Tag Archives: pizza



Location: 211 1st Avenue (btw 12th & 13th St.)

Price: $12 – $24

After my endless failed attempts at finding a good pizza place in Manhattan, one of friends suggested I check out Luzzo’s in the East Village.  He claims that this is “the best” pizza in New York, which obviously is a huge claim.  So, I took a break from all those $1 pizza places for once and had a sit down with some friends at this First Ave. restaurant.  This is not one of those new school pizza joints popping up everywhere in the village but, this place has been around for quite a while serving up not only coal oven pizzas but, a whole Italian menu consisting of pasta and antipasti.

First impressions of the interior of the restaurant were good and we didn’t have to wait at all to get a table for five people.  Service was prompt and they were ready to take our order right away.  We came here for the pizza so decided to with the following pizzas:

Diavola – tomato sauce , bufala mozzarella, spicy salame, basil

Salsiccia – tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, sausage, basil

(no longer on menu?) –bufala mozzarella, broccoli Rabe, sausage

All of the tomato sauce pizza have the same baseline ingredients of tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, & basil which, by the way aren’t the normal kind of sauce and cheese.  The sauce has a pretty special complexity and sweetness you don’t find in normal Neapolitan pizzas and the bufala mozzarella gives a nice different flavor to the pizza.  This all topped with basil was a nice touch because in my opinion, basil is the most amazing green ingredient in the world.  We figured we couldn’t hurt the pizza by adding some tasty meaty ingredients to the pizza so we went with the sausage & spicy salame.  I didn’t have much thoughts on the pizza with the Broccoli rabe other than the fact that it was our “healthy” option and lacked flavor without the tomato sauce and basil.  That’s probably the reason it’s no longer on the menu.

My biggest gripe about our experience was that when we got our pizzas we tasted a sandy substance in the basil and asked if we can get some fresh basil on our pizzas.  The waitress was trying to argue that there shouldn’t be any sandiness and that it should be clean, basically five guys against one.  After some back and forth they finally brought us some fresh basil and recovered our pizzas with the greenie goodness and we were happy.

So my final conclusion is that YES it is a good pizza on par with Patsy’s or Lombardi’s but, better than Totonno’s, Motorino, Co., or any of those other places.  I disagree on the opinion that is the best pizza in NYC and still hold my belief that Brooklyn has the best pizza in all of NYC.  Still lots of pizza places to try and my pizza journey will continue at Keste? Pulinos?…we’ll see.




Filed under East Village, Italian, pizza



Location: 349 East 12th Street (btw 1st & 2nd ave)

Price: Margherita Pizza $14

This is one of those moments where I have to say…DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE.  For some reason I’m getting all hot and bothered by the fact that Motorino is getting so much hype from the media.  None of my friends that have tried Motorino in Williamsburg or the new East Village location have said anything that great about it.  Me and a friend tried the staple Margherita pizza and wasn’t wowed by the pizza and we started thinking about a few other place that do a much better pizza.  The crust had great consistency and sauce was fairly standard I felt and with the few basil leaves it made a solid pizza but NOT amazing.

Despite these opinions, this Neapolitan style wood burning brick oven pizza joint has been named on a new list by Rachel Ray’s magazine as the best pizza on the east coast.  I REALLY have to go try Great Lake Pizza in Chicago which is another final 4 pizza in Rachel’s list.  Actually, I think I’m just craving just a simple Chicago style spinach deep dish pizza from Lou Malnatis…forget all this pizza HYPE!



Filed under East Village, pizza

L&B Spumoni Gardens


Location: 2725 86th Street, Brooklyn, NY

Price: Square Slice ($2.75), Half Tray ($18), Full Tray ($36)

Having grown up as a Chicagoan, I have cravings for Chicago style pizza from either the original Uno’s pizza or Lou Malnatis every time I go back to Chicago.  Heck, I think I’m craving one right now.  Something about the crispy crust and all the cheese, spinach, and sauce layered inside a deep pan.  Having been in NYC for 1.5 years now, the best pizza  and the pizza I associate to this city is not the typical thin slice but, to the glorious sicilian squares from L&B Spumoni gardens.  Many call it the best squares in the world.

Each time I’ve gone to L&B I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes to get a piping fresh tray of Sicilian pizza.  They run an operation that seems to have a dozen full trays cooking at the same time and each time the tray comes out perfectly cooked.  The combination of putting the cheese on the crust and then putting the sauce on top of the cheese somehow changes the inherent qualities of the pizza by making the crust crispy and light.  The sweet delicious red sauce manages to be the other key ingredient to the blessed tray.

This is one of those foods that I’ll always remember when I leave NYC and will be craving on and on again.  If you live in NYC you have to take a journey to South Brooklyn to experience this.  As long as you’re down there, combine it with Difara’s pizza and you won’t regret it.



Filed under Brooklyn - Gravesend, pizza

Di Fara Pizza


Location: 1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn, NY

Price: $5 for slice, $25 for plain pie, $35 specialty

It sometimes upsets me that it’s so difficult to find a good slice of pizza in the land of pizzas, pies, & slices of NYC.  You see a pizza joint on almost every other corner from the Joe Schmoe spots to relatively better pizza joints but, nothing special.  BROOKLYN is where you have to go for legendary pizza & if there ever was a legendary Pizza maker it would have to Dom DeMarco of Di Fara Pizza.

