Monday, October 31, 2005

Day 31, 2005: Sac's (Astoria, Queens)

DAY 31: October 31st
LOCATION: Sac's (29th St and Broadway in Astoria, QUEENS)
GUEST(S): Catherine Wing, Eden Gauteron, Matt Sears
ORDER: One slice of cheese

PIZZA REPORT: Feeling Sacs-y? I am. Sac's is the only coal-fired pizza place I am aware of in the borough of Queens. Lucky for me and other Queens County residents, it's perfect! My favorite part of Sac's pizza is the sauce, of which there is plenty. I witnessed as they put a light layer of sauce on a pizza, scattered some fresh mozzarella cheese on, then applied another layer of sauce. Two (2) layers of delicious sauce! I think they add several spices to it in order for it to be so flavorful. My slice of cheese was mouth-wateringly good. The coal-fired crust was just thick enough to provide support for the entire slice and just flexible enough to be folded. As I folded it the sauce pockets and fresh mozzarella united to form one outrageously great-tasting slice of pizza. When in Queens, do what the Queens residents do and go to Sac's.
  • Catherine Wing's got Moxie. Moxie is the name of her mean looking puppet that pretty much prevented her from speaking for the second half of the meal. Here is a picture of Catherine & Moxie...
  • Eden Gauteron (pronounced "Ay-DEN Goo-trone") is from Cleveland, Ohio and arrived wearing a balloon hat he found on the ground.
  • Matt Sears should have been Matt Suarez but the employees in Ellis Island wrote down "Sears" instead. His mom's maiden name was also changed by the people at Ellis Island. We weren't sure whether this was to Anglicize their names to help get them work or if the folks at Ellis Island were just bad spellers.
  • October 31st means both Halloween and an end to Pizza Month '05. I managed to achieve my goal of eating a slice of pizza each day at 31 different locations with at least one other person. Thank you, everyone that helped make this possible. If you want to see me burn off all of these carbs, then watch out for bib #18670 in the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6th. If you want to know when and where to see me, I posted it here. Send me a Private Message (PM)with your email address if you want to be notified via email when I cross the 10K, 20K, 13.1m, and finish line.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Day 30, 2005: Una Pizza Napoletana (E. Village, NYC)

DAY 30: October 30th
LOCATION: Una Pizza Napoletana (12th St and 1st Ave, NYC)
GUEST(S): Garrett Palm, Kitzi Taylor
ORDER: seven-eighths of an individual margharita pizza

PIZZA REPORT: Splash! Una Pizza Napoletana serves authentic Naples pizza from a wood burning brick oven until "the dough runs out". The dough is the limiting factor and, clearly, the olive oil is not. Each individual pizza is loaded up with all the freshest ingredients then doused with copious amounts of olive oil. The chef himself prides himself on his own special recipe touting the healthy benefits of the oil. I, personally, could have done with less oil. Our pizzas were served uncut, but as soon as I put the knife through the perfectly cooked crust, I realized why. The bread levee had been breached and the olive oil emptied onto my plate. It wasn't long before the whole underside of the pizza was saturated. In order to minimize the onslaught of "the soggies" (thank you, Cap'n Crunch) I began to devour my pizza as quick as possible. It was truly delicious. My favorite part were the ingredients. The fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, superb tomato sauce (albeit light), the unique blend of Italian spices, and even the virgin olive oil nearly made it worth its price tag. By the end, the oil had only rendered one slice of my pie "too soggy to eat". Some patrons really love this style of pizza. Afterall, this is how Una Pizza Napoletana does their pizza. It's unlike any other pizza I have ever had. For that, I admire their creativity and do anticipate going back.
  • Here is the slice claimed by "the soggies"
  • Kitzi and I signed the guest book as we left. For the "address" section we were supposed to comment on the pizza so I put "Soupy...but I'll be back."
  • Garrett Palm and I both have family roots out West and were both raised attending churches that comparably few others attend.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Day 29, 2005: Totonno's Pizzeria (Kips Bay, NYC)

