Saturday, April 10, 2010

Travel Bite: A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour

One of the highlights of my recent trip to the Big Apple was A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour. I was afraid it would be cheesy, but it really delivered. Starting out in Manhattan (right) and crossing the bridge to Brooklyn (left), we were schlepped around by bus to famous neighborhoods, parks, landmarks and movie locations. Scenes from Annie Hall, Saturday Night Fever, The French Connection, etc. played onscreen as we pulled up to the precise spots they were shot. And to have tables waiting for us at two legendary pizzerias with no waiting? How you doin'?

Our good-natured tour guide, Paula, was a gem. She really knew her New York history and was very enthusiastic about her Brooklyn roots. Her father is Italian and her mother is Jewish, so I guess dad likes to steal and mom likes a steal. Did I offend? Oy, fuhgeddaboudit!

Our first pizza stop was Grimaldi's, under the Brooklyn Bridge. Famous for its coal-fired brick-oven pizza, it's one of the few pizzerias left in NYC that's allowed to use coal. First lady Michelle Obama just ate here, and Grimaldi's was FLOTUS-approved.

That's the line to get into Grimaldi's. But we traipsed right in, impervious to all the name calling and finger pointing.

It had a vintage vibe with red-checkered tablecloths and Dave Brubeck's Blue Rondo keeping the beat to each bite.

There were just three ingredients on top of the dough: fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.

Since that coal oven cooked such glorious pies, I won't even mention their carbon footprint. But I noticed Al Gore wasn't in the line out front.

This perfect Neapolitan pizza margherita gave me flashbacks of my trip to Naples 20 years ago.

As a funny girl from Brooklyn once said, "Hello, gorgeous!"

Our second pizza stop was L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst. They made spumoni and ice cream too.

Sicilian-style pies were their specialty, and no, I wasn't hungry after the two slices and drink (all-inclusive with tour) I had at Grimaldi's.

You talkin' to me?

My hands were so full with the ice cream, I forgot to snap a pic of it. I had half hazelnut, half pistacchio (the dyed green kind). And I was even less hungry by then. Way less (but weighed more).

Just to prove we could still move, we stopped for a quick stroll on the boardwalk at Coney Island. We would have gone on the Cyclone, but it had a weight limit. Afterwards, we drove through the Russian neighborhood of Brighton Beach, and I would have loved to go have gone into all the Russian markets and restaurants. But that's another day and another pants size.


  1. How fun! That pizza margherita brought back memories for me too - lovely crispy crust and not overly sauced. Will add to my list of things to do.

  2. What fun! I recently read about this pizza tour in Time Out NY. It looks like such fun. I ate at Grimaldi's about a million years ago and hardly remember it ... but your slice sure looks good. Great pics!

  3. Tony Muia, Owner/Operator of A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza TourApril 12, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Wow Adair, thank you so much for writing such a wonderful piece about the pizza tour! I'm so happy you enjoyed the tour. Paula's absolutely fantastic and I'm so lucky to have her on board. Thanks again...and Andrea, we look forward to seeing you on the bus as well!

  4. Thanks for writing, everyone—and Tony, I heard your name mentioned so much on our tour, I feel like I know you!

  5. Oh, this deep dish looks good! This takes me back to 1996, Manhattan. Great thin crust and a veritable mountain of mushrooms, piled so high that I had to eat it like a giant taco. That pizza by the slice and a Velasquez at the Met, are my favorite memories of NY.

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