That's Italian!

Lunching New York-style with "Pattie Ragú"

Lubrano's brother brought DeLuise a tray of macaroni, meatballs and sausage, and a fresh roll of Italian bread. "The three of us sat in his dressing room and ate. He wouldn't even let the makeup people come near him until he was finished."

One way or another, food plays a major role in all of Lubrano's yarns. I ask him, for instance, how he met his wife. He was working as a bodyguard in San Francisco, had come home for his brother Anthony's wedding and noticed her in JFK Airport as he waited for the flight back to California. She ended up in the seat behind him.

"At the time I had lost 120 pounds. And the stewardess was bringing us our food. I was so hungry, and I asked the lady, 'Is this an hors d'oeuvre?' and she said, 'No, that's your lunch.' And this woman from behind me reached out and said, 'Would you like half a sandwich?' And she handed me this huge turkey sandwich from an 18th Avenue Brooklyn deli.

Patrick Lubrano
M.V. Moorhead
Patrick Lubrano

Location Info

Map

Defalco's Italian Deli and Grocery

2334 N. Scottsdale Rd, Ste. 133A
Scottsdale, AZ 85257

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: South Scottsdale

"We talked for six hours, you know, the flight to California. It turned out she was from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. We had worked in the same building in the same year and never met. And she was going to her brother Anthony's wedding. How weird is that?"

He returned to Brooklyn to get married, but a few years later decided to move to the Valley. He now shares a home with his wife, Donna, their son Dominic, Donna's twin sister Denise, and his in-laws, Ralph and Stella.

With the wreckage of our lunch on the table between us, we decide to indulge in DeFalco's masterly cannoli. One apiece, that is. They're marvelously crunchy on the outside, and the filling within is full-bodied and potently sweet. We both finish our whole pastries. It's nice, for a change, to eat lunch with someone whose appetite matches my own.

Yet, as good as Lubrano acknowledges DeFalco's food to be, he's quick to insist that home is his first choice for dining, thanks to his mother-in-law. "That woman is dangerous in the kitchen. She makes fresh cheesecake, she makes lasagna, she makes me sausage Parmesan, she made me, the other night, fresh clams in spaghetti."

The clearest illustration of the power of food for Lubrano, perhaps, comes when two nubile young women in tank tops pass our table. Lubrano catches me glancing at them, and, aware that I'm a married man, laughs and directs my attention elsewhere. "Look down, man, look down here," he says, pointing at what's left of my sandwich. "It'll be all right. I support you, brother. Just look at the mozzarella, and everything'll be all right."

So I do. And he's right, it is.

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