Friday, October 30, 2009

Caesar's Palace Pizza: "The noble Brutus hath told you that Caesar was ambitious."

Slice Harvester reader Chek215, whom you may recall from the comments section of UUWSPP1, will be happy with this post because I can't imagine it being very interesting. However, if it's sort of good but ultimately not all that memorable, it will be a fitting tribute to Caesar's Palace Pizza, and there's something poetic about your experience reading this text directly mirroring my experience eating the slice I am discussing.

I wondered, looking at the name of this place, whether or not it is Caesar's Palace / Pizza, like the casino, or Caesar's / Palace Pizza, like Ruth's Chris Steak House. There's no way to tell, really, but I imagine it's the latter and someone was trying to cash in on the street cred of Palace Pizza in Inwood by naming their spot something similar.

Either way! Me and Carrie-Anne got a slice of pizza here. It was $2.75, and didn't smell nearly as good as World Famous before it, but it tasted much better.

My first bite of this slice inexplicably tasted like Cheetos. Go figure. No future bites tasted remotely snack-foodish, and instead just tasted like decent pizza. This slice had GREAT ratios, was decently cooked and had delicious sauce. The dough, however, was BLAND, leaving the crust totally flavorless, and the cheese wasn't so good, a problem which was exacerbated by the fact that there was too much of it.

The best thing about eating pizza here was when Scott and Rudi came loping in and sat at our table and both started talking really fast about a bunch of crap. Those two are some of my favorite people on the planet.

Caesar's Palace Pizza
493 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Famous Pizza & Restaurant: "Something something blah blah blah."

Yesterday my friend Carrie-Anne came by and we headed back up to the UWS to meet up with Rudi "Peeboner" Munroe and Scott Wilkes Youth and eat some damn slices. After an uneventful subway ride where we discussed doing drugs as teenagers and the necessity to keep duck lard in any proper kitchen, we got out of the train into a slight drizzle (there were no Florida residents to blame for it this time), and CA presented me with a rather perplexing gift.

Unlike many of my crustier brethren, I have not traveled to the far reaches of Latin America and as such am unfamiliar with candies from the Andes. (Note: I have no definitive evidence that this chicken flavored lollipop is from the aforesaid mountains, but COULD NOT resist making the corny dad-rhyme, possibly because I was hanging out with my own father earlier, who, for the record, is an excellent guy.) I'm sure there's something inherently fucked up and colonial about being entertained by other culture's weird foods, but sometimes I feel compelled to throw caution to the wind and flaunt convention. Although being culturally insensitive/mildly xenophobuc is probably more like perpetuating convention since our Sick Fucking Society wants to make everyone a CLONE, MAN! Can you hear me Mr. Abercrombie Starbucks McMurder?! You're a sheep! You and everyone like you are all sheep and you wanna know who the shepherd is, man? It's greed, bro. Ever heard of it? Get back to me when you learn how to run that Hummer with tears, because this bicycle is powered by a smug sense of self-satisfaction.

Where was I? Oh yeah, chicken-flavored lollipop. Totally weird. It looks just like a miniature of the awesome rotisserie chickens they sell at the place down the block from me that are so tender when you eat one you feel like Top Cat when he sticks the whole fish in his mouth and pulls out just the skeleton. The weirdest thing, though, was that the chicken flavored lollipop had no chicken in the ingredients. In fact the only ingredients were Chili Powder, Lemon Extract, High Fructose Corn Syrup. So now we have a Chili Powder flavored lollipop, shaped like a chicken, that tasted like chemicals. Make me one with cane sugar and I'll eat them all day.

Anyway, as me and Carrie-Anne sucked our respective cocks, we strolled along 86th street until we discovered World Famous Pizza & Restaurant.

As soon as we walked in, I was overwhelmed by the wonderful aroma of awesome pizza. So I excitedly paid my $2.50 and headed for a table.

Looks pretty solid, no? Well it's not, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. Good things first: this slice had an excellent crunch, and the sauce tasted great. But the dough needed salt, and even when sauce is good, no one ever needs this much of it. And the whole slice was loaded with cheap, gnarly cheese that got all clumped up. That thing happened where the dough wasn't cooked all the way, too. So like, it was nice and crunchy on the bottom, but the top part was still translucent and raw. I have no problem with that in and of itself, but what it led to the bites of pizza turning into this weird gooey paste in my mouth. It was totally gross and I did not like the sensation. The goo situation was exacerbated by the overabundance of cheese and sauce, and frankly, I would hypothesize that the over-saucing is what led to the dough problem in the first place.

Overall, I wanted to like this slice for some reason, even though it kind of sucked. Or, I should say, I liked something about it, even though it sucked. I think it may have just been the fact that it was something warm and soft to eat on a cold, rainy day. Carrie-Anne said, "I like this the way I like Spaghetti-O's." Which I think was a very astute and succinct way of saying what I was about to say: this slice was kind of gross, but I found it comforting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Unnexceptional Upper West Side Pizza Part 1

Daniello's - $2.50
70 W 95th St
New York, NY 10025

This place was the best of these three by far, though as you'll soon see, that doesn't mean much. The cheese and the crust on this dude were fine, but there was a distinct lack of sauce. I'm pretty sure I mentioned my preference for understated sauce in a previous post. The kind of sauce that one doesn't necessarily notice as present, but would notice if it was missing. Well, we all definitely noticed that the sauce was missing on this guy. To top this off, the slice was slightly burnt and it tasted like oven cleaner. The final slap in the face with Daniello's was that the bathroom was out of order and two of the three of us had to deuce.


