd. Image Credit: Staten Islander

John’s Catering Presents Tep’s Truck Treats Drew Quite A Crowd. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Carvel Truck Also Seemed To Always Have a Long Line. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Carvel Truck Also Seemed To Always Have a Long Line. Image Credit: Staten Islander

POW! The Superman Kids Ride Called The Super Swing Going Back And Forth, Back And Forth. Image Credit: Staten Islander

POW! The Superman Kids Ride Called The Super Swing Going Back And Forth, Back And Forth. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Festa Italiana On The Mount, Main Walk With The Old Church Looming Beyond. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Festa Italiana On The Mount, Main Walk With The Old Church Looming Beyond. Image Credit: Staten Islander

See? There's That Line For Carvel. Image Credit: Staten Islander

See? There’s That Line For Carvel. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Bella Napoli Wood Fire Brick Over Pizza Had A Stand As Well. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Bella Napoli Wood Fire Brick Over Pizza Had A Stand As Well. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Festa Italiana Guests Strolling And Noshing. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Festa Italiana Guests Strolling And Noshing. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Bands Were A Big Draw At The Italian Festival. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Bands Were A Big Draw At The Italian Festival. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Sound Stage Banner Noted The Main Sponsors. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Sound Stage Banner Noted The Main Sponsors. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Looking Across The Audience, Towards The Rock Wall And kids Rides. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Looking Across The Audience, Towards The Rock Wall And kids Rides. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Catholic Charities Cart Drives By. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Catholic Charities Cart Drives By. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Note The Twin Staten Island American Flag Sweatjackets With Thin Blue Line Motif. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org

Note The Twin Staten Island American Flag Sweatjackets With Thin Blue Line Motif. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org

Another Long Shot Of The Vendros Along The Main Row. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Another Long Shot Of The Vendors Along The Main Row. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Blow Up Pool Floats For Kids, Clothing, And Other Vendors Line The Walk. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Blow Up Pool Floats For Kids, Clothing, And Other Vendors Line The Walk. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Hot Slice Of Pizza Coming Right Out Of The Wood-Burning Oven. Yum! Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Hot Slice Of Pizza Coming Right Out Of The Wood-Burning Oven. Yum! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Looks Like The Fried Snacks Were a BIG Hit! Image Credit: Sier.Org

Looks Like The Fried Snacks Were a BIG Hit! Image Credit: Sier.Org

Should We Check Out Henna Paradise Or Eat? Image Credit: Staten Islander

Should We Check Out Henna Paradise Or Eat? Image Credit: Staten Islander

Festa Italiana At Mount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019. Sponsored by Borough President James Oddo, The Nicotra Group, and Shoprite. Image Credit: Staten Islander.Org

The Italian Flag Waving In The Wind. Image Credit: Staten Islander.Org

The Sun Is Geting Low In The Sky, Casting Long Shadows. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Sun Is Getting Low In The Sky, Casting Long Shadows. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The TopOf The Old Church With Its Cross. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Top Of The Old Church With Its Cross. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Mission Of The Immaculate Virgin Has That Name For A Reason. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Mission Of The Immaculate Virgin Has That Name For A Reason. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Tiny Bird Perched Comfortably On The Church. They're Also Taking In The Sounds Of The Band While Relaxing. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Tiny Bird Perched Comfortably On The Church. They’re Also Taking In The Sounds Of The Band While Relaxing. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Rescue Rolls? In An Old Fire Truck. How Cool! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Rescue Rolls? In An Old Fire Truck. How Cool! Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Far End Of The Main Walk. Festa Italiana,2019. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Far End Of The Main Walk. Festa Italiana,2019. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Signage For Montalbano's Of Rosebank. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Signage For Montalbano’s Of Rosebank. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Montalbano's Food Cart In Classic Green,White, And red. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Montalbano’s Food Cart In Classic Green,White, And red. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Rescue Rolls Truck Serves Patrons. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Rescue Rolls Truck Serves Patrons. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Montalbano's Food Cart Also Drawing A Crowd. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Montalbano’s Food Cart Also Drawing A Crowd. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Classic Scnee. The Old Church And Vendors There Donating Their Fees To Charity. Nice. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A Classic Scene. The Old Church And Vendors There Donating Their Fees To Charity. Nice. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Giovanni's Trattoria Also Has A Stand. Thanks For Donating To Be Here! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Giovanni’s Trattoria Also Has A Stand. Thanks For Donating To Be Here! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Trendy Treatz NY Makes Cakes and Cupcakes Of All Kinds! They Can make Any Cake Themes You Imagine! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Trendy Treatz NY Makes Cakes and Cupcakes Of All Kinds! They Can make Any Cake Themes You Imagine! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Festa Italiana At Mount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019. Sponsored by Borough President James Oddo, The Nicotra Group, and Shoprite. Image Credit: Staten Islander.Org

As We Left, The Skies Looked Amazing. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org

As We Left, The Skies Looked Amazing. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org

Bounce Houses And Kids Rides In Front Of The Old Church Rising Into The Sky. Image Credit: Staten Islander News Organization

Bounce Houses And Kids Rides In Front Of The Old Church Rising Into The Sky. Image Credit: Staten Islander News Organization

 

 

14 Comments

  • Avatar Sharon Gold says:

    Good article. I like that you guys keep this classy.

    The web site loads slowly, though. just thought I’d let you know. 😉

  • Avatar Cameron James says:

    It’s all for a good cause. So hats off to your Boro Pres., Nicotra, and ShopRite.

    Also all the vendors. Class act, all.

    Beautiful photography! Epic.

