Fear not, folks. Spring is just around the corner. With the refreshing breeze comes Fairfield County’s peripatetic Have a Ball NYC food truck, which serves more than a dozen kinds of rice balls. A few months back, Moffly Media employees kept warm with a variety of Have a Ball NYC’s gourmet arancina (Italian for “little orange,” a nod to the golden treat’s spherical appearance); now that weather is heating up, these rice balls make for a perfect sunny day conversation snack. The origin of arancina, also known as “arancini,” goes back to the tenth century in Sicily. By the 1900s, the dish had evolved into a method for Sicilian grandmothers to turn yesterday’s risotto into tonight’s meal.
Have a Ball NYC’s CEO Chris Dall’au and his wife and co-owner Danielle Dall’au are high school sweethearts who both graduated from Syracuse with theatre degrees. In 2013, Chris and Danielle were eating her grandmother’s arancini, while brainstorming a more stable profession for Chris, when he had an epiphany. An arancini-only food truck, Chris thought—paying tribute to his and Danielle’s Sicilian roots—might be unique enough to succeed.
“That’s what makes arancini special,” Chris says. “It delivers [an] unexpected, one-of-a-kind flavor while simultaneously tasting like home.” Drawing on his experience in commercial kitchens, and years of practice with Danielle’s grandmother, Chris started Have a Ball NYC in Manhattan as a catering and wholesale company. He launched in Fairfield County in September of 2014, and this modern-flavored rice ball venture has been expanding since. They still offer the traditional arancini (a rice ball in hearty meat sauce), but there are also plenty of unconventionally delicious departures for adventurous customers.
As vegan and gluten-free rice ball options are also available, there is something for everyone. Prepare to salivate over a few selections: The Original Italian Rice Ball, with white rice, fresh mozzarella, pecorino, Parmesan, and a century-old, family recipe three meat sauce. The Chili Cheese Ball has white rice and melted cheddar, crowned with beef brisket chili and—you guessed it—more cheddar. A favorite of ours is the Thai Ball; coconut jasmine rice and a mixed vegetable stir fry, doused in a spicy red curry sauce. There’s also the Burrito Ball, with cheddar and grilled chicken, topped with mole sauce and served with salsa verde. However, the superstar of the menu is The Dessert Ball, comprised of hot rice pudding, stuffed with a hazelnut spread, rolled in cinnamon sugar, encircled by whipped cream. Yowza. If you’ve been working—or working out—tirelessly and you crave a treat, The Dessert Ball is your cheat day dream.
For summer—getting over this interminable, smothering winter—Chris promises a S’more Ball, with a dark chocolate center, rolled in graham crackers, and topped with marshmallow fluff. And a Moffly Ball is soon to come, flavor to be determined.
After beginning in Stamford, Chris has expanded to Stratford and Westport, and will soon be in Greenwich, Fairfield and Norwalk, rotating for lunch. The truck’s whereabouts are updated on the company’s Facebook page (facebook.com/HaveABallNYC), website (haveaballnyc.com), and Twitter (@HaveaBallNYC). (Appearance requests can be made on the website.)