Monday, May 31, 2010

Fat Sal's: "Fat Sal's with a vengeance."

Fat Sal's has been haunting me since I went pizza eating with Phoebe Cates. It came back to rear its ugly, totally inconsistent, head when I met up with Kever OCP and Ernie a couple months ago. Once again, Fat Sal's provided a perplexing enigma. Actually, that is totally giving this boring place way more credence than it deserves. The mystery of the first Fat Sal's is undeniable, and the second was just wildly inconsistent, in that they served me one great slice and one totally horrible one. This Fat Sal's location basically split the difference in that they served me one totally mediocre slice.

Here's the thing, I was so caught up in hanging with Jonathan and discussing my history with Fat Sal's that I somehow forgot to photograph this slice. I know that is like The Ultimate Betrayal, but considering this is the first time in 300 pizzerias that I've done this I think I get a pass, okay? Besides, to make up for that I've offered some supplementary information about Philadelphia Pizza-Related Fast Food!

Anyway, Fat Sal's's slice is, first and foremost, a real slice of pizza, which is refreshing in Midtown where there seems to be nothing but crappy fake pizza served at weird cafeterias and delis. Despite the fact that this is actually authentic pizza, it's not very good. It has a decent texture throughout most of the slice, but the sauce is overall far too sweet and there is not enough of it, to boot, leaving the slice foul tasting and too dry. Quoth Jonathan: "I'm just not sold.

My ultimate assessment is that this slice might be worth it compared to the rest of the neighborhood, but on the spectrum of all pizza, it ranks pretty low. And speaking of the neighborhood, while we were eating this slice, Jonathan and I got to talking about how weird Hell's Kitchen can be and he reminded me of that time two years ago when those two dudes pushed their dead friend to the Pay-O-Matic in an office chair so that they could try and cash his Social Security check. And I figured I'd remind you, dear readers, these are the moments of total dementia that make this town great.


Fat Sal's - $2.50
510 9th Ave (38th & 39th)
New York, NY 10018


In other news, I recently had the pleasure of driving to Philly for an evening with Support New York so that we could have a meeting with Philly Stands Up. They were totally gracious hosts, cooked us an amazing meal and sat through a really intense 6 hour meeting about Heavy Shit and then brought us to a dance party. At the dance party, I ran into my old friend Justin Bender (whose new band is playing in Brooklyn on the 19th, I think!) who asked me if I had ever had the Pizza rolls at Peking Inn on previous trips to Philly. Though I have eaten the delicious General Tsao's Tofu from that place a million times, I never even knew they had pizza rolls, so I was intrigued. I bough two, one to eat in the store, and one to take home and disassemble.

Notice in the left picture, that this "Pizza Roll" looks just like an egg roll. Yet if you will look at the image to the right, you'll see that it is, in fact, full of pizza. Fresh pizza roll verdict: Delicious!

Fortified by the strength imbued by pizza-type foods, I was able to safely ferry the entire SNY collective back to Brooklyn in slightly over two hours. Upon arriving home I put my remaining pizza roll in the fridge and promptly forgot about it until yesterday. To the left we see the fresh out the fridge pizza roll, bisected. Note the totally weird "pizza paste" on the inside. So strange. To the right is our half-pizza roll, having been placed in the microwave for 45 seconds or so. Not that the pizza sludge becomes a delicious mixture of cheese and "sauce" when heated. Day old pizza roll verdict: Scrumptious!

Let's make it official: Slice Harvester is Pro-Pizza Roll!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Slice Harvester Quarterly Zine Release and Reading! Thursday, June 3rd @ Book Thug Nation

Pretend that is really cool neon yellow paper and you will have some idea of what the zine will actually look like.

So, Slice Harvester Quarterly #2 will be out less than a week, and I'm doing a release party/reading at BookThugNation, my favorite used bookstore in America (as opposed to my favorite adult bookstore in America, the Love Shack on S Conduit in the Boogie Down). BTN is located at 100 N 3rd St, right off the corner of Berry, in less and less beautiful everyday Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The event will go from 7-9:30 or so, I'll read a couple times, there'll be some zines for sale, it'll be a pretty cool time. And you'd know about it already if you were following me on twitter, or were part of the Slice Harvester Facebook Page. In fact, speaking of facebook, if you want to "RSVP" for the "event" over there, I'll know how much wine to buy. jk. I'm gonna buy the same amount of wine no matter how many people show up.

What a boring post! I am having some clerical problems with the rest of this week's slice data, but I should have those remedied soon enough and then I'll be back to my usual semi-consistency.