Mike's Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen - $3.27
656 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10025

I just found out from the internet that this place is Kosher, which explains a lot. I forgot to take a picture of the outside of Mike's because it was POURING. Either way, check this slice out:

I have cooked at a catering company for years, and one of the notorious "tricks of the trade" (aka totally bullshit practices that don't fool anyone), is that if something comes out fucked up or wrong, it can be fixed by sprinkling a handful of chives on it. Mike's seems to have taken that approach with their pizza. It was burnt to hell, had too much cheese and the sauce was too sweet. They did have a spacious, comfortable and warm bathroom, though, where I took a leisurely dump and updated my facebook status to "poopin'."


Perfecto Pizza - $2.50
2479 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

Half pizza-place, half sit-down Greek restaurant. Maybe the philo pastries are good, but the pizza sucks. Too sweet, and too much cornmeal, though the dough is a decent texture. Says Caroline: "Get this taste out of my mouth as quickly as possible.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheesy Pizza: "This slice of pizza tastes like a mozzarella stick."

Cheesy Pizza. This place is so complex looking. Street level, it has the most hideous awning. I don't like it one bit.

Cheesy Pizza is a stupid name. I can't stand that cartoonish pizzaman picture. The whole thing looks too clean and new. But then, glance up a little, and there is the most beautiful old sign. The kind of shit that gets torn down in New York too quickly because there's money in development and new architecture, but is still around in podunk towns like Providence or Detroit.

That sign is beautiful, and made me think that maybe this place had been here for decades and they just put up a crappy new awning in the past couple of years. So entering the Cheesy Pizza, I was hopeful.

And then I got inside and it looked like a damn fried food store, total Crown Fried Chicken aesthetic. And the slice looked like it could totally go either way.

The tip looks downright shitty. The chunky cheese with the sauce poking through looked like it was afflicted with some flesh eating bacterial virus. But then up towards the base it looked fantastic. More cheese than I like, but duh, the place is called "Cheesy Pizza." Cheesiness taken into account, the colors up towards the top look great. The slightly browned top of the cheese seemed promising.

But at the end of the day, this is not a very good slice of pizza. Maybe if I was on tour or out riding trains and got this slice in Duluth or Tacoma I'd be excited, but this is New York City, and there is a standard everyone is expected to achieve. The ingredients were pretty low quality, which didn't help anything, the sauce was too sweet in that really chemically way, and despite the way that cheese looked up top, the texture was not so great. And the crust tasted good, but the texture was like the bread from Pizza Hut.

Whatever, this place might be good one day, and it might've been good once, but it's not good right now.

Cheesy Pizza
2640 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cafe Viva Natural Pizza: "I am full of so much righteous anger writing this right now!"

In my post about Mama's, I already discussed the sweet, succulent irony of eating copious amounts of pizza with Caroline Paquita, my primary medical resource (today, for instance, I was sick and she brought me over a mullein, yarrow, nettle and elderberry tincture. Big ups, girl!), but what was previously a thin single layer of irony, we'll call it a Matzoh of Irony, was transformed into a veritable Baklava of Irony, (a delicate, many layered treat) when we went to Cafe Viva, an organic pizzeria.

Now, I am a total wingnut and eat all kinds of weird things. I brew my own kombucha, I'm trying to learn a bunch of home fermenting, I drink tinctures and chew roots and shit like a motherfucker. I do these things because they make my body feel good. However, so does eating a Mr. Goodbar or a canoli every now and again. And while a Mr. Goodbar or canoli would probably be improved with the addition of higher quality organic ingredients, pizza is something that is never going to be exceptionally good for you, and it seems like a bunch of bullshit to try and make it so. This is just a totally ridiculous West Coast yuppie, consumer-culture, Buy Green! bumpersticker, I Vote with my Dollars, half-assed way for tepid liberals to placate their consciences and still "indulge." Fuck all that. First of all, while "buying green" is cool and the fact that it's now a yuppie status symbol to use your own grocery bags is kind of awesome, it's not addressing the larger issues of how our culture of consumption and the general social norms are unhealthy for people's minds and for the planet. Secondly, you can be totally healthy and sometimes eat unhealthy things! We live in a world rife with grey areas. It's not like you have to either eat only quinoa and keefer or Big Macs and Cokes. You can totally be some weird ass yoga hippy and still have a slice of goddamn pizza every now and again. And this brings us to our third reason everything about this place is bullshit: the pizza sucks! If you're gonna "indulge" in some shit, shouldn't it actually be good? Some people need to learn how to fucking live right, is all I'm saying.

Good things first: the sauce was phenomenal. I say go organic all the way when it comes to vegetables products! Tasted great. The cheese tasted like crap, though, and so did the dough. And the texture was one of the worst Pizza in a Cup-ass, soupy, mushy, Pizza puree travesties ever inflicted upon my poor, pathetic palette. I said it already, but this pretend healthy, Amy's Organic style living is for the birds. Just eat pizza one day and the next day eat some fresh kale and barley. Don't ruin your healthy food and your junk food by trying to combine them.

Man, sorry to get so vitriolic, y'all, but I am very passionate about pizza.

Cafe Viva Natural Pizza
2578 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

Sal and Carmine's: "I doubt I have much to say about this one that you haven't heard before."

I've been to Sal and Carmine's twice now for Slice Harvester. A few weeks ago it was the last pizzeria I visited with my fast friend Johnny Dress Pants, formerly Johnny No Pants, but his fashion sense has changed now that he's an old man. (Happy Birthday, asshole!) Sadly, John and I were so enamored with each other's company that we didn't really pay much attention to the fantastic slice. And I'll tell you, it's gotta be a pretty excellent hangout/reunion to distract me from the incredible slice at S and C's.

