Monday, November 30, 2009

Triangle Pizzeria: "I think it's pleasant."

First and foremost, sorry for my absence. The Slice Harvester took a vacation, not from pizza eating, but from pizza writing. First I stayed at my mom's house for a few days to celebrate our nation's legacy of oppression and genocide. It was pretty cool. My family are still total weirdos, but this year no one got into a fight. In fact, Thursday morning when we were doing the crossword my mother read that article in the Times about cousin's getting married, and playfully suggested that now I could finally "do it" with one of my cousin's whom we all agree is especially loathsome and she then proceeded to repeat the joke to everyone in the family. Oy vey, my life. After that, a very dear friend, Mikey Hotsauce, whom you may remember from my Providence Pizza Post as well as some New York pizza eating in October, came to visit, and I spent time hanging out instead of doing work. Fuckin' sue me.

Anyway, last week I went pizza eating with my friend Bill, who I've known for like, probably more than ten years. He plays in this pretty cool band, The New Dress, who sound kind of like a boy and a girl singing songs that Billy Bragg didn't write yet, as well as a bunch of other rad projects. He is a well-dressed, well-mannered and well-spoken gentleman of the highest caliber and even when I was a misguided and overly passionate early-twenty-something who totally dissed our friendship, Bill understood that we are P4L (Pals 4 Liiiiieeeef!) and just gave me room to be an asshole for a few years without taking any of it personally. Kudos to you, buddy!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, best dude. So, me and him went pizza eating. It turns out, and this may not be news to everyone, that the East Side in the 100s is like, the Inexpensive Pizza District. Me and Bill ate 7 slices and not one of them was over $2.00. Our first stop was Triangle Pizzeria, which may be the smallest pizzeria in all of New York City. Check this shit out:



I am a bad photographer and shit, but is it clear how small that building is? I was pretty impressed. Like, there were maybe three people in there when Bill and I walked in, and while we were there three more tried to come inside and Bill had to go wait outside to make room for them. It was the most awesomely cramped shithole on earth and I love it so much. The pizza, however, while not bad at all, did not taste as good as I felt being inside that cramped pizzeria.


Any even semi-frequent reader will know that this does not look like my shit at all. Way too cheesy, premi crust, the whole thing looks like a mess. And it kind of was a mess, but in a really nice way. This pizza is billowy and soft, and even though it was from a place called triangle pizza everything about it felt round. This pizza was like Chet Bakers voice, or something, like, it was just so soft and comforting. If you like the feeling of warm delicious goo sliding down your throat as much as I do, then this pizza is for you. The cheese, even if there was a little too much of it, was good quality, so it didn't get any weird texture or flavor. The sauce was delicious, and the dough was phenomenal. The crust, even though it was softer than I usually like, tasted fantastic and the softness turned out to be something totally pleasant. The slice was assembled and cooked expertly. This is like, The Chicken Soup of Pizza or something. This pizza will take you home and cuddle with you and stroke your hair while you tell it your problems and then it'll read you Chekhov stories until you fall asleep.

Triangle Pizzeria
246 E 106th St
New York, NY 10029

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mariella Pizza: "Possibly the only good slice near Columbus Circle."

Me and Ma walked passed right by Mariella initially, we didn't even notice it, even though it was on my list. But when we were at 9th Ave Pizzeria, my cousin Stephanie called about Thanksgiving plans and my mother kvetched to her about the lack of decent pizza in that neighborhood.
"What about Mariella?" my cousin probably said into the phone.
"WHAT ABOUT MARIELLA?" my mother shouted, because she had a phone to one ear so obviously she had to shout at me from across the table.
"I think we passed...." I began.
But I can only assume, since I couldn't hear what my mother heard on the phone, that while I was talking Stephanie was saying, "Mariella is pretty good."
Because my mother shouted, "STEPHIE SAYS MARIELLA IS PRETTY GOOD."


So we went. It was packed full of high school or junior high school kids. At this point everything younger than like, 20 looks the same to me. Usually I hate children, but these kids were poorly behaved in a way that was not a burden on me and just served to keep me smiling slightly as I watched them eat and fight and flirt. It was kind of adorable. I still think kids are repugnant and shit (except my friends' kids, they are darling!), but I can see what some of the appeal in being a parent is, I guess.