DAY 29: October 29th
LOCATION: Totonno's Pizzeria (2nd Ave and 26th St, NYC)
GUEST(S): Kitzi Taylor
ORDER: 2 slices cheese, 1.5 slices of pepperoni

PIZZA REPORT: Go here for good pizza. Totonno's has its flagship store in Coney Island but there are several around the city that provide a unique alternative to the other coal-fired brick oven pizza places I've visited. My favorite part of this pizza is the crust. It's hot, sturdy, tasty, and aesthetically appealing. It also provides the perfect canvas for the fresh mozzarella cheese, crispy pepperoni, and rich tomato sauce. By the third slice, the richness of the sauce began to slow me down. It's a homemade recipe that may be mixed with some tomato paste to thicken the consistency. The strong tomato-y aftertaste sort of made it more difficult to finish my fourth slice. But, then again, it was my fourth slice! The great beforetaste and outstanding duringtaste more than make up for a tomato-y aftertaste. Totonno's is good.
  • I have been told that the Coney Island Totonno's is the greatest pizza place in the New York City area. Although the logistics of visiting it did not work out this month, I hope to go there in the near future and taste the pizza that made Totonno's famous.
  • Kitzi is amazed at how the price of fruit can be cheaper in New York than in Florida.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Day 28, 2005: Grimaldi's Pizzeria (Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn)

DAY 28: October 28th
LOCATION: Grimaldi's Pizzeria (Fulton St under the Brooklyn Bridge, BROOKLYN)
GUEST(S): Terry Jinn, Kitzi Taylor, Maddy Mako, Jen MacNeil, Tony Carnevale, Matt Pack, Alix Sternberg
ORDER: 3 slices cheese, 1 slice of pepperoni

PIZZA REPORT: The best! Nothing beats Grimaldi's pizza. My favorite part of the pizza is the everything. The pizza is made with the freshest and most flavorful ingredients including fresh mozzarella cheese, spice enhanced tomato sauce from Italy, seemingly hand-picked basil leaves and dough born to hold it all together. My slices were coal fired to perfection (yet again) and somehow managed to meet my astronomically high expectations. In my experience, expecting a lot tends to lead to dissappointment. Not so! at Grimaldi's. Go in expecting the greatest tasting pizza you have ever had and I doubt you will leave unsatisfied. Grimaldi's for president!
  • Jen MacNeil and Maddy Mako walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to get to Grimaldi's. If you haven't done it yet, you should.
  • Kitzi (my mom) and I went to the Whitney Museum of Art before pizza day and after work. This meant we had 20 minutes to tour one of the most fascinating museums in New York City. We saw the Oscar Bluemner exhibit, some Georgia O'Keeffes, a Hopper or two, and a Pollack before sprinting out to Brooklyn. I intend to go back only next time I'll give myself at least a half an hour.
  • Terry Jinn and Tony Carnevale are very punctual people. Maybe it's because they are constantly organizing things. Whatever the reason, punctuality is a good trait!
  • While Maddy Mako was discussing her intention to be a St. Paulie girl for Halloween, Kitzi suggested the possibility as going as the 5 of spades. Apparently the costume is less elaborate; only requiring a pair of black gloves and some black shoes.
  • Matt Pack and Alix Sternberg arrived too late to join us for pizza but came with us to get ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory afterward.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Day 27, 2005: Sal and Carmine (UWS, NYC)

DAY 27: October 27th
LOCATION: Sal and Carmine (102nd St and Broadway, NYC)
GUEST(S): Federico Garduno, Stephen Ruddy, Kitzi Taylor
ORDER: 1 slice cheese, 1 slice of pepperoni

PIZZA REPORT: Nice pizza, not-so-nice cook. Sal and Carmine are the two guys that cook and serve you delicious pizza...but don't expect them to enjoy it! Sal's cold demeanor matched the temperature of the place. We didn't bother taking off our jackets and scarves sitting down in the back. Also, if the temperature doesn't drive you out in a hurry, know that Sal will. After sitting around and chatting for awhile, Sal accosted us and told us we had to leave. He gesticulated weirdly and spouted something about a one hour time limit. We did not see anything posted about store policies and there were more empty seats than occupied...but we gave in to his demands. We left. Being on the receiving end of the ol' "heave-ho" sort of eclipsed the experience of the pizza but it was good pizza. It was hot (and we were not) with spicy sauce and well distributed toppings. A typical New York slice from a stereotypical New Yorker.
  • Kitzi did her stand up comedy debut at You're In...With Sean Taylor.

