As a native New Yorker, I'm authentic pizza spoiled, all of my life. New Yorkers don't need the big chains, because there is a local pizza place in every neighbourhood. There is nothing wrong venturing out of the area of course to try different places for pizza, but you’ll come back to New York City.
Sampling pizza elsewhere, the results are always mixed. Some pizzas are great, whereas others are okay or, in some cases, plain awful. At work, we have several places that deliver and one, of course, is better than are the others.
I prefer a hearty sauce, a great deal of cheese and a nice crispy crust. If I want toppings, I prefer meatballs, pepperoni and sausage. Leave off the mushrooms, vegetables and pineapple please.
On Long Island, we have all the big pizza chains. Any true pizza lover will avoid those chains the plague. The last time someone at work ordered from the "D" chain, the pizza was so gawd awful the coworkers called to complain, and demanded a refund. I had to try it to confirm what they said and after the first bite, I had to spit it out. It was terrible!
I remember as a kid, travelling with my father. We stopped in upstate New York somewhere for lunch and it was at the "hut" chain. We ordered their version of deep-dish pizza. I thought it was the best thing in the world. I have since learned of true deep-dish pizza.
My sister lives in Chicago. The first time we visited, we went to Giordano's by Lake Michigan. What most people don't realize is that Giordano's pizzas take a great deal of time to make, once your order. Wise locals call ahead to have their pizza ready for either sit down or take out.
Since this was an "occasion," our visiting for the first time, it was time well spent to talk and catch up with what everyone was doing. As I had never seen a Chicago deep-dish pizza, ever, I didn't know what to expect.
We ordered sausage, pepperoni and peppers, if I remember correctly. Believe me when I say the gasp of amazement, when the pizza arrived, was loud. There’s no way to eat this pizza with your hands; you can’t fold it up like New York pizza.
No, you must eat this with a knife and fork from your plate and you must do it slowly, otherwise you will burn your entire mouth. This pizza is hot, thick and very tasty. Every bite melts in your mouth. After one slice, you're actually full and can't eat another bite.
On my last visit to Chicago, five years ago, I met my friend Eric at a Gino's East. It was somewhere near O'Hare Airport. My daughters and I were going to a family party for my niece and nephew the next day. We had time to meet Eric for lunch. The girls had never eaten Chicago Deep Dish pizza, and I kept telling them they were in for a treat.
Eric did the smart thing and ordered ahead, so we wouldn't have a wait. The Meat Lover's Special awaited us and the girls couldn't believe the meal that awaited them. We each had one slice and told Eric to take the rest home, since we wouldn't have a way to have it again.
When we said our goodbyes, Eric put the box on top of his car and left it there. We watched him drive away and the box fall to the ground. The birds attack it.
That really sucked for Eric.
This past Saturday, Marcy told me she wasn't going to cook and I should get a pizza on the way home. There are a couple of places on the way home. I decided on the best route and who had the best pie, at the best price. I printed out one coupon. Then I checked the other place, on my phone, when I got to work.
I decided on Mama Gina's, since their pie was better and two dollars less than the other place. Once again, we weren't disappointed. The bottom of the crust was nice and crispy, the sauce hearty and robust, the cheese was ooey and gooey.
The debate can run for years. Which pizza is better, Chicago or New York style? Why fight? Each is good in its own way.
The problem is deep-dish pizza isn't the same outside of Chicago. If one their chains ever come here, I'll welcome them, warmly.
Come to New York, book a table Gino's East, Giordano's and Lou Malnati's. Each will welcome you with open arms and great pizza.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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