Arancini - Sicilian Rice Balls
I can't tell you how happy I was to see mention of Arancini. I absolutely love arancini...but I've never seen it outside of the NY area. My grandmother (who died 4 years ago...she was born in Sicily) used to make them all the time stuffed with ground beef, onions,tomato paste and peas. Last time I was in NYC we found some in little italy at a little deli toward the north side of mulberry...I can't remember the name , but they were real salty and not great. We did find quite a few place in Brooklyn that sold them.
I've attached a link (assuming I've done it correctly) to a great Arancini recipe that I found on the web (I have no connection to the site...I found it through a search engine) for those who don't live near NYC.
I think I can help you out ... there is a small place called Foccacia on 1st or 2nd Avenue between 6th and 9th Streets, I'm not exactly sure of the correct address. You can easily find it. Its next to a new restaurant called Galapogas. It's been around for ages, is owned by Sicilians and offer some specialities from the region. Let me know if you have any luck.
I can't help you in Manhattan either, but come on over to Union Street (between Hicks and Columbia) in Brooklyn to Ferdinando's for great arancini and other Sicilian specialties. I'm partial to the arancini special with the sauce and ricotta. Check the Outer Boroughs board for Ferdinando's threads. BTW, the only evenings they're open are Friday and Saturday, and then not late (unless they've changed recently). Otherwise, it's a day place. Closed Sunday.
I cant help you in Manhattan, but if you are willing to hop the ferry to NJ, 5 minutes away in Cliffside Park, Dino's bakery on Anderson Ave is -known- for these things. In fact he has a sign out front that says "best arancini rice balls in town", and he would be right. He has little ones filled with meat, and he has the big ones with meat and big ones with spinach. I usually grab two of the big ones every time I am there.
Not to mention he makes killer sausage (hot, sweet, parsley/cheese, turkey!) and bread too.