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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Koronet Pizza: "You probably already know everything I'm about to write here."

After , Gabby and I finally ditched those squares from the Daily News (jk u guyz r kewl!! lol) and struck out on our own, like a couple of rascally vagabonds. I guess the simile is pretty unnecessary because at various points on and off in both of our lives, both Gabby and me have been rascally vagabonds. And you know what Hegel said in his essay about Kerouac, Of Lordship and Vagabondage, "Once a bum always a bum (no hobo)."

I digress, after freeing myself from the demanding shackles of low-pressure, high publicity media attention, Gabby and I strolled over to .


I'm gonna keep this entry brief, because there has been plenty of writing about Koronet done. They are notable because their slices are enormous, like, the size of two normal slices, but cost less than the price of two normal slices. The current price seems to be holding at $3.50.


This slice is all about big appetites. The size forces it to go into a Dough-Thickness Bracket higher than I generally prefer, for the sake of maintaining structural integrity. Aside from that, the dough is good quality, the cheese is good, ample but not overabundant, and the sauce, although on the sweetish side, is not so bad. Overall the slice is on the above-average side of plain old "good," but the amount of food you get for your money makes it kind of a spectacular bargain. However, I can't help but imagine that if this were a regular slice, at a regular price, it wouldn't be such a great deal, but it might be close to perfect, assuming the dough thinned out equally to the decrease in overall weight for it to hold.

In a world without money, where I can have whatever I want whenever I want (so, more accurately, in a world with money where I am extravagantly wealthy), I would never eat here, because I would fly my rocketbike to DiFara's every time I wanted a slice. But since I am constrained by my limited finances, Koronet is always a pleasure to stop at when I find myself in Morningside Heights because unlike most shticky pizza that prides itself on size, Koronet is actually good quality.

Koronet Pizza
2848 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

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I was on the radio this morning on WOR 710 AM on the . It is a short interview and I kind of sound like a dick, but it was first thing in the morning for me, so cut me some slack, huh?
by

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Giovanni's Pizza Restaurant: "If you read the Daily News, you already know I like this place."

After Che Bella, Gabby and I strolled down to the next pizzeria on my list, only to find out that it wasn't even there, and the number listed for it in the phone book was an out of service cell phone. Weird sketchy times, indeed! So we hustled over to and were immediately overtaken by the smell of delicious pizza as soon as we walked in.


The place smelled phenomenal, and the guy behind the counter looked like the perfect 'I don't give a fuck' pizzadude. Greasy apron, shirt halfway untucked, backward hat just barely holding the hair out of his face. I used the word shlubby to describe him in the , and some people took umbrage with that. (Most notably Daily News Commenter Nomorracism, who remarked, " Isn't that a jewish saying? What does it mean though? It sounds disrespectful, but that's not suprising since they think they are better than everyone else who is not jewish." Thank you Nomorracism, for your insightful anti-semitism.) I just want to take a minute to clear the air and mention that I did not use the word "shlubby" in an even remotely pejorative sense. As a lifelong shlub myself, I feel a certain kinship with anyone else who can't seem to keep their shirt tucked in. And this particular guy's brand of slovenliness was almost post-coital looking, with Making of the Pizza being akin to the Physical Act of Love. And such good love (or pizza) had just been made, that homeboy could not bother to fix his appearance afterwards, because in light of that transcendent experience, who cares about societal norms regarding tucked shirts or restrained locks?


The pizza: guy just handed me a slice, perfect temperature, right off a tray behind the counter. When I come back here, I'm gonna ask to have my slice reheated a bit because I prefer that extra crunch, but holy zombie Moses, this pizza was pretty damn good even lacking in such an elementary and important textural factor. The cheese was top quality, the dough was made perfectly, thrown perfectly, given ample time to rise. But the sauce was really what made this slice. It was sweet in this really natural way, like fresh, homegrown tomatoes right off the vine. It was definitely spiced, but all it really tasted like was delicious fresh tomatoes, and that taste added an element to this otherwise pretty good slice that put it right over the edge into the realm of greatness. As Gabby was eating his he said, "eating this slice is actually making me more hungry!" And not in that way where you are bummed out that you're eating something so you get hungry as an excuse to eat a new thing afterwards, but in a way where you are so pumped on something's intricate and totally awesome flavors that you get hungrier just thinking about it as you eat it.

S & D Giovannis
1011 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10025

Che Bella Pizza: "This place is what it would be like if Starbucks opened a pizzeria."

I was really excited about eating pizza this week because I was heading out for slices with my good pal who was in town for a day to have a book release for his awesome new comic at . Either way, not only was I excited about my rad buddy having a new book out, but I was pretty thrilled at the prospect of hanging out with him. Gabby has this weird way of combining being a totally bitter, acerbic curmudgeon with still believing in shit in a totally rad and excited way. It's a good balance to strike, because people who are too starry-eyed about changing the world tend to be so delighted with themselves it is infuriating, and people who are lifestyle-grumps are oftentimes such a pain in the ass to hang around, but the combination of the two balance each other out perfectly. Blah blah, enough praising the wonderful people in my life, onto trashing crappy pizza.


. It's crazy because the human personification of this pizzeria was standing outside, like a shapeshifting wizard who could somehow assume two forms at once. Inside was exactly what you would expect from the crappy outside. Bright orange walls, the table and chair setup made me think I was in a Subway, and the people who were working on the weird assembly line behind the counter seemed miserable. The slices on display looked like crap to the point that I almost called it off because this obviously wasn't pizza. When ordering, I asked the guy if they even had regular slices. The guy told me that they sure do, I paid my $2.50 and he handed me a regular looking slice.


