I like how it says “Pizza lover” under my name for the onscreen graphics.
I attended the previously mentioned NYC Food Film Fest‘s Pizza Night in the parking lot next to Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn the other night. It was great to be around a bunch of other pizza fanatics directly under the Brooklyn Bridge.
While I was waiting around for the show to start, I had the pleasure of finally meeting the mastermind behind the amazing Slice pizza blog, Adam Kuban, in person. He told me some interesting stuff about his life as a full-time pizza blogger, but that’s a whole other story…
After a couple short speeches from the Food Film Fest crew and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, they screened 3 short films: Pure & Simple, which is a view in to the daily life of hardcore pizzeria Una Pizza Napoletana (I’ve never been, but I definitely intend to check it out soon); Brooklyn Pizza which showed what Adam Kuban described as “pizza porn” — the pizza-making process at 3 different Brooklyn pizzerias (Di Fara, Totonno’s, and Grimaldi’s); and finally In Pignata: Calabrian Fireside Cooking, which wasn’t really about pizza at all, but followed around an aging traditional Italian farmer as she prepped food from her own harvests.
Grimaldi’s sent out a couple rounds of sampling pies for the salivating crowd throughout the night. Much appreciated, but after the event I decided to wait in line to get a proper dose. Nothing has changed about Grimaldi’s pie since I first had it: it’s still one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten. So good.
It being the first day of my summer in Brooklyn, I decided to check out the closest pizza shop to where I’m staying, as it’s quality has a major impact on my time here. That shop is Driggs Pizza & Italian Restaurant in Williamsburg.
I’m pleasant to report that it’s a good slice.
They have a pretty good selection of Italian-esque food on the menu but, despite the almost-fancy seating area and the “& Italian Restaurant” part of the name, this is definitely a slice shop. They have a ton of different slice pies waiting for you right when you walk in, including some sicilian slices. There’s also something on the menu called an “upside down pizza”; I have no idea what that is, but I’m sure I’ll check it out in due time.
The pie itself has a good balance between cheese, sauce, and crust, resulting in an ALMOST chewy chomp factor (though some of the chewiness from my slice might be related to the fact that it was reheated before they gave it to me). It’s not exactly a slice that will make you jump for, but it’s solid; I’m pretty happy to have it be the closest pie to me for the summer.
Not that I’ll ever need it, but they offer free delivery too. Only obvious downside is a lack of Coke (Pepsi products only).
Last night I moved in to the room I will be subletting in Brooklyn for the summer. Needless to say, I’m excited about the pizza potential (and other general food stuff) for the next few months. I’ve decided that I want to eat out as much as possible while I’m here, even if it ends up costing me more.
It seems that I timed my move perfectly: the 2nd annual NYC Food Film Festival is under way, and tomorrow there will be a screening of 3 short pizza-related films in the parking lot next to one of my all-time favorite pizzerias, Grimaldi’s, in Brooklyn.
The event is free, with food starting at 7:30pm and the screenings at 8:30. Tomorrow, 17 June. Rain or shine.
Grimaldi’s is at 19 Old Fulton St in Brooklyn, literally underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
For more info, check the Film Festival schedule.
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.