The Man behind Carlo’s Restaurant

According to our Yelp account, we’ve checked into Carlo’s Restaurant close to 15 times over the past few years. Since we live close, it’s our go-to spot for a quick slice of pizza or sit-down meal. On our last visit, we asked our server if we could interview Carlos himself and actually learned that the man behind the popular restaurant on Tuckahoe Road in Yonkers is Peter Servino. We reached out to him to learn more about him and the history behind the restaurant.
Carlo's Restaurant on Tuckahoe Road in Yonkers.

Carlo’s Restaurant on Tuckahoe Road in Yonkers.

FP: We enjoy going to Carlo’s for either a quick slice or sit down for dinner. Tell us the history behind the restaurant.
PS: My father purchased Carlo’s in 1976 from his partner. He started working here in the late 50’s as a waiter. My sister and I started working here also at a young age. In 1982, I was about 12 years old doing things like peeling garlic and cleaning other vegetables. I started making salads (on weekends) soon after. From there I learned how to make pizza and eventually started to cook. One Friday evening in 1993, a friend of my father’s, who also owned a restaurant in the Bronx, called him because he had just lost one of his line cooks. He asked if we had an extra man he could employ through the weekend. My father sent me. I ended up staying there two and a half years. I learned alot from a famous chef that was running that kitchen, formally a chef of a famous little Italy restaurant called SPQR.
Eventually I became the chef at that Bronx restaurant, after my boss there sent me to other kitchens of other restaurants he owned to try and pick up techniques from other chefs. In 1996 my father wanted to start spending less time at Carlo’s, so I came back to work with him and implemented much of what I learned over the last few years in other restaurants.
FP: Great to learn about your background and how the business started!
When you’re home, what are some of your favorite meals to prepare for yourself and family? 
PS: When I’m home I like to cook pasta. Although it’s not my favorite food (I always preferred meat over pasta), I enjoy making different red sauces and experimenting with different sauces while coming up with new ideas for the menu. It is difficult to do that at work because there isn’t much downtime. We are always busy serving and preparing.
FP: Yes, we know Carlo’s Restaurant is a popular place! 
Where are some of your favorite places to eat in Westchester County?
PS: I really can’t say I have a favorite place in Westchester to eat. I am only off on Mondays and I like visiting a different restaurant each time we go out to see the new trends. I am also a partner in Gaucho Grill on North Broadway in White Plains, so I try and visit some restaurants in the area to see whats happening around us.
FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures. We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name ;)
PS: Some of my favorite foods are pizza of course. I am really excited about the new wood oven craze and I’m currently exploring a possible fast casual pizza concept. When I’m at a restaurant I am allways looking for scallops or Calamari Fradiavlo on the menu, although I don’t like fried calamari.
FP: As you know, we can always go for a good slice of pizza or delicious Italian entrees. 
When you’re not at the restaurant, what are your non-Carlo’s related interests and activities?
PS: When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my wife and four children, doing anything! We are always running to someones game or practice.
FP: Thank you again for your time! We’re pretty sure we’ll see you soon at Carlo’s!
 
Carlo’s Restaurant
668 Tuckahoe Road
Yonkers, NY 10710

ArtsBash 2015 Recap

Last Friday, half of FP (Allen) ended a long work week by attending ArtsWestchester‘s annual ArtsBash event. This year, ArtsWestchester celebrated it’s 50th year- worth celebrating indeed! Just like last year’s event, there was delicious food served from restaurants including Sofrito, Cooper’s Mill, Elements and many more.

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In addition to all the great food, there was a variety of art from talented local artists. Check out some of the works that caught the attention of many:

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If you enjoy art and food, make sure to mark ArtsBash 2016 on your calendar for next year! Visit Westchester Arts website to learn more about the great exhibits, programs and classes the non-profit organization has to offer. It’s a great place to visit while checking out the scene in White Plains!

Arts Westchester
31 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601

Sweet Victory

Having attended many C-CAP events over the years, we have first-hand knowledge of Pastry Chef Thiago Silva’s culinary talents. A few weeks ago, Chef Thiago’s skills were put on display during an episode of Chopped on Food Network, where he won the $10,000 prize and earned the Champion title. We reached out to him to learn more about this experience on the show.

Pastry Chef, Thiago Silva

Pastry Chef, Thiago Silva

FP: Tell us about your experience on Chopped. What was the hardest ingredient to work with?

TS: Hands down the candied crab! It was something i’ve never had before. Very, very potent fishy flavor, which is not dessert’s best friend. I knew I had to try and hide the flavor a bit. Once I tasted it and saw how dry it was, I thought to turn it to powder and add it to something.

FP: Good to know the candied crab didn’t deter you from winning Chopped!  

Always good to see you at C-CAP Events. What else have you been up to since our last interview back in 2012?

TS: Yes, CCAP events are always my favorite. Since 2012, I’m still working with EMM Group, creating desserts I love. This year we just opened a Catch in Dubai. We will also open in LA, and Mexico.

FP:  Will we see you on TV again?

TS: As for seeing me on TV again, I wouldn’t count me out ha! We shall see.

FP: As a Pastry Chef, please share with us some of the latest pastry trends.

TS: I always feel there are lots of trends but honestly I’m not the pastry chef that follows them. There is one disappointing trend out there. Lots of amazing looking desserts, using multiple techniques but there’ss nothing memorable when it comes to flavor. I’ve been out to dinner and to visit many places where I was wowed by presentation, but flavor is not backing it up. I feel pastry chefs need to go back to developing desserts based on flavor and not looks.