It's strange that they keep the not horrible looking slices hidden and the whack bullshit on display, but whatever, it's not my business. The slice itself: the cheese was good, the sauce was superb, not too sweet, but maybe tasted a little too much like a can. The bread, though, was so crappy it rendered the slice majorly awful. Maybe cooking the slice adequately would help, but I feel like it's an issue of the dough recipe. Here's what happened, the top of the dough, where it should be soft and somewhat fluffy, was this like, awful dense paste, and it turned the entirety of every bite into a totally dense, awful paste. The worst feeling ever in my mouth. Pizza loves, save this place for college students who don't care how good their pizza is.

Che Bella
1215 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Como Pizza: "I am not as precise as I thought."


While James and I were out eating hella slices, my friend Jordan called. He is a super rad buddy who knows everything cool. Like, walking around Manhattan with him is way more intesting than walking around with anyone else because he's all, "that's where Malcolm X was living when he was assassinated," "there are only four freestanding houses in all of Manhattan and that's one of them. The other three are in these three places," "etc." Dude is totally like, an unending fountain of rad information.

Anyway, Jordan was like, "hey Colin, you never went to the pizzeria I go to the most in my neighborhood, ." I didn't believe him because I totally remembered the name from a couple weeks prior. But sure enough, I leafed through my grease-stained Pizza Journal, and there was not an entry for Como. "By God," I thought, "I fucked up and I need to rectify this situation. So James and I got on the subway and headed up to 168th.

This brings up a brief digression which is as follows: I am but one man, and though I try to focus my energy on pizza all the time, I also work a couple jobs, write puppet shows, and do rape crisis work. Which is just to say, there's a lot on my plate at any given moment, and though Slice Harvester is a pretty top priority, I am bound to make a few mistakes. So if you are following the blog and notice that I've missed the best, most loathsome, or least exceptional pizzeria in your neighborhood, write me a comment or send me an email to let me know. I want to be comprehensive, but I'm not perfect. That said, on to Como Pizza.


Pretty unexceptional looking exterior, but the inside looks like all the best Jewish delicatessens.

I think it's that design on the walls, whatever the hell that shit is. It made me feel like I was at in Rosedale, where I had my first ever Corned Beef and Pastrami on Rye with a Dr. Brown's Black Cherry Soda as a wee lad. The lady behind the counter looked just like my Grandma Sylvia--hair dyed black, overly made up, tacky costume jewelry--and I immediately felt so comfortable inthere..

The pizza, though, was just not phenomenal. It was decent. Perfect amount of grease, good ratios, the sauce was great. But the whole slice was majorly undercooked. I enjoyed the whole thing, straight through the crust, which tasted superb but wasn't crunchy enough. I would come back here for sure, and I will when coming to visit Jordan, but next time I'm here I'll ask for my slice well-done, and I'd suggest you do the same if you like your pizza crunchy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Mi Gente, Slice Harvester Triple Play Is IN THE HOUSE"

- $2.00
1343 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027

NOTE: THIS PLACE CLOSED DOWN. RIP BEAUTIFUL FRIEND.


Basement Pizza looks like a Dick Tracy comic on the outside and feels like a David Lynch film on the inside.


While sitting in there I witnessed a toddler, sucking on a fountain soda, staring vacantly with those creepy devil-eyes children get when they're oversugared but worn out, stuffing wadded up pieces of paper up his nose and in his mouth and hair. I was only distracted from the demon-trance the kid was putting me into by a guy who came in and tried to sell me a watch.

The guys behind the counter were attentive but distrustful, the kind of demeanor you want in a good pizzaman, or diner proprietor. Because that's the thing about Basement Pizza, it's like, half amazing greasy spoon and half crappy pizzeria. And with that, on to the slice:


The bread was great. The dough was prepared perfectly and tasted delicious. The sauce was a horrid mess, though. Tasted way more like marinara than pizza sauce, if that makes sense. It was super salty and garlicky in a really unpleasant way, which made it way overpowering, so I couldn't even taste the cheese. The crust was good but nothing to write home about.

I want to spend all day hanging out in this place because it's a weird vortex of bizarre shit. However, next time I come, and there will be a next time, I'm gonna get a burger or some eggs or something.

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- $2.25
357 W 125th St
New York, NY 10027


By far the worst pizza I've had yet. It sucks to be inside this place and the food sucks even more.


This slice was burnt and dry. It felt like there was no sauce because the sauce had all evaporated during the slice's forty days and forty nights in the pizza oven, but it had left behind an overwhelming amount of crappy sauce flavor. The crust might've been okay if it hadn't been cooked so crappy and the cheese tasted like chemicals. Don't bother with this place.

Funnily enough, as James and I were eating our slice and discussing how disgusting it was, we noticed a sign below the registerthat claimed that "Presidential Pizza was voted the best slice in America on Yahoo." Okay, whatever. But now, scroll up and click on the link I posted up there for the place and look at the reviews.

I have never seen a larger quantity of more poorly written fake reviews in my life! These are an incredible body of work and whoever wrote them should get whatever the equivalent of a Pullitzer is for people who write fake reviews to boost their own business.

"Just thinking about it makes my mouth watered."
"Presidential Pizza has the best pizza in the Universe!"
"NYC has the best
pizza in the planet. Presidential Pizza is the best in NYC."

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- $2.25
471 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY 10037

This place had a really good atmosphere. No tables and just a long counter. They had like, 30 different flavors of fruit punch and the guys behind the counter were really nice. The pizza was weird, though.