This slice is not anything exceptional, but it's totally, solidly good. Compared to the rest of the slices in this neighborhood, though, it's like God jizzing Fox's U-Bet chocolate sauce into your mouth. Um... but not for my mom. There is nothing even remotely resembling any jizzing going on anywhere near my mom.

Well, yeah... anyway. The slice was good. It was cooked pretty perfectly, which is to say, the dough was crunchy without being brittle, the cheese was smooth without being runny. Everything was decent quality so there were no weird chemical aftertastes. The ratios were perfect, the slice was warm and moist where you wanted it to be, crisp and dry where it needed to be. This slice was real good, I will totally come back here if I ever have to return to this hellish pizza no man's land.

Mariella Pizza
960 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pizza Triple Feature: "Can I turn three boring slices into one interesting post?"



Luigi's looks like the Ground Round or a schmaltzy Irish pub on Jamaica Ave, which is to say, dark wood, those lamps with green glass lampshades like they hang over pooltables, etc. I felt very comfortable in there and everyone in the store was really nice. Too bad the pizza blew chunks.

Horrible cheese, bland sauce, crappy dough. It seems like it's cooked okay, but the dough's delicious crunch quickly gives way to that nasty uncooked paste I totally hate. And that segues perfectly into the horrible cheese, like making a Stuff That Sucks mixtape and fading Hey There Delilah into Your Body Is A Wonderland into Virtual Insanity

Luigi's - $2.50
936 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019

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Ma Harvester and me discussed the possibility, upon approaching, that this place was named after Nicola Sacco, the famous persecuted anarchist, and were both hoping like hell it would rule because, I don't know about y'all, but nothing works up my appetite like an imprisoned or executed anarchist. (Proposed business idea: Empanada Goldman: If I can't eat, it's not my revolution.) And aside from the tenuous political alliance I have with the name of Sacco Pizza, the place looks like the dingy kind of A Number One shithole that I love. And just so we don't have an trouble with the antisemites, shithole isn't a yiddish word, and I use it very lovingly.

Seriously, it was cramped as fuck in there with all the construction workers waiting to eat. Both me and mi madre breathed a huge sigh of relief at the prospect of finally having a good slice. Because Sacco Pizza feels right. Sadly, as you've probably already noticed from the picture, the slice is shit. It is easily apparent to any armchair pizziaolo that this slice has been sitting out for a while. The cheese should not form a solid enough mass that it can shift so cohesively off a slice EVER. But if we just got a bum slice, it must've been from a bum pie. Not only did this pizza not taste good, but it tasted like the absence of flavor. This is like, the anti-pizza.

Texturally, it was a nightmare, but that at least has some historic context. See, back in the day when Christopher Columbus, Larry Flynt, Mike Eisner and Sylvester Stallone had to flee Communism in Italy and take their divinely ordained homeland, the good old US of A, back from the socialist Indians, they didn't have time time to let their pizza dough leaven because they had to leave surreptitiously, under cover of night. As such, they packed their cheese, their dough and their sauce into containers, and then they had to cook their pizza in the sun on the roof of their Hummer as they drove across the desert, fleeing Fidel Castro's army of cloned Hitlers. Sure, it wasn't the best pizza, but it was enough to nourish them for the long drive, and the Great Pizzaola used her magic to grant them the ability not to have to pee, so they never had to pull over and the Hitlers couldn't ever catch them because they were riding on Segways. As such, every year around Thanksgiving, traditional pizzerias cook their pizza with unleavened dough, to remember the struggle that our Four Fathers went through in order establish a homeland for their previously nomadic people, Free Market Capitalists.

Sacco Pizza - $2.50
819 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019

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Oh boy, this place. The slice tasted and felt like if you poured ketchup over a piece of cardboard and then melted plastic onto it. NO GOOD. It caused my mother to comment that New Yorkers are really slacking on their pizza making. She said, "you know, I would've thought that at least 1 out of 7 slices would be Great, if not at least passable. We haven't had a single solidly good slice today. I don't know if the rose-colored lenses of my childhood nostalgia are affecting this statement, but it just seems like there weren't this many bad slices when I was a kid." To be fair, my mother was also eating pizza in Corona and Elmhurst mostly, which were two predominantly Italian neighborhoods back then, and not in Midtown, so that may have something to do with it, but she may also have a point. Have we, as a city, accustomed ourselves to settle for a shitty slice? I think we should all do a little self-searching. At least by reading Slice Harvester you're doing your part in promoting a culture of non-heinous pizza.