For those uninitiated, the nondescript awning above houses one of the best slices of pizza in New York. While the $3.00 price seems steep for a regular slice, I will vouch that it's totally worth it, and I'm a cheap piece of shit. Anyway, last week I returned to Sal and Carmine's with Caroline and Mikey and we indulged ourselves in a superior slice.

Fuck. The thing about this slice is that the ingredients are all incredible. The dough is impeccable. It tastes incredible and is always cooked perfectly. They didn't even throw my slice back in the oven and it was perfectly crisp on the bottom. The ratios are a dream. Just the right amount of bread::sauce::cheese. And the flavors are great. The aged mozzarella really tastes like CHEESE, which shouldn't be special, but these days is totally a rarity. The sauce is delicious and rich, more flavorful than I prefer, but it works so well on this slice. And the crust! The crust is a dream come true. Crispy on the outside, tender and soft on the inside, with just a hint of salt. It's unstoppable. This is a great slice for a cold, rainy day. It really fills you up with that sweet food-warmth that only good grub can, the kind that starts at your belly and slowly spreads out over your whole body.

This slice is a little richer than I'd want to eat on a regular basis, but whenever I'm in the neighborhood, it's a treat I love to indulge. It's refreshing to know that in the current climate of Gourmet Gruel and Hundred-Dollar Hamburgers there are still people out there who continue to make simple foods simply, but artfully. This isn't an anti-intellectual tirade, and I'm not railing about complexity or toying with tradition. But it's so easy to get caught up in trying to make everything new and incredible, that one can easily forget about the basics. I harp on this notion all the time, but the most elementary seeming things can be the hardest to perfect. Pizza is a great example and Sal and Carmine's have come damn close.

Sal and Carmine's
2671 Broadway
New York NY 10025

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Broadway Pizza & Restaurant: "Like most things in life, this slice started out with promise but ultimately let me down."

After the nearly delicious experience at Mama's, Caroline, Mike and I trudged out into the rain and over to Broadway Pizza & Restaurant.

It's a decent looking place on the outside, though I felt a little claustrophobic in there. It was really narrow and cramped with boxes and shit. While I oftentimes enjoy the intimate experience of a tiny pizzeria (Rap Pizza, for instance, doesn't even have any tables, but it kind of rules in there), Broadway Pizza didn't feel intimate, it felt cramped. Like maybe a tomato can was gonna fall on my head like that lady who got mushed by a pallet of 2x4s at Home Depot a few years ago. But for $2.50, they serve up what might be a decent looking slice.

Here's why I say "might be decent looking," because I looked at that slice and thought it looked like crap, but I'm a good actor and didn't let on to Mikey and Caroline that I had already made a judgment. Much to my surprise, when I brought this slice to the table, my pizza pals were totally delighted with it. To me, this slice looks too wide, right off the bat I don't love the shape of it. Let's get less equilateral and way more isosceles, okay? Secondly, the colors were all off and the cheese looked bad. I thought this slice was going to be a soggy, wet mess. Luckily for everyone, I was only partially wrong.

This slice actually seemed initially promising. Since I know that I'm a total asshole, I thought maybe I had judged this slice incorrectly and approached my first bite with an open mind. While it lacked that dreamy texture I crave, it certainly tasted good! And despite the slice's over-wideness and over-thinness, it seemed to maintain a certain amount of structural integrity-a crucial element to the perfect slice. The structural integrity is like Deedee's basslines on a Ramones song, it holds everything together. (In case you were wondering Joey's singing is the sauce-sweet, but containing a hint of worldly bitterness, and Johnny's guitar playing is the cheese-you know it comes from somewhere kind of gross but ultimately it's perfect. The two kinds of good crust are Marky and Tommy's drumming, I'm not sure which is which yet. Richie is totally unimportant to this analogy, as is Ceejay. A slice that burns the roof of your mouth but was totally worth it is the time that Phil Spector held the Ramones at gunpoint during the recording of End of the Century. Actually a slice that burns the roof of your mouth but rules is the time when Johnny stole Joey's girlfriend and Joey was so hurt but ultimately he wrote The KKK Took My Baby Away so, it kind of makes it all okay. The time when Phil Spector held the Ramones at gunpoint is when you are at the bar and the guy who owns the pizzeria in your neighborhood corners you and then tries to get you to do coke with him in the bathroom.) Where was I? Oh, this slice. It seemed okay, okay? But then everyone noticed this weird taste in our mouths. The unmistakable, chemical after-taste of cheap cheese. BOOOO! And then the slice started to fall apart. And then the crust was totally way too dense and sucked. Whatever, ultimately this slice was a bummer, but I got to talk about the Ramones, so that's cool at least.

Broadway Pizza & Restaurant
2709 Broadway
New York, NY 10025


In other news, recurring character and official Pizzateer, Jordan DeVylder reported to me that last night he had a slice at Como Pizza that they forgot about in the oven for longer than they meant to and it was PERFECT. So keep that in mind. Maybe I will return there.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mama's Pizzeria: "It's like I'm at my mom's house-the toilet paper is softer than at my apartment and there's some old lady yelling the whole time."