Looks decent, adequately greasy and the bread was okay if a little on the bland side and slightly undercooked. I couldn't taste the sauce at all because they cheese tasted WEIRD. Like, it was extra pungent and sharp, didn't taste like mozzarella, although it looked like mozzarella. This is obviously a Halal joint and I am wondering if, like Kosher pizza, Halal pizza necessarily has different ingredients and will never be as good. Thinking back on this slice, I recall it fondly, but I definitely wrote "I DO NOT like this," in my notes from the other day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Slicebun / Pizza Burg / Family Affair: "Hell is for children."

In between Tom's and , we walked by some place called like, Festa Merda or something that was waiter service-only brick oven yuppie town and I made the executive decision not to bother. I'm pretty sure I even said "Heave-ho!" in my best voice. I got no time for yuppie pizza, folks. Although if anyone wants to inform me that the fancy pants, Italian name "brick oven restaurant" ensconced in those couple blocks of Amsterdam that look like Scarsdale is actually a decent slice joint, I will rescind these words and go there and try it out on Thursday. Anyway, Slicebun.


What a weird place. We got there right as a mob of children came in. I don't even mean teenagers, or even fifth graders. I'm talking like, five-year-olds, pretty much the oldest age I will tolerate larval humans until they're like, twenty, but that's really an irrelevant aside. These kids were adorable and were running rampant all over the place. It seems like a popular spot for folks to bring their pups after school, and I'll explain why when I explain the slice, which was huge and cost $2.00.


This pizza had mediocre crust and not nearly enough grease. The cheese tasted fine but was a weird soupy texture, probably because the sauce was too watery and too sweet. The dough wasn't cooked all the way, so the whole thing turned into this nasty-feeling paste in my mouth every time I took a bite. Here is what James said about it:
"It's not bad."
"This tastes like pizza in California."
And as we got towards the crust, "I can't believe this, but it's actually getting wetter."

Despite the crummy review, this pizza made me really happy because it reminded me of going to Rye Playland or like, the ice skating rink when I was a kid. I feel like I ate this exact pizza on a boardwalk as a child or at like, a carnival or something. Here's the thing, man: this pizza is perfect for children because it has no texture and barely any flavor but is slightly sweet. As my friend might say, "this is kid stuff."

Pizza Burg
1302 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tom's Delicious Pizza: "Holy shit, wow."

I feel like it's happening more and more that I'm not finding my perfect slice, but I am finding someone's perfect slice. Such is the case with .


This place looks great and it feels fantastic to be in here. It sits just South of 125th St on Broadway, so while you're listening to the sounds of the pizza oven and the crappy radio station playing Waterfalls by TLC, you also hear the occasional El train clackety-clack by through the wide open doors. The place looks perfect, but when I saw the pizza, my heart sank. It looked like a cheesy mess. Horrifying. But I paid my $2.00 and ordered my slice.

When it came out of the oven, it looked a lot better, but still totally not my style.


This slice looks like it has too much cheese on it, because it does. But I bit into it, and good god, it was fucking fantastic. I'm talking, like, ultimate, incredible slice status. I am not usually into a heavily cheesy slice, y'all know that. I talk about perfect ratios all the time, because such ratios do exist, but sometimes there's a slice that breaks the paradigm and blows up all the preconceptions you spend all day unconsciously walking around with.

The ingredients were all TOP quality. The cheese, heaped on bountifully, was delicious and fresh tasting. The dough had risen plenty, was thrown out perfectly (but not too) thin, the sauce was understated and delicious, slightly sweet, slightly tart, didn't dominate the slice.

Ultimately it was too much cheese, so I pulled some of it off, set it aside, and spread the remaining cheese out evenly over the rest of the slice (much to the chagrin of friend James, who looked at my grubby mitts pawing at every inch of cheese left on the slice we were sharing and sighed, "you just gonna rub your hands all over the whole thing?"). As such, when I got to the crust, which was PERFECT--crispy and dark brown on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside, slightly salty--I wrapped a portion of the remaining cheese around some of the crust, a treat second only to wrapping excess pepperoni slices around your slice's heel.

This place has incredible pizza. If you're a pizza lover and are going to find yourself up at 125th and Broadway, you should save yourself some room for a slice at Tom's.

Tom's Delicious Pizza
3161 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Sunday, September 20, 2009

La Palma Restaurant & Pizzeria: "It's like how you don't go to a tattoo shop that sells bongs."

On Friday my friend James met me at my apartment early in the afternoon to head up to Harlem and help me finish eating all the slices of pizza available above 125th st. In preparation for a full day of pizza eating, neither of us had eaten breakfast. As we rode the subway up to 137th and Broadway, we were both pretty loopy, getting hungrier and hungrier. We got out of the train and walked over to Amsterdam, both of us dying for a slice when we saw .

Pretty much without fail, pizzerias that serve anything besides pizza, pasta, heros and calzones have shitty pizza. If you can get tacos, pupusas, borscht, fried chicken, or sushi in the same place as a slice of pizza, your slice will probably blow, (although funnily enough, availability of or is oftentimes a sign to the contrary). Regarding this rule, La Palma as no exception.


Even though I had a terrible feeling when I looked at the pizza behind the counter and saw the EXTENSIVE menu of non-pizzeria-related foods, I got my slice anyway, because I am a man on a mission, like Rambo. And like Rambo, I know that sometimes you have to overcome an obstacle to achieve a goal. So I paid my $2.00 and was handed this piece of crap:


The top of the slice looks like , a sign that it had been sitting out all day, not being sold, because no one wants it. If it were a puppy or an orphan you might feel bad for it and learn to love it for all it's foibles, but when it comes to pizza, popularity is actually really important.