9th Ave Pizzeria - $2.00
791 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pizza In The Park: "The coffee was good."

On our way to the next place, my mom and me passed this weird kiosk. I checked and there was a pizza oven, so we dutifully ordered a slice.


I will let the picture of this slice speak for itself.


Ma took a bite and said, "this is tasteless. It doesn't taste like anything." Though after a few minutes she added, "I mean, there's a slight unpleasantness." At our seat we had a view of the other side of the kiosk, which has this sign:


Had I seen that, I would've known not to order. This place obviously doesn't count. The slice of pizza they served was by far one of the worst eating experiences I've ever had in my life. The coffee was good, though, and there were weird old people. And while it was fun to feed the rest of our slice to the pidgeons, it wasn't worth $2.50.

Pizza In The Park
Corner of 57th and 9th
Stay Away.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Casabianca Pizza: "I would rather not ever eat another slice of pizza than eat this again."


Mrs. Harvester, a generally kind and judicious woman, had those very exacting words to say about Casabianca. She is not one for brazen slander, either, so you know it carries substantial weight. And not only is it subpar quality, but the slice costs $2.75, which is at least a full shiny quarter more than every other slice nearby.


I will not mince words here, this slice sucks. It is too thin, totally bland, and covered in nasty grease. You know I'm a fan of grease on pizza. And pizzagrease fandom is apparently a matrilineal trait because Ma Harvester is also swayed by a greasy slice. But we both agree that this pizza totally sucks eggs. The cheese tasted like chemicals and the crust was too dense. In short, this place totally blows.

Casabianca Pizza
503 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019

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Don't forget to come to the show tonight. Details in yesterday's post.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Caliente Pizzeria: "Chupa mi pizza."

So, I totally sighed aloud when my mother and I walked up to Caliente Pizzeria y Comida Hispana. Generally restaurants that combine being a pizzeria with something else, and Spanish food is a pretty common one, don't have very good pizza. Mama Harvester looked at me, her face full of concerns, and said, "we have to go in there don't we?" I just nodded solemnly. We walked in and the pizza did not look appetizing.


"I don't envy you your task," my mother said, gazing at the slice. I could see in her eyes that she had finally reached at least a tacit understanding of the gravity of my Sisyphean undertaking. We both looked at the slice sitting before us and sighed like Bret Michaels at the beginning of Every Rose Has Its Thorn.

But then I took that first tentative bite and my mood shifted a bit. This slice didn't suck! In fact, it was almost good. There was way too much sauce, and the sauce tasted like shit, total can jam. These two facts make this slice ineligible for even getting anywhere NEAR in the running for Awesome Slice Award 2k10. However, sauce and sogginess aside, the cheese on this slice was good, just oily enough, totally tasty. The dough was perfectly salty and not at all sweet, a problem I find recurring at Spanish pizzerias. The bread was cooked perfectly, to an excellent crispness, and Mama Harvester, who was voted Miss Queens Teen Crust Lover 1968, said the crust was to die for. Ultimately this slice is not great, but it's better than Luigi's.

Caliente Pizzeria - $2.50
862 10th Ave
New York, NY 10019

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Since I've been posting about friend Anandi a shit ton lately, I should mention that tomorrow night, there is a benefit show for her at Tommy's Tavern in Greenpoint. It costs $3-5 sliding scale, though we'll take more if you wanna donate, and it's all rad local bands. Here's the rundown, not in any particular order:

Shellshag (old drunks in love. if you don't know this band yet you live under a rock.)
Weird Weather (total buds, heavy rock, loudest band i know.)
Bad Blood Revival (sound just like Killdozer. shit is intense!)
It Good (Scott Youth says "man, we sound like Region Rock, but like, psychedelic Region Rock." i haven't heard them.)
These Days (Michelle from Hiretsukan's new band, haven't heard them yet either.)

At Tommy's Tavern, 1041 Manhattan Ave (corner of Freeman), Brooklyn, NY, 9pm. You can take the G train to Greenpoint Ave, the 7 to Vernon Jackson and then walk across the Pulaski Bridge, the B43 or B61 bus to get there. But you should probably just ride your bike unless you're a total poseur.

Blah blah blah, the community, blah blah, togetherness, blah blah, solidarity in the face of shittiness, etc.

"Eating a lot of pizza, remember a lot of notes."

