Want delish on a dime? Hit Piola for lucky gnocchi day
No one knows for sure why it's considered lucky to eat gnocchi on the 29th day of the month.
According to some, it's based on the feast day for Saint Pantaleon. According to gnocchi lore, Pantaleon traveled across northern Italy converting people to Christianity in the eighth century and blessed local farmers with a record potato harvest.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, however, Pantaleon was an early martyr from modern day Turkey who performed healing miracles and his feast days are July 27-28, not 29.
Others point to a less divine reason for favoring gnocchi at the end of the month. The 29th falls just before payday, when people are in need of an inexpensive yet delicious meal.
Houston's international pizza import Piola has brought a once-a-month deal (available on the 29th of each month, which is Saturday for January) that offers all-you-can-eat potato pasta for a very reasonable $13. (For a double deal, enjoy it at the bar during happy hour and choose from even more small bites.)
The Gnocchi Day celebration flavors surpass a dozen. Some are simple, even a bit bland, like a four-cheese or a classic ragu, while other incorporate stronger flavors like salmon with tomato and spicy sausage.
I liked the fact that the gnocchi plates at Piola were small, with four to five bites of pasta on each one, the better for sampling as many versions as possible. Most were fluffy, light pillows of pasta although I got an occasional plate where the gnocchi was overcooked — tougher, denser and heavier. No worries — I pushed it aside and moved on to the next.
I still can't say I'm a full believer in Piola, but I am a fan of Gnocchi Day. So thanks, Pantaleon — or whoever.