The cheese on this slice tasted like chemicals. The sauce tasted like canned pureed tomatoes with nothing added. The dough tasted like pillsbury and was way too dense because no one gave it time to rise. The crust was totally undercooked and sucked.

However, this place isn't all bad. They have $0.75 hotdogs, and you can get two slices and a fountain soda for $4.00. Granted it's two shitty slices, but that's still a deal.

As we were walking to the next pizzeria, I said to James, "I almost feel less satisfied than I was before I ate anything."
And he was all, "Yeah, man. The gnawing pangs of hunger in my guts were totally preferable to whatever's going on in there now... Hey, I was wondering, could you tell before we got there that it was gonna be mediocre because it said Restaurant and Pizzeria?"
"Well," I mused, "there is usually a correlation, although Pizzeria Restaurants tend to be awesome. But yeah, most times when a place serves non-pizzeria food as well as pizza, the pizza stinks."
"Right," he nodded in agreement, "like how you don't go to a tattoo shop that sells bongs."

La Palma Restaurant & Pizzeria
1502 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 1003

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mama Tina's Pizza Corporation: "What a classy joint."

By the time we got to Mama Tina's, everybody was pretty full, and feeling totally sluggish and dull. The place doesn't look spectacular, but you can never judge a slice by a building's facade. We learned that from .


But I dutifully forked over my $2.25 and got my pizza. Our fullness might've tempered our opinion of the pizza here if it hadn't been such a solid slice.


It may have been little underdone for my tastes, but no one else felt that way. This slice was perfectly greasy. Like, the exact right amount of grease to make everything totally rule and provide an adequate amount of social lubricant for the killer party going on in your mouth. The ingredients were all of superb quality--this slice was by far the freshest tasting of everything we ate that day. The ratios were perfect and it's that thin New York style I love. Not "thin crust pizza," you know, but not too thick. The sauce was delicious, slightly garlicky, but totally great and not overwhelming, and the cheese had great flavor and a good somewhat-congealed, but still stringy and runny consistency. The crust was pretty much perfect. When we finished this slice, Thunderbolt said, "this one wins," pretty definitively, and everyone just sort of nodded in agreement.

Mama Tina's Pizza Corporation
2649 Frederick Douglass Blvd
New York, NY 10030

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Also, I'll try not to make this a habit, but I just need to mention the two things I've been listening to non-stop all night. First, , a man of the utmost character, had the courtesy to email me the EP because he didn't have any copies at the show last night. This shit is so perfect I wanna rip Mike's face off and wear it as a mask next time I play a show. The man is a genius. And the ! Have you heard this shit yet? The Wu is back, with featuring bad acting and an undercover cop getting burnt on the face with a blunt roach! I'd like to pretend Meth is saying "all my chicks, hold your dicks" in the chorus and that Wu-Tang is genderqueer inclusive in the '09.

And a re-reminder about the tonight. And yeah, duh, I'm a major believer in overdoing it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Paul's Pizza: "It's like when your best friend plays in a really good emo band."

is a shining beacon of authenticity in an otherwise barren wasteland of crappy posers, like in a or hanging out at . That's a little bit histrionic, on both accounts, but seriously, the place looks for real.


I don't need to explain why that storefront appeals to me, right? That storefront appeals to everybody but weird fancy-pants fuddy duddies who use descriptive adjectives like, "that looks poor" pejoratively. And I don't need to remind you about Slice Harvester's official stance on fancy-pantses, do I? I will anyway: fuck those people.

I digress. The place looked amazing. I need to get a decent camera, I think because I tried to take some pictures of the inside but the lighting and my camera-phone just didn't want to get along. This place is really a sight to behold. It's not dirty, but it's comfortably worn in, like your Grandfather's fedora. Still suitable to wear to synagogue, but you can tell it's got history.

I ordered my slice, it was an even $2.00, which was a pleasant surprise after the last few places, especially considering how big it was, and brought it back to the table to be subjected to everyone's judgmental gaze.


Anyone who has been following this blog with any regularity will immediately notice that this slice is a lot more golden, and a lot less golden-brown, than I prefer. I noticed everyone at the table notice, watching them wait with trepidation for me to weigh in after my first bite. I remained stoically silent, though, and passed the slice along, as I didn't want to influence their judgments. After everyone had tried the slice, they started to weigh in one by one. "This slice is way bigger than I like... but it's so good," was the general consensus. And I agree. Not necessarily my perfect slice, but this is someone's perfect slice. This shit is great.

This slice is huge, and thick. There is way more dough than I would want in my ideal piece of pizza, but the dough is airy and light, like a pretzel or good bagel, and the ratios are consistent. There is ample sauce and cheese to match the dough but not too much or too little of either, and the ingredients are all of spectacular quality. You can tell there's a lot of history and love in this pizza, not to mention, it is a TON of food for two bucks. Josh reached some kind of higher plane of transcendental meditation eating the crust.


This slice of pizza is like when your best friends play in a band you don't like that's getting moderately popular. Maybe you don't want to go see them all the time, but you totally understand the appeal, even if it doesn't appeal to you. And they're such great people that you're just like, "awesome, I'm glad this touches someone in a real way, even if that someone's not me."