Vanity searching Slice Harvester I turned up an article about me in the Taiwanese Epoch Times! The google translation is really pretty hilarious, but if any of my dear readers are capable of giving me a rough translation, I'd be much obliged. First or best translation received, I'll send mail out a copy of my Wintertime Bummer Jams seasonal mixtape along with a complimentary copy of the Slice Harvester zine when it comes out, so get to it!

As you can see, I was too lazy to make a new flier.

In other news, I'm doing another DJ party at Lulu's, the bar in Greenpoint with free pizza. If you want to come hector me about pizza while I'm already grumpy because I'm the only sober guy in the bar, stop by 113 Franklin St, off the Greenpoint Ave G stop any time after 10pm this Thursday evening. Music should be weird and between me and my companion DJ Diamond Joe Porter, there will be something for everyone. Also, I've said this before, but Lulu's has the best pizza out of all the free pizza bars in the city, which is obviously not saying much, but at least they give you free food, a hard find In These Troubling Economic Times, as my favorite fellow anonymous blogger might say.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Luigi's: "You will notice a pattern this week."

Before I begin my post, I'd like to issue an official apology to the svelt men of the UWS. You are all fabulous and beautiful and I got so swept up with having an opportunity to make fun of rich people that I didn't actually take the time to notice that the men on the UWS are not doughy. That's the Upper East Side, where the denizens are somewhat older. The men of the UWS, in fact, have weird gym bodies. They probably have no fear of overeating since they lack access to any decent pizza?

Either way, today we'll be talking about the last pizzeria above 59th st on the West side, Luigi's Pizza. Throughout this week we'll meander around Columbus Circle ahead of schedule and then next week I'll start tackling the UES, which will hopefully provide crispier slices and doughier men then it's mirror image.


But Luigi's! I had the pleasure of eating pizza with my mother this week. It's great because she is a totally rad lady, it's a bummer because I felt weird saying gross shit in front of her. Granted, this is the woman who rhapsodized to the entire family about catching me masturbating during Easter dinner when I was like, 17, but I still found it difficult to make my usual brand of edgy, sexually suggestive commentary. Luckily, there's really nothing much to say about the slice here.


"Not a horrible slice," says Ms. Harvester, ruminating on her first bite. "Too much cheese, though."
"Yeah, ma, but sometimes a cheesier pie can be really good!" butts in her son Slice.
"Not this time."
"Oh yeah, I see what you mean."
"It tastes better than it looks, though."
"I was just gonna say that."
"Do you even taste any sauce?"
"No, ma."
"The sauce is totally overpowered by this enormous amount of cheese. This slice lacks proper balance. At least it's a comfortable place to sit. The atmosphere isn't bad, although I don't like the fact that done of those guys made eye contact with us when we were ordering."
"They made eye-contact with me, ma. Maybe they just hate women."
"Yeah, maybe."

And so on. This slice got worse as we got in. The dough wasn't cooked enough, and at the end, where it thickened out, it turned into a totally nasty mush. Majorly unpleasant to eat. The crust was too dense and didn't taste like anything. Ultimately this slice was not so good.

F & F Luigi's - $2.50
39 West End Ave
New York, NY 10023

Monday, November 16, 2009

Francesco Pizza: "Like many of the men on the Upper West Side, this slice is boring and doughy."


Francesco Pizza is absolutely charming on the inside. It's pretty simple looking, seems like it's unsuccessfully limping towards looking "classically classy" but actually just looks like when you make an average thirteen year old wear a suit for his friend's Bar Mitzvah. There's all these framed pictures on the walls, but half of them are hung crooked, and the decor is tacky, but therein lies the charm. Which is to say, the charm is certainly not in the pizza.


There is not much to say about this slice. It's really obvious that these people care about using quality ingredients, and it shows. The sauce tastes great, the cheese has a fantastic flavor. The dough doesn't taste like anything, which means it's poorly made but not cheap. This slice felt undercooked and underloved. I've done a lot of working with children in my life, and you can often easily tell if a kid is a little sniveling shit because he's not getting attention at home or if he's a little sniveling shit because he was born that way. In the former instance, you want to empathize, because you can see the insecurities being acted out and it's heartbreaking, but at the end of the day, the kid is still a little sniveling piece of shit. And like, maybe this slice needed someone to care about it more, but at the end of the day it was still bland and doughy.

Francesco Pizza - $2.50
186 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023

Friday, November 13, 2009

La Traviata Pizza: "I want to like it, but I can't."


