14 November 2007

Provolone Bread in the Morning

Many years ago, I worked at Spring Street Books, an independent book store in Soho that was run by misanthropic, mumbling troll named Izzy whose paranoid, irrational edicts were enforced by a shifty toady manager named Jim. The shop was beloved by locals, but to the staff it was a den of misery.

I often worked morning shifts and one of the only consolations of my working there was that, in order to get to work in the early morning hours, I had to walk down the often fog-bound eastern stretch of Spring Street, right past a narrow Italian bakery called D&G Bakery. D&G had the best Provolone bread I have every tasted. It came in rings and I would buy one and munch on it as I walked the rest of the way to work. It was the perfect portable breakfast. Strolling those deserted, cobble-stone streets, the morning light just creeping in, that delicious, savory bread in my mouth, New York seemed wonderful.

I was only able to buy the bread because I patronized the shop at so early an hour. D&G opened early and would routinely sell out its stock in a few hours. It was rare to ever see the store open past noon. The bread was actually cook in ancient ovens in a basement around the corner on Mulberry Steet; the Spring Street shop was used only for sales. All the bread was made by hand; no machines. D&G closed in 1997 and, to me, no other bakery has quite captured my affections the same way since. A bag store called Crumpler occupies the space now. A clerk there told me people poke their heads in regularly asking about the bakery.

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