Il Buco is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC. The space started out as an antique shop in the '90s and at one point they just decided to start serving food, so the space still has all the quirky reminders of its past. The design is really organic and natural, it's not slick or overly thought-out. I think the chef, Ignacio Mattos, is doing something really interesting and creative with Italian food, taking its traditions and customs and stripping them down and making them seasonal and local in a fresh way. Stay tuned for Part 3, including a recipe for persimmon salad.

The chefs in the kitchen at Il Buco have to work all day to get everything prepared for lunch and dinner. The make the pasta fresh every day and start early to make sure they bake enough bread for the customers. Ela Schmidt is the pastry chef at Il Buco. She starts work every morning at seven to prep for the day. My favorite of her desserts is the panna cotta. It's so luscious and decadent. Ignacio was kind enough to share her recipe with me.

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