I went pizza eating this past week with my friends Caroline Paquita and Mikey Hotsauce. Caroline is my nutritionist, herbalist and general medical practitioner, so the irony of her joining me to eat a gratuitous amount of pizza is as thick and sumptuous as the cheese on a slice from Tom's Delicious. (Mike is a totally rad pal who has no personal investment in my health beyond the universal desire that one's friends not be sickly, so the irony of his accompanying us is non-existent, like my book deal.) Caroline and Mike have some things in common besides being friends with me (and they were friends with each other first, anyway). For one thing, they both make cool art. For another, they are both Master Bassers and play in bands I'm fond of. And finally, they're both from Florida. And you know what I realized, when we all stepped out of the subway at 110th into the pouring rain? Every time I've been pizza eating with people from Florida I've gotten rained on. What is it with that godforsaken hellhole of a state?! Don't think you can just bring your bad vibes up here and piss all over my pretty sweet life in New York City. There's a reason I never moved to Florida: it sucks there.

Well, anyway, the first place we went to was Mama's Pizzeria on Amsterdam. This is the second time I've been here, having forgotten to write about it the first time around. But I just got an email from Jordan, who you may remember from previous entries, asking me about Mama's because he remembered liking it and noticed I hadn't written about it. I had left it out for organizational reasons, but really, my book-keeping is a pretty boring subject. On to the slice!

Looking over my notes, both times I went here I had the same criticisms. The slice is slightly underdone and vaguely too sweet. However! If the slice had been cooked a little more, the flavors from the cheese might've come out a little more strongly to counteract the whack sweetness in the sauce, and there would've been a bunch more grease, which is always a plus. And aside from the sweetness, which is not saccharine and nasty but somewhat more Natural Tasting, the sauce had a really great texture, in that there were sporadic tomato chunks, and it maintained the understated presence that I prefer in a pizza sauce. The cheese was great, and the dough was good, if a bit too soft (another easily remedied problem). In other word, the ratios on this slice were totally perfect. And the crust, it was so good! Really, when I go back here I'll ask for my slice to be hotter, but otherwise it was great.

Mama's Pizzeria
941 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10025


Even though Florida totally sucks to be in, a lot of cool things come out of there. Many of my favorite people were born or raised in Florida. And a lot of good musicians have come from the Sunshine State, like Tom Petty or Trick Daddy. But as the Oracle at Delphi famously told Moses, "somewhere betwixt a Traveling Wilbury and T-double-D, lies an aural force that will leave the fabric of one's very soul cleft in twain." For years, rabbinical and clerical scholars have been trying to determine the meaning of the Oracle's perplexing words, and tonight I will reveal it to you: "there is this 7" by the Y that will blow your mind."

click the image for a download link.

Mikey and Caroline brought this 7" over to my house the other morning and were all, "Colin, you need to hear this song!" And proceeded to play me the record's second track, "Pyzza Tyme!"

As you can see, this band is very pizza oriented. Pyzza Tyme is a song about working hard and living large, about seeing something you want, grabbing it, and holding on with everything you've got. Pyzza Tyme is about everything that makes our great nation beautiful. In an ideal world, the United States of America would be run by a wizard, the national bird would be a fucking Griffin, and Pyzza Tyme would be our national anthem. There would be no war in this beautiful world. Disputes would be settled via dance contest and everybody's needs would be met by the kindly wizard. But woe unto he who crosses the wizard's path! It is said that the first man who dared to F with the W, if you will, was turned into a gigantic pizza, and thrown into the sky. It is said that for cheese this pizza has fire, for sauce molten lava, but it lacks a solid dough and is thus incomplete. This sky-pizza is our Sun. The first woman who messed with the Wiz was also turned into a pizza, and she too was cast into the sky. But this second pizza was a pizza of brilliant, glowing stone, crunchy and delicious, yet totally lacking sauce or cheese-this is the origin of our Moon. During the eclipse, it is said the stone crust of the Moon combines with the molten sauce and firey cheese of the Sun for a delectable cosmic tryst, forming the most perfect pie. For in life, before their transformations, this man and woman had been married, and in their dreadful afterlife, they yearn constantly for one and other, but can only meet 2-5 times per year. Their love is true and their marriage was a beautiful feast. The Great Pizzaola herself descended from the clouds and blessed them. I should know, I was at their wedding and drank mead. It ran down my mustache, but none went into my mouth.

Rubik's Dude is also the raddest song. (Lyrics: Freakin' out squares tonight! All you gotta do is do something totally weird and then they'll freak out! Cause dude, they're squares!") What I uploaded is not the 7", which I don't have the capacity to do, but the CDR, which means you get some bonus tracks. If you really like this shit as much as I do, you can still order the 7" off No Idea, so do that by clicking here. It's $2.60 for crying out loud. Support independent music and good record labels and blah blah blah. Unity and shit!

Speaking of marriage, I'd like to extend a loud and resounding Mazel Tov to Ellis and Lilie. May your marriage be as strong as the crust at Koronet, as interesting and engrossing as the sauce at Patsy's, and as HOT as the cheese on a slice fresh out of the oven, you know? Aah-cha-cha-cha.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cafe Roma: "In which I definitively decide whether or not I will continue to review Kosher pizza."

Okay, Cafe Roma. Not so good, but okay as far as Kosher pizza goes. Notice the sukkah outside. These people are not pretending.

What do you expect? I wish I could lengthen this entry by repeating to you the hilarious tour story that Johnny Pants told me while we were eating, but some tales have to remain between two gentlemen. As far as the slice of pizza here goes, it has the usual Kosher slice pitfalls.