FP: We know from experience that your desserts both look and taste good!

If you could get on a plane tomorrow and go somewhere just for the best pastries, where would you go?

TS: One of my first jobs in the industry was at Fauchon. The NY locations which now do not exist. I fell in love and was introduced to a lot of new pastries, so me visiting them in Paris has been on my radar for a long time. Lots of memories were built there for me, so thats important to me.

FP: Paris for their pastries sounds like a plan! Thank you again for your time and we wish you continued success! 

ArtsBash 2015

Last year, we attended ArtsBash for the first time and were thrilled with the energy surrounding local artists and eateries. It was a memorable evening and Allen looks forward to returning for this year’s event on Friday, May 15th.

Twenty-five chefs from some of Westchester County’s best restaurants will exhibit their edible artistry as part of ArtsWestchester’s fun-filled ArtsBash party, which kicks off tomorrow evening at 6pm at the Arts Exchange building in White Plains. Attendees will have the opportunity to drink cocktails and eat delicious bites from a tasting menu created by leading chefs from 42 The Restaurant, Benjamin Steakhouse, Café of Love, Empire City Casino, Crabtree’s Kittle House, Emma’s Ale House and many more from throughout Westchester County.

As with last year’s event, it will also provide the unique opportunity to check out great work from talented local artists. The newest exhibition, 50 for 50: New Works, which showcases works by ArtsWestchester’s “50 for 50” awardees, will be on display in the gallery.

“ArtsBash weekend has something for everyone. Fourteen years in the making, we’re pleased to tease the palettes of our guests with spoonfuls of caviar, oysters on the half shell, meatballs & ricotta, Eggplant Marino, USDA Prime, Dry-Aged porterhouse bites, assorted sushi rolls, salads and more. Also featured on the menu are retro treats from Lulu Cake Boutique, dark chocolate fondue from Chocolations and mini biscotti from Cathy’s Biscotti,” said ArtsWestchester CEO Janet T. Langsam. “The pairing of exceptional cuisine with original art throughout our historic downtown building makes this one event not to miss.”

The event is part of ArtsWestchester’s 50th anniversary celebration, which is a year-long celebration of the arts in Westchester County.

To learn more, visit artsw.org/artsbash. Hope to see you there!

Ribbon Cutting for RaaSa

From our visits to Chutney Masala in Irvington, Spice Village in Tuckahoe and Masala Craft in Hartsdale, readers know we’re big fans of Indian food. We’re excited to learn that RaaSa in Elmsford will mark the official re-launch of the business under new leadership with a ribbon cutting event today at 6:30pm.

RaaSa’s new owners, Ashok Salian and his wife Priya Kapoor-­Salian have very lofty goals for the restaurant and have bought in highly acclaimed Chef Peter Beck. He has been responsible for elevating Indian Cuisine in New York City, where he was noted as one of the James Beard Foundation’s “Top Chefs of 2002”. Chef Beck is a culinary innovator whose restaurants in New York have garnered numerous accolades, including elusive Michelin Stars at Tamarind and Benares.

While only half of FP will be attending the ribbon-cutting, we’re sure to return for dinner together in the very near future.

RaaSa
145 East Main Street
Elmsford, NY 10523

  

Pio Pio, Por Favor

With a wealth of restaurant options to choose from in NYC, sometimes it’s nice when friends choose the dinner spot. Recently, Kristina met a few friends at Pio Pio in Hells Kitchen. A NYC institution, Pio Pio has restaurants in four boroughs, where rotisserie chicken and green sauce is key. This was my first visit to the 10th Ave. location, which is surprisingly spacious compared to some of their other spots.

I started my meal with a glass of sangria, which hit the spot after a long work day.

Cheers!

Cheers!

In order to try as many things as possible from the menu, we started with the Perucho Tasting which included a variety of apps. For dinner, we split the Matador Combo, which included rotisserie chicken, yellow rice, beans, tostones, salchipapa and an avocado salad. Thanks to the salad, we didn’t feel completely guilty for the decadent meal. Although the lighting wasn’t ideal, the food certainly was!

Next time we’re in the mood for killer Peruvian fare, we’ll definitely hit up Pio Pio. Have you visited any of their locations?

Pio Pio
604 Tenth Ave.
NY, NY 10036

Harlem EatUp 2015

Readers of our blog know we’re big fans of the food scene in Harlem. Over the years, we’ve eaten at Red Rooster, Evelyn’s Kitchen, Patsy’s and most recently The Cecil.

We’re excited for Harlem EatUp, founded by the Marcus Samuelsson Group and Karlitz & Company, with former President Bill Clinton serving as honorary chair. Chefs from Harlem will join forces with local and national celebrity chefs to celebrate the art, music, food and culture of Harlem. Chefs include Carla Hall, Jonathan Waxman, Sean Brock, Daniel Boulud, Jose Garces, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Paul Qui, Angelo Sosa, Ken Oringer, Ludo Lefebvre, and more.

HarlemEatUP

Harlem EatUp, a four-day event taking place May 14-17, will feature a series of ticketed and free events concentrated around the culinary, fine arts and performing arts scene to celebrate the vibrant culture of the neighborhood. Click here for a full schedule of events. As part of its mission and dedication to Harlem, net proceeds from festival ticket sales will be donated to beneficiaries Harlem Park to Park and Citymeals-on-Wheels, two non-profit organizations that have a positive and direct impact on the Harlem community.

It’s not too late to purchase tickets. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend this delicious event! We hope to see you at HarlemEatUp!