We intended to go on a bit of a pizza-crawl in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, but although we thought we could eat three or four pizzas during our stay, we only managed two. Even pizza by the slice tends to be excellent in the city. There are lots and lots of fantastic sit-down, whole pie pizza places in New York, and we've already sampled a number of them: John's, in the village, and Patsy Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge are two standouts that come to mind. But we wanted to try a few new ones. The first night, we ate at Giuseppina's on 20th St. and 6th Avenue in Brooklyn, and it was excellent but so dark in the restaurant that I couldn't take a good photo. They don't serve anything but pizza and calzone, and the restaurant has a nice dining area, reminiscent of small fancier Italian bistros, where the low light puts the focus on an enormous C-shaped marble counter where the pizza is rolled out, thrown, and assembled, and behind it, the glowing semi-circular mouth of the brick oven which reaches temperatures close to 1000 degrees. We ordered a classic Margarita pizza: homemade tomato sauce, real mozzarella, and basil. The crust was truly memorable, and I also liked the sauce very much -- and we told the owner so; he was making the pizzas and talking to the customers, many of whom he seemed to know. I'd go back for sure.
The next night, in Manhattan, we went to Lombardi's at 32 Spring Street in SoHo, a famous pizza restaurant that's become an institution. It was busy, with tables on many levels, and a rushed staff, so I already felt un-special as soon as we were seated. The pizza is good, but I wouldn't call it great, although the clam pizza as different and delicious. I thought the crust was too chewy, but the sauce was good, the beer was good, and the company was excellent. A fun experience to chalk up, but one we probably won't repeat. I'd rather eat at John's. The problem is that we're spoiled: J. makes such good pizza at home that it's hard to beat.
Breakfast, however, was another story. I know, I know, I'm being disloyal to Montreal to even post pictures of NY bagels, but damn, they were good. Fresh and hot from the oven, covered with a shmear of cream cheese, maybe some fresh lox, the waxed paper crackling, the sesame seeds adding their nutty flavor as you sit and eat your bagel on the street with some good coffee: it's a great way to start the day. Monteal bagels are quite different: about half the size, harder, with a different texture and crust, and also a bit sweeter: NY bagels have no sugar in them at all. The Montreal bagels are just as good, but such a different species of breadlike thing that I don't feel they can be fairly compared.
I must admit, however, it's been a bit depressing to go back to my low-carb, post-vacation diet!