  • Avatar Chris Albano says:

    Looks good. Would have been better if there were more food choices.

    Before you start the raving and ranting at me, I’m an Italian-American who ate rice balls and everything else for the first three decades of my life.

    But now i eat a plant-based diet. Not because of politics or saving the world, though those are good things, but because my body just couldn’t handle meat, dairy, fried foods, and junk.

    So where was the Love Earth Cafe truck? They need to get out there and let Staten Islanders have a choice in what to eat! I’m sick and tired of all the jokes from friends and relatives. I eat how I do and know what? They all look old, and I don’t. So it’s not a bad thing.

    I’d love vegan cannoli. Vegan rice balls. Vegan panelli. (Guess u could tell I’m Sicilian!) The change is coming. These foods taste just as good cooked vegan. My wife is also a vegan for ten years now.

    We make Italian food at home and everything we cook is just as authentic. My people ate lentils and chick peas and little meat, historically. And we all live a long time.

    So just hoping next year it would be a place I would feel more welcome, and could get a bite to eat.

    • grasshopper x grasshopper x says:

      I can’t see how recipes would taste the same without dairy and milk. Do you also avoid eggs? How do you get protein? How do you make a cake without eggs?! Just curious. Not trying to be a pain.

      • Avatar Chris Albano says:

        Hi, Grasshopper. You’d be shocked.

        It’s actually really easy to make authentic Italian dishes without meat, dairy, or eggs. We are vegan, well..sort of. We do eat honey. So, we’re not officially vegan, lol

        I’m Barese and Siciliano, and in those places lentils and chick peas are the big deal, not meat. Fish is more of a thing. Anyway, for butter, we use coconut oil. Not that we’re big on that, but it has butyric acid like butter and tastes similar.

        You can use coconut oil and flax oil blended, too. But we mostly stick with high quality extra virgin olive oil. We don’t fry so we don’t need a high heat oil in our cooking. Fried foods KILL my stomach, at this point.

        We use a lot of tofu, too. As far as everything else, the cuisine is veggie-heavy, so it’s all about the same. The spices and garlic make the taste, anyway.

        Cheese is more difficult. The store bought vegan cheeses suck! lol Some brands taste..OK, but there’s no protein, only fat!

        For a cheesy umami taste, you can use yeast flakes. But I was a cheese lover and actually worked in an Italian deli when I was in HS, so for me, it doesn’t cut it. It’s kind of generic. We’re still working on that part. But with a lactose intolerance, cheese was no longer an option.

        If you look online there are tons of ways to make vegan cheese.

        Thanks for asking. I am happy to not take the lives of animals or contribute to animal suffering. That’s always a good thing. Saying they were “put here for us,” is an argument lacking moral basis, but that argument is for another day.

        For us, it’s a good decision all around. You can’t argue with the health benefits or that it is a better choice for the environment.

        • Avatar Josephine (Annadale) says:

          OMG. You’re butchering Italian cuisine!

          Coconut Oil? Tofu? WTH?

          That’s about as inauthentic as it gets. And lentils? Chickpeas?

          I think you’re a little confused.

          How do you make rice balls without frying, pray tell?

          And as far as cheese goes, that fake cheese is nothing but processed s***. So you’re telling me all I need is some yeast flakes and I’m good to go? Yech.

          Not to be insulting, but I think you need to consult with a real Italian cookbook. Better yet, if you really are Italian as you say, ask your family how it’s done. Properly.

          Me? I’m not chef! I mean, I cook for my husband and family, but I can’t say I’m the best cook ever. My Grandma was.

          • Avatar Chris Albano says:

            Josephine, I understand how you feel. My entire family says this. Trust me, I’m about as authentically Italian as it gets. But either way, my wife and I can’t eat like you. Health comes first.

            1. Rice balls can be baked. We knew a Franciscan Father years ago whose Brothers and he ran some event thing. They did the catering themselves. He told us the secret to their mozzerella sticks was to BAKE not fry!

            2. Lentils and chickpeas are part of our diet, and have been forever! Are you serious? Also fava beans. Like with boccoli raab.

            3. The cheese thing is just OK. I said that already. We need to work on this.

            4. My relatives all cook “properly,” as you call it. We both grew up eating the same as you, but made a choice to eat what we digest better and makes us feel our best.

            5. My family (cousins) ran two of the biggest names in Italian food in this city. And that’s no small thing. So I know good Italian food.

            6. We were from59th Street in Bensonhurst. That should say it all.

            7. When my uncles come over, they don’t have to cheat and eat meat. They only eat vegetarian because three had heart attacks and it’s their doctor who suggests this. They rarely follow it, but when they’re here, they have to!

            8. Sorry, my Grandma was a great cook, also. Best? Not going to brag.

          • Avatar Vegan 5+ Years says:

            You can 100% replace eggs with lecithin. Not kidding.

      • Avatar THE DOORS says:

        You can’t!

        No way a piece of tofu is going to taste like meat. Just not happening.

        As for cheese, yeast flakes are like what kind of cheese now? American/ Swiss? OK, then,

        As for protein, that’s out of the question! Ever see these vegans? No muscle!

      • Veganism = death.

        Click to find out the truth from this shocking youtube video.

  • Avatar grasshopper X says:

    What a beautiful cathedral. I have never been there but I’ve seen the steeple from the West Shore Expressway when heading south.

    The event looks like it was a lot of fun.

  • Avatar Ronnie says:

    Hey Joey. Good to see that you have another article published on here!

    Way to go, kid! Keep writing! Your amazing!

  • grasshopper x grasshopper x says:

    Is Mount Loretto open to the public usually? It looks like a great place to have a family picnic.

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