There are a few items that tourists must eat on their trip to New York City. Thin crust pizza, a dirty water hot dog from a cart, and an authentic NYC bagel. There are probably more, but for the sake of keeping this article down to a decent word count, let’s stick with three.
Something makes bagels from “New Yawk” a bit different from its relatives around the nation. Maybe it’s the water, or perhaps it’s the different things you can put on top of it. It’s a basic bread-type food with many possibilities. “Bantam Bagels” on Bleecker Street has popped up and is offering a new spin on the classic carb, making them bite-sized and filled with flavor combinations that will make you “change the way you bagel”, or so their slogan says.
So, let’s get past this obstructed view from across the street and get some bagels!
My love affair with the mistress called Pizza has been well-documented on this site, so my hunt for the finest in the city will be my never-ending quest. Lactose intolerance, be damned! The sheer amount of pizzerias in each of the five boroughs is daunting, but you have to take it one slice at a time. On this day, my journey stopped me at “Numero 28” in the West Village.
Named after their building number on Carmine Street, “Numero 28” serves freshly made pasta and pizza a few doors down from another Italian restaurant, which is across the street from several more pizzerias. To say it’s a packed area would not do justice to how many slices you could accumulate in a matter of steps. However, the one thing that this place has that the competition does not have is the rare gem of pizzas, the Pizza D.O.C.!
In the world of pizza, does size matter? Of course it does! Size is relative when it comes down to pizza pies, however, as some places do slices and others only do pies. I can’t say I have a preference, but I do love a comically large slice of pizza.
Francis Garcia and Sal Basille (who you may recognize from Cooking Channel’s awesome show, “Pizza Cuz”) opened their first “Artichoke” location in 2008, and have quickly expanded to a trio of pizzerias across downtown Manhattan. Enveloped in the world of pizza since they were children, working in their father’s “Basille’s” restaurant in Staten Island, “Artichoke” is the epitome of high-flavor bar pizza, without “bar-pizza” being an insult to the food.
It’s a no-nonsense pizzeria from the moment you step in to their MacDougal St. location, with a few stools on the side of the wall, and one gigantic brick oven in the center of the place. The surly waiter will take your order while you wait on the side and admire the lamp in the shape of a women’s leg in stockings from “A Christmas Story” (a Very Italian prop to have since it’s from the fra-ghee-lay region). Much like the lone server/ pizza-maker guarding the place, the slices from “Artichoke” do not mess around.
Dollar pizza places are as plentiful as pigeons in New York City. Even in the winter, when other birds migrate, you can still find stray pigeons wandering around the streets, and dollar pizza places are a perennial nibble for New Yorkers on the go. “St. Mark’s 2 Bros. Pizza”, more simply known as “2 Bros Pizza” by most since the St. Mark’s is so tiny in the logo, opened in 2007, making them one of the first (if not the original) dollar pizza places in the city.
Despite the title of this being “St. Mark’s”, I actually went to the pizzeria on 38th and 6th Avenue since I was passing by it. Call it a morbid fascination with mediocrity, but I am very interested in these dollar pizza places lately, and the majority of them in the city are “2 Bros.” restaurants. There must be a reason for this, and I decided to give them a try and see if I could figure out why they were so successful in this niche market.
“Pizza Mezzaluna” has just celebrated its fourth anniversary of being in business on Houston Street in New York City. Located conveniently next to an Italian butcher shop, this quaint Neopolitan restaurant features a brick-oven in the front of the store for the most authentic pizzeria experience possible. Augmented by a selection of fresh pastas, owners (and husband and wife) Francesco Vitale and Lili Chu have created an experience that feels equally as authentic as their food.
With a marble-top bar by the ovens and a small but cozy seating arrangements, highlighted by actual “mezza luna” cutters hanging all over the walls, “Pizza Mezzaluna” has been reviewed by others as flying under the radar. I can attest to this, as I have come back many times after this review (spoiler alert) and have never seen the place too crowded. This is a tragedy, as you will read, since this might be one of the area’s best kept secrets in such a busy restaurant area.
Dollar pizza joints have been popping up since the recession first hit New York in 2009, and have become a very popular and seemingly successful business venture since then. By its nature, pizza is a food meant for peasants – bread, cheese, and some sauce. Thanks to evil geniuses like Wolfgang Puck, the traditional pizza has been elevated to different levels throughout the years, and the price has elevated too.
There is an actual correlation between the cost of subway fare and a slice of pizza in NY (seriously, look it up if you don’t believe me), but for cheapo’s like me who want to eat on the run, we don’t have time or money to waste on fancy pies. Enter “Percy’s Pizza”, and their beckoning claim of a slice of Italy for a single buck.
I was ecstatic to see a truck serving pizza parked nearby my office, and jumped right in line to grab myself a pie. “Eddie’s Pizza Truck” is an off-shoot of “Eddie’s Pizza” restaurant in New Hyde Park, which is the home of the “bar-pie”. What a bar-pie is, I still can not tell you, but if it’s what I ate, I would rather not know.
If you can not tell by the absolutely stupid title of this post and the extremely negative-sounding third sentence, I was not too keen on “Eddie’s Pizza Truck”, and for good reason. What looked like a promising slice of awesome quickly turned into a nightmare topped with cheese.