Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tastefully Sonoma Hits the Road
As beautiful as Sonoma County is, sometimes I just have to do some traveling. Since we are fairly suburban, maybe even a bit rural, cities have lots of appeal as vacation destinations. So we scheduled a trip to Chicago and New York. In the next few posts I will update on some great meals we had, my day-long shopping expedition in New York and some New York fashion observations.
Let's start with pizza. Yes, pizza. Both Chicago and New York are known for their pizza so we decided that back-to-back visits to those cities was a great opportunity to compare and contrast. First stop was Gino's East in Chicago for some deep dish pizza. They are conveniently located just off Michigan Avenue and we got there just as they were opening so we did not have to wait in line -- by the time we left there was a good sized line. We ordered a half & half pizza -- half spinach & cheese and half "Meaty Legend" which is a combo of pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon and bacon. The pizza arrived nearly an hour later - yes, that's normal! The crust is very crispy and made of cornmeal. It provides a great base to hold up all of the filling without being overly heavy -- and there is a lot of filling! The filling is rich and gooey and delicious. Lots of cheese! The spinach side was for me - I love the combination of spinach and cheese. It reminds me of creamed spinach but in a pizza format.
Next stop was Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn. It's a bit of a hike from Manhattan but very straigthforward to get to - we took two trains and the place was maybe 1/2 block from the train station. It's a hole in the wall. They will not win any awards for their decor, but they have won every popular vote (Zagat's, etc.) for their pizza. Fortunately, we got there before they opened so we were first in line for our pizza - the place filled up fast! That's good for two reasons: 1) less time to wait for our pizza (I believe they only bake a few at a time), and 2) we actually got a table - there are maybe five tables in the whole place. We ordered a pepperoni and sausage pizza. My husband was watching them make our pizza and there was a bowl of pepperoni and sausage that he assumed they would just take a few handfuls from for the pizza. Nope, they dumped the whole bowl on! They also use several types of cheese and lots of it. As the pizza is coming out of the oven the owner uses scissors to cut up a bunch of fresh basil all over the top. I have had fresh basil on pizza before and not tasted it much, but I really tasted this basil. He also adds some freshly grated cheese to the top and finishes by pouring olive oil all over the top which seems to enhance the flavors. In short the pizza is amazing. A bit greasy, but amazing. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge after lunch is a great way to start working off the pizza.