La Traviata Pizza has great atmosphere, in my book. It's cluttered and cramped inside, a little dingy and dark. As me and Aaron were chowing down on out slice a woman sat at the table with us to eat hers because there were no other open seats. In a lot of ways, Traviotta is like a more down to earth Rigoletto, a fact that is easily embodied by the presence of yuppie condiments here, in much less fancy containers:


Look at that! Way less nice to look at, ultimately. Also, probably less healthy because keeping things in wood containers is better than plastic, of course. But it looks a little more down to earth than the fancy-pants, yuppie parent land of Rigoletto. I was hoping the slice would be similar but better, but was sorely disappointed.

Whereas he described the slice at Rigoletto as "supple and yielding," Aaron called this slice "clinical. It tastes like pizza in a hospital," he told me. I didn't quite get that feeling, but I was generally dissatisfied. This slice certainly had good ratios, but overall it was insubstantial, and though it tasted alright there was a distinct chemical aftertaste, which leads me to believe they used cheap cheese. The crust had good flavor but bad texture. I didn't hate it, but I'm not in love with the slice of pizza I had here.

La Traviata
101 W 68th St
New York, NY 10023

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rigoletta Pizza: "This did not feel good in my mouth."


Yo, this place is faaaaaaancy! This is just straight up not the world I live in. I am not passing judgment on the aesthetic, but more the culture of irresponsibility the aesthetic implies. Plus I want my pizzeria to look like a fucking shithole. Whatever, sometimes things look cooler when they're not all sterile. However, if there's one lesson the rest of the world can take from the totally yuppie Rigoletta Pizza, it's offering rad condiments:


I'm not sure what that second one is, although it looks like some kind of chili oil, but that bowl all the way to the left is totally just olive oil with a bunch of garlic and basil floating in it. Now let me say, so no one gets the wrong idea, that any slice that NEEDS this stuff is probably not a worthwhile slice, but man, dipping half your crust into some sweet-ass garlicky oil is awesome. That said, the folks here could probably learn a thing or two about slice construction from just about anywhere else.


Slice looks good, huh? The dough was a perfect crispness, which leads one to believe that it was cooked pretty expertly, and the cheese had a pleasant viscosity which implies that it was not totally cheap crap. And it probably tasted good, that presumably not cheap cheese, but I couldn't tell because there was so much sauce! This slice was a total Swamp Thing. Which is a shame, because the sauce tasted good. There was just so much of it that I couldn't taste anything else and it made the slice no fun to eat. This pizza did not feel good in my mouth.

(I want to make some kind of sex or masturbation analogy for when you use so much lube that it doesn't even feel like sex or masturbation anymore, but that would be gross.)

Ultimately I'm going to assume that this may have been a case of a poorly made pie, maybe I'll stop back by and try another slice here, and I wouldn't write it off forever, but my slice here wasn't so good.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Big Nick's: "Finally."

Big Nick's serves the only passable slice in this neighborhood. Not the whole UWS, obviously, but the Lower Upper West Side. I have a few more places to go next week before I've eaten every slice West of Central Park, so hopefully I'll find some sleeper slice hiding out on 63rd St. or something. But seriously, in a land of mediocrity, Big Nick's shines like a beacon, like when you change high schools and you see a kid wearing an Operation Ivy t-shirt.


That website is going to be disconcerting, because they have like, a full, non-pizzeria menu, but don't be dismayed, the pizza here is good. Compare this picture to the previous few slices. Any discerning pizza-eater worth her weight in dough will be able to tell right off the bat that this is way better looking:


This slice was sweeter than I like, but not in a nasty, syrupy way. Not my jam, but totally legit nevertheless. The texture of this slice was perfect and the cheese was delicious. It tasted like cheese as opposed to tasting like plastic or tasting like nothing or tasting like "cheese." The ratios were superb. I think I may be insanely persnickety about sauce-sweetness, but Aaron agreed that the sauce was a little on the sweet side, and he thinks all pizza tastes the same. I'm looking at my notes on this slice, and I wrote three separate times that the texture was exceptional, which means it didn't lag at any point throughout the slice. This shit is solid as fuck and if you are anywhere near this horrible neighborhood, this is the ONLY Slice Harvester Approved slice.

Big Nick's
70 W 71st St
New York, NY 10023

Monday, November 9, 2009

Columbus Gourmet Food: "Oh boy."


