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Pizza Crawl

Now, this journal entry is mostly intended for readers from Connecticut. If you're not from Connecticut, there's probably not going to be a lot here to interest you, so go and talk amongst yourselves.

A few posts back, I wondered whether or not I had any fans in New Haven. Turns out I do. Some of them spoke up in replies to that LJ entry, and others sent me email. Here's why I asked --

Next month Parris and I will be making our annual visit to Boston for Boskone (a great convention, I urge you all to attend). After the con, we'll be making our annual post-Boskone visit to New York City. We usually take the train down from Boston to NYC's Penn Station (soon to be renamed Moynihan Station, I hope, in honor of Parris's Uncle Pat), and that's what we plan to do this year... but this year, we're planning on getting off at New Haven on the way, to try out the pizza.

Some of you may have read my "What I'm Reading" page, and may remember my 2005 review of Ed Levine's book about pizza, A SLICE OF HEAVEN. If so, you'll know that I am a huge fan of classic NYC style thin crust pizza pie ("real pizza," I call it, and don't talk to me about that Chicago deep-dish tomato and bread casserole thing). Well, Levine's book claims that the best pizza in the world comes from New Haven. Since that time, I've also seen a special on the Food Channel that makes the same claim. Two specific places are mentioned -- Frank Pepe's and Sally's.

OK. Out here in New Mexico, I live thousands of miles from great pizza (some of the local pies are adequate, but that's all, and they don't even call 'em "pies," which is a dead clue that the pizza is going to be second rate). I can't stand the thought of riding right past what may be the best pizza places in the world without trying. Ergo...

You've all heard of pub crawls. Well, I'm up for a pizza crawl. I want to try BOTH of these famous pizza places, and see how their pie stacks up. And maybe some place called Modern too. I see from my webcrawling that there are some New Havenites who rate that one even higher than Sally's and Frank Pepe's.

So here's the plan. Parris and I leave leave Boston by train on Tuesday, February 20. It will only take us a few hours to New Haven. We'll check into a hotel, stay overnight, and check out a few slices before departing again for NYC on Wednesday, February 21.

If any of my Connecticut readers want to join us for a slice or three... hey, the more the merrier, I always say. Some local guides would be most welcome... and who knows? If the pizza is as good as advertised, I might even be convinced to make a few knights...

So speak up, New Haven! Who's game for a pizza crawl?


( 183 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 16th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC)
I'm from CT even though I live in Maryland now. Pepe's is far and away better than Sally's. End of story. Modern Apizza isn't bad, but it isn't Pepe's. There's a reason people will stand in line for three hours in the rain to eat at Pepe's.

Also, two stores down the street from Pepe's is a place called Libby's which doesn't make pizza but sells gelato and little Italian cookies and such goodness. Well worth the stop after Pepe's.
Jan. 16th, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
Whoot, I say! My better half and I are huge fans, and luck of luck reside in none other than West Haven, CT, New Haven's next door neighbor. Have not tried Sally's or Pepe's, I'm shamed to admit, but Clint and I are both Modern lovers. Given that we have family all over, we understand the desire for "Real" pizza, and the lack in places not near NYC. (My brother and sis in law live in Colorado...when visiting we inquired about pizza and got slow, sad shakes of the head and the advice to wait until we got home!)

Will definitely be stopping by to give our regards and share a slice. Any notions of which pizza palace comes first?

~Dani & Clint
Jan. 16th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun. I live in Boston and New Haven's not that far away, and I'm a teacher and will be on February break that week...I would love to join you if it works out! Please keep me posted! :)
Jan. 16th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
you're talking about my old stomping grounds here ...
Jan. 16th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC)
Pizza in Brooklyn
For when you get to New York:


I'd recommend Nina's (link above), Driggs Street Pizza, http://www.yelp.com/biz/y2LuvAJhxoXsO8Bn3Mut0w or Tony's on Graham Avenue.

Nina's has seafood pizza and chicken marsala pizza, which taste better than they sound. The others are more traditional with the lasagna and baked ziti offerings. (On pizza). For real Italian food (or real New York Italian restaurants I guess I mean) in the same neighborhood are Bamonte's and Cono & Son O'Pescatore (addresses also searchable on that site.) Not sure if Cono's is still open... haven't been in a while, but they serve lemon ice frozen in the lemon. Yum.

Great, now I am starving.
Jan. 16th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Pizza in Brooklyn

Enjoy the apizza (which is the New Haven name) many claim New Haven apizza pre-dated the NY brick and coal oven pizzas which also claim to be first.

You should definitely stay at the Omni, it's really the only respectable hotel in the whole town. Right across the street is a good bar called The Playwright <http://www.niteimage.com/clubs/playwright_newhaven/index.htm>. I suspect you'll like the atmosphere in there, as it looks straight out of King's Landing. Another great spot for food and brew is just around the corner called BAR <http://www.barnightclub.com/>.

Modern apizza has perfected the recipe IMHO.

Jan. 16th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC)
Pizza Crawl? I am in.
Modern is indeed the best apizza in New Haven, making it the best on the planet. On Friday nights, we avoid State street because there is always a Modern take-out traffic jam. Pepe's and Sally's are tied at second, with Abate's third. Abate's does have the best calimari, though. You must get the Foxon Park soda to wash it down.

Bar is good pizza but it only ranked so high on the Advocate poll because it's also a big nightclub. They had the suburban dance party vote locked in.

