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Thursday Spaghetti Lunch at Sacred Heart Society

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Few dishes have the ability to rouse warm fuzzies like spaghetti and meatballs, and the version found at the Sacred Heart Society of Little York's spaghetti lunch every Thursday is a giant pink bunny slipper of a meal.

Since 1953, the Catholic men's organization has been dishing out Sicilian fare from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Thursdays at Whitney Hall, located near Crosstimbers and Airline just off I-45. Once you open the door labeled "Spaghetti Entrance," you'll find grown men in plastic bibs, door prize giveaways, a well stocked bar, cannoli, Italian cream cake and lots and lots of crimson, velvety spaghetti sauce. It's the sauce culinary dreamers envision when pulling out the tattered handwritten recipe passed down from their Italian great grandmother with the word "Sugo" scrawled across the top. It is that good. So good, in fact, that on nearly every table (and that's quite a few), there are pitchers of extra sauce in case you have a few noodles that escaped the original deluge from the serving line.

For the first visit, choose the traditional spaghetti and meatballs, and add a link of Italian sausage to the plate. The meatballs are seasoned well; dense and perfectly sized, but as you might have deduced by now, the sauce is the star. Mild and slightly sweet, the sausage has a crispy skin and juicy interior, and a nicely understated amount of fennel seeds. Along the serving line, you can pick up garlic bread instead of the complimentary, unbuttered slices, but stick with the free stuff unless you have a preference for cold, chewy bread. For $1.25, you can also add a small bowl of salad, which will satisfy your need for greenery, if you have one.

There are other things on the menu, like pigs' feet, pork chops, baked chicken, lasagna and eggplant Parmesan, but it would feel sacrilegious to order something without meatballs here. Don't forget to keep your door prize ticket handy; which is passed out with every napkin as you walk through the line...you might just win a quart of that sacred sauce.

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