Paul's Pizza
3409 Broadway
New York, NY 10031
UPDATE 4/1/11: According to Kevin Yankou, "Paul's Pizza is now Olga's Pizza. I think most of the old staff is still working there and they still make a great slice (though they no longer offer meatball, which kinda sucks)." There you go. Come out, drink some beers or seltzer waters or whatever, dance a little if you like, watch me run from the DJ booth to the sidewalk to suck down half a cigarette in the span of a 2 minute song 30 times. You know, typical Friday night.

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And I'd just like to remind everyone about my DJ party at on Friday. It should be a good time. I've moved the flier from Tuesday's post to this one so it won't be repetitive. Just in case you were wondering, which I'm sure you weren't.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pizza Double Feature: P & M Classic Pizzeria / Pizza Plaza

- $2.50
1747 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10031


This place is HILARIOUS. The seating area, to the right when you walk in, is like, a shallow, fake porch, with booths underneath it. And then mounted along the wall, one for every booth, is a little, tiny diorama of another fake porch. The porch-themed decor was especially funny having just come from which simply looked like someone's front porch. Everyone was pretty enamored by the wingnut decorating, but not enamored enough to make this crap pizza taste good:


Even though looking at that picture right now is making me hungry, I know I wouldn't be satisfied if I ate it. Check out the way the cheese looks like a layer as thick as the bread with the sauce poking out like a sandwich at the very tip. Woof. Feed this pizza to your pet. Seriously, the whole slice was way too thick and wet, as well as many other sexually suggestive adjectives. The sauce was too chunky and too sweet. While a little texture in your pizza sauce isn't a fault, the amount of tomato chunks on this slice was egregious. "It's like they made pizza lasagna," was Josh's comment.

Regarding the crust, Meredith had this to say:
"Worst crust ever. It's practically tasteless, but still coating my mouth with gross flavor." I don't think there's really much I can add to that.

Even though the pizza was assembled poorly, the ingredients were not cheap. The cheese tasted good and fresh and the tomatoes in the sauce would've been delicious on a pasta, which leads me to think that P & M may not be where you want to go for a slice, but they would have .

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- $2.25
3618 Broadway
New York, NY 10031


I promise this will never happen again, but I forgot to photograph the slice here! Honestly, though, I was under a lot of stress. My wife had been on my ass about picking up this thing from the dry cleaner's, and my kid had just won a gold metal at this Science Fair or something and there was this dinner I was supposed to go to, but it was the same night as the first Jets game, and like, they were talking about giving me a promotion at work, but that would mean doing more, and right now all I do is get paid to email with chicks on Adult Friend Finder, which is pret-ty sweet, huh? But like, I was feeling really insecure in bed because my wife had been making more money than me and it had been effecting my... you know... boners.

Anyway, I had a lot going on and I forgot to photograph ONE GODDAMN SLICE. IS THAT REALLY THE END OF THE FRICKIN WORLD? SUE ME. God I hate you people.

The pizza here: Bread was fine, sauce was great, cheese tasted like sanitizer, crust was bland.

Overall rating: BOOOOOOOO!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lupita Pizzeria: "Possibly parve pizza?"

Here's the thing about , it's really cool looking.


The awning is maybe nothing exceptional, but once you're inside, there's a rickety handmade screen door and a weird counter and no tables and the whole place is like, the size of my bathroom. Too bad the pizza sucked.


Meredith was "slightly unsettled" by the way the crust met the pizza. After our first round of bites she exclaimed, "that's the crispiest pizza I ever had. it's like a cracker!" It wasn't crispy in a good way, either. It felt like when my orthodox friends parents used to make Matzo pizzas for a snack during Passover. Seriously shitty.

This slice was so garlicky, super dry, and it seems like the dough never rose at all. I want to make some kind of joke about it being cooked on the backs of people shlepping through the desert, but I guess I made that joke already. In short, there is nothing good to say about this slice.

However, if you're looking to move, the block that this pizzeria is on is beautiful and everybody that lived on it was super nice and started up conversations with us!

Lupita Pizzeria
26 Macombs Pl
New York, NY 10039

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Much like half the residents of Brooklyn who have blogs, I sometimes DJ at bars. As it happens, I'll be DJing at this coming Friday. I figured I might try and make it a Slice Harvester related event because this bar GIVES OUT FREE PIZZAS! Mind you, it's not the best pizza in the world, but of the number of Pizza Bars located in North Brooklyn, this one is by far the best. Also, what kind of pizza lover is gonna complain about a bar that gives you a free tiny pizza with every beer? That shit rules. The bartenders are super sweet, and I play really good music, too, so it'll be fun times.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

King's Pizza of Harlem: "So close, and yet so far."

This week's pizza mission was especially exciting to me, because it involved my triumphant reunion with the inimitable Josh Ferguson, who I hadn't seen since last July when he went West out of Montreal and me and Good Kid Paulie went South. I knew Josh was a stand up guy a couple years ago when I first met him. The cops showed up to a house he was living at to arrest my bandmate, and everyone in the house bolted up the doors and hid under their beds. Fair enough. If I lived in a house that already had a tenuous relationship with local law enforcement, I wouldn't be too happy that some jerkoffs from Brooklyn had just attracted the pigs to the crib AGAIN, and I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to help those jerks out. But that's because I'm not Josh. That guy sat outside with me on the porch while we waited for homeboy to talk his way out of trouble, (which my bandmate did with a grace and charm that is unparalleled). Suffice to say, when the occasion to travel with Josh arose last summer, I jumped at it and it's a decision I don't regret. Since then, we've managed to just barely miss each other all over the country over and over again, so I sure as shit was super excited to be seeing that bastard after not having run into him for a little over a year.