Oh! After the zine reading, there will be an after party, because as the old adage goes, "after the show there's the after party," and it will be held at the Second Chance Saloon, which is at 659 Grand Street, also in Williamsburg. Me and my best friend Marcia will be playing records for our monthly DJ night, F(A)CEPLANT PARMIGIAN, and it's usually a good time, so if you can't make the reading, I'll be selling zines from the DJ booth. And since the adage continues, "and after the party, there's the hotel lobby," perhaps when Second Chance closes down, we can all go out and Party at the Bushwick Hotel.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Siena Pizza: "Finally."

I have always loved the slice here at Siena Pizza. Once upon a time, my favorite thing about returning to the city on a bus was that I could immediately get a slice of pizza at Siena before returning to my mundane life. Once, I was coming home from spending a week in Baltimore hanging out with these totally rugged, White Rasta, gangbangers. I had spent time in Bmore as a young teenager and I had always meant to go back because that town is so grimy and strange. This guy Dave Blaze that I smoked weed with mentioned that he was going home to Baltimore and I don't remember if I invited myself or he invited me, but we went back to see his crew and they were totally wild boys living these crazy lives on the outskirts of Baltimore. This was towards the end of my being a teenage all-day-every-day weed smoker, so I was still puffing hella blunts but it was starting to wear me out and make me miserable. I think the Sunday morning in Baltimore when all these thugs had a bible discussion was the last time I ever felt comfortable being high around strangers. Digressions aside, after that week, I was so glad to have spent time observing someone else's weird life, but I was really glad to get back to NYC. As soon as I got off the bus I practically ran out of Port Authority, shouldering my pack, and beelined to Siena. That slice hit the spot so perfectly. It had been raining before I got on the Peter Pan and I was soaked the whole bus ride, shivering under the air conditioner. When I munched up that incredible slice feeling it's warmth spread throughout my body, I knew things were going to be different from now on, I had changed somehow, but I was safe, and I was home.

The slice I ate at Siena yesterday was no different, if a little less dramatic. I met my friend Jonathan in front of Port Authority and we walked over to Siena. It was 90+ degrees out and we were both sweating it out in our punk rock tanktops. Jonathan is someone who I have known for years in New York, but I feel like our friendship really blossomed when he moved out to SF and I ended up out there for a couple months. You know when you get out of town and you're excited to see anyone from where you came from in a different context? I feel like I have tightened up a lot of potential friendships in that context. Anyway, that's what happened, and I'm glad because Jonathan is really cool. A few years ago he put out this zine about being from Staten Island that was some of the most beautiful prose I had read in ages at that point. It surprised me immensely, not that Jonathan was a good writer, but that he wrote at all. I was caught really off guard and I think that left me open to be super impressed. I'm not sure if he has any new writing--the last time I asked him was at a party and I've forgotten what he said--but I hope so.

As I bit into this slice and handed it to my mans, I let out a low, guttural growl. "mmmmph. This is what every street slice should taste like. I feel like when I was a kid, all pizza was at least this good. Maybe I just had worse standards, but I think pizza has gotten way shittier lately."
"Yeah, I know what you mean, Colin. My favorite place when I was a kid, I thought it was the best slice around. Like, the best slice anywhere in the world. I was just back in Staten Island and it's a Famous Famiglia. Always has been! I don't know if it was different when I was a kid or if I just had horrible taste."
I told Jonathan that, as far as I know, Famous Famiglia was a much smaller chain in our lifetimes and each location made totally different pizza, before it went national and became a total mall store. I'm not sure if that's true and I certainly haven't looked into it, but the amount of anecdotal evidence I have from friends claiming that the Famiglia in their neighborhood growing up was good, and different then the chain, leads me to believe I might be on to something.

But back to this perfect slice: The cheese was relatively viscous, and there was a perfect cheese::sauce ratio that left the slice feeling wet and warm in my mouth without it slipping and sliding sloppily off it's crusty base. The dough was salty and crunchy, a totally perfect flavor. The whole slice was pretty greasy, which left some handprints on the thighs of my jeans, but otherwise is something I'm super fond of. The sauce tasted really acidic, in the way that a sort of watery, light on the spices, tomato sauce should. Not too sweet, with a wild tang. The cheese was delicious and great quality. This is a perfect model for how a slice should be. When I walk up to a window on the sidewalk and order a slice to walk around and eat on the street, this is exactly what I want.


