The Best I've Ever Had: Panna Cotta

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Our resident snacker takes on the venerable Italian dessert

By Elian Zach
I've said it once and I'll say it again: I'm not a winter person. I much prefer my shorts-and-tank look to my Uggs-and-ushanka one, but if anything, spending eight winters in NYC has taught me that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. My vow to the city had been put to the test year after year, and I had followed through. It does make sense. After all, no one likes to be taken for granted by a significant other, and the cold seasons are New York's way of playing hard to get and test my loyalty. Each winter I survive, I am rewarded with an even more magical summer. But coming back to this freezer after spending a month in the Mediterranean sun really made me reflect. I mean, come on! What on earth have I done to deserve such a lame welcome home party? What the hell was I thinking leaving my warm and cozy ex, Israel? As I shivered my way to a cab outside of JFK, I considered making a U-turn and blowing this Popsicle stand once and for all. When I got home, before a hysterical phone call to my traveling agent was made, I paused. "We have something special here," I thought, "I won't give up without a fight." Jetlagged, I grabbed my stupid Uggs and silly ushanka, and went to the only place that has felt like home ever since I moved here. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came. For me, that place is Bar Pitti. I can gush about almost every dish served at this Tuscan gem, and declare it "The Best I've Ever Had." I'm also aware of the various criticisms this joint has suffered, from the long lines, "arrogant," "unfriendly" service, to the cash-only policy. But I care not. That's not what this is about. Giovanni, the owner, who without a hint of pretension works the floor like an ordinary server, greeted me at the door. Bar Pitti is always hectic. There's always a wait, and hardly any time for niceties. As a regular, however, I get special treatment. "Si, bella, what?" he barked with a charming Italian accent, giving me a hug and a pat on the back. Translation: "So good to see you, dear. How many will you be?" "Just me today," I said. Giovanni pointed to a cute little table, facing Sixth Ave. As I sat watching the snowfall beyond the familiar green awning, I felt right at home. Winter didn't seem so bad with a spoonful of the best panna cotta I've ever had, lactose intolerance aside, and the knowledge that soon enough I will be warm again. Bar Pitti's Panna Cotta

If you're looking for fancy schmancy Italian ? Bar Pitti ain't it. The food there is simple, cooked with the freshest ingredients, which are handpicked daily by Giovanni and the kitchen staff. The specials menu is where you'll find gold, but the regular menu never disappoints either.
This dessert is the height of simple perfection; cream, milk and sugar, cooked and chilled, topped with a generous amount of the most decadent dark chocolate sauce (I always ask for extra of that stuff!). Combined with a glass of sweet Passito wine, everything seems to be in its right place. Il migliore che abbia mai avuto.Price: $7 Bar Pitti
268 6th Avenue Hours: Mon-Sun, 12 p.m. - 12 a.m. Phone:[(212) 982-3300](tel:%28212%29%20982-3300)(no reservations) CASH ONLYFollow Elian on Twitter [@ElianZach] and Instagram @elianzach

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