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Billy and I ended our 2nd annual Pizza Month yesterday at Oggi in Harvard Square with Springer. It seemed fitting as their tagline is “The Start to a Delicious End”.
I’ll write more on that particular pizza in a separate post (after I catch up on the other stuff I had during Pizza Month).
For now, here are some quick notes on this year’s experience:
- Rules I followed:
- Eat pizza every single day for the entire month of April.
- Get the pizza from a new place every day (last year I did repeats, had leftovers, etc).
- No big corporate pizza (Domino’s, Pizza Hut, etc).
- Best pizza I had all month: Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, NY
- Worst pizza I had all month: Zesto’s in Jamaica Plain, MA
- I took photographs of each day’s pizza and posted them to a??Flickr set.
- Eventually I’ll be writing about all the pie I ate and posting it on this site (so far I’ve only covered up to day 8).
- Did I gain any weight? Nope (not sure how that worked out).
- Am I sick of pizza yet? Fuck no.
Day 8 of Pizza Month was a big one: I went above and beyond the requirements and ended up having pizza 3 times in one day.
I was awake around 2 AM in Manhattan and nowhere near tired, so I decided to ride my skateboard from East 82nd St & York Ave down to 1st & 1st (I always wanted to go there after seeing that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer gets lost and ends up at 1st & 1st). It was about a 5.5 mile skate, but skating late at night in Manhattan is so much fun, so it was awesome.
Anyway, when I got to 1st & 1st, I decided that before heading back I might as well grab some pie. I’d been to Famous Original Ray’s with my friend Shaun once before a show and figured I’d check it out again. I’d file their pie under “crappy but delicious”; it’s the kind of pizza drunk college kids like to eat on their way home from a party (a few of them came in when I was there).
Downside: When I paid for my slice and soda, the cashier took it upon himself to round the amount of my change down to the nearest dollar and preemptively award himself the extra 45 cents worth of coins as a tip. WTF? I probably would’ve given him the change anyway, but just because he took matters into his own hands, I’m paying with exact change next time.
Other downsides: No Coke, only Pepsi; the radio was set to some shitty top-40 station; when I was there, there seemed to be some kind of inspector that was disapproving of whatever it was he was inspecting; and the manager seemed like he constantly had to shoo off bums who would gather outside the door asking everyone for change on their way out (not like I had any change anyway, thanks to the dickhead at the register who thought he deserved it more).
The slices are good and they’re open 24 hours, so it’s too bad almost everything else about the place sucks.
Later in the day, after I finally had gotten to sleep, I took a trip to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Not too far away from where you walk off the Williamsburg bridge is this pie shop called Vecino. I’ll be honest and admit that the main reason I stopped in for a slice was mostly because of their awesome hand-lettered sign (which, by the way, gives no indication of their name — only that they sell pizza).
Once inside, I felt as thought I were right at home in the part of Jamaica Plain where my apartment is (dubbed by Mayor Menino as “the Latin Quarter” of Boston). The reggaeton was blasting and there was a whole crew of older dudes with fresh haircuts just hanging around shooting the shit (in Spanish, of course).
The pie was mediocre. It’s on the hefty side, which isn’t so bad in itself, but it felt like a little too much dough for my taste. No Coke, but they at least had some bottled root beer.
I did like the setup with the metal-topped counter. That plus the sweet sign and generally friendly vibe inside make this place OK in my book.
Later on in the day my good friend Yvonne, knowing that I was doing pizza month, took me out to a spot called Grimaldi’s in an area known as DUMBO, (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn. We actually took one of these livery car service kinda things there, which was a first for me. They’re kinda like cabs but look way fancier. Actually, on the ride there, they took us in this beastly hideous SUV, which had some ridiculous bass sound system. Surprisingly enough, they don’t cost that much more than cabs though.
Anyway, Grimaldi’s… holy shit! I had heard of Gramaldi’s before, but I am forever indebted to Yvonne for taking me there. This was easily the best pie I’ve had so far for Pizza Month.
When we first got there, we had to wait outside for a bit. They definitely pack ‘em in here; most of the tables are touching, so you have to basically sit with other people and pretend that you can’t hear their conversation (the photo of the tables below was taken after we had eaten and most of the people who were there when we showed up had already left).
It’s not without good reason though: the pizza is fucking amazing and easily worth bumping elbows for. In fact, one of the things I like so much about Grimaldi’s is that there are no pretensions. They could easily charge way more money and make it seem super fancy, but that’s obviously not their deal. It’s clear that the pizza is what it’s all about, and basically if you’re too caught up in being fancy, then you can go somewhere else.
Fresh moz’, delicious sauce, perfectly cooked dough&hellip this is the kind of place you are lucky you don’t live across the street from, because if you did, you would become a fat-ass. I only wish we had gotten a large pie instead of a small.
To finish it off, we got this ice cream dessert that was like a weird Klondike bar-esque kind of thing with cherries in the middle. I forget what it was called, but that was really good as well.
Perfect ending to a long day of Pizza Month action.
Day 7 of Pizza Month was spent in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I made a trip to a random spot called Delizia which is somewhere in between a quick & dirty slice joint and a sit-down restaurant. Now that I think of it, it had a kinda café feel to it.
