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Mar 21, 2007 11:05 AM

Cascon's Sfingi di San Giuseppe

I almost feel guilty admitting that I cheated on my beloved D'Aquila Pasticceria, but curiosity got the best of me and on a friend's reccomendation I decided to grab a few sfingi at Whitestone's legendary cheesecake emporium, Cascon. In our home we have sfingi every evening starting March 1st, and so I had had my fair share from D'Aquila and even the newly named "Francis Lewis Bake Shop" (formerly Mario and Sal's which, for the record, I have always abhorred) which were much better than usual- extremely well-filled and not overly sweet, and at 2.50 a pop .50 more than D'Aquilas. But Oh was I surprised at the quality of Cascon's. The cannoli cream was etherally light and creamy ( a tad bit sweeter than I prefer but not cloyingly so) and the dough perfectly tender. I ended up chatting with Andy, the owner since 2004, and he proved to be quite an affable chap even running outside across the street to give my waiting husband a cannoli to eat in the car. Very sweet guy who seemed to know his stuff, and a Sicilian-American to boot which is always good when you're making my sfingi :) . He raved about his red-velvet cake ( a waiting customer added effusive praise as well) which I am eager to try and made it a point to tell me that he brought the former baker from Simone's in Flushing in to expand his baked goods line- he really doesn't want to be known "just for cheescake" anymore. From talking to him I learned that many bakeries have the sfingi shells brought in daily, his included, which I never knew. Whatver the case, my yearly Saint Joseph's sfingi yen, will most certainly have to include a few from Cascon each March...

All Good Things,

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  1. Hi Lisa!
    Happy Easter to you and the family. They are nice guys @ Cascon.
    Have you tried the new Vesuvio yet?
    John K.

    12 Replies
      1. re: abu applesauce

        Don't know. Make the call.
        I posted a few months ago about the Sicilian Deli in the back of Strawberry Farms vege market on 150th @ Willets Point Blvd.
        The creamiest, melt in your mouth mozzarella I know.
        They also have a loaf of Rustica on the counter at all times!
        Regards AA.

        1. re: johnk

          The Badalamente family has been running that place for years- papa Gian Bautisto with handsome sons Sergio and Massimo. In addition to their outstanding mozzarella they offer a Seriously Delicious caponata that I routinely pass off as my own :), unbelievable cannoli when it is available, and burrata when it wasn't available anywhere else in this part of Queens.

          However major CAVEAT EMPTOR: there are WAY WAY WAY MORE people ( I can't stress this enough) who refuse to conduct business with Signore Badalamente than there are fans like us. He is notorious for overcharging, selling old, moldy cheeses and pasta, and probably the most common of his offenses- giving you way more than you requested on cold cuts and insisting that you ordered incorrectly. I have witnessed quite a few heated arguments regarding this last one. There are at least a dozen nonni in the neighborhood that I can think of off the top of my head who speak of him as if he is the Devil Incarnate. He definitley has a Reputation.

          Altough he has never pulled that stuff with our family (he knows better) there was one occasion when I had bought dozens of items, and at the end he placed a small box with four cannoli in my bag for my "bambino" despite my Weight Watchers-inspired protests. He insisted on forcing these cannoli on me which I really thought were a gift... and in the end chardged me 10 dollars for them!!! I was fuming, but loser that I am, never opened my mouth. A few of the Italian ladies in the neighborhood report this as a common Sunday night practice :) His unique way of liquidation of inventory.

          As for the rustica, it's sometimes very good but oftentimes you will find things that are obviously "ends" such as bologna, mortadella, and olive loaf thrown in. Not that authentic. I definitley don't pass that off as mine ;)

          All Good Things,

          1. re: ZenFoodist

            Hey Lisa,
            I've seen them in action.
            It's a show for the price of a piece of cheese.

      2. re: johnk

        Ciao JK :)

        Haven't tried the new Il Vesuvio yet. Stopped in looking for a menu a few months ago and they had none on hand. Guy behind the bar was obviously newish to ChowHound and actually offered that it had been mentioned on these boards. He wanted to be clear that it was in the vein of Trattoria L'Inconto, Il Bacco, etc and not a mere pizzeria. I guess a lot of people come in expecting 6.95 dinners... I'm not that optimistic about its success. It's on an tough block and the prices seemed higher than most neighborhhood customers would be willing to spend considering many adore ParkSide, Piccola Venezia, and Sapori D'Ischia (my fave) which have pretty much similar price points from what I could tell. I think that night there was a 26 dollar sea bream on the menu if I recall correctly. I didn't get a Destination Dining vibe off the place, but I will give it a try and I wish them well.

        Have YOU been yet? BTW, I gave Gino's Trattoria a try (same family as Villagio in Whitestone) and thought it was pretty decent for a neighborhood Italian place. Would definitley return for a casual dinner...

        Buona Pasqua!

        Yours In Ricotta,

        1. re: ZenFoodist

          what exactly is Sfingi di San Giuseppe?
          Does sfingi = zeppole?
          A couple of weeks back, Leo's Latticini bakery had Saint Joseph Zeppolle's that were outstanding

          1. re: abu applesauce

            The URL of each of the images should confirm their identity ... they are two unique pastries ...



            1. re: Cheese Boy

              Somtimes however they put the ricotta (cannoli) filling into what is the custard-filled Zeppole shell in the images provided... and we STILL refer to them as Sfingi :) Sfingi has more to do with the cannoli cream and not the custard here in Queens, NY. In Palermo the shells' distinction are respected much more.

              The ones I buy from D'Aquila look like the provided sfingi images without the candied cherry..

              1. re: Cheese Boy

                those look really good. just like the ones we had from court st pastry shop last week...delish.

                1. re: shindiganna

                  Court Pastry Shop ranks very high with me too. Delish...

                  Visual aid --->

                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    I beleieve Leos' Bakery (I think it's called "Mama's Backyard Cafe") had the zeppolles with either custard or riccotta--I had the riccotta and it was delicious...

            2. re: ZenFoodist

              We like the pizza @ Villagio.
              Need to ask for THIN & CRISP!

          2. Mario and Sal (juniors) are coming back to the neighborhood very soon, with a lot more than Pizza Rustica, rainbow cookies (with Almond Paste) which none can replicate because its too expensive, semolina bread and Struffoli (yea the ones that were always sold out because they were amazing). The neighborhood is missing mario and sal's bakery and they are coming soon possibly under a different name so keep your eyes peeled. hmmm hazelnut gelato made with nutella, and the honeydew flavor they had oh my god, orgasmic. I cannot wait please hurry back