    Since I did not have the time nor the costume I needed to do a video bit for the show, I instead videotaped Pizza Day #27 and showed it during the show. I intend to compress it and it should be available here.
  • Federico Garduno walks dogs with the Phantom of the Opera.
  • Despite the fact all four of us were born in the Maryland/N. Virginia area, Stephen Ruddy has lived all over the world including Africa. He said snakes roamed (slithered?) freely around his much so that he thinks nothing of them. They freak me out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Day 26, 2005: Brick 33 (Chelsea, NYC)

DAY 26: October 26th
LOCATION: Brick 33 (23rd St and 8th Ave, NYC)
GUEST(S): Pat Baer, Dave Warth
ORDER: 1 slice cheese

PIZZA REPORT: Where's the sauce? I found a little bit of it but not enough. There may have been a sauce shortage today or maybe I was just unlucky. Considering the emphasis I typically put on the sauce I am amazed I still finished this slice of pizza. Since the cheese was pretty standard, by process of elimination I would say my favorite part of the slice was the brick oven crust. Brick 33 crust is bakery fresh and provides the necessary stabilty for the cheese and minute amount of sauce. I want to say what sauce was there was very good but the sample was just too small. Maybe should have gotten the fresh mozzarella slice. It looked pretty good (but also contained very little sauce).
  • Since one is not supposed to "kiss and tell", Dave Warth might not be able to tell you about his most recent improv show. Of course, we had no trouble discussing back tattoos (tramp stamps) in our quick visit to Ricky's after pizza.
  • I met Pat Baer teching an anime show at the UCB Theatre called GirlCrush 2040. Coincidentally, he knows more about teching shows and anime than any one I know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Day 25, 2005: Rocket Joe's (LES, NYC)

DAY 25: October 25th
LOCATION: Rocket Joe's (Delancey St and Essex St, NYC)
GUEST(S): Erik Marcisak, Sara Schaefer, Tony Carnevale, Sean Taylor
ORDER: 1 slice cheese, 1 slice of sausage

PIZZA REPORT: Open sesame...seeds. Ever seen sesame seeds crust? Rocket Joe's has. As a matter of fact, they have on every pizza they make. My favorite part of a slice of pizza from Rocket Joe's is the sesame seed crust. The sesame seeds and crispy dough make for a sturdy foundation for the toppings. The sauce, which tends to make or break a slice in my opinion, is ample and tasty. I preferred it on the cheese because it tasted fresher. I think my sausage slice was created by tossing some sweet sausage (as opposed to spicy sausage) pieces on top of an already cooked cheese slice then reheating it in the oven. Since it was then reheated again when I requested it, the slice endured yet another generation of re-heat-edness leaving it over-reheated. The net affect of over-reheating is crust that is too firm to chew and nearly evaporated sauce. This happened to my slice to some degree but I still liked it though. That sesame seed crust is good.
  • Erik Marcisak's blue and green snowboarding jacket reminded me that I need a new jacket. This black one has survived several pizza months but it may soon need to be retired.
  • Sara Schaefer and Erik Marcisak had just come back from Italy. They were there for Sara's wedding but also got to eat pizza in Italy during pizza month! Here's a photo of Sara and her husband from her wedding.
  • Tony Carnevale prefers to wear his glasses during photos.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Day 24, 2005: De Marco's (W. Village, NYC)

