Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Abitino's: "A rumination on the importance of second chances."

The facade of this building may look familiar to longtime readers, who will recall that I ate at another Abitino's location a few weeks ago with best friend Caroline, Famous American Babe of the 80s Phoebe Cates and her daughter Greta. For those who weren't with us back then, I'll recap the review in brief: we were terribly unimpressed. I mentioned in that review, and I will mention once again, that prior to that slice, we had just eaten at Gino's on 83rd and 1st, which is, I will definitively say for the first time ever, thus far, The Best Street Slice In New York.

When Cory and I walked up to this Abitino's, I said to him, "Listen man, sorry we have to do this. The pizza here just isn't gonna be that good." But he put on a good face, and when we walked in he immediately pointed up to the ceiling mounted speakers and said, "I LIKE this place! They're playing 'Livin' La Vida Loca'!" Which is funny now, because anyone who is following me on twitter will know that a few days ago I was wildly touched by Ricky Martin coming out of the closet. I'm not sure why his public statement spoke to me more than others in the past, but for some reason, I felt genuinely happy for him when I read about Ricky Martin. There's not gonna be a punchline here, I'm being totally serious.

Anyway, this slice. I still have problems with the corrugated cardboard consistency of the dough, and I am not gonna rave about this slice now or anything, but it is not nearly as bad as I made it sound the last time around. Which really speaks miles towards How Good the slice at Gino's is, if it could linger in our memories long enough to ruin a totally passable slice. The sauce was a touch too sweet for my tastes, but this was the first slice of the day where the cheese actually tasted like CHEESE. And that is important. I give this slice two thumbs directly in the middle, like if you put your hands in a thumbs up position and then pointed the thumbs at each other. Cory liked it, though, and he knows pizza, so it can't be that bad.


Abitino's - $2.75
936 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Krunch Pizza Bar: "Food for Vinn Diesels."

Cory's band Stupid Party does not sound like how Cory looks.

Krunch Pizza Bar. Oy vey, what a strange place. The guy working behind the counter was outside smoking when Cory and I walked up. He was very friendly, looked just like Pitbull and was wearing this wild, bejeweled Michael Jordan shirt. He kept telling us about how good and "filling" the mac and cheese slice was and me and Cory kept being like, "I don't know man, I think we'll just split one regular." This place was weird, all the "slices" were rectangular and looked weird, but they had some seemingly fancy shit at pretty decent prices. Like, I think they had a bunch of cured meat slice for like, $3 with pancetta and sopressata on them. That's pretty cool, I guess.

Pitbull was a sweetheart and cut the slice into two pieces for us. What a gem. Cory criticized his sales pitch, saying, "what kind of an argument is that?! I don't want to walk into a dining establishment and have the only selling point of the food I'm about to get be that it's filling." I think dude just pegged us for broke scums right away and knew we were gonna share a slice, so he was trying to clue us in to the most possible food for the least possible money.

This slice was weird. It totally tasted just like the frozen french bread pizzas my mom used to get at the supermarket. They weren't like, in a box premade in a factory, but they were in the deli section, and I imagine they made and froze them at the supermarket because they were wrapped in plastic wrap on those little styrofoam trays that the damn chicken breasts and shit come on. You know what I'm talking about? Maybe it's just an East Coast supermarkets thing because Cory remembers them. In case it's not clear, this is totally unsatisfactory pizza.

While we were eating our pizza this rainbow coalition of Vin Diesels came into the restaurant together. They were funny, it was like, a black Vin Diesel, a Latino Vin Diesel, a Middle Eastern Vinn Diesel and a white Vin Diesel. Total dude-crew. They all had bluetooth robocop ears and J-Lo shades and weird variations on basically the same outfit, which consisted of ripped at the knee, factory-distressed jeans and shirts that were tight enough to see their pecks and biceps. And they all talked like Vin Diesel! It's always pretty cool seeing a Vin Diesel in it's natural habitat because I am not usually in those kinds of places, but seeing a whole pride of Vin Diesels was almost too much to bear. I think the food they serve at Krunch Pizza Bar is the type of food Vin Diesels prefer to consume. And now that I think of it, maybe I was wrong about our salesman's pitch. It's totally possible that the reason he was harping on the fillingness of the mac and cheese slice was because all the Vin Diesels come straight from the gym and are all, "I'm hungry bro."


Krunch Pizza Bar - $2.75
980 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Monday, March 29, 2010

Primavera Pizza & Pasta: "No hay dios aqui."

Alas, dear readers, I've been stricken with a horrible case of consumption. I've been coughing into a handkerchief for two days now and I fear I may have accidentally expectorated some mucus onto my dicky. But I must sally forth, onwards eternally, towards Lord-Knows-Not-Where. For I have been stricken by a duty, no! a curse, from She Who Bakes The Pies, the Great Pizzaola herself, and I mustn't falter. But lo, what new obstacle lurks upon the horizon? What rough beast, it's hour come round at last, awaits this humble man.

Primavera Pizza. Possibly one of the most unexciting places I've ever been. Maybe it's just the mucus clogging up my brain, but I can't even remember what it looked like inside there. It was totally unexceptional. Nothing really sticks out for me at all as something that was gross, or cool, or ugly, or transcendently beautiful (well, besides me and Cory's friendship). This place is just straight up BOH-RING.