My pal Meredith, front person of the most excellent , bartender at , and one of my best friends, was my planned pizza partner for the day, and suggested, when she found out that Josh was in town, that we invite him along with us. Which was an excellent idea, because Josh was on his way back from working some weird kitchen job at a resort in Maine (q: was it like Dirty Dancing?! a: yeah, sorta, I guess...) with his friend Thunderbolt, who also worked the job, and the two of them had some fantastic insights and excellent appetites having been deprived of pizza for a few months.

After a track fire held us up in the subway, (which was obviously the work of hooligans, and which I assured our out of town pals was definitely no reflection on Our City's Fine Public Transit System, a curse on you if you besmirch it's name), we arrived in Harlem and practically stumbled out of the subway entrance to the first pizza place, .


And this place, oh boy! We got there right after school let out, which would've been hell for me if I was in a bad mood, but I was reunited with an old pal, hanging with a best friend, making a new friend and eating pizza, so nothing could , if you will. Instead, the packs of kids in uniforms shouting and horsing around just endeared the pizzeria to me. Plus, as soon as I walked in the guy behind the counter was like, "Get a good picture?" in a that ambiguous way that older New York guys talk that makes it impossible to distinguish whether it is friendly or threatening.

I ordered my slice, forked over my $2.25, and nearly plotzed. I don't know what the literary equivalent is of leaning over and telling you something mundane under my breath in a way that makes it seem like I'm letting you in on some big secret, but this fuckin slice seemed PERFECT.


Seriously, so good looking. Generally on pizza missions we share slices, in order to maximize the number of pizzerias we can hit in one day, but truth be told, I wanted this slice all to myself, so I told everyone, "listen, if we're all gonna get our own slice anywhere, this just might be the place." Josh got up and ordered slices for himself and Thunderbolt, but Meredith didn't buy it. "I'll see what you say when you take your first bite." So I dug in. And before I could even weigh in with my assessment, she was like, "Oh! The Crunch! I heard it!" and ran over to the counter to order her own.

The bummer thing is that the slice wasn't all as good as the crust, which was perfect, by the way. It took a little while to figure out what was wrong, because the slice was like, 75% totally right on, in general. The sauce was a little too sweet for my tastes, though no one else complained about that, but there was a funny aftertaste that no one could put their hands on for a while until I was like, "it tastes like really cheap cheese," and everyone concurred. If King's is skimping on the cheese, I can understand, these are tough economic times, and all, and the slice is still totally decent and above average overall. But if this cheese wasn't so crummy, King's would have a perfect slice.

King's Pizza of Harlem - $2.25
110 W 145th St
New York, NY 10039

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Millennium Pizza: "The ultimate mediocre slice"

New Millenium. I can only hope there is no kind of sorcery involved in the name of this place, because if the current new millenium is as dull as the slice here, mankind is in for a boring 991 years.


Here's the deal: this slice is too salty, way doughy, the cheese is a solid sheet, and overall, it's a mushy, floppy mess. However, the ingredients are decent quality and the crust is REALLY good. Like, I wish the crust was a piece of bread that I was dipping in the juice around a bowl of mussels. Instead of pizza crust. Because as bread it would rule, but as pizza crust it's just not firm enough. Point is: the flavors are nice but the texture blows chunks.

Ultimately, this slice is cooked and assembled poorly but the quality of ingredients is way above average, which goes a long way.

Eric the Red had two things to say:
1. "After a hard day of work I would love to wolf this thing down."
2. (And I'm paraphrasing here) "I want to throw this thing against a wall and watch the dough slide off the cheese."

General assessment: this slice COULD be good, given the right circumstances, or perhaps a more adept pizziola.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pizza Double Feature: Tommy's Grill & Pizzeria / I Love NY Pizza

- $2.25
3795 Broadway
New York, NY 10032

After the last couple of places, I was not expecting much when I saw this awning and storefront.


It looks like "pizzeria restaurant" was kind of an afterthought. Tommy was opening up his dream business one day in 1982, Tommy's Grill, because then Deborah 'Deedee' Mandolfino, who he'd had a crush on since the 7th Grade dance at Maria Teresa Middle School, would ditch that rat bastard Johnny Madden. Just because Johnny owns a bar she thinks he's respectable, but Johnny cheats behind Deedee's back and it breaks Tommy's heart every time he sees it happen. So Tommy's like, "Yeah, all right, I'll start a business, she'll see that I'm not just some shmuck. And a bar's no place for kids, so when she see's I got a Grill, a real place for everyone, we can start a family!"

And things are moving along pretty well, the business opens, it's slow, but that's to be expected for the first year, right? Everyone's supportive, but it just never picks up. And so Tommy is despondent. He's like, "I make the best damn burgers in the Heights! Where's all my customers at?" His friend Joey, a tall, mumbly motherfucker who seems like a goober but is actually quite smart, sees Tommy whining and he's like, "Listen, Tommy, just add pizza. People want pizza, they'll come for the pizza, they'll stay for the other stuff. Trust me. And I'll make you some fresh squeezed lemonaide. It's the best."

And Tommy listened. Eventually, he was the proprietor of a thriving local business. But he was never happy, because he never won Deedee's love. See, when Johnny caught wind of Tommy's plan, he used some of his immense amounts of money to build a kitchen on to his bar, creating the first ever Bar & Grill. He got out of all that soon and became a cop, though. They made a biopic about him called . (Which, by the way, I can't believe these assholes in Hollywood have the gumption to remake with Nicholas Cage.) Tommy ended up killing himself, sadly, but this nice kid from the neighborhood Marky, who wasn't the brightest bulb but seemed to have an aptitude for it, took over running things. Marky went to jail in 1983 on false charges and his cousin Richie ran Tommy's until DNA evidence cleared Marky's name in 1987. When asked what people thought of the success of Tommy's Grill, Marky was quoted as saying, "Joey loved it, but Johnny was real mad."