DAY 24: October 24th
LOCATION: De Marco's (Sullivan St and Houston St, NYC)
GUEST(S): Dan McInerney
ORDER: 1 slice Sicilian, 1 slice cheese

PIZZA REPORT: Right on De Marc-o! What a wonderful slice. De Marco's prides themselves on their pizza and with good reason. My favorite part of the pizza is the attention paid to the flavorful sauce. The chef speaks with a thick Italian accent and is very happy to discuss his masterpieces/pizzas even though his broken English somewhat limits the extent of the discussion. I did pick up that he was a professional chef in Italy. He also mentioned he uses two different sauces for the two different styles of pizza. The Sicilian sauce has more basil but he would divulge the specific other spices that go into his sauces (come to think of it, he may have divulged it but I didn't comprehend it). I particularly enjoyed the Neopolitan style slice (triangle). It's a 'not so typical' NY slice. 'NY slice' because you can buy it by the slice in NYC but 'not so typical' because typically you don't have a professional Italian gourmet chef cooking it.
  • I swear I saw Mike Myers talking on a handsfree telephone and smiling. I have no proof except it really looked like him. He really sold me on the handsfree telephone. Usually my hand freezes up when I'm holding the phone to my head and the last thing I can do is smile.
  • Dan McInerney hails from the hamlet of West Islip. That's what they call towns out in Long Island. Also, he saw a fire on the way to lunch. The fire didn't stop him from getting a prop for his sketchshow his groupe Skeeger is performing called GUNBUTT.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Day 23, 2005: Li'l Frankie's (E. Village, NYC)

DAY 23: October 23rd
LOCATION: Li'l Frankie's (1st Ave and Houston St, NYC)
GUEST(S): Nate Shelkey
ORDER: 1 individual pizza margharita

PIZZA REPORT: Good enough for Sophia Coppola, good enough for me. One time when I went to Li'l Frankie's, Sophia Coppola was there and my pizza was delicious. This time, no Sophia, but yes delicious. My favorite part of a Li'l Frankie's pizza is the wood fired brick oven consistency. It leaves the pie crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. I ordered Buffala mozzarella on my margharita instead of the standard mozzarella just because once you've had the cheese made with the milk of a water buffalo, it's hard to go back. The sauce was well distributed and was very well integrated into the water buffalo cheese and basil. Also, the portions were just about perfect. An individual pie is about 16" in diameter and sliced into 6 pieces. It really hits the spot (the "spot" being the empty 8(pi) square inches space in your stomach).
  • In addition to being really funny, Nate Shelkey is a musician ( While discussing the topic of engaging your audience during a concert he informed me of the term "shoe gazing". This is the trend among indie bands that refuse to talk inbetween songs and instead prefer to look straight their shoes.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Day 22, 2005: L&B Spumoni Gardens (Bensonhurst, Brooklyn)

DAY 22: October 22nd
LOCATION: L&B's Spumoni Gardens (86th St and Ave U in Bensonhurst, BROOKLYN)
GUEST(S): Michelle Dobrawsky, Rachel Caruso
ORDER: 1 slice of cheese, 1 slice of Sicilian cheese, 1 slice of Sicilian pepperoni

