Friday, May 27, 2011

Little Italy Pizza: "I think this is the first place called Little Italy to serve a good slice!"

Earlier this week I went pizza eating with my "friend" Phil Chapman. I have known Phil for years, and even worked for him for a short time, and I can say, with total abject honesty, that he is the closest to a real life Newman I have ever met. (Coincidentally, he is also the only person I know with a Seinfeld tattoo.) Phil is not a Newman in terms of his aesthetic appearance. In that regard he looks like any other dour, overly tattooed, aging punk rocker holding up any shitty bar in Portland, OR. Phil is a Newman in demeanor, in that he truly and greatly rejoices in the suffering of others.

Of course I'm speaking in jest, to some extent. Phil is my friend and he is very dear to me. If he were abducted by aliens and I was never able to see him again, I'd think of him with only slight disdain and perhaps even a touch of fondness every time I watched Seinfeld, listened to NYHC rap projects, or saw an old person fall down crossing the street. Phil is a true New York legend, and I am simultaneously envious and sympathetic of those who haven't had their lives touched by The Yenta of Thompkins Avenue.

We were also joined by a newspaper reporter! I wasn't sure what to expect from him, but when he showed up to meet us he looked just like George Tabb and was wearing an Avail t-shirt, so there goes, he is one of us.

Our first stop was Little Italy Pizza on Park Pl. I was pretty terrified, because thus far I have never gotten a good slice from a place called Little Italy. This place had little to no ambiance beyond basic Bustling Pizza Parlor vibes, but there was nothing especially offensive or lame about it. It was just sort of regular. Like any number of other pizzerias I've been to in my life. Formica tables, slightly greasy walls, a bunch of dirks eating their stupid lunch.

This slice was really pretty awesome, though! It could've been crisper, but it was hot enough and had great ratios. Perhaps it was a little too greasy and that is what led to the floppiness, but the flavors were so damn good I didn't mind too much and it seems like you could still eat it on the go. The sauce on this slice had a great consistency and actual dairy flavor, the dough tasted great and yeasty like awesome bakery bread, and the sauce was understated but delicious. A little crisper and this slice would've been perfect, but it was pretty damn good.


Little Italy Pizza - $2.75
11 Park Pl (Church & Broadway)
New York, NY 10007

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cafe Amore's Restaurant: "When the smell hits your nose and you think the dead rose that's Amore"

Cafe Amore is a small local chain with three restaurants that serves giant slice of shitty pizza. For a minute I was thinking it was the worst smelling pizzeria in the city, but I actually have a feeling another small local chain, Pastafina, might take that prize home. These places have even less character than the other small local chain, Abitino's, which is a total pretender and chock full of false authenticity, but they at least have some kind of interior design motif. Cafe Amore just has a shelf of decorative wine glasses.

"For display only"
Otherwise, there are pretty much bare walls and formica table tops. I don't know, I don't mind simplicity but this place is just dreary and so is the pizza.

This slice had nothing going for it. No personality. Aminah said it has "the lingering aftertaste of old people," which she admitted she "kind of liked." But Aminah likes disgusting things! Look at her art. She is intrigued by the sick side of life. And while I dabble in the disturbed, my intrigue with the occult doesn't extend to Hellishly Bad Pizza.

Notice the total lack of structural integrity on this slice. When folded the front flops forward like a huge flaccid dong, flopping around under it's weight at the whims of gravity. Looking at it from the front, it creates what I call The Grease Tunnel, and slightly resembles a quivering and trepidatious anus, poised to spray diarrhea everywhere after having received an enema at the hands of the Pretty Hate Machine himself, Trent Reznor.

Did I spoil your appetite? Does thinking about Trent Reznor giving a slice of pizza an enema and then the pizza shooting greasy, liquid shit all over Marilyn Manson make you feel anything but hungry? Good. Because I don't want you to associate Cafe Amore with food. I want you to associate with gross things, vile things. This is Pavlovian training. Stay away from this place!


Cafe Amore Restaurant - $2.75
147 Chambers St (Hudson & West Broadway)
New York, NY 10007

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dona Bella Pizza: "HELLO!"

I'm not sure if this spot has been Dona Bella Pizza for long, but there has definitely been a pizzeria on this corner for as long as I can remember. I distinctly remember eating a couple slices here when I was a poser bike messenger as a teenager. I don't remember if they were any good, but the slice we got the other day definitely wasn't.

This slice was thin and greasy, though not too greasy, and these are both good things, but that is where the goodness ends. The closest textural approximation I can give you for biting into this pizza is that it felt like I was eating a King Cone. You know how when you eat one of those things, you can tell that once, the cone was a rigid and crunchy object, but since it sat in a freezer box full of ice cream for the past year it became, not soggy, but more like, formerly crunch, haunted by the specter of crunch. That is what this slice was like. The cheese was a decent quality, but the sauce had that weird shrimp flavor that bad sauce sometimes has. Aminah said, "I wouldn't recommend it, but I like it," and I tend to agree. Just like III L's, this is distinctly NOT good pizza, but I was totally okay with it.


Dona Bella Pizza - $2.50
154 Church St (at Chambers)
New York, NY 10007

Friday, May 20, 2011

III L's Pizzeria: "I keep trying to think of three words that start with L and glibly summarize my experience with this place but I am having NO LUCK!"

Recently I went pizza eating with my good friend Aminah Slor, who I have known since she was a teenage waste pissing her life away in Tompkins Square Park. She grew up from her humble Brooklyn roots to become one of the most talented artists and tattoo-appliers I have ever seen.

