Extra extra: more summer pizzadventures!

I promised the remainder of my summer pizzadventures yesterday, and by golly, I’m going to keep that promise.

I had almost forgotten about my lunchtime trip to Lazzara’s in midtown New York. Lazzara’s is probably one of your best bets for legitimate pizza in the midtown area, and by and large, it didn’t disappoint. Their pies are thin and rectangular; pictured above is the margherita in a half-pie size (perfect for one person if you’re usually starving by lunchtime, like me). The place was packed and we sat at the bar; service was pretty quick. Sprinkled with sliced basil and whole tomatoes, it’s a bit messy (and I’m not a fan of whole tomatoes), but apart from that and the slightly burned crust it was a satisfying bite.

Angelina’s Fireshack & Pizzeria in New Hyde Park on Long Island boasts Man vs. Food-esque food challenges and quirk-ily titled dishes. We ordered two pies; the Grandpa, pictured above (mozzarella cheese, onions, seasoned bread crumbs and marinara sauce) and the Desi, pictured below ( baked Tandoori chicken, basmati rice, cilantro and mozzarella cheese). The toppings seem to be the real focus here, and on both pies they really excelled. The Grandpa pie was salty, full of tomato flavor and punctuated by crunchy breadcrumbs.

The Desi was creamy and full of mild, spicy Indian flavors. Between the rice and large chunks of chicken, it’s basically a meal on a pie. It’s heavy and VERY filling –  we both could have easily filled up on one small pie. The toppings really shone and the crust honestly just seemed to get in the way; it was roughly chewy and didn’t add anything to the full variety of flavors offered by the chicken, rice, and cilantro.

This summer I also tried two more slices at Sullivan Street Bakery. Excuse the crappy photo, I snapped this mid-consumption on the street as I stuffed my face like a starving lunatic. Above is the potato slice, which was like eating the most satisfyingly oily, mushy yet crisp hash browns (onions included) you’ve ever had on top of the crispiest, most flavorful bread you’ve ever had. I told myself I’d only eat half but I could. not. stop. The slice is seasoned with the perfect amounts of salt and pepper (and apparently rosemary according to this photo, but as a rosemary-hater I can tell you it wasn’t very detectable).

As for the other slice… well, this is all the evidence that remains -an oily bread bag (half was eaten in the middle of a bar – shameless – and the other half immediately as I sat down on the train home). It was the pizza bianca, which if you’re really cutting it down to the simplest terms, is a slice of pizza dough with olive oil and sea salt. No sauce, no cheese; just the most basic elements. It’s as if you were at a restaurant and plucked the most perfect slice of bread from the bread basket, dipped it in olive oil, and sprinkled on some salt. All of these elements are there, in perfect ratios, and only slightly less messy to consume.

Lazzara’s Pizza: 221 West 38th Street, New York, NY; http://lazzaraspizza.com

Angelina’s Fireshack & Pizzeria: 1302 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, NY; http://angelinasfireshack.com (they appear to have 2 websites – I just picked one)

Sullivan Street Bakery: 533 West 47th Street, New York, NY; http://www.sullivanstreetbakery.com/

Until next bite! xox

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PizzArte brings the Italia

For Scott’s birthday dinner, we visited PizzArte, a Neapolitan joint located in midtown (good pizza in midtown? I was just as surprised!).

PizzArte is a two-level establishment that functions as both an art gallery AND a restaurant (supposedly you can buy any of the art displayed). The inside has a really cool vibe and both the food and the staff scream authentic Italian, if my memory serves me correctly!

We started with the frittura all’italiana, which was a sampling of potato croquette, rice ball, fried dough with tomato sauce, and zucchini fries. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo before diving into it, but it was a fabulous starter that was delectably filling but light at the same time. We ordered the serving for one ($11) and just split everything in half.

Since we ordered an appetizer first, we chose to get only one pie, which was the Verace ($16): San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and basil. The basil appeared to be cooked with the pie (rather than added on after) and was slightly dulled by this but still left an excellent bite (I should mention I could smell the basil while waiting outside the restaurant – always a good sign to me!).