PIZZA REPORT: Red alert! Tomato sauce red, that is. At L&B Spumoni Garden, the Sicilian style pizza comes with the sauce on top of the cheese. My favorite part of Spumoni Garden pizza was the blend of the sauce with the other toppings on the Sicilian pies (their signature). The fresh mozzarella, Italian spices and parmesan cheese combined with their home made sauce is truly mouth-watering. The pizzas themselves are cooked very thoroughly. This was evidenced in the charred crust around the edges and very sturdy consistency of the underlying crust throughout. I attempted to eat the crust on the edge of the pie but it was just too hard. When I go back, I'll try again. Since it was on the menu, I also ordered a slice of Neopolitan pizza as well. Although the cheese wasn't fresh mozzarella, the sauce more than made up for it. It was a different kind of sauce than what was on the Sicilian but that just means it was a different kind of delicious. If you do go to the dine-in section, however, I do not recommend ordering the Neopolitan style pizza mainly because they bring it to you 10 minutes before anything else you order on a plate. Also, as the waiter makes his way to your table, the other patrons look at you with a I-can't-believe-you-ordered-THAT scorn. Too bad too...because it's good.
  • spumoni is a type of dessert that mixes ice cream with other goodies. That is what the Spumoni garden was named after and had I known this before I posted this journal entry, I would have ordered one. Oh well, I'll be back.
  • Michelle Dobrawsky is a lawyer from Long Island whose accent gets stronger the closer she gets to her home (geographically). The Spumoni Garden is way out in Brooklyn - close enough to her home to detect a difference but still far enough to understand her.
  • Rachel Caruso takes really difficult college courses like anatomy "for fun".
  • I almost went to New Hampshire this weekend. See, today was the homecoming game at Dartmouth College, my alma mater. Even though I graduated over 6 years ago, I have an amazing attendance record at homecoming. It's my annual opportunity to break out my shirt that I only wore to football games as an undergrad. I decided to wear it anyway. Dartmouth beat Columbia 17-6

Friday, October 21, 2005

Day 21, 2005: La Pizza Fresca (Flatiron, NYC)

DAY 21: October 21st
LOCATION: La Pizza Fresca (20th St and Broadway, NYC)
GUEST(S): Terry Jinn, Maddy Mako
ORDER: half of an individual Salame Piccante pizza, one-fourth of an individual Funghi pizza, one-fourth of an individual slice of "La Pizza Fresca"

PIZZA REPORT: Salame La Funghi. We mixed and matched our pizzas to try them all out. All good. My favorite part of La Pizza Fresca's pizza is the ingredients. The sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, toppings, and crust are all extremely high quality. I felt bad not enjoying the high quality olives but I just don't care for olives (this is why the Salame Piccante section had no olives). The mushroom ("funghi") and "La Pizza Fresca" sections of the pizza were a bit soupy. I don't think this was olive related. I say that because I enjoyed the soupiness. I was not expecting it but it tasted good. The experience would be like if you were not aware that Gushers fruit snacks had a liquid center until you bit into it. You're surprised, but pleasantly so. Now imagine being surprised with the delicious combination of cheese, sauce, and olive oil instead of artificially flavored grape. Sounds pretty good, eh? It is. Also, La Pizza Fresca was the first New York Pizzeria to be certified by the Associazione Ver Pizza Napoletana. Of course authentic Neopolitan pizza does have olives.
  • Terry Jinn revolutionized online blogs by taking a photo of a beverage he drank and posting it every day in his "Beverage of the Day" journal (right here on the IRC). Every now and again, IRC journals exist at the same time. This has been dubbed a "crossover". Today's dinner date marked the 4th annual pizza journal/beverage journal crossover (2002200320042005). The crossover wouldn't be complete without a beverage. I tried to get Terry something he hadn't featured before but all I could come up with some fruit punch juiceboxes. Here he is with them.
  • Maddy Mako and I both answer the phone while we're driving...but neither of us are any good at it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Day 20, 2005: Anacona's (Valley Stream, NY)

DAY 20: October 20th
LOCATION: Anacona's (Valley Stream, L.I.) eaten at the Magnet Theatre (29th St and 8th Ave, NYC)
GUEST(S): Matt Shafeek
ORDER: 1 slice of Grandma's

