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Nov 17, 1999 02:39 PM

Di Fara: Same conclusion, alternate perspective

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Greetings to all:It's been about 6 months since my last posting. Unfortunatly it was necessary to be with someone I loved through a long and difficult illness. This became a surreal time for me. To be effective, to do the job, everyday and everyday I had to shut off parts of my soul, selectivly. The situation played out to its completion, I now find myself with the task of jumpping back into life; new eyes, new perspectives. Not a unique situation for someone whose been through the type of thing I have for the past months, but unknown to this extent for me.A manifestation of this for me has been my loss of caring about anything. Nothing seems to matter anymore. This frightens me as passion has always been a welcome friend, always at my back, filing my heart.The desire to live well (by my definition), eat well, taste the spices of life has been a part of who I was, who I was happy with.Where was my soul? I had to find it!In an attempt to kickstart my heart I tuned to Chowhounds to touch some famliar sensbilities. When I left my life for this unnamable odessy I had made some conections with a few of you Hounds who'd enjoyed my postings and me yours.As thunder struck, I was planning to post a few words about a classic pizza place, not a restaurant that serves, specializes in pizza, a la Patsy's, John's or Tammasso's (in the days of Jerry of the limited sauce), a pizza place, a neighborhood joint, a slice palace.Cursing the boards, looking for friends and what had been happening while I was on the other side of Hades I saw a number of posts about a joint, my joint, Doms. Di Fara!What I read was right on. Great pie, fresh ingredients; smokey, thin chared crust but none spoke of what made Di Fara, Di Fara. Not only is it not Patsey Grimaldi's, it's not Di Fara, it's; Dom's place. It's Dom's kitchen table. That's what separates it from being a great classic NY slice, as Strombloi's, to the first place I had to go after my arrival at JFK. The Bluebird Diner could easily

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  1. Allen: A most sincere welcome back. I was thinking about you just the other day you are.

    1. your post was cut I said in email, try again and I'll clean up everything.

      "A manifestation of this for me has been my loss of caring about anything. Nothing seems to matter anymore. "

      Classic depression symptom. It's temporary, don't worry. For me, movies and theater help kick start me out of it. I do food so much that I've got to have something really extraordinary for it to push me out of that realm...and Di Fara's (a.k.a. "Dom's") is pretty no-fail.

      1. Its food made with love, with loving, caring hands. What could be more curative? Look forward to hearing more from you, Allen.

        1. Welcome back, Allen:

          I'm sorry that you have had to go through trials of late, and I wish you only the best.

          I never would have gone to DiFara's, let alone become obsessed about it, without this board and Jim. When you see a great movie, you can debate who was responsible. Does Coppola receive the credit for Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino's performances in Godfather 2? Was it the script? Who knows?

          But there is one person responsible for the greatness of DiFara's.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Dave Feldman

            I've spent enough time hanging around in jazz clubs being condescended to by pompous jazz critics--after playing my heart out on stage while these guy slurped cocktails--to understand that the people who actually DO stuff deserve ALL the respect and ALL the credit.

            1. re: Jim Leff

              You know (and I'm sure your performances are an exception), there are some pretty great jazz critics, and pretty mediocre musicians. I'd much rather read Gary Giddins or Stanley Crouch on just about anyone than hear yet another ex-Berklee hack stumble his way through yet another interminable solo on Green Dolphin Street.

              1. re: j gold

                The fact that there are good critics and bad musicians (and restaurants) is self-evident. My point is that if we critics disappeared, there'd still be music and food. We are not the fundamental thing (though we certainly can serve a useful purpose).

                I don't deserve any credit for DiFara's. When people who've learned about the place via my book (or site) bite into his fresh artichoke slices, the bliss they experience ain't coming from me. I'm not even in the equation at that moment, and that's the only really important moment, food-wise (there are other realms, of course--literary, etc--but they are not what I'm talking about here).

                Likewise, when I'm playing a gig, I'm the central figure, the one conveying the experience, not the critics taking notes in the back of the club. This has nothing to do with my ability level or their''s just a question of experiential pecking order.