Siena Pizza - $2.50
274 West 40th Street (at 8th)
New York, NY 10018

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hell's Kitchen Pizza: "Conquering the worm."

Hell's Kitchen Pizzeria looks like it was opened and decorated by Rob Zombie circa 1998. It is really and truly the corniest place I have ever seen. It really rides the line between being a corny metal pizza shop and being a corny rockabilly pizza shop. Whoever opened this place really loves Betty Page bondage photography. While I think it's hella corny at this point in my life, I found that corniness really charming and if I was a kid or maybe even a teenager I would totally love the aesthetic of this place. Then again, I genuinely liked the Stray Cats AND the Electric Hellfire Club when I was in high school, so there's that. What's my point, in a nutshell? This place seems hella corny, but in a way I totally loved and it made me feel good. I mean, fuck, they were listening to a live Springsteen album.

Sadly, this pizza is the worst pizza I've ever had in my entire life. It was so bad that after I took my first bite I felt like I was gonna puke. Caroline took a bite, gagged, spit it into a napkin and said, "I eat out of the trash pretty regularly and I don't have this problem." Leah seemed to have a sort of zenlike attitude about this slice, and I'm not quite sure what made her impervious to how disgusting it was, but she was unphased.

When we left, about a block away, I totally hurled. It was pretty fun and reminded me of being young and being a total scum. I was standing between two luxury cars barfing and all these mothers pushing their children in strollers were taking a wide berth around me. Caroline and Leah were across the street digging antique nails out of a garbage can and when I walked over to join them, I noticed that an entire family of birds had alighted into my vom-puddle and a mother bird was feeding a kidbird little bits of my puke. Ah, the circle of life.

Later that day I was in a McDonald's reading a book and killing some time because it was raining and cold and I couldn't sit in the park and an older gentleman wearing an NYPD baseball cap, forest green sweatpants and no shirt was standing in the doorway screaming "CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHERE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ARE?!?" and also screaming "I WORK FOR THE CITY!!!" but when we made eye-contact he just looked at me knowingly and smiled.


Hell's Kitchen Pizzeria - $2.50
691 10th Avenue (47th & 48th)
New York, NY 10036

Monday, May 24, 2010

Claudio Pizzeria: "At least it's real pizza."

Claudio Pizzeria was the only real pizzeria that Leah, Caroline and I went to. When we walked in, somewhat haggard from having eaten a bulk of pretty shitty slices, Caroline and Leah slinked straight to the back and I ordered a slice from an older fellow who I will heretofore refer to as Claudio. Claudio looked back to the table where L and C were sitting and said, "So three slices?" in a thick Italian accent.
"No, just one slice." I repeated myself, sort of distracted.
He looked in the back again, this time it caught my attention. "Okay, so three slices" And he started to cut three slices off a pie.
"Oh, no, sorry man. Just one slice. We're sharing. We've eaten a lot today but this place looked so good we couldn't pass it up."
"No meetings." He said.
"Excuse me?"
"No meeting. No meeting here. One slice for three people, you sit for two hours. Not in my pizzeria! You know this saying here in America, 'customer is always right'? Well not in my shop! In my shop customer is always wrong!" And then he gave me my one slice with a huge grin on his face.

This slice was totally good! Great ratios, delicious, high quality cheese, perfect sauce! The dough was a little bit bland, could've used more salt, and that lead to the crust having almost no flavor, but there are worse things in the world. Finally!


Claudio Pizzeria - $2.50
598 10th Avenue (43rd & 44th)
New York, NY 10036

Friday, May 21, 2010

42nd St. Restaurant: "It's a tropical fantasy."

Having just come from Miami, and having been out eating pizza with two ladies who grew up there, I can say, definitively, that 42nd Street Restaurant looks like it could be in Little Haiti. And it was also super tropical looking on the inside! It's a super big room, and it's all painted neon yellow. There's all sorts of pictures of palm trees and shit, it's really pretty great! I want to go back there and try the other food, though, because the pizza was terrible.

This slice was totally no good, and it cost $3.50. It's a real scam. Totally a joke. Leah said she liked this slice because it appealed to her "raw dough addiction." That, of course, is not a recommendation, unless you're also into eating weird shit like uncooked bread slathered in plasticy cheese and flavorless sauce. And the crust, the crust tasted like NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. One thing that this place did have going for it was the craziest bathroom I've ever seen.

Look at that! Bring a date here! Hold hands on the can!


Bathroom Rating:

42nd Street Restaurant - $3.50
647 West 42nd Street (11th & 12th)
New York, NY 10036