Way out in Brooklyn (those who come from Brooklyn know just what I’m talkin’…)
Because New Yorker’s can’t ever get enough of the ideal street food here’s Gothamist’s 12 Best Pizza Places in town.
It’s that time again, the moment for ramps…over at Smitten Kitchen check out this recipe for ramp pizza.
Over at Sports on Earth I have a piece about my college girlfriend, New York pizza and Joe Carter’s memorable home run:
It had been a long day but once we got home from the wedding and changed our clothes we were still hungry so we walked a few blocks to Little Italy to grab a slice. The only people in the joint were the guys working behind the counter. It was nearly midnight and the heat from the oven cut through the cool air from the outside. It smelled like tomatoes, garlic and charred dough, an aroma New Yorkers immediately recognize as something unalterably good.
My girlfriend told me to order for myself as she went to the rest room, so I did, then sat at a table away from the front door. I looked up at the TV hanging from the corner of the room and there was Rickey Henderson, the guy I’d patterned my swing after in high school. He was a Blue Jay now, playing against the Phillies in the 1993 World Series. It had been four years since he had been on the Yankees, but it felt like longer.
It took a moment to figure out the situation but when I did — bottom of the ninth, Jays down by a run in the sixth game of the Series — I was alert.
I finally went to Motorino where I enjoyed the pizza. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had or my pick for the best in the city (I don’t have a “best”) but I could see how the Neapolitan style would appeal to some, so much so that they’d call it their favorite. It was good. The place was loud and it wasn’t cheap but the meatballs were outstanding. And I’m picky about meatballs, but these were worth the trip. Word to your moms and your grandmoms.
Most garlic knots let you down. After one or two salty, satisfying bites, you’re left to chew on the increasingly impenetrable thing like a masticating cow. It’s a snack food for suckers and optimists, anybody with a Charlie Brown-like faith that maybe Lucy Van Pelt won’t pull away the football, that this time it might be great.
The garlic knots ($3 for six) at Best Pizza in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, deliver on that hope. Baked in a century-old brick oven, they arrive charred on top and creamy inside, more gougère than repurposed crust. There are no tricks, just good technique: dough that rises all day; a drizzle of garlic oil after the knots come out of the oven; a dusting of shaved pecorino; chopped parsley, because that’s what you do. The knots are served on a flimsy paper plate with pickled vegetables (fennel, mostly) because Best Pizza is a slice joint, where $3 will feed you, and $15 will pay for a feast.
The good–it looks damn tasty, the bad, it’s in Williamsburg. But if you happen to find yourself in Hipster Dufus Heaven, looks like it is worth checking out.
[Photo Credit: Brooklyn 365]
At Diner’s Journal, Edward Schneider writes about Pizza with no sauce but plenty of flavor.
Sunday night eats. And no Yankee game so we can digest. Hope y’all are having a good one.
Such was the poignant wisdom of my old college chum, Lomain. That was his line, right out of “The Pope of Greenwich Village,” ‘cept out of Bayside, Queens. This is Beef Lomain I’m talking about, the eldest Lomain. His brother Mikey was Chicken Lomain and his little brother Matty was Shrimp Lomain.
I’d like to see A.J. take a piece for himself tonight, wouldn’t you?
Why mince words? Let’s Go Yan-Kees!
All I wanted was a slice, is that too much to ask?
I got off the R train at Union street in Brooklyn and walked up to Fifth avenue. But the pizza shop on the corner–Fifth Avenue Pizza–was closed. So I turned left, in the direction of Flatbush avenue. Four-and-a-half blocks later I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t passed a Pizzeria. On a commercial street chock full of restaurants no less.
I didn’t want to keep moving away from Union street, where I was eventually headed, so I doubled-back, crossed over Union Street and continued on, figuring, again, a pizzeria would be a stone’s throw away.
Nope. Nada. Bubkus. I was apoplectic, hating hipster Brooklyn like never before, when I finally found a spot, on 3rd Street just off Fifth Avenue called Villa Rustica. I went in and ordered a couple of slices and sat down to eat.
Now, unless I’m at a fancy pizza shop, one of those places that claims to be “the best,” I’m not overly picky. What I’m looking for is a representative slice. Something I could offer an out-of-towner as an example of a good New York City slice. (Talk about a new spin on VORP–value above replacement pizza!) Well, the slice at Villa Rustica was just that–and better than any of the local pizza I have around my way in the Bronx.
It wasn’t spectacular, didn’t re-invent the wheel, but it was satisfying and delicious and it made my anger go away.
Ah, the restorative powers of a good, representative, New York City slice.
[photo credit: akuban]
It was getting late, well past lunch, and I still hadn’t eaten anything. The sun was out yesterday but it was cold. I got off the subway on 231st street and walked due west to the barber shop. On the way, I passed Sam’s Pizza, a hole-in-the-wall in Kingsbridge.
I’m not a pizza groupie but I probably eat it as a stand-by more than any other street food. Sometimes, it’s just the perfect food–enough to satiate your hunger but not enough to make you full. I walked into the place and that New York City pizza smell enveloped me (who knows, maybe you get the same smell in Philly too). I can’t explain what the smell is exactly, but I know it when I smell it–it is the scent that immediately authenticates a pizzeria in this city.
Iniside, the place was small with no-frills. The front window was big, and opened during the summer; a gumball machine rested on the counter as you walked in. A kid was standing at the counter eating a slice and a thin but strong-looking man worked behind it. The soda fountain had an “Out of Order” sign on it. There were a few tables in the back, the walls covered in fake wood. An old Coca Cola sign hung on the back wall.
I ordered a slice. Three short, round-faced, Spanish kids came in and each ordered a slice too. A fat woman and her daughter ordered a pie. The pizza man moved deliberately. He smiled and had some charming words for the women. Otherwise he was, if not sullen, blank.
The slice was good, thin at the tip and then doughy–but not too doughy–at the crust. I soaked the grease with cheese, garlic powder and hot pepper flakes. Before I finished it I ordered another one. The pizza man was making a fresh pie. He clapped his hands clean of flower, took my bill with the tips of his fingers, and gave me change. I asked him if he always worked alone. He said that he did.
“Wow, that’s a lot of work, bro.”
“I got no choice,” he said without self-pity, just resignation.
I ate the second slice. The kid next to me ate too and didn’t say anything. The three Spanish kids stood in the back, talking softly. The mother and her daughter waited in silence. It was warm. My stomach felt warm too, which was comforting because the wind cut through me when I walked out of the door.