Where to begin? Columbus Gourmet Food is not a pizzeria. It is like, one of those weird, mini-food court sort of places where you can get all kinds of shit, the website contains one of the most comprehensive menus I've ever seen anywhere. When I walked in I noticed that the counter was a semi-circle and there were like, 40 places I could order food from, depending on what I was getting. It is less like a food court and more like a cafeteria, okay? However, regardless of whether or not CGF is a pizzeria, it is listed in the phone book when you look up "pizza," so I walked over there. And when I looked inside, they had a real pizza oven and their slices looked like real pizza. Anyway, dotted along the top of the counter were display plates of food. For instance:


The cheese and the peppers on that thing looked obviously fake from afar, and more so when one gets up close. The french fries, however, were perplexing. They were either real, or the most realistic looking fake fries I had ever seen. Since I am a man of boundless curiosity, there was no way I could go handle the anxiety of speculation. So I tentatively ate a fry... and it was real food! Since our pizzaman was nowhere in sight, I asked Aaron to pass me an onion ring off the hotwings display plate. Right as I was getting up the nerve to try one of the chicken tenders, the pizza guy walked over and was all, "are you eating my displays?!"
"Uh... yeah, man. Did you know those things are made of real food?"

I forgot to photograph this slice right away. It didn't deserve it, though.

Anyway, I ordered up my "one regular slice," didn't pay, though I'll tell you that it would've been $2.50, and sat down with friend Aaron to eat it. And I will say definitively that this was the worst slice of pizza I have ever eaten within the boundaries of New York City save for some gnarly dumpstered slices I've choked down in moments of supreme hunger. This slice tasted like total crap. Cheap cheese, the sauce tasted like ketchup, the crust totally blew chunks. Worst shit. Aaron said it tasted like these $1 party pizzas he used to buy frozen at the supermarket when he lived in Bloomington. This weird yuppie couple eating next to us were sharing some kind of turkey and avocado wrap that looked awesome, though. And I bet the salad bar is kickass. Also, duh, if you're really starving, just come here and eat the displays, it is your right. That shit is wasteful, dog.

Rating:


Columbus Gourmet Food
261 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023

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As you may recall from my Etymology of Slice Harvester post, my fond friend Greg Harvester's partner Anandi was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. There is currently an auction going on to raise money for all the billions of tiny expenses that accrue when a major illness enters someone's life. So if you were thinking about donating to Slice Harvester today, point your browser over to Art Sustains Us instead and donate to me some other time. There is all kinds of rad shit available, from custom animation to cat behavioral therapy to vagina shaped wallets.

You would have to be intentionally ignorant not to notice my constant jabs at capitalism and the alienation inherent in our culture. Most of it is in jest, but that's because I assume that most of my readers are in on the joke, which is to say, at least a little dissatisfied with The Way Things Are. A lot of the focus of much revolutionary theory and literature is about tearing things down, and a lot of the language we use is about that too. I talk about "smashing capitalism" or "dismantling patriarchy," for instance. It's easy to get bogged down thinking about how much awful crap there is that we have to get rid of before we can build a new beautiful world governed by a wizard.

But I'd like to take yet another opportunity to point out that this is yet another instance where people are Creating Something Beautiful in the face of The Horrible Unpleasantness of Living. Changing the world is not just about destroying what we hate, but also about building what we love and they don't have to happen in that order. We don't have to mush society flat before we can rebuild something beautiful. We can have eachother's backs and be strong as communities despite all the current awfulness.

And I guess I'd like to dedicate this post to my father's best friend Anthony Graziano, whose relationship with my dad had a huge effect on my life, whether either of them knew it, and who passed away last week. I hope he's finally found some peace.

Sorry for all the bummer news lately.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

City Pie: "Two bite slice."

To match the slice at City Pie, this entry will not be very substantial. Once again, we have an instance where a website is making fallacious claims (as opposed to fellacious claims, am I right?! Heyoooo!) about what it is that New Yorkers want.


"[We] specialize in thin crust pizza made just the way New Yorkers like it." Or so claims their website. Maybe the brazen yuppies of the Upper West Side--the type of people who hire someone to clean their house, someone to raise their kids, someone to walk their dogs, someone to cook their food; they probably work in managerial positions (which means their work is actually just assigning work to other people)--don't have time in the midst of all that delegating to eat an entire slice of pizza or don't have the allotted calories left in their Jenny Craig for a real slice or whatever. But this slice just does not pass muster in terms of providing an adequate amount of sustenance for your buck.