PIZZA REPORT: Cold yet cooked and crispy. My favorite part of Anacona's grandma slice was the consistency. It seems that most Sicilian pies are very doughy. The result is a very chewy slice that makes you wonder if it's fully cooked or not. Anacona's was fully cooked and even crunchy. The fresh mozzarella cheese was also cooked thoroughly and really meshed well with the tomato sauce. The size of the slice was gigantic also. Since Matt brought the slice in from Valley Stream, Long Island, the temperature of the slice was not too hot, but every other aspect of it more than made up for it. If you live in or around Valley Stream, get it fresh out of the oven because this is one hot Sicilian grandma you won't want to miss.
  • Matt Shafeek loves is pizza place and wanted to share the experience with others. So much so, that he bought two large pizzas from his local pizzeria in Valley Stream, LI and drove them all the way into the city to the Magnet Theatre for everyone to enjoy. While supplies lasted, Matt shared his pizza with anyone in around the theatre for our level four ensemble performance. The name of our team is Pax Romana which means "The Roman Peace" and considering pizza is Italian, the name never seemed more appropriate.
  • In general, I prefer eating pizza cold than reheating it...and I'm not alone. Armando Diaz, our director, mentioned that there is a chemical reaction in tomato sauce that enables it to get better with age. Speaking of Armando Diaz, in a recent episode of CSI there was a character named "Armando Diaz" and his name was mentioned repeatedly. It was awesome! So, if you write screenplays, tv shows, books, or anything else involving characters, do me (and yourself) a favor and use the name "Armando Diaz" in it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Day 19, 2005: MichaelAngelo's II (Astoria, Queens)

DAY 19: October 19th
LOCATION: MichaelAngelo's II (23rd Ave and 29th St in Astoria, QUEENS)
GUEST(S): Andy Butterworth, Linda Fessenden, Matt Koff, Jordan Cooper
ORDER: 1 slice of MichaelAngelo's Masterpiece, 2 slices of Sophia Loren

PIZZA REPORT: Wanna piece of Sophia Loren? I know my dad does. After eating the pizza at MichaelAngelo's, I am starting to see why. Delicious. The fresh mozzarella cheese is very well distributed and plentiful. In addition, the tomatoes were sliced so microscopically thin that they practically melted in my mouth. I also liked the sauce, basil, and hint of garlic in each bite as well. I really liked my pieces of Sophia Loren. The MichaelAngelo's Masterpiece, on the other hand, was loaded with onions and green vegetables. There was not enough sauce in proportion to the toppings (there may not have been any sauce at all). It tasted ok but I was not too keen on pursuing a second slice. MichaelAngelo's II signature is their thin crust. This was evident on the menu and the neon lights in the storefront. They pride themselves on their thin crust and don't blame them. It was my favorite part of the pizza. The crust was crepe-like (according to Matt and supported by Andy and my recent Google image search). It was amazing that the crust was so thin yet structurally sound enough to support all of the toppings on both MichaelAngelo's Masterpiece and the Sophia Loren. The only drawback is the thinness of the pie means you can pretty much take down a large Sophia Loren all by yourself.
  • Jordan Cooper is Queens born and raised and has an ability to make a 20 minute drive take an hour. I must thank him for recommending I look into Tom Green's blog. I was always a fan of Tom Green's show and I find Tom Green's blog absolutely hilarious. Tom recently purchased a parrot and frequently posts about the parrot with the parrot.
  • Matt Koff is a true winner. Even while at dinner he couldn't stop his winning ways. We all ordered coke products but only Matt's bottle cap entitled him to a free coke. Here he is celebrating his most recent win.
  • Andy Butterworth is the first person I knew that listened to music using the spark plug head phones. Those are the ear bud type that have form-fitting cushions that virtually block out all ambient sound. I recently invested in a pair and they really work. The flipside is that they are not the type of headphones that you can let someone else borrow. Also, when I wear them, they work so well at blocking out all other noise that I walk around paranoid I'm going to get jumped from behind.
  • Linda Fessenden won me over yet again. Not only is she one of the most sincere and nice people you could meet but she made me cookies! They are really good too. There are two different types; hermits (cookies with golden raisins and walnuts in them) and chocolate chip (which are my favorite).
  • At the beginning of pizza month, Lauren Hunter suggested I go to MichaelAngelo's and coincidently, she walked by while we were waiting to go inside. She was unable to join us but recommended the MichaelAngelo Masterpiece pizza. Oh well, different stroke for different folks. Here she is.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Day 18, 2005: Naples 45 (Midtown, NYC)