The bread is too brittle, the sauce is too sweet, and the cheese just straight up tasted weird. However, this slice is LEAGUES better than Grandma's. Eating this slice, I started wondering if it was worthwhile to continue eating Kosher pizza, since, as was pointed out to me by a faithful reader, Kosher slice joints have to use different ingredients in order to remain Kosher. However, ultimately I've decided that my readers who keep Kosher deserve to know what some traif shmuck (I know, I know, that's not how you use the word "traif," but come on!) thinks is the best slice of pizza. So, in that spirit, I will declare that as far as I know, Cafe Roma is the best slice of Kosher pizza in New York, beating out it's one competitor, Grandma's, by a landslide.

Cafe Roma
854 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10025


In other news, firstly an apology. I'm sorry I haven't been updating as furiously as I should've been, it's been a hell of a week. But let me just say, that I'll be back on track in the next couple days with more frequent updating.

Secondly, I was recently inteviewed for Cityscape, George Bodarky's incredible show on WFUV. The podcast is available to download, if you wanna hear me talk a bunch of bullshit on the radio. As usual, it got edited a ton and most of my favorite stuff didn't make it to the air, but that's not a problem, because George was a totally incredible interviewer and I had a total blast. Plus it's becoming almost a running game with myself to see how many interviews I can do where they edit out the fact that I do rehabilitation work with sexual assaulters. That's no insult to George, if I was doing a feel good story about some dude eating pizza I would not want him talking about rape either.

Cityscape is kind of like a totally New York specific This American Life, it rules super hard, and thanks to the miracle that is the internet, I can now listen to it at my leisure since I'm never up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. My segment is somewhere in the middle of the show, but I recommend you listen to the whole thing, and if nothing else, check out the interview right after me with the two guys that make Bronx Pop. They are super charming and now I totally want to drink their soda.

For those that are too lazy to download an mp3 and fast-forward, I'll link a streaming version of just my segment in some future post this week.

Finally, I heard some guy was coming around my job claiming that he knows me, and spreading libelous mistruths. I would once again like to invite that fellow to sit down for a cup of coffee and talk all that brazen shit to my face. That isn't a threat or anything, and I totally don't want to fight because two dudes fighting over a misunderstanding is like, the most played out macho bullshit, but I'd like him to look me in the eye then and tell me he knows where I live and how much money I make. I'll even buy the coffee.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Maria's Pizzeria: "Don't trust any business that spells 'espresso' with an X."

Maria's. I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that most of the pizza this week was good two entries ago. This place was the pits.

At only $2.00 a slice, it's still totally not worth it to eat the pizza here. The cheese tasted like plastic, the dough needed salt and the sauce tasted like corn syrup.

Johnny said, "it's like a piece of cardboard that someone jizzed on." Seriously gross. I would probably prefer to eat the piece of cardboard. BOOOOO.

Maria's Pizzeria
886 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10025

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Angelina Pizzabar: "Forget what I said in the last post about most of the pizzerias this week being good."

Angelina Pizzabar sucks. That could totally be the whole review, but whatever, I'll explain myself.

Okay, so me and Johnny walked up to this yuppie shithole, and I was all, "fuck this place." But Johnny Pants, always observant, noticed a sign that said "$0.99 Slice until 4pm." Who can argue? Not me.

So we walk in and it's kind of an ordeal getting a slice to go, but it seemed so not worth it to have a waitress bring me and John a $0.99 slice of pizza to share. While we were waiting Johnny asked how much slices are after 4. Answer: they don't sell slices after 4, just whole pies. Whole pies of really bad pizza. What really chaps my ass is that their website claims they are "the best in authentic New York style pizzas." More like the worst in inauthentic Italian style pizzas. God, this place pissed me off so much! Plus I've been such a total grump lately. You should hear what I have to say about Art Cars.

Okay, seriously, I think this pizza was cooked in a convection oven. This slice sucked to start out and got worse as I ate it. It was the texture of lasagna, the sauce tasted like garlic salt, and the dough was totally droopy, floppy crap. The only redeeming factor was that the cheese was decent quality, but F that S! This pizza is not even worth $0.99. I hope this was like, a purely business venture and not someone's lifelong dream restaurant because if it's the latter their dream sucks.

Angelina Pizzabar
2728 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jumbo Pizza: "Possibly decent things come in weird packages. Or something."

As you can tell I'm really struggling at titles here. This week I had the formidable pleasure of eating pizza with my close friend and former bandmate Johnny "Johnny Guitar" No-Pants, who is an excellent drummer. His rad band Stupid Party was recently on tour for six weeks, which means my days were dampened by the lack of his grinning visage shining it's ethereal light on my generally sour demeanor. So when the opportunity arose to wander around with him for a day and scarf some slices, it was kismet. And wander we did. I ended up walking 13 miles that day. I wore holes in the insoles of my busted ass boots!

I met Johnny in the early afternoon on 110th Street, and we headed to Giovanni's for a quick appetizer slice (report back: the pizza there still rules), because I had heard from my pal Dani that they'd pasted up MY grinning visage in their window, in the form of the Daily News article about Slice Harvester in which I publicly professed my love for their slice. It was there, and going in to get another slice with John Pants dispelled any fears I may have had that my vanity had gotten in the way of my anonymity, because the guy behind the counter, who had watched me getting photographed holding a slice of pizza in front of my face, didn't even recognize me.

While we were at Giovanni's, Johnny commented, "I love that we're eating a slice of pizza to get ready to spend the afternoon eating pizza!" And I think starting off with a good slice totally portended the general trend of decent slices that our day would soon hold.

Our first stop was Jumbo Pizza, which is a total enigma to me.