The pizza, though, the pizza is exceptionally bad. It has that crosshatched bottom from being cooked on one of those weird trays as opposed to right in the oven. There are a couple of places with decent pizza whose slices bear The Mark of Tray, but mostly this is a sign that the pie you are eating is total garbage. Cory told a long and somewhat charming story about going to flea markets with his dad, and something something, and bagels, and blah blah blah, and I was gonna recreate it for you guys here in this post, but then he got me sick and now I have a head full of snot, so I'm actually just gonna say that Cory from Stupid Party told a TON of really anti-semetic jokes while we ate this pizza and it made me really uncomfortable and then when I expressed my discomfort he called me a homophobic insult and spit at me even though none of that stuff is true. To add insult to injury their coffee tasted like a cup of hot water with a coffee candy dissolved in it. Happy Pesach. Fuck you.


Primavera Pizza & Pasta - $2.75
1005 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Friday, March 26, 2010

Best on 1st: "Weighty accusations were levelled."

Across 57th Street from Ultimate Pizza, on the same side of 1st Ave, is Best Pizza on 1st. As you head E on 57th St, it's impossible to avoid seeing the two restaurants. They're so close together and obviously they're rivals. Cory postulated that Ultimate Pizza was probably there first, and Best Pizza on 1st moved in down the street and was trying to one up their competition. I said, "that is a pretty poor job of one-upsmanship, I mean, Best on 1st just means it's the best pizza on 1st Ave. Now, Ultimate pizza, that is like, the king of all the pizza."
And Cory just goes, "Yeah, but what does 'ultimate' even mean anymore, maaaan?"
You've got to hand it to this guy. That's a persuasive argument.

Now, the slice. While it's definitely better than the crappy slice at Ultimate, it is definitely not the best slice I've had on 1st Ave and far from the best pizzeria experience. (I think both of those honors go to La Mia.) When I folded the slice, it crumbled and broke in half. I looked up at Cory expecting commiseration and he was all, "dude, did you ever think sometimes that maybe that's a problem in your fold?" and gave me the high brow. Woah. I just pretended he didn't say that because we've been friends for so many years I wouldn't want to have to kick his scrawny ass. But seriously. Wow. I don't know if I've ever been more greatly betrayed by another human being than in that moment. I have been more betrayed by an animal AND by a plant! One time this horse ratted me out for selling acid, and another time I was in love with a Hyacinth, but then it turned out he was also seeing Johnny No Pants the whole time and didn't tell me and Johnny thought I knew, and didn't want to bring up that we were both hanging out with the same plant because, why bring it up, but yeah, that Hyacinth really fucking broke my heart, man. I think it was Gwen Stephanie who said, "'Tis better to have loved and lost, or whatever." In summation, the name of this establishment is probably part of an elaborate Abbot and Costello routine and not a literal statement of fact.


Best on 1st - $2.50
1038 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ultimate Pizza: "Feel the power of Ultimate Pizzzzzzaaaaaa!"

Yesterday I was riding my bike up 1st Ave and sending my friend Cory a text message that said "C U SOON!! :) <3" When I nearly got mushed by a truck whose driver was ALSO SENDING A TEXT MESSAGE! We shared a knowing glance and exactly zero "Fuck You!"s were exchanged. I quickly remembered that I shouldn't do that and put my phone in my pocket, but for some reason, afterwards, I couldn't stop singing "Back In The Saddle Again" in my head. And what a saddle it is! Sadly, I can't show it to you, but if you head over to one of my favorite blogs, Bike Snob NYC, you can see a picture of my cockpit if you are willing to scroll far enough down. You may as well just read the whole thing, though, that guy is funny.

In the end, I did successfully meet Cory without being pummeled by any vehicles, and conveniently enough, we were both exactly 15 minutes late for our rendezvous, so no one was mad at anyone. When I first met Cory some years ago, he was a teenager and I was in my twenties. At that point, not that it's so easily measurable, he was definitely at least as cool as me. At this point he is way cooler than I am. I don't mean easier to get along with or more fun to hang out with, because he is neither of those things, but he is definitely really guilelessly cool in this way that is totally compelling for me. Like, I think he is exactly what I always imaged a Cool Guy would be like when I was in Middle School, minus the JNCOs. Anyway, he is someone who I've known for a long time, and because we are both busy, productive people, we don't really get an opportunity to hang out as much as we'd like. So spending a day with him was a real fucking pleasure.

Ultimate Pizza
was not so ultimate really. Though there were a lot of windows and thus plenty of natural light, there is something kind of dire about eating below sidewalk level. The place is also tremendously ugly on the inside. And the slice is $3.00! What?!

The situation: this slice had an almost great texture, although the crust crumbled a bit too much on each bite for it to be perfect. Something just wasn't quite right. The sauce was too sweet for both Cory and me, the cheese was bland, a textural experience but not a taste experience, and overall, the slice just wasn't hot enough! It wasn't a terrible slice, but definitely not worth $3.


Ultimate Pizza - $3.00
407 E 57th St.
New York, NY 10022