fig. a: real Italian pizza in the making, New York-style
Those of you long-time "...an endless banquet" readers with exceptionally good memories may remember that earlier this year we were the recipients of a peculiar prize as a result of our participation in Menu for Hope III. Yep, that's right: we're a litttle embarassed to say it, but somehow we walked away with a pizza tour of New York contributed by Serious Eats and hosted by two of New York's most accomplished pizza cognoscenti: Ed Levine (Serious Eats, Ed Levine's New York Eats, The New York Times and various other publications, and, Pizza: A Slice of Heaven) and Adam Kuban (Serious Eats, A Hamburger Today, and Slice, "America's Favorite Pizza Weblog!"). When we received the Good News we were absolutely ecstatic. We probably couldn't have designed a better prize ourselves. Here at AEB, any excuse to go to New York is a good excuse, but a curated tour of the city's best pizza haunts has gotta be among the best excuses imaginable.
That said, it took us a while to coordinate things--almost a year, in fact. Eleven excruciating months. But we didn't panic--not once--we just used the time to bone up on pizza and its lore (Slice, Pizza: A Slice of Heaven, Ed Behr, John and Matt Thorne, David Rimmer's Real Italian Pizza, etc.). A few weeks ago, though, when the Canadian dollar suddenly surged to $1.10 US, we took that as some kind of sure-fire sign from above that it was finally time to take the plunge. We got back in touch with Adam and made all the necessary arrangements.
What exactly does a pizza tour of New York entail? Well, aside from some gargantuan appetites, a motor vehicle, and a photographic apparatus or two to document the proceedings for posterity, it takes some good maps and some New York street know-how. The proposed itinerary for this particular tour had us traversing two boroughs--Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan--and hitting seven pizza joints over the course of about eight hours. The split consisted of two Brooklyn pizzerias and five in Manhattan, it also consisted of three seasoned classics and four brash, young upstarts. It came complete with "intel" (see links below) and it looked something like this:
"11:30 a.m.: Di Fara (the legend)
12:45 p.m.: Franny's (killer wood-oven pizza)
2 p.m.: Adrienne's Pizzabar (grandma pizza)
3 p.m.: Isabella's Oven (great New York-Neapolitan pizza)
4 p.m.: Una Pizza Napoletana (the now-legendary hardcore Naples-style place)
5:30 p.m.: Joe's Pizza (classic NY slice)
6 p.m.: Bleecker Street Pizza (great grandma slice)
[No Slice intel online :( ]"
We literally gasped when we read it. Then we did a little dance. And a couple of days later, after we'd recovered, we were on the New York State Thruway, heading south towards our date with destiny.
TO BE CONTINUED...