But yeah, Tommy's Grill (and pizzeria). Me and Eric both walked in and were like, "this doesn't even look like a pizza place." But the lone plain pie in sight looked decent, so we ordered up some slices and sat down to try it out.



This picture doesn't really do justice to how decent this slice looked. The bright orange walls in the place and the crappy camera on my phone were working in collusion to sabotage Tommy's, they were probably paid off by Johnny Madden, is my suspicion. Here's what Eric said, which I thought was pretty right on, "it's not really a great slice, but compared to the last couple of places it's amazing." Overall, the slice was a little on the sweet side for me, and the cheese tasted a little burnt, but otherwise it was pretty spot on. Nice, thin but not too thin crust, perfect ratios of cheese:sauce:bread. Eric added salt to the last half of his slice and said that it made it much better.

But apparently, you shouldn't come to Tommy's for the pizza, you should come for the Fresh Squeezed Lemonaide, which is allegedly the best on Earth.


You can check out my sister's blog Juice Harvester, if you want to see the run down, but she drank a glass of lemonaide everywhere in the world that it gets made, which includes inside this volcanic crater in Borneo, and she determined that Tommy's Grill and Pizzeria in Washington Heights actually is the best.

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- $2.25
900 Saint Nicholas Ave
New York, NY 10032

As we were walking here, I kept thinking to myself, "I know I love New York pizza, but will I love I Love New York Pizza?" When I got here, I was pretty confident, because the place looked incredible.


"Please be good please be good please be good!!" was running through my head like a mantra as I crossed the street. Eric and I walked in and ordered our slices and the first thing we noted was how shiny they were!


Grease! Of course! The key factor missing from all of the prior slices. What are the four elements of pizza? Bread, Sauce, Cheese and Grease. And the last handful of pizzerias had three-part slices, they were veritably greaseless.

So, this slice: the dough/crust was slightly on the undercooked side, but it was PERFECT otherwise. If you took the crust from Tommy's and added everything else from this place to it, it would be the ultimate best slice of pizza in the universe. Seriously, so good. The cheese was a perfect consistency where it had some give, and was stringy and sometimes soft, but not runny, there was a perfect amount of sauce, and the sauce was excellent, and everything was coated in a nice sheen of delicious grease.

You wanna know what's so awesome about putting spices on your slices, by the way? When you get a nice greasy slice like this, you can turn it over and drip it onto your plate after you've folded it, allowing a small puddle of grease and pepper and oregano to leak out. Then, when you get to the crust, tear it open, so the warm bread inside is exposed, and DIP THAT SHIT! Seriously, just shmear grease all over the crust's doughy interior. Do it from now on if you don't already.

Anyway, this place was fucking phenomenal, and the first of all the pizzerias I've been to thus far that had a bulletproof window around the counter, which reminds me again of what Sweet Tooth said back at , "sometimes fear is a key ingredient in the perfect slice."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pizza Double Feature: El Pique Pizza y Flaco's Pizza


3887 Broadway
New York, NY 10032

I am lumping these two places together because they're across the street from each other, and they are both totally unexciting. Me and Eric went here after Famiglia, and knew, almost right away that it was gonna stink. Undercooked slice, with practically no sauce. The dough was so sweet the crust tasted like a pastry. Bad slice, nothing more to say, really.


The slice did come on one of those metal trays that I love, though. And not that this has any bearing either way, but the end of it kind of looks like when those weirdo, mall goth, body mod people get a .

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3876 Broadway
New York, NY 10032

After our totally experience with El Pique we didn't have the highest expectations in the world for Flaco's. Which was right across the street.

I love that Eric reps that shirt so hard. I went there the first time when I was 13 for my grandparent's 50th Anniversary and I try to go at least once a year now that I'm an adult because that place is the SHIT. Anyway, we walked in and were immediately confronted by some of the most wild looking pizzas I've ever seen.


The pineapple/pineapple and ham slices are one thing. But look at that pile of minced broccoli on top of that green slice. And then the one with the whole can of mushrooms dumped on it?! Even the chicken slice looks weird. It reminded me of that that's been floating around the internet for a while. Luckily were eating plain slices.


Looks like crap, tastes like crap. Eric got his and bit into before me and immediately muttered, "horrible," under his breath, just couldn't control himself. This slice was dry as a bone, and covered in cheap flavorless cheese, so it basically just tasted like mediocre bread. Somehow, despite that, it still managed to be too sweet. And the cheese was this weird solid mass that was thick and congealed. I feel like the cheese on this slice could be used by a scrappy and industrious mouse as the sail of the tiny boat he is constructing to make his way out of the city to track down his true love in a children's movie. Basically, this slice stinks.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Famiglia Pizza: "I am pretty sure this is actually a chain."

I woke up on Friday feeling kind of haggard.  Band practice was canceled, but Matty B came over anyway and we had a nice hangout while I waited to meet my friend Eric.  The reason I was feeling like crap was because I had spent the night before at Eric's bar, , where I have probably spent an average of 4 nights a week since it opened a year and a half ago.  After closing out the bar, I was a total mess when I woke up on my day off with the intent to eat pizza all day.  But that's life, right?  Plus, massive hangovers make for better pizza eating.