Anyone remotely interested in good pizza knows about this famed spot in Midwood, South Brooklyn where Dom has been making pizza for over 30 years…and ONLY him.  It sucks that the price of a slice rose to an astounding $5!! For me, if I take a trip that far for pizza, I don’t only get one slice…I always get a whole pie.  There is something special about  watching him make the pizza and eating the freshly baked pizza that maybe makes the pizza eating experience extra special.  Whatever it is, the combination of fresh ingredients, the imported spices, and his life experience at making that pizza definitely deliver to satisfy that “pizza hunger.”  I have not tasted pizza anywhere like his in Manhattan but, I’ve only had one better pizza in NYC…in Brooklyn of course.  I’ll let you all know that place when my next pizza craving comes along…



Filed under Brooklyn - Midwood, pizza

Fat Tour 2009: Fall Edition*

Unlike the Spring Fat Tour, this one was down to 9 spots, started an hour later and it was FUH-reeezing outside.  The forecast asked for rain, but the food gods saved us from it.  Because there were more people this time around, we decided to start the funds pot with $5 from each person and replenish with $5/person when the funds got low. Despite the weather, friends still came out (thank you friends!) and we were off to our first stop:

1.  Caracas Arepa Bar

These Venezuelan sandwiches are still one of my favorite eats in Manhattan and I don’t think I could ever get enough of their “crack” sauce.  However much I could write about this, it would never do it any justice; just go and try everything.  Get it: La Mulata  

5 Sporks – 93 E 7th St

2. Café Habana

We came here for the grilled corn and only the grilled corn.  Eating corn, covered in mayo, cheese, and chili powder, outside on a cold fall day may seem uncomforting, but it was a glorious moment for all.  Get it: on a plate, otherwise a good chunk of the mayo, cheese, and chili powder (all the good stuff) will get stuck on the foil.

4 Sporks – 17 Prince St

3.  Kati Roll

I feel like this place changed a lot since last year, and not for the better.  Some of the guys were saying they’ve had better kati rolls.  Get it: from the Biryani Cart3

2 Sporks – 99 Macdougal St

4. Joe’s Pizza

We made a pit stop at John’s because our next stop barely had any vegetarian options.  The participants for John’s said it was delicious.  From what I remember, when I had it last year, I wasn’t a fan of the crust; thought it was too flimsy.  Get it: when there isn’t a line.

3 Sporks – 7 Carmine St

5.  New York HotDog and Coffee

Who would’ve thunk kimchi would taste so good with hotdogs.  But I guess the concept isn’t new; growing up, I’ve seen my dad eat kimchi with pancakes, pizza, steak, and anything that wasn’t Korean.  The Dak Kalbi wasn’t anything special; the boys raved about the Kimchi & Bulgogi hotdog.  Fattie Pete wanted another one all to himself.  Personally, I thought it was too much; kimchi and bulgogi alone is amazing, why add in the unnecessary hotdog and processed bun?  Get it: without the coffee; you’d think, “Coffee” being in the name would offer decent coffee…boy was I wrong.

3 Sporks – 245 Bleecker St

6.  Taim

The choices are endless when it comes to falafel in the city: Mamouns, Maoz, Crisp, Hummus Place, and oh the trucks!  But we just had to try Taim for the 3 different flavor falafel balls.  We got the platter to sample all the falafel balls, toubali, Israeli salad, hummus, and the pita breads (whole and white).  The balls are crisp, the salads are fresh, the hummus is under-seasoned, and the pitas are slightly toasted with olive oil.  It’s solid but I wasn’t blown away.  Get it: the falafel sandwich with the original falafels for $5.  You might even have some left over for lunch the next day, though I don’t know who’d want soggy balls. 

3 Sporks – 222 Waverly Pl.

7.  Levain

It costs $66 for a dozen cookies and another $25 for ground shipping when you order from their website.  People ask if there’s crack in them; obviously not, but it’s close for these cookies are dangerously addicting.  When you go to the actual bakery, each cookie is $3.75 and it doesn’t require shipping to any address, but only straight to your mouth.  They melt in your mouth and you know they’re good because the boys even appreciated them.  Get it: chocolate chip with walnuts and/or dark chocolate peanut butter but not via online.

4 Sporks – 167 w 74th St / levainbakery.com

8.  Baoguette

Pickled anything is a plus in my book; add pork to it and that becomes a plus + plus.  Baoguette’s classic bahn mi is consistent in flavor, size, and price.  Traditional Vietnamese flavors on a fresh French baguette is one “asian fusion” dish I can appreciate.  The Chicagoans didn’t seem to love it but fellow New Yorkers chowed it down without a problem.  Get it: and eat it right away or the strong pickled vegetables will pickle and stank up anything that surrounds it.      

3 Sporks – 37 St Marks Pl

9.  Pomme Frites

What better way to end a fat tour than what else? Oil drenched FRIES with mayo based dipping sauces!!  The 3 dipping sauces were: Mango Chutney, Curry Ketchup, and Vietnamese Pineapple (how appropriate, we just had Vietnamese sandwiches).  After eating and walking for over 6 hours in 40 degree weather, friends didn’t seem too psyched about fries and its glorified dipping sauces.  The fact that we were done with the fat tour over-consumed our minds that we forgot to truly enjoy Pomme Frites.  Get it: a ton of napkins for your fingers will get oily.

2 Sporks – 123 2nd Ave 

For this Fat Tour, the average comes out a little shy of 3.25 Sporks.

*will be updated with pictures once I learn how to “blog”


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Filed under East Village, Food Tour, Greenwich Village, Nolita, Upper West Side, West Village