Notice Aaron's hand poised to accost this slice, symbolizing the ever-present threat of the Capitalist Death Culture. It is a figurative, not literal death to which I refer--a death of the soul.

If it were $1.50 I'd let it slide, but at $2.30, this is just not worth it. Especially when, as we'll find out two posts from now, there is a great slice around the corner. All that said, I have to hand it to this place for using quality ingredients. In fact, I'm mostly just looking for a good excuse to rag on yuppies. I got nothing against City Pie. Their slice was insubstantial, and because of the thinness of the dough, it lacked the Tender Upper Layer important for a perfect slice so the bread was the texture of cardboard. But it tasted good!

This slice gets a solid "meh," though I will totally admit that I was extra hard on it because it lives in an affluent neighborhood, which I think is like, reverse-racism or why affirmative action doesn't work or something.

City Pie
166 W 72nd St # D
New York, NY 10023

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pizza Cave: "This place kind of looks like a pharmacy."

Today I had the honor and privilege of pizza-eating with my esteemed friend and comrade Aaron Lake Smith. We met up at the subway station where our respective trainlines train lines collide, though that is just a figure of speech, as our fine city's impeccable and flawless public transit system has intuited and already prevented any possible train accidents. Walking down the platform, I saw a beautiful sight, which, in retrospect I wish I would've taken a picture of. A somewhat ragged street performer had three young yuppies backed up against the wall and was aggressively singing "Come Together" by the Beatles at them. The part where he had to whisper "shoop" in order to establish the proper sonic aesthetic seemed especially harrowing for his victims.

Our first stop on this week's pizza journey led us to an address where, according to the phone book, a place called "Pizza Cave" was located. I was excited for what might be a Fraggle Rock or Al Quaeda themed pizzeria, but instead, I was confronted by this:


It seems like the pizza is an afterthought, much like surprisingly good Tommy's, about which I made a lengthy speculation, if I recall. This is no "Pizza Cave." In fact, it was so bright in here I was a little put off. I'm not sure how much the slice here cost, as I managed to not pay for it, a game I decided to play all day today. (I'm pretty sure that out of 7 slices I ate, I only paid for 2 or 3. It may have had something to do with Aaron and I wistfully discussing the fact that we may have outgrown Crimethinc.) Anyway, whatever this slice cost would've been too much, so fuck 'em, right?


Aaron thought this slice looked like a slice from Chuck E. Cheese. I don't really know what the pizza there looks like, but I'll take his word for it. This slice was cooked well and had a really good crunch to it, all the way through to the crust, which felt great to bite into. However, there was way too much cheese, the sauce basically didn't exist, and the whole thing had this pervasive blandness, which seems to embody the upper west side in the 60s and 70s pretty well, actually. The crust, though it had an excellent texture, totally lacked any flavor at all.

Pizza Cave
218 W 72nd St
New York, NY 10023

Friday, November 6, 2009

Two Mediocre Upper West Side Slices and One Good One.



T & R Pizza - $2.50
411 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

The very tip of this slice looks like when Burning Man people (Burning Persons?), cut their tonguis in half to look like a lizard man. Totally bland and mediocre, this slice tasted like a sponge. Scott thought it tasted like the inside of the oven. The crust totally sucked. This place blows.

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New Town Pizza - $2.50
2196 Broadway
New York, NY 10024

New Town Pizza. I like the name. I like the fact that if you misread the sign it says "Pizza Town." The slice, though, is not so great. Rudi and Scott were really excited about those big burnt scabs and referred to them as Cheese Bacon, a phrase I must admit to being quite fond of. Despite the presence of deliciously crispy cheese, the bottom of this slice was undercooked, which tells me the slice was cooked poorly. The dough felt like it had been overkneaded--it was dense and chewy in a really unpleasant way. Towards the end this slice got a lot better, though, and the crust was great.

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Freddy & Pepe's - $2.50
303 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10023

This was hands down the best slice the four of us had, which says more about what a bad pizza day we had last week than anything else. Because while this slice was totally good in all the right ways, it just lacked that extra, intangible umph to make it stand out. With excellent flavors, great texture and exceptional ratios, this slice did everything right, but it just didn't manage to excite me. If a perfect slice is the Ramones then this slice is like, the Riverdales.

They did have this cool thugged out grim reaper, though.