Eric and I met up and got on the train for what seemed like an eternity getting up to Washington Heights.  We talked about the most ridiculous assortment of shit.  People abandoning their houses, being an exterminator, leaving your dead friends phone numbers in your phone because you can't bring yourself to delete them, etc.  Hangover talk.  We got out of the train at 168th Street and were standing in front of .  I was like, "I think this is a chain..." but Eric was all, "Fuck it I'm hungry," and walked in.

 
 This place looks like it's in a mall.  Because it is a chain.  Look at the website.  They are in Anchorage, Alaska.  They are at airports.  But I guess maybe I can visit one location from each chain as a compromise.  I won't go to another Famiglia ever again in my life, but this one, whatever.  The slice:
 
 Duh, it sucked.  I don't even need to tell you that.  Probably the best of any chain, though.  I'll take this over Dominoes, Pizza Hut or Papa John's any day.  This pizza may be as mediocre and soulless as the current, semi-ironic Yacht Rock revival among communities of young urban honkies, but at least it's real pizza.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Multi-Pizza Feature: Tommy's Pizza / 177 Street Italian Cafe / Ernesto Pizza / That's Amore Part II

- $2.00
4185 Broadway
New York, NY 10033

This place looked and smelled GREAT.  Seriously, the outside of this joint had so much goddamn character I was kind of pissed off at it.  Look at this tiling!

 
 
Sadly, it wasn't actually the best pizza.  But it was good.  The slice looked pretty impeccable, and it smelled great, too, so I was way pumped to eat it.


 
 
In retrospect, I think I might've just been enamored with their "best pizza" claim.  This slice had excellent sauce, but otherwise it really didn't have much going for it in my estimation.  The cheese was too salty, and the dough was way too puffy and undercooked.  It reminded me of a big fat soft turd.  Cristy and Matt were into the first half of the slice, but as we got to the second half, even they admitted the dough was getting too thick.  The crust, I think, should've been crunchier, although Matt and Cristy were both down.  In fact, Cristy said it "took her back to childhood," although she later acknowledged that it was probably this painting, and not the slice that did that.




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- $2.00 / $2.50 with a can of soda
1341 Saint Nicholas Ave
New York, NY 10033-7236



This place was so weird.  Like, all around.  I almost didn't go in because it looked like it was all waiter-service, but then I noticed what looked like a counter one could order from and it seemed easy-going enough that I could order a slice and sit down and eat it.  But I ordered my slice and then sat at a table and they demanded that I let a waitress bring it to me.  I obliged, and when she arrived, she asked me if I wanted any spices, which I could see from where I was sitting.  I was like, "don't worry, I'll get them!"  And then she just got everything for me.  Strange times, I'll tell you.  The slice was doughy and floppy with too much cheese, so Cristy and Matty were obviously way into it.  I think it's kind of sweet how me and them have totally divergent opinions on what good pizza is, because it highlights the fact that pizza taste is so subjective, a fact you'd think I'd want to disguise if I were going to keep my readership.  But let's get real, I can't tell you what the best slice of pizza is.  Like, maybe I don't think your boyfriend or girlfriend is a babe, and maybe you don't think my boyfriend or girlfriend is a babe, but as long as I think my boyfriend or girlfriend or post-gender partner is a babe, who cares what you think!  You feeling me on this one?  But while hopefully everyone's a total babe to someone, we can say pretty definitively that some pizza totally blows chunks, so I am doing a service in separating the weed from the hash or whatever.   Because you gotta admit, even when I don't like a slice, I can admit that it's well-crafted, if not to my tastes.  So you do need me afterall.  But back to the slice at Roman pizza.


If you've been following this blog at all, you will immediately be able to tell that this is just not my style.  However, the ingredients weren't cheap, it was assembled well, and I love it when they give you your slice on these little round trays.  Overall, I had so much fun sitting in here.  Plus they were playing like, gorillas doing it or something on the tv and that was rad.


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- $2.00 - GOOD SLICE!
1315 Saint Nicholas Ave
New York, NY 10033


Check out Matty B looking like a goon.  He might as well just move to New York, already.  When we got here Matt and I loafed around smoking for a while before going in.  The pizzamen were standing in the doorway staring us down with the worst stink eye, attempting to draw us in to their pizzeria with their tractor-beams of loathing and superiority.  You could see it all in their eyes.  We went in to check the slice out and Cristy came in and met us because she had been having an adventure at the discount store adjacent to Ernesto which apparently sold Dildos!




Whatta slice!  This slice had amazing ratios and pretty great flavor all around.  Hard crunch on the bottom with a soft interior, and enough cheese to evenly coat but not so much that I was afraid I might choke.  The middle of the slice was soft and gooey, kind of like the slice I had at a couple weeks ago, but to less of a ridiculous extreme.  And the ingredients in this slice were overall way superior to whatever they were slinging over at West 190.  The crust was phenomenal.  Half was puffy, half was thinner and it was covered in a perfectly even sheen of grease, adding some extra moisture and flavor.

If I had to eat my last slice of pizza tomorrow before put us all into slavery, I probably wouldn't get it from here, but if someone asked me where to get a slice between the GW Bridge (which I heard they're renaming after the Godzilla when the New Administration comes in) and 168th Street, I'd tell them to head to Ernesto.


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- $2.00
1246 Saint Nicholas Ave
New York, NY 10032

This place was  exactly the same as .  Literally.  At first I was thinking that we'd been here already, but then I realized they had just managed to build two of the exact same pizzeria like, ten blocks apart (if even).


 
 

Look at Matty destroying that slice.  Once again he loved it, Cristy was into it, and I didn't really care for it.  Them's the breaks, I guess.
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