We are in Panama City for a few days, were in New York yesterday and in Zurich, Québec and Montréal before that. We are off to Peru on Monday.
We almost missed our flight again today. This time however, it was simply due to gluttony.
Since moving to London 2 years ago, we almost stopped eating pizza altogether. I know some of you are big Pizza Express fans but to be honest, it never really did anything for me. I’ll sound arrogant but honestly, you just need to have New York pizza to understand why.
Being back in New York for a little over 24 hours, we had pizza last night, and then again today. Last night did not really count though as it was at Otto and although their pizza is wonderful, we really go there for the wine, the bartender and the pasta. But after a long evening with friends, a lot of wine and too little sleep, we woke up starving.
We thought about going for Chinese or Vietnamese food in Chinatown. Although I love cheese (I ate cheese for every meal since we left Asia), I have been sorely missing my Asian food since we got to Zurich last week. I really got used to having at least one huge bowl of noodle soup per day, ideally for breakfast. We are however about to go to one of the Americas most interesting Chinatowns as far as food is concerned – think chinese with more spices and fresh seafood – so I thought I could still wait a little. One thing we may not have soon is good pizza.
We have our favorites: Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, Totonno’s in Kips Bay and Otto for the gourmet fix but I had never been to the legendary Lombardi’s Pizzeria, in Soho, which is meant to be the first pizzeria in the United States. People have been raving about it everywhere and for ages which is why, when I lived in New York, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to like it. I was a Grimaldi person and I had no interest in trying the competition. Now, after 2 and a half years in London and 3 months in Asia, I am completely pizza starved and undiscerning. They say it’s good, so we went.
Well… it was fantastic. Friendly service, good beer selection and thin, crispy pizza with plenty of tomato sauce and mozzarella on it. As far as the pie is concerned, I am not sure I can pick one that is better than the others: is it Grimaldi’s, Lombardi’s or Totonno’s? If you are not a (slightly obsessive) connaisseur, the margheritas are all very similar.
Lombardi’s location and atmosphere make it a lot more tourist friendly than the others. It’s not as intimidating as Grimaldi’s with its long queues and rough staff and it is actually in the middle of the touristy action, much easier to find. Totonno’s is great for a real New York atmosphere as there are no tourists there but at the same time, there really isn’t much to see and it is definitely off the beaten path for tourists. There is, however, a great, great beer bar and a few more good Irish pubs in the area.
And the plane you may say? Well, we did not miss it but rushed to the airport as we spent way too much time eating pizza. We ran like mad, skipped queues and finally realized that our flight times had been changed, we had one more hour before departure!
Lombardi’s Pizza Corner of Mott and Spring streets Manhattan.
Totonno’s 462 2nd Avenue, between 26th adn 27th streets, Manhattan
Grimaldi’s Pizza 19 Old Fulton street, Brooklyn
Otto Enoteca, one 5th Avenue, Manhattan