Pizza around the World, and, a Song of Praise to My Hometown Pizza

Pretty much as soon as I got back from Montana last week, I had to have pizza from my very favorite pizza place in the world, and this reminded me of a post I wrote when this blog was very new…about the pizzas I’ve tasted around the world and the pizza that I love best of all.

Last year I moved back to my native land–the greater (i.e. downstate) NY area–after many, many years away. I’ve lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, California, Scotland, and Germany in the meantime, traveling to Rome and Paris in between. In each place, I longed for a real NY slice.

Before singing the praises of my hometown pizza, I give you the utterly biased and probably unfair generalizations of the pizzas from my travels:

Philadelphia: Renzi’s pizza in Bridesburg is good, but kinda salty and overly tomatoey for my taste.

Chicago: Stuffed crust is interesting, but kinda gross, and Chicago thin crust tastes icky and Bisquicky. Plus, why do they cut it like that? And why no pizza “by the slice”?

California: Yeah, yeah, yeah, the California Pizza. Pineapple? Yum. Fresh Veg.? Yum. But still not quite like home.

Scotland: Can’t tell you how I hate to confirm the (sometimes unfair) “Bad Food Britain” stereotype. But CORN and PRAWNS on a prefabricated crust with bland, corn starch thickened ketchup tasting sauce? Why?

Germany: Joey’s Pizza isn’t fantastic, but it has a major advantage for the expat who speaks German haltingly and has no car–ONLINE BESTELLUNG und LIEFERUNG! (you order it online and they bring it to your door, free!) The best pizza in Germany is probably made by my friend Crystal. (Hi Crystal!)

Rome: I seriously offended some Italians by saying so, but I found Roman pizza seriously disappointing. That could be because NY pizza is more influenced by a Neapolitan slice (or so I’m told), but I don’t know.

Paris: Some may think this is blasphemous, but we actually ordered in Pizza Hut while staying with a lovely friend outside Paris. It took much longer than US Pizza Hut and tasted much better, too. (My son had a broken leg and we were in crisis mode. Pizza is the official food sponsor of Stone family crisis mode.)

The FIRST DAY we were back on native soil, I HAD TO HAVE pizza from La Capricciosa Brick Oven Pizza, right here in Greenport, NY. 

Oh, this pizza! It’s made from scratch, right there where you can see it. Its crust strikes a perfect balance of crispy and chewy, beautifully dimpled beneath just the right amount of a tomato sauce that’s at once tangy and savory. And the cheese: neither too little nor too much, and none of this part-skim stuff. Health food? I think so. It’s REAL FOOD. Nothing prefab. Nothing fake. Made before your eyes by people you can talk to.

(in case there was any doubt about where allegiances ’round here lie…)
The pizza guy was all ‘why you wanna take a picture of my hands?’ I guess he’s not on Pinterest.
playing with cars helps you wait for your pizza–my nephew (kind of) Dante

(note that my sons KNOW how to fold a real NY slice. so proud.)

It’s truly delicious! Even among NY pizzerias, it is king. I haven’t had a better tasting slice ANYwhere in the world.

{Not that I’m biased or given to superlative statements.}

I suspect that we all have some food or foods that just taste RIGHT to us, that make us feel that we’re really at home, and call forth from us spontaneous delight and gratitude.

What’s yours?

6 thoughts on “Pizza around the World, and, a Song of Praise to My Hometown Pizza

  1. I’ve lived in Chicago for three years and regularly talk about how weird and un-tasty their pizza is. It offends the natives greatly, but the pizza is just so weird! Then they try to say, “just get thin crust.” and, yeah, no. I often crave NY style pizza, but settle for something from the freezer aisle or homemade when I must have pizza.

  2. The best pizza I’ve ever had is right here in Davis, CA, and it’s like none I’ve ever had anywhere else. It’s from a Greek restaurant. Sounds unlikely? Ha!

    They do a variety of toppings, but the absolute best is the spanakotiropizza (that translates to spinach and three cheese pizza). The crust makes you think of focaccia, but it’s not; it’s a pizza crust. There is a lot of spinach and sauce and a ton of feta on it too. This is not a pizza for purists, but it sure is a pizza for food lovers. Yum!

    Mmm, Pizza!

    Tim

  3. Vienna kosher beef dog + garden on a bun from a hole-in-the-wall joint with the Cubs game playing on an ancient TV. Italian beef with greasy fries in a paper bag. Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza.

    (Guess where I live?)

  4. One of my favorite things in the world is a bean burito from a small fast food place called Taco Tree in Auburn, CA. Nothing special just a local place that has been making their beans fresh everyday for about 40 years. My favorite place as a child and somewhere I go every time I go back to my hometown to visit family.

  5. When I was a kid in the old neighborhood (made almostfamous by Archie Bunker and Fran Fine!), we all had our favorite local varieties of NY pizza. It was almost like a religious conviction or political affiliation: where you a Gloria’s person or a Giunta’s? Being from Roosevelt Avenue, I of course was a Vito’s man.

    Two slices, a soda, and maybe a small lemon ice…

    It meant home– right along with take out from Tai Tung. And as you know it was what I craved when I would get home on leave. Never mind mom’s cooking; get me some real Noo Yawk cuisine!!

  6. Thank you Rachel!! You just made my husband (Owner of La Capricciosa’s) morning after reading this post!!It is a tough industry… And allthough he hears praise from many of his customers, to see it in writing truly is a compliment that makes his hours of hard work and dedication all worth it. Btw… He would like to thank you personally… So the next time you are in… Ask for John!

Please Join the Conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s