While the name and visage lead one to believe this is a pizza place that serves some other food, the interior seems like a decent greasy spoon where the pizza is an afterthought. I didn't have high expectations when I ordered my slice, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found out it cost $1.75. In fact, I asked the guy behind the counter to repeat himself.

This slice was a total preemie, but other than that, it was pretty good. Johnny said it reminded him of the pizza his Italian grandma used to make, although he was quick to add that "she was no chef." Luckily it doesn't take a chef to make a decent pizza, in fact chef's usually make ridiculous gourmet pizzas that have like, morels and gold shavings on them, so who cares what they think, right?

The sauce was a touch on the sweet side, and the cheese wasn't exceptional, though nor was it bad. The dough tasted great, but the texture left something lacking. I will definitely come back here, but I'll ask for my slice well done.

Jumbo Pizza
964 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10025


In the Other Pizza Blogs dept., I recently was alerted to the existence of Clinton Loves Pizza, presumably by Clinton himself, and I've gotta say, it's like the pizza blog equivalent of the time Aminah drank an entire bottle of cough syrup in like, 15 minutes on Joey Ramone day two years ago and then started puking this neon green slime in the middle of the sidewalk on 53rd and 3rd and totally freaked out all these yuppies. That is absolutely a compliment, if that wasn't clear.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Etymology of Slice Harvester: "For those who were wondering."

I wanted to provide some insight into where the name of this blog came from. My friend Greg Harvester, who is a totally rad and awesome guy and once told me I can borrow anything of his ever while he was drunk and I immediately asked if he'd give me his pants right then and he wouldn't do it so obviously he's actually not that cool and he's a total liar, was in a band called Rice Harvester a million years ago and currently does a zine of the same name. I'm not sure how to get the zine besides directly from Greg, and I'm not gonna post his contact on the blog, but there is a link to download the Rice Harvester 7" on the Region Rock and More blog. Greg's bands and zines have always been among the coolest around and I'm super glad that I know him because he's a total peach and I'm really lucky that we're friends.

Greg's partner Anandi was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and it's really tough for the two of them. My mother just beat breast cancer last year, so I know pretty intimately how strenuous and taxing that kind of struggle can be. Like my mother, Anandi is lucky enough to have a rad community of tough, rad folks to support her, but if any internet strangers want to donate a couple bucks to help her and Greg foot the bill for all these treatments, you can paypal money to or check the facebook group Help Anandi Fight Breast Cancer.

Sorry if this bummed anyone out, but first of all, life is not all pepperonis and sausage. Sometimes the Great Pizzaiola throws some anchovies at us, you know? And second of all, people get sick, bad shit happens all the time, but this is about communities coming together and people having each other's backs in tangible ways. So if anything, while these are certainly stressful times, this should ultimately be totally triumphant. If nothing else, just think good thoughts and dedicate your next slice to Anandi's health.

Pizza Double Feature: Milano Pizza Shop and La Nuestra Pizzeria

Milano Pizza Shop - $2.25
2255 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10029

What a great looking exterior. The multi-colored bikes out front and the busted ass old sign and general vibrant colors around this place make me think of Havana. The pizza is totally "meh," though.

The cheese was good, but not exceptional, the crust was cook, although a bit undercooked. And the sauce was weirdly sweet. It was in a way that you totally don't notice at first but then it has this shitty aftertaste. Major "whatever" for this place.

La Nuestra Pizzeria - $2.25
2146 2nd Ave
New York 10029

Once again, another pizza place that was just slightly off the mark. It's a shame, because we could've had such a bang up day of exceptional shit and instead we had to wade through a ton of mediocrity that was almost good. Bummer times.

This slice tasted PERFECT. All the flavors were just right. The sauce was understated and delicious, the dough tasted great, the cheese was exactly what I wanted. But the texture was CRAP. It's not even an issue of me preferring my pizza on the well-done side. This slice was undercooked by any standards. I feel like if I could've somehow combined the flavors of the slice here with the texture of the slice at Mt. Carmel it would be the slice to end all slices. The slice of pizza that would get it's maker smote by God for daring to be so brash as to create something that would rival His beauty. Seriously, the flavors were impeccable. I'm gonna come back here and make a point of asking for my slice well done and see if that changes things. Because this slice was so close.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mt. Carmel Pizzeria: "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed."

Post-Patsy's, Megan, Cinque and I headed over for our next slice at Mt. Carmel, which was a pretty picture perfect pizzeria.

Sadly, the pizza was not nearly as perfect, though it looked good, and certain aspects of it were totally superb.

If this pizza had a better sauce it would be the King of all Pizzas. Instead it is like, the Duke of Corn Syrupy Sauce or the Earl of Biggest Bummers. Honestly, the slice looked so perfect, smelled phenomenal and seemed to be cooked totally right, but when I bit into it and the sweet sauce squirted out, and chemically sweet at that, I felt like a pretty heinous atrocity had been committed on my expectations. The dough on this slice was impeccable, the crust, unstoppable. But that fucking sauce, man, it ruined things for me. Cinque put it very succinctly when he said, "I'm most pleased with the texture, rather than the flavor of the whole thing." If you could somehow sneak Patsy's sauce onto the pies here you'd have the best street slice in the world. Instead you just have a major disappointment.