The pie was pretty good; nothing to blow your socks off, but it had a tasty crust with a nice crisp to it.
For some reason, after I went here, I couldn’t helping say in a cliché Mario Brothers italian accent “De-leetzeeya peetzeeya”
So normally I’m not really one for unnecessarily fancy restaurants, but I walk past Teatro (on Tremont St, across from Boston Common) a lot and always wonder what their pie is like. By chance, I had about an hour to kill while waiting for a Fung Wah bus, so I figured I’d check it out for day 6 of Pizza Month.
The place is definitely the kind of place you feel weird because you’re not sure if you’re supposed to use a fork or not, but also – not surprisingly – the service was amazing. It was like they knew exactly when I wanted a refill on my Coke or when I wanted to get the check.
Unfortunately, the pizza didn’t really blow me away as much as I thought it would from such a fancy restaurant. It wasn’t bad (I at all of it), but it had a strange quesadilla quality to it. They used fresh moz’, which was really good, but there was also an under-coating of other cheeses that seemed to put the pizza overboard as far as cheesiness.
As a side note, I went for one of their desserts as well (a vanilla panna cotta thing with lemon sauce) and it was really good.
In conclusion, this is good place to go if you’re feeling a little bouj’ or want to get dressed up, but if your main mission is for supreme pizza, there are better spots where you won’t feel weird about wearing a hoodie.
Joseph’s (corner of Huntington and South Huntington in Boston) provided my dose of pie for day 5 of Pizza Month. Coincidentally, Joseph’s is where the whole the idea for Pizza Month was conceived last year.
This is one of my go-to spots for late night pizza; they’re open till 3 AM which is pretty rare for Boston. Consequently, making a trip to Jospeh’s in the wee hours can be a bit of an experience. Specifically, it seems to be a post-club hotspot for thugged out gangsters. I’ve definitely seen one drunken thug threaten to kill another drunken thug for cutting him in the line for slices.
But that was understandable, as Joseph makes a solid slice. It’s not good in the sense of cuisine or fine food, but more in the sense of “I’m hungry and I want to scarf some fucking pizza”. And it’s consistently good; I’ve never had a slice from Joseph’s that was questionable (even during the post-bar-closing rush).
As an extra bonus, there are some epic Native American themed posters all over the walls with airbrushed wolves, horses, etc. as well as some so-bad-they’re-good comedy posters, including one of a squirrel with gigantic balls which reads “Hello ladies”.
Got a pie delivered to my apartment in Jamaica Plain from Bella Luna for day 4 of Pizza Month.
Bella Luna and its sister organization, The Milky Way, are an institution of JP and offer one of the only places in the area to get pie in a slightly-fancier setting (ie, more of a restaurant and not just a quick and dirty slice shop).
Despite the implications of quality in relation to fanciness, I’m not the biggest Bella Luna fan. I’ve definitely had some good pie there, but it seems to be hit or miss. For instance, the pie I got delivered was all sloppy, soggy, and generally of mediocre tastiness. However, I’ve had pie at one of the many events they host with free pizza that was delicious.
At least the delivery was speedy (20-25 minutes between when I ordered and when the pie was in my mouth).
It was super nice out today, so I took a quick skate up Centre Street to Rizzo’s to fill my Pizza Month quota for the day.
Nothing special. The slice pie was barely warm, the first few bites had that weird sour-ish elementary school pizza taste, but the crust had a pretty nice soft consistency (even if it was a bit undercooked). Kinda weak spread as far as sauce and cheese coverage goes (see photo above).
Oh also, no Coke – only Pepsi (major point deduction in my book). Not even root beer, which is my go-to alternative when Pepsi is the only option. I settled on a ginger ale, which they gave me with a straw.
After a meeting in South Boston to discuss the design of the future Charles River Skatepark, a bunch of us went to a spot called Lucky’s Lounge for dinner. Naturally I got some pie to fill my Pizza Month quota for the day.
Lucky’s is a somewhat upscale bar / restaurant that I probably wouldn’t normally go out of my way to go to. There was a 3-piece jazz band playing Frank Sinatra covers, and our crew didn’t quite fit in with the crowd of 30-something upper-middle-class professionals sitting around us. The area it’s in (which we also happened to be in) is pretty barren as far as food goes though. Plus, going outside one’s comfort zone never hurts.
The pie was about in line with that description: on the fancy side, but not something I’d go out of my way for. The presence of tomatoes was more in the form of slices than sauce, which doesn’t really affect my feelings about it either way. The cheese was a good fresh moz’ though, which definitely made the Sinatra covers a bit more bearable.
I kicked off Pizza Month with my mom at a spot near her house, called Nini’s (in Easthampton, MA).
My mom had been recommended to Nini’s by a friend. It’s a pretty typical little Italian restaurant (save for some unusually forthright religious decorations here and there). The pizza was OK; nothing to write home about, but I happily ate 3 or 4 slices.
Let pizza month begin!
Last year I decided to honor the coming of spring by dubbing April “pizza month”. I ate pizza every single day for the entire month of April (even if it meant resorting to really bad leftovers).
Now that April is here again, I’m going for it once again. I invite you to join me.
This will be a good way to finally put some mileage on this site. Check back often; I’ve got some heavy pizza eating ahead of me.
See also: my documentation from last year’s Pizza Month.