DAY 18: October 18th
LOCATION: Naples 45 (45 St and Vanderbilt Ave, NYC)
GUEST(S): Jenni Cramer, Ginny Bloom, Colin Gilroy
ORDER: 2 slices of Margharita

PIZZA REPORT: Naples certified! According to the menu, this pizza is the real deal. The sauce is Neopolitan, the oven is Neopolitan, the cheese is Neopolitan and the ice cream is Gelato. Naples 45; this place is aptly named (the "45" is for 45th St...I think). My favorite part is the sauce that tastes so fresh you swear they pulverized the tomatoes seconds before it's placed on their wood fired crust. Speaking of which, the crust (about 30% of the pie) smells and feels like it came hot out of a bakery oven. Due to the thinness and deliciousness of authentic Naples 45 pizza, remember to order a lot of it. I suggest one large per every two people. Also, it's not cheap but, then again, imports rarely are.

  • I think Colin speaks Italian! If he doesn't, he sure does fake it well.
  • Ginny Bloom, who bears a striking resemblance to Natalie Portman, made an appearance on tonight's episode of THE AMAZING RACE.
  • Most people go their entire life without being maced. Jenni Cramer is not so lucky. She has been maced on two separate occasions.
  • All three of my dinnermates had siblings, but all younger. They were their family's role models. I was second born in my family so the responsibility of 'role model' fell on my brother. My "role model" one time bought two extremely powerful magnets off the internet because he wanted to make a frog levitate. This one time was 3 days ago. Last I heard, these magnets had permanently affixed themselves (in the box they came in) to the metal lining in his bath tub. Number of frogs

Monday, October 17, 2005

Day 17, 2005: Lazzara's Pizza (Midtown, NYC)

DAY 17: October 17th
LOCATION: Lazzara's Pizza (38th St and 7th Ave, NYC)
GUEST(S): Silvija Ozols, Kevin Cragg
ORDER: 2 slices of Margharita, 1 slice of Pepperoni

PIZZA REPORT: Tangy tomato trays. The last time I had pizza cooked on a cookie sheet, I was at lunch in my high school in Florida. I liked it there and then but I love it here and now. Lazzara's pizza is made with premium ingredients on a uniquely solid crust in a very hot oven (unlike my high school's ingredients, crust and oven). My favorite part of Lazzara's pizza is the sauce. It tasted a lot more tomato-y than other pizza sauce but I welcomed the change. I was amazed at how stiff the crust remained under the strain of the thick sauce and heavy toppings. The pepperoni slice had shredded spicy pepperoni which really mixed well with the tangy sauce. The Margharita slices had fresh mozzarella cheese which I love and thinly sliced tomatoes which I like (in moderation). Since each slice of the Margharita had about two sliced tomatoes, I achieved this moderation by just picking one off. Although I love the taste of tomato sauce, I have not yet adjusted to the weight and juiciness of an actual sliced tomato as a topping.
  • Silvija Ozols knows Latvian dance and uses a gigantic foam finger to cheer on the New York Mets. I'm proud to say that I was there when she got the foam finger and although it didn't work against the Diamondbacks, I am told it does work against Colorado!
  • Kevin Cragg's knees are feeling better and he has the urge to get back on the ice even though it's likely that is where he hurt them. I don't blame him though. I blame hockey fever.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Day 16, 2005: Papa John's (Astoria, Queens)

DAY 16: October 16th
LOCATION: Papa John's (Cresent St and Hoyt Ave in Astoria, QUEENS)
GUEST(S): Andy Butterworth
ORDER: 6 slices of pepperoni, 1 slice of cheese