My relationship to this slice gives me a bit of insight into how a lot of my high school teachers must have felt, like, "you have such potential, if only you weren't drenched in corn syrup!" Except in my case, replace "drenched in corn syrup" with "stoned all the time." Who knows, maybe the slice I had at Mt. Carmel was having a hard time dealing with being smart and weird and needed a coping mechanism, and maybe corn syrup not only makes it tangibly less smart, but gives it an excuse to act like a maniac. Maybe the slice at Mt. Carmel just thinks that the only way it can possibly handle being stuck in a pizzeria all day, with a bunch of boring other slices who don't even like Operation Ivy, instead of doing something interesting, is by slathering itself in the crappiest sauce. Maybe if the pizzerias in this country were a little more engaging and interesting and a little less based on weird teleological constructs like standardized testing, slices like the one I ate wouldn't have to numb themselves with chemicals, and they could go on to be productive pies when they grow up. The question you've got to ask yourself is really this, dude: was that slice sick, or was it the product of a sick society? Think about that shit, man.

Mt. Carmel Pizzeria
345 E 115th St
New York, NY 10029

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Providence Pizza Meltdown: "Looks like pizza, tastes like shit. You're never gonna know until you bite into it."

I'll return to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow, but tonight I'd like to share some information about the horrible pizza in Providence, Rhode Island. Right now I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Boston drinking this horrid tea that tastes like bubble gum while the homies are at the club they're playing tonight a little ways down the street. I don't think I fully realized what an important band I was "touring" with, but these people were all famous already! If you haven't heard them yet, Forgivers feature Berk from Glassjaw, Keith from Rise Against!, and Charlotte from 7 Year Bitch. Total super group! I'm so privileged to be able to travel around with such rad celebrities.

Anyway, yesterday we ended up heading to the neighborhood over by all the colleges in Providence. Keith wanted to hit the gym, Charlotte needed to get some more watercolors, and Berk had to get a pedicure (he has sensitive feet!), so I was left stranded downtown. That's when I realized that there were three pizzerias just on the block I was on! I started thinking about the horrid slice Mikey Sauce had gotten me at 2am Friday night, and realized that I had to do further research into the indigenous pizza of downtown Providence. So I went to the first place, Nice Slice, employer of the Providence Punks and much heralded Best Pizzeria in Town and ordered up a slab.

I don't know if you can tell from my crappy picture, but there is totally some bullshit whole wheat thing going on with the crust. Boo. To top it off, the whole slice was too thin and it was just generally subpar. Pretend it's not pizza and maybe it's a decent snack.

Right across the street was Antonio's, which looked promising until I realized it shared it's location with a burrito joint, much like a half assed Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell. But I went in anyway, because I am a glutton for punishment, and the slice looked ten times more like actual pizza and not some art school, gourmet crap.

Sadly, this slice tasted like someone had spread sauce and melted cheese onto a pizza box. The dough was basically the consistency of cardboard. The sauce and the cheese were fine, but the dough and crust were awful, which led me to ask Charlotte whether Providence is at a higher elevation than New York. Because last week, Megan, my friend and pizza comrade, who is such a dedicated pizza-maker that she reads PMQ Magazine, told me that elevation affects the consistency of pizza dough! No shit, right? You never thought about it, but it makes total sense.

Anyway, after Antonio's, I headed to the last place on that block, Xtreme Pizza & Wings. What a shit show. I walked in, and there was some dick boss behind the counter yelling at the girl at the register like a shitty dad. He eventually stopped barking asinine orders at the poor girl and gave her enough time to take my order. It was then I noticed the pies waiting to be sold.

The counter of this place looked like a fucking burn unit. Every slice I saw was a Freddy Krueger. Then this frat dude walked in and was all, "I'm here for the pickup."
And the lady behind the counter looked over at the two to-go pies that were boxed up next to one and other and was like, (and I am not even joking or embellishing here), "Xtreme BBQ or Chicken Terriyaki Xtreme?"

Fuck. But I had already ordered my slice, it was too late to leave. And then I was handed the worst slice of pizza I've ever seen in my life:

The ultimate Freddy Krueger. The cheese on this slice looked like a giant nasty scab. It was grosser than my face was when I got doored on my bike coming home from Cassie's halloween party a few years ago and had nasty road rash on my face and looked like a zombie. It was grosser than when I saw a tape worm at the beach. It was grosser than the grossest thing you can imagine.

(As a side note, feel free to post the grossest thing you can imagine in the comments section of this entry. Winner gets to know that I am thinking about what they wrote while I masturbate.)

The crazy thing about this slice was that even though it was totally burnt to shit, it had the grossest most soggy texture ever. Like that pizza I ate with Meredith and Josh Ferguson (I think), that turned into like, a weird soup in your mouth. So gross. By far the worst pizza ever in the world.

Anyway, I still think the pizza I that Mike Sauce took me out for two years ago at Tommy's was totally decent, so if you're ever in Providence, go there. Although really if you're ever in Providence you should just eat a Vietnamese sandwich or a fucking Hot Weiner with Meat Sauce from N.Y. System, duh.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Patsy's: "It doesn't count but I couldn't resist."

Patsy's. I know I keep talking about how I'm only gonna eat at places where I can get a plain slice, and skip joints that only serve pies, but come on! If you were around the corner from Patsy's with two friends from out of town who both love pizza, you'd take them too. Besides, this is my project and I get to do whatever I want so fuck you.

Cinque muttered, "this place is kind of fancy..." with a hint of skepticism in his voice as we were handed our menus. Moments later, Megan said, "yeah, but $12 for a pie is not bad at all, especially if it's as good as it's supposed to be." And it was.