What time are you planning on starting the crawl? I am not sure what the lines are like mid-week on Wooster. I'd start at Modern on State St then hit Wooster St for the rest. That way you won't wait in line hungry. Libby's is a good call for cannoli or ice, if you have room.

If you haven't gotten a room yet, the Hotel Duncan is now 100% hooker-free!
Jan. 16th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Pizza Crawl? I am in.
Really? I never liked Abate's food. But now I can't remember their pizza.
Bar surprisingly - (Anonymous) - Jan. 19th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 16th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
Hah right on, I'm thinkin about getting up to NYC for Comicon, depends on the cash flow. Come to think of it, I've not yet had any spectacular pizza, mostly the things you'd find in a food chain.
Jan. 16th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
noticed that you already got an invitation to visit Spain, so I am offering mine to visit Russia and Baltic States and try some local dishes :)
Jan. 16th, 2007 06:38 am (UTC)
Great Idea :-)
For someone such as yourself who travels a lot, a pizza post is brilliance. If I were you, I'd add this thread to your memories section to reference when you do visit all of these cities.

Cheers !
Jan. 16th, 2007 08:17 am (UTC)
if you go to CT,be careful in New Haven,there are good parts+bad[allegedly]. if you like theatre,New Haven theatre is awesome,[again,think NYC]...And if there are NO snow conditions,[quite a drive from New Haven],you might want to try Marlborough Pizza(it's a Greek pizza place in Marlborough,CT)as well as New Haven...[just so you know,pizza in Hartford,CT***USED***to be the best.About 20 years ago,it WAS just as good as NYC...***NOW***NOT AT ALL!!!] ...Also,if they're still in business,there are several model shops in CT where my dad has bought soldiers,dragons,etc...if you want to know if the model shops are still there,just reply to my "not a blog" + I will get the info for you...I know you just might be hopping on + off + "back again" on the train,but I thought I'd mention it...I am not in CT right now + won't be able to visit now,but I grew up there.
-Lady Snow

Jan. 16th, 2007 08:51 am (UTC)
well, I'm in australia and not a huge pizza fan anyway. But if you head out to Sydney I can take you to the place that does my favourite - thin crust peking duck pizza, with plum sauce instead of tomato as the base :) It is truly divine.

(and they also do great seafood ones too, with half an ocean on them)
Jan. 16th, 2007 09:13 am (UTC)
So much non-ASOIAF Stuff that it makes you think
I'm surprised to see so many blog updates. There is a blog update every two days now, yet there seems to be no progress whatsoever on the ADWD front, which, let's face facts, is why all the Song of Ice and Fire fans are here. Apparantly there is a big news update coming that will be cool to us. Does anyone want to bet on how this will be yet another licensing deal for a card game of Wild Cards no one gives a toss about?

And yes, it irritates me enough to want to post about it here. I see progress everywhere except where it matters. GRRM is interested in apple puddings, pies, ten different kinds of pizza's and extending licenses about subpar products but not about getting anywhere with the new book. Of all my favorite Fantasy authors GRRM disappoints me the most.

Jan. 16th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC)
Re: So much non-ASOIAF Stuff that it makes you think
of all of your favorite fantasy authors, he is probably the only one that devotes so much of his day to writing and keeping up with his fans.

He is writing *large* novels, unlike most of the other fantasy authors out there. Either deal with it, or don't read it/don't come here.

He is human. He has every right to have a life aside from work. And his posting here on the blog probably takes him all of ten minutes. Just because he doesn't choose to make every single post an excerpt from a body of work doesn't mean he isnt working.

Hell, if he updated all the time, we would know how the story ended before it even hit the press.
Re: So much non-ASOIAF Stuff that it makes you think - (Anonymous) - Jan. 16th, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: So much non-ASOIAF Stuff that it makes you think - (Anonymous) - Jan. 17th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: So much non-ASOIAF Stuff that it makes you think - (Anonymous) - Jan. 17th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: So much non-ASOIAF Stuff that it makes you think - (Anonymous) - Jan. 18th, 2007 06:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 16th, 2007 09:44 am (UTC)
Hello, I am not from New Haven, but I want to say that the best pizza in the world comes from where the Pizza was invented:


others are only imitations.

Jan. 17th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
DVD players invented here, perfected in Japan. Machismo invented in New York, perfected in Milan. Thin crust Pizza invented in Napoli, perfected in the New England states.
Funny thing about Naples... - hooligan08 - Jan. 17th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Funny thing about Naples... - (Anonymous) - Jan. 18th, 2007 12:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 16th, 2007 09:49 am (UTC)
Best pizza
Good luck to the pizza seekers of New Haven, may your quest end well. I'd just like to add that at times like these it really blows being stuck on another continent, and also that you haven't had real pizza until you've tried the one in my hometown. ;) (which is somewhere in the deep, snow-covered woods of Sweden.. whatever. We have no snow, only slush.)

Although I guess that when it comes to pizza, everybody will claim the rights to 'the best pizza in the world' for themselves. ;)
Jan. 16th, 2007 11:52 am (UTC)
Australian Pizza
If you ever come to Australia again please please try Mario's Pizza at Crows Nest (what a great name that is too) - it's fabulosity defined, all crispy and delectable and bacony. Of course don't get what is termed an 'Aussie pizza' or you will end up with fried eggs and pineapple on a round flat piece of something, possibly with bacon.
I am the marketing assistant for Voyager at HCP-Aus and I shall demand the best pizza on your behalf!
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