The mozzarella was thick and creamy, but didn’t have any stringiness to it and therefore came off in chunks when you bit into it. The pie was a bit oily (clearly sprinkled with olive oil, as you can see above), and the sauce was smooth but much sweeter than similar Neapolitan pie sauces I’ve had.

The crust was nicely charred, lending a smokiness to the sauce on top of the sweetness. Despite the style of the pie, the crust remained strong enough to not completely flop under the weight of the sauce & cheese (except in the very center, which is to be expected). It definitely wasn’t as difficult or messy to eat as other Neapolitan pies I’ve had (like Via Tribunali’s); I was impressed with how much structure there was to the crust. The cornicione (new vocab word! it’s the end of the crust) was chewy and puffy.

I’d definitely recommend PizzArte to anyone, especially in the pizza-barren (ahem, GOOD pizza-barren) midtown area. Perfect for a bite if you’re near Times Square, the south end of Central Park, or Rockefeller Center. I didn’t try any of the other dishes, but they also offer meat and pasta options.

PizzArte

69 W 55th Street, New York, NY 10019

http://www.pizzarteny.com/

“Meh”: New York Pizza Suprema

I work in Midtown Manhattan, and though it’s the tourist mecca, I’ve actually found it’s pretty slim pickings for good food, especially pizza. Most things worth trying are too far to travel during my “lunch hour.” Therefore, I was pretty excited that there were a few places nearby deemed worthy; one being New York Pizza Suprema on 8th Avenue & 31st Street, only blocks away from my office.

I went around 1pm, so it was crowded for lunch. It’s right by Penn Station and it seems to get a pretty good crowd from there as well (though I’m technically one of them, so I can’t complain… or can I?). After shouting my order through a glass case way taller than my body, I was made to repeat my order multiple times – to the cashier, to the guy taking it out from the oven – which annoys me, but whatever. Their red & white striped outfits were ADORABLE.

I was planning on just getting the renowned upside-down slice (left), but I can’t turn down a margherita slice, so I ordered both. At $3.00 and $3.75 a slice, respectively, they were a bit more than I’d like to pay for two slices, but HEY, IT’S NYC! (A reasoning for charging more that I find to be absolutely bullshit).

I first tackled the upside-down slice, which is essentially a Sicilian slice with sauce on top. Here’s one good reason to favor places that refuse to sell by-the-slice: your pizza will be fresh. If you’re ordering a whole pie, they’re making it for you then. At a place like Pizza Suprema, they have multiple (maybe around 10-15) different pizzas sitting around waiting to be served, and it was obvious that my chosen slice had been there for quite some time.

Though they reheated it, my crust was more than burnt. I’m a lover of char, but this was so hard, not even crisp, that it kind of ruined things for me. I didn’t even want to eat my pizza bones – they were barely edible! I found this on the margherita slice, too – the crust was cooked for far too long that it became overly chewy and even hollow. This could be attributed to their lunchtime rush, I suppose – though it’s not really a reason to abandon quality. They probably left it reheating too long, as well – if you didn’t remind them of what you ordered and to take it out, you would have stood there waiting forever.

HOWEVER, the sauce on both pies was impeccable. If their sign is to believed, they actually use 4 different sauces (at once?). Big chunks of tomato, plenty of seasoning. The cheese and sauce essentially blended together on the upside-down pie, and were it not for the petrified crust it would have been completely enjoyable.

The sauce on the margherita slice was extremely sweet, which for once I have to say I didn’t mind. Crispy, thin crust – much better until I got to the edge (pictured above). It was even good cold – I got a bit stuffed eating so much at once; those bready Sicilian-style pies fill you up!

I did find it a bit over-seasoned and also overcooked so the cheese wasn’t as stringy as it probably should have been. Nevertheless, it was a decent slice, though their plain cheese slices looked the best – perhaps next time. I guess that in the land of dollar slices and tourist trap chains, sometimes the best you can ask for is “good enough.” :(

New York Pizza Suprema

413 8th Avenue,  New York, NY 10001

http://nypizzasuprema.com/