Patsy's hella thin crust is really not comparable to any of the other slices I've been eating. This slice and a street slice are different but related, like a Terradactyl and an Emu. The thing that makes this slice notable and relevant to my pizza mission is that it basically sets the sauce standard. Patsy's sauce is PERFECT, hands down. Slightly sweet, and not in a sugary way, with a hint of the fresh tomato flavor. This sauce is the standard by which all future sauce to be judged.

And the cheese is such good quality, and the slightly charred tasted the coal oven imbues the slice with, "like a burny marshmallow before you get to the sweet part," is absolutely perfect. This place is worth taking a date to because it seems fancy but is cheap. And then you can go to the ramble together and cruise some third and fourth partners.

I don't need to tell you this place is amazing because you've read it before in a million places. Totally worth the trip.

Patsy's Pizza
2287 1st Ave
New York, NY 10035


In more News You Already Knew, most pizza in Providence totally blows. After the show at AS220 last night, we all came back to Mike Stoltz's house to hang tough and drink tea, and Mikey decided to order us a pizza. I've had decent pizza in Providence before, but truth be told, I had been traveling for a few months and hadn't had pizza in a while, so I'm starting to question my memory of that pie.

Anyway, check out this travesty:

BOOOO! for Providence pizza, but HURRAY! for Providence.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pizza Plus Inc: "At least they got hot jams."

After our pretty wonderful experience at JNS, we headed over to 3rd ave and down to Pizza Plus.

(I'd like to take a minute to point out the word "HEROS" on the bottom left corner of the awning for the edification of any of the shmucks who took time out of their exceedingly important lives to "correct" my correction of the awning of Pizza Palace.)

ANYWAY, Pizza Plus. They were playing that Akon/Snoop song, I Wanna Love You when we got there and I found myself subconsciously singing along in my crappy falsetto, much to the chagrin of the twelve year old in front of me in line, who gave me a look that would've made Dick Cheney feel shame, possibly for the first time in his life. After that harrowing experience, it took everything in me to pull myself together and pay up my $2.25 for the slice.

And the slice. We had a major Preemie on our hands. That slice needed to be put in an incubator, know what I mean? Unpleasant colors abounded. Where there should've been golden borwn tones there were just awkward shades of beige. The sauce tasted heavily of garlic powder and tasted like it was sweetened with corn syrup. Somehow, despite looking so horribly underdone, the bread beneath the slice was cooked perfectly, providing an excellent crunch. And the ratios were perfect. Those perfect ratios were spoiled, though, by the terribly overpowering sauce. The crust tasted good, but the texture left something lacking.

All in all, this slice can be perfectly summed up by that hand gesture where you fan out your fingers horizontal and rotate it back and forth a little at the same time as raising your shoulders and eyebrows, in order to perfectly communicate the emotion "so-so."

Pizza Plus Inc
2253 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10035

Thursday, October 1, 2009

JNS Pizza: "And now that our lips have met, I'm in love again."

This week I had the excellent pleasure of going pizza eating with two of my favorite out of town friends, Cinque and Megan. Cinque currently resides in Kansas City, where he tends to the My War Gardens and plays sleazy bass. Megan is a Chattanooga resident, mother to my favorite dog in America, and an ultimate shred wizard on the damn guitar. The three of us share a love for hot jams and boundless sexual remarks as well as a general fondness for one another than is only paralleled by all my other goddamn friends that I love, shit I am so lucky! Anyway, these two dirtbags came through town on their way to the cranberry harvest up there in Massachusetts, and when the beginning of the harvest was pushed back, they managed to stick around long enough to come and hang with me for an entire day.

Our first stop was JNS Pizza, just outside the 125th St. 4 train station.

Good looking place. Totally awesome inside. There was a sign stating that they will refuse service to people who talk on their cellphones while ordering (I heartily support this!), and another sign reminding me that all activities done in JNS Pizza are under surveillance. Usually a sign letting me know that I'm being filmed would bum me out, but for some reason, this one made me happy. The tone was such that it seemed to say, "I appreciate, understand, and respect that you are part of our country's thriving black market economy. However, you should note that if you choose to perform 'business' here, it will be recorded, so it would be in your best interest to do somewhere else. By all means stay and enjoy our pizza, though!" I don't know, I'm a crazy person.

Either way, I ordered up, shelled out my $2.25, and headed over to Cinque and Megan with our first slice of the day.

And what a slice it was! When I folded it in half the crust crunched down like a collapsing building beneath my index finger, because the outside was so perfectly crisp and crunchy while the inside remained magnificently fluffy and light. The slice was cooked perfectly, it folded nicely, and felt good in my hands, substantial but not too heavy. It was on the cheesier side of Not Too Much Cheese, and it was sauced as lightly as possible without have Too Little Sauce. The fact that the cheese totally ruled made it awesome that there was so much of it and precipitated Cinque and the slice having this adorable Lady and the Tramp moment.

This slice was cooked so expertly. My only complaint is in regards to the crust and is so miniscule it almost doesn't bear mentioning. Texturally, this crust was perfect. Delicate, slightly chewy innards with golden, crisp, crunchy outtards. But I wish the dough either had a DROP more salt in it, or that the slice had been greasier and dripped a little more grease onto the crust.

While eating we were eating, Megan, who has worked at pizzerias in other states for years and actually reads PMQ magazine told me the first of many interesting facts about pizza that she know. Apparently, and this totally makes sense, elevation places a roll in the making of pizza dough, which explains why there is no good pizza in Colorado.

JNS Pizza
2032 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 1003


To my loyal fans: I'm leaving town tomorrow morning with buddy band forgetters for a couple days so I might not be able to update daily until after Monday, although I am going to bring my damn lap-top computer and try to post from "the road."