Some years ago, at the beginning of her career as a tattooist, she gave me this cool Ramones-related Salami on my thigh:
That was one of the first tattoos Aminah ever did and I am pretty sure I traded her like, a mostly full package of Samson tobacco for it. She also touched up my toes after I spilled drano on my foot and they rubbed off (DIY tattoo removal enthusiasts, take note: if you want to replace your tattoo with a weird, itchy, peeling rash, spill Drano on it and don't wash it off).

Probably two years ago she gave me this sweet Wolfman Jesus tattoo, also, which really documents how far she's come since the Salami Days and also how talented an artist she is:
Here is a drawing I gave Aminah as a sketch of what I wanted my tattoo to look like, and next to it is the drawing she made and tattooed on me. Seriously, this lady is the most talented.

I could make this post a million times longer about how awesome Aminah is, but I'll just leave it at that. She is a serious asset to the international community of freaks and weirdos and I am oftentimes so proud that she is my friend.

Our first stop was III L's Pizzeria, which is on Broadway near the Federal Building. They have a crazy x-ray system to get in there (the Federal Building, not the pizza parlor) like they have at court and once when I went there to pick up a child I know from the daycare center in the ground floor of the building I almost got arrested because I had all these knives and boxcutters on me! Luckily I noticed the x-ray devices and stashed my supplies for cuttin' you in the bushes outside. They still didn't believe that someone would trust me with a child, but eventually they let me pick him up when I showed them they'd had my ID on file for months as the kid's emergency contact! Anti-Punk discrimination on the part of the federal government is a serious problem that I hope President Barrett Orbalmo will work hard to alleviate. Ugh.

Sorry, I get easily distracted. Anyway, III L's was a grimy place full of grimy teens and it had great style! The employees were all wearing matching uniforms, but they all had like, Bone Thugs corn rows and cursive neck tattoos and looked hella rugged even though they were wearing goofy uniforms. There was no where to sit, so we took our slice out the door and sat outside the Fed Building, where we were met by my friend and current roommate Sean Monaghan, famous San Francisco punk rock style icon and general all around decent dude. And he joined us in reviewing this slice.

First thing to notice about this slice is that it kind of looks like pizza from a roller rink. And that's what it tastes like! Sean took a bite and said, "woah, it's totally mushy!" and Aminah was like, "yeah, but I like this rubbery texture sometimes." And I agree with her. This slice had a lot of Elio's Action going on, and as you all may know, while I admit that shit is definitely Objectively Bad, I totally unabashedly love it. It's like how my favorite song in the whole world is honestly and truly Girls Dem Sugar by Beenie Man and Mya. Or like how I love watching Law & Order: SVU!

Anyway, according to Aminah, "this is better pizza than you can get anywhere in Oakland," which is not saying much, but it's certainly saying something. Sean said this slice felt like it was made of chapstick, which is gross, but we all agreed the crust was good. It wasn't like BANGIN, but it was good. Overall I was satisfied by this slice, but it definitely was not good pizza.


III L's Pizzeria - $2.25
315 Broadway (Duane & Thomas)
New York, NY 10007

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Saluggi's Pizza: "No thanks!"

I didn't take any notes on this place because it made me mad. Fucking stuffy. Come here for lunch from your office job or whatever it is YOU PEOPLE do. But count me out, maaaan. I don't want no part in this charade you call society. Real talk: Alex, Greg and I felt really uncomfortable standing there waiting for our slice and definitely didn't feel comfortable staying.

This pizza wasn't very good at all, totally grasping at some kind of high brow that it didn't quite pull off. The cheese was lumpy, the dough was crisp but too rigid, the sauce was mediocre at best. Fuck it. I'm not wasting any more energy on this place, don't waste any of yours.


Saluggi's - $3.00
325 Church St. (Lispenard & Canal)
New York, NY 10013

Monday, May 16, 2011

Luna Pizza: "Worst NYC Disasters by Century: 1668 - First Yellow Fever Outbreak; 1776 - Approx. 1/4 of City Burned to Ground; 1832 - Cholera Pandemic; 1977 - Blackout and Ensuing Riots; 2011 - This Slice of Pizza."

. Make sure and get your hazmat suit on before coming to Luna Pizza, because this slice is a mess! The place itself is charming and I REALLY wanted to like it. It's got a real family vibe, not that it's like A Family Restaurant (which I guess it kind of seems to be), but like it's run by people who are related to each other. I got the distinct impression that the guy who sold me my slice was the lady who rang me up's nephew. But the slice! The slice should be declared a superfund site.

This slice was forged in the molten center of the Earth! It looks like that one Dick Tracy villain with the melty face. Or like a Charles Burns drawing. And when I picked it up it totally fell apart!

Check out the aftermath of that precarious lift:

A slice of pizza should not do that! Greg said "tastes exactly like the Pizza In A Cup I used to make at the Pickle Barrel," a grease pit Greg used to cook at in Chattanooga, TN. I feel like they should've just put the sauce and cheese into a bowl and like, given me a piece of toast to dip into it. That would've been more functional and it would've had the same effect. The grease to cheese ratio on this slice was an exact 1:1 when it should be like, 1:50. And the sauce tasted like it would've been better suited for a seafood pasta dish, which wasn't necessarily the worst thing, but with all the other distressing elements just contributed to the ultimate sense of disappointment we all felt about this slice. The crust was fucking awesome, though.


This slice coulda been like a 6 if I had been able to lift it up. Step your game up Luna!

Luna Pizza - $2.50
225 Park Row (at Worth)
New York, NY 10038