Sunday, February 3, 2008

Talking in the Tearoom - Best Pizza in Town

This week in the tearoom we were talking about where to find good pizza in the Capital Region. When I say good pizza, I mean something quite specific. I would love to find some good Brooklyn/Bronx style pizza. I'm going to call it "neighborhood pizza" because that's what we had in my neighborhood when I was growing up. Neighborhood pizza has a thin crust, not too thin like a cracker, but thin enough to fold easily. It has cornmeal or semolina generously dusted over the bottom of the crust. What's most important is that the sauce and cheese blend together to create a gooey orange delicious mess. If the slice is red and white it means the flavors haven't combined and it's not from my neighborhood. You might put some mushrooms or pepperoni on a neighborhood slice but it's not about extra cheese or toppings. And the ultimate sign that you're about to bite into a slice of good neighborhood pizza is a drip of orange oil that slips off the back of the crust where the slice is folded. Never blot that oil; it's like manna from Brooklyn heaven. In my old neighborhood, the best pizza places (that's what we called them - pizza places) also carried Italian Ice in a paper cup (lemon was my favorite) and these purple and orange drinks that I haven't seen in about 25 years.

This week, visitors to The Good Leaf Tea Bar told me where they find the best pizza in the Capital Region.

Kevin said that I Love NY Pizza on Hoosick St in Troy is the best pizza in the area. He liked the variety of pizzas available, and commented on the Chicken Marsala pizza. That doesn't sound like my kind of pizza, but Kevin wasn't the only fan of the Troy spot. Jamie also chose I Love NY in Troy. She told me that even though they have a lot of specialty pizzas, they have the best cheese pizza she has ever tried in Upstate NY. I Love NY in Menands also received a vote.

EJ said the best pizza in the Capital Region can be found in his mom's kitchen. "It's delish. Even my friends like it" he said. (I have the best son!)

Several people loved Andrianos in Delmar. Carol told me it's right near the four corners.

And some were loyal to home cooked pizza. Michelle said, "You can't come to my mother's house to try it, but she makes the best pizza around."

Suzanne put in a plug for Lou-Beas on Delaware Avenue, and told me that she liked it because it's not too thick, folds easily and has a nice orange sauce/cheese blend. Sounds like my kind of slice.

We also received an accolade for Jonathans on Pearl Street. Jacque told me she likes it because it's the most like what she remembers from Brooklyn, thin crusted with the perfect "modeling" of sauce and cheese.

A few of our friends from out West (I mean Guilderland, Voorheesville and Altamont) liked Smitty's. Las told me the owner is a good guy. Thanks, Las.

Mike, who is originally from Long Island also knew about authentic NY pizza, and actually had a card from his fave pizza joint in his wallet. He enthusiastically recommended La Bella Pizza in Clifton Park and told me it bears close resemblance to NY pizza. He told me La Bella is off Exit 8A and across the street from the side of Salty's.

So, that's what we were talking about in the tearoom this week when we weren't talking about tea and football. Thanks, everyone. I have found true NY pizza to be quite elusive in the Capital Region but you've inspired me to try again.

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