PIZZA REPORT: Is it possible to sleep in, order two large pizzas in the early afternoon, then eat nothing but pizza the entire day? The answer is "yes". Over the course of 7 hours, I had 7 slices of Papa John's pizza and don't regret a thing. My favorite part of Papa John's pizza is the sauce. Even as the condition of the pizza approached STP (standard temperature and pressure) the sauce retained it's D (deliciousness). I used to work at Papa John's and I have always been a fan of their sauce blend. It's sweeter than the typical pizza sauce. I was also amazed at the consistency of the crust. It was spongy when it was hot and it was spongy 7 hours later. "Spongy" in a good way. Papa John's is a ubiquitous chain so it comes as no surprise that the cheese was rather bland in that 'mass-produced' sort of way. That said, the sauce, crust, and pepperoni more than made up for it. The pizza was also very aesthetically appealing. It really looked like the posters of the pizza in the store. There were no red edges, no center-loading, nor any pinches in the crust. This lends credence to the old Papa John's motto, "the perfect pizza at the Perfect Price." That was the motto when I worked at Papa John's (in Valrico, FL). Of course, they have changed it in the last decade. The current motto is "Better Pizza, Better Price" which still involves the words "pizza" and "price" and I must say that it was better than nothing, which is the only thing else I had to eat today.
  • Andy Butterworth and I watched baseball all day. Postseason baseball is amazing despite the fact that both of our favorite teams (Red Sox for Andy, Mets for me) are no longer playing. Andy introduced me to Paul Newman's Green Mountain coffee. It was tasty and really got me up and going to be nice and alert to do nothing all day.
  • I shouldn't say I did "nothing". After all, I called my mom. Oh, and also I played Unreal Tournament 2004 with my brother. He is a doctor with a wife and two kids so the only time I spend with him is playing first person shooter computer games. Fortunately, we do this 3-4 times a week. We aren't bad either. He tends to defend the base while I am tasked with capturing the flag. We were not so successful tonight. 12 year olds kept calling me a "noob" (derogatory term for a "newbie"). I have a thick skin though.
  • Yes, that is a life size pikachu pillow behind me on the couch. Also, if you look closely, you can see the framed embroidered pizza slice Erika Kern made me at the end of Pizza Month '04 last year. Isn't that cool?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Day 15, 2005: Joe and Pat's (Staten Island, NY)

DAY 15: October 15th
LOCATION: Joe and Pat's Restaurant and Pizzeria (1758 Victory Blvd near Manor Rd, STATEN ISLAND)
GUEST(S): Angela Demanti
ORDER: 3 slices of cheese

PIZZA REPORT: Sauce-y! My favorite part of this pizza was the sauce. Lucky for me (and Angela and everyone else who eats here) the homemade sauce goes all the way out to the edge of the crust. And the crust is delicious as well. Their thin and crispy crust is cooked to perfection in a gas-powered convection oven. The mozzarella cheese is cut into cubes and scattered about the pie producing small exquisitely melted cheese patches. The combination of the homemade sauce, cheese patches, and the thin crust was worth the trip to Staten Island.
  • What was the trip to Staten Island? Well, first it started with a train ride from my apartment in Queens to what would normally be the ferry terminal but due to weekend construction only brought me to Canal St. From here there was a transfer to the 6 to Brooklyn Bridge then a transfer to the 4 to ferry, which I just missed. Eventually, I boarded the ferry and 30 minutes later I was in Staten Island, where I met Angela. A hop, skip, and a jump and a 20 minute bus ride later, we were at Joe and Pat's Pizzeria. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day and if you haven't been on the ferry or in Staten Island on a nice day, I highly recommend it.
  • After the pizza, I realized how contagiously polite Angela Demanti is. She thanks the bus driver in such a way that each and every passenger after her follows suit. I wonder if the bus driver had ever been thanked that much. I was amazed. Angela credits her upbringing but regarding bus driver thankyous, she said in Ireland 'not' thanking a bus driver is viewed as an insult.
  • Speaking of Angela's family, if you ever want to see a photo of her and her two sisters, just ask her. She carries photos of them with her everywhere she goes. Angela also has a photo of a gigantic snowman.
  • When I was talking to one of the cooks at Joe and Pat's about pizza specifics, he mentioned that I should vote for the store on Life dot com. I went to the site and sure enough, there is a battle of the boroughs for the quest for the best slice in New York City. Vote for your favorite here...