Observations on everyday life in Larchmont, New York 10538
Monday, May 04, 2009
Pizza Patrol I've finally emerged from my carb coma. I found myself at MangoMix today drinking some healthy concoction to begin the detox process. Pizza Patrol was tough duty. Whose idea was this anyway? Oh yes, it was your idea. Following the will of the Peeps, I set out on Pizza Patrol yesterday. Joining me, the usual judges AliJeter and the G-man, and special guests Scott Wiener from Scott's Pizza Tourshttp://www.scottspizzatours.com/and his foodie friend TobiWanKenobi. Scott considers himself a "pizza enthusiast," but quite frankly, he's a walking, talking pizza wikipedia. He can take a bite of pizza and tell you the kind of mozzarella, the type of oven used and the precise temperature at which it was cooked. Pretty amazing. Scoring for this competition was complex. With Scott's help, we determined the following nine criteria for scoring: crust, sauce, cheese, topping ratio, slippage, tip sag, enjoyability, atmosphere and overall experience. I will never look at a slice of pizza the same way again! Before announcing the results, I must make my usual disclaimer. We are not experts (well, Scott is but the rest of us aren't!). This competition was done in the spirit of fun and the results are based on our personal preferences (so don't throw any tomatoes at us!). We visited seven establishments that serve pizza and one hot dog stand (Scott never had a Walter's hot dog. Hey! When in Rome...). Of the seven establishments, five were official competitors. The two non-competitors were Sal's (Scott had to visit the Mamaroneck mecca!) and the dark horse Sardegna who will soon be adding pizza to their menu. Thanks to all the establishments for their hospitality. In the end, there really isn't any bad pizza in Larchmont. And boy, were there some surprises. Let's get on with it!
And the winner for best slice
of pizza in Larchmont is...
Perhaps it was the score sheets. Or maybe the cameras. Leonardo's owner Salvatore came over to our table and said, "Hey! Are you guys spying on my pizza? You better give me an 8!" Almost Sal, and you'll be happy to know that you won the competition! We loved your tangy tomato sauce (with a touch of onion perhaps?), the right amount of cheese and superb crust. Scott called his slice of pizza "interactive." We thoroughly enjoyed interacting with your pizza, and the outdoor dining on a sunny day was a nice touch. Congratulations!
Augie's?! Did you even know they serve pizza? Well they do. Augie's is the Carmine's of Larchmont, except they serve much better food. We don't suggest you go there just for pizza, but it certainly makes a nice appetizer. This is a cheese lover's slice of pizza. Very much comfort food. We would've liked more sauce on the pizza, but Jackie, one of the employees shared this tip: order a bowl of extra sauce on the side and dip it. Yum.
Nicky's is a Larchmont institution. It's conveniently located by the train station, and when I'm in the mood for a quick slice, this is where I go. We waited an unusually long time for our pizza. I learned later that Georgetown tipped off Gino, and he was totally on to us. He made our pizza with extra care. For those who like a structurally sound slice of pizza, this is it. There is no tip sag, almost no slippage and a firm crust. We would like the sauce to have a bit more flavor. Nicky remains the old standby for the NYC commuters.
Globe is not the place to go "for a slice." It's a more sophisticated atmosphere and therefore, serves a more gourmet pizza, neopolitan style. It's not for everybody. Their magherita pizza makes a nice appetizer. This pizza is made from all fresh ingredients in a wood burning brick oven. The mozzarella cheese is made on the premises. You can smell the fresh basil when it arrives at your table. Nice.
Sc0tt liked his slice of pizza at Villa Maria. Something about it worked for him. The rest of us found it a bit too doughy and oily (major "roof of the mouth" burn!) and would have liked more sauce on the pizza.
Vittorio of Sardegna picked up his new pizza oven only hours before we showed up at his restaurant. He is introducing pizza to his menu, and he wanted our feedback. Considering this was a brand new oven and we were the first guinea pigs, we were not expecting much. One look, one bite, and we got the shock of our lives. It was amazing. That's right, amazing. We judges were completely blown away and felt compelled to score it, even though, it technically can't count due to its lack of availability to the public. And we didn't stop at the cheese pizza. Vittorio presented us with two other pizzas; one topped with red peppers, onions and mushrooms (my fave of the three!) and the other with olives and prosciutto (TobiWanKenobi declared it to be her favorite slice of the day!). All fresh ingredients used and it was a nice touch to have bowls of freshly grated parmesan cheese, red pepper, basil and garlic at our fingertips to enhance the flavor. Without hesitation, we recommended that Vittorio add the pizza to his menu. Molto bene!
Scott's Westchester customers are always raving about Sal's. He had to try it. Obviously Sal's does not fall into the 10538 zipcode so it can not be counted. Nevertheless, our guests from NYC thoroughly enjoyed Sal's pizza, particularly the salad pizza (my personal fave).
Thankfully, Scott and TobiWanKenobi took home all the leftovers. I don't think that I can look at another slice of pizza for quite some time! We sincerely thank Scott and TobiWanKenobi for making the trip to Larchmont. It was a fun day. We also want to thank them for the box of Italian cookies from a bakery in Astoria. No matter how much pizza you eat, there is always room for a little dolce!