Dinner: Let’s Pause for a Moment of Silence and All Say, “Mmmm … Pizza” (The “John’s Pizza OMG” Post)

Yeah, yeah. John’s Pizzeria. In Greenwich Village. West Village-ish. Whatever, on Bleecker Street, yeah, best pizza in the city.

At least, so I’ve been told by multiple friends whose taste I trust, although maybe not entirely subscribe to without a little bit of “personal” validation. It hasn’t won a gold star from me yet.

photo2Finally got around to it. Oh … my … god. John’s truly is the opposite from that old standard, the reheated to luke-warm plain cheese slice:

Doughy, fluffy, hot through-and-through; generous portions of toppings like large, thick slices of meatball and sausage crumbles (truly a meat lover’s pie); sweet sun-dried tomatoes, whole basil leaves and sliced black olives on a second pie, which was the one I dug into.

Something about the exact combination of our second pie — it kept surprising me with a subtle photoheadiness of flavor I can only compare to popping a handful of popcorn into your mouth and getting an unexpected hit of truffles, from the dash of truffle-flecked salt that’d been sprinkled on it. Not to say that John’s uses truffle-infused olive oil in making its pizzas, but the flavor combination was just on.

Best in the city? I’m not there, yet. But hell yes I’m giving John’s it’s gold star. It’s earned it. What a fantastic reminder that there’s so much more to pizza than the thin-crusted, ultra-lightly-cheesy, blush of a tomato sauce, slice?

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Wednesday: The “Everything Is Good Here” Post, (“Here” Is Adrienne’s Pizzabar)

I just roll my eyes when you ask a server what they recommend and they say, “Everything! It’s just so good!” in that mindless, chipper way. Umm, no. We weren’t asking if you recommended eating here. We’ve already decided to do that. We were asking which items you, server who has eaten most everything on the menu, prefers. 

photo-10photo-9Anyhow, we didn’t pose that question to anyone at Adrienne’s Pizzabar in the Financial District. But we did sample nearly every section of the menu — an antipasti, a 10″ pizza and a pasta entree, baked in the pizza oven — and it was all damn delicious. 

photo-8The mixed antipasti misto ($16, small): A bounty of fresh vegetables, roasted and served virtually naked, with just a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and the occasional spice. The flavor of the vegetables shined. Plus, several toasts topped with bruschetta; a lentil and a white bean salad; thin-shaved slices of salumi and prosciutto; cubes of cheese, a basket of rolls and olive oil and vinegar for dipping. This antipasti, with a glass of wine or two on the picnic tables out back, would be a light and lovely dinner in itself. 

photo-11… And then the pizza came. We ordered the vesuviana pizza, topped with anchovies, olives, capers, spicy red peppers, basil ($15), and it was almost mouth-orgasmic. The way that the hot peppers played off the saltiness of the capers, anchovies and olives; the balance between cheese, homemade au natural tomato sauce, the soft, springy dough base — this truly unique pizza was the favorite among dishes that were all excellent. 

photo-12The conchiglie imbottite, pasta shells stuffed with ricotta, spinach, marinara ($10): Baking the shells made the cheese bubble and crisp on top, while the ricotta inside stayed light, creamy and smooth; the tomato sauce puree was vibrant, fresh and simple, the dominant flavor tomatoes. (I like this kind of marinara sauce, which actually let the tomato shine through). This entree could easily be a meal in itself. 

… While I can’t (yet) guarantee the excellence of whole menu, based on the excellence of this first experience, I am confident that more picks than not are bound to be a success. I am definitely going to be back for more.

Dinner: A Slice from Joe’s

IMG_0212I think this is my first on-the-go slice post, which is shocking. Apparently, since starting this blog, I’ve eaten an all-time low number of slices. (For those of you who have asked me have my eating habits changed since starting this blog, there you go. Maybe?)

Slice details: Plain cheese, from Joe’s Pizza in the West Village. A moment of silence in appreciation of this classic.

Lunch: Not Sure What I Just Ate, But Don’t Think I’d Call It “Pizza”

photo-19When you get right down to it, New York is really so weird about pizza. There’s a certain pride about it; “the pie” is one of those iconic food symbols of the city. There’s also the egalitarian bent: The slice as common ground. We all stop in for a slice, at some point or another; in a city this diverse, that is something to take pride in.

All this pride and emotion leads to a certain protectiveness of pizza’s merits, as if the acknowledgment of the existence of bad pizza, or un-pizza would somehow make these principles less glorious. (Entirely untrue!) So what to make of this? 

photo-17… I was confronted with all these thoughts and more today when, in one of the most humble of all restaurant establishments, the stripmall pizza joint, I found one of the strangest pizzas I’ve ever seen in my life. I discovered the “Fresca Pie” ($30) , “fresh mozzarella, fresh diced tomatoes and fresh basil,” ready and waiting in all its diced tomato glory at Paradiso Restaurant & Pizzeria in Rockville Centre, a small town on Long Island that’s just a short, 40-minute LIRR ride from Penn Station.

photo-18How would this bruschetta-pizza love-child hold up against the sanctity of the slice? I like to consider myself fairly judicious, but even I don’t think I’d call it pizza.

More like: fresh mozzarella and tomato salad, that happens to be on top of a doughy, breadstick-like square. But what does this mean? I’m still not sure, but today turned out to be a much bigger day than I’d imagined.

Breakfast: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I’d completely forgotten how great leftover pizza is for breakfast! A slice and a big glass of milk, I remember eating that many a morning over the years.

What’s that say about my pizza consuming habits? Well, in these last years since living in NYC, I almost never order pizza delivery, which is where the leftovers of my past mostly came from.

Here, I mostly eat it by the slice, often on-the-go, and on the occasion I take part in eating a whole pie, well, by the end of the night there’s never any left over …

If on some off chance there was leftover pizza, it mysteriously disappears between the hours of midnight and 5 am. Turns into a pumpkin or something, I guess.

COST: n/a (brilliance of leftovers)
PREP TIME: 30 seconds micro

Lunch: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lunch post, the CliffsNotes version. I’m just going to bomb this one:

photo-214Pizza. Lazzara’s. Dark, cool and cozy even in the middle of the hottest, steamiest afternoon of 2009 (so far). I dined alone, unawkwardly I might add, at a three-stooled bar and did some line revisions and took more pictures of condiments — a handsome condiment bin, that one — while waiting for my half-pie. 

How was it? Good. Loved the sauce, the broiled cheese, the generous toppings, the stature of the slices (thin-crusted and square). The only “meh” moment was the end of the crust, which I don’t get along so well with ends of pizza crusts in general, so this wasn’t such a surprise.

photo-119photo66

And while I enjoyed the presentation of three gorgeous, full, slices of proscuitto, I ended up enjoying the slices much more once I’d shredded it a bit and threw on some hot peppers. Alright, I’m out. 

COST: $9 + tax and tip
PREP TIME: I’ve been waiting and waiting to go here …  

Bonus photo of the cutest doggie bag ever after the jump: 

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