New Pizza Discovery
This was going to be a brand-new taste sensation. Based on a 3-year old post on the New York Outer Boroughs Chowhound pages (link below), I went late on Friday night to Patsy D'Amore's in Farmers Market, at 3rd and Fairfax. Almost deserted because everyone knows that Farmer's Market closes at 7 PM Friday nights. I called Patsy's ahead of time and discovered that on this particular night, for some reason, they were going to stay open late until 8 PM.
We got there around 7:45 and the only person behind the counter was the Latino pizzaiolo who actually makes the pizzas himself. Yes indeed, this guy is an authentic pizzaiolo, a nearly extinct profession. I had seen him on many previous forays to Patsy's and had always gotten a friendly smile from him back there where he was tossing and preparing the pies. It didn't hurt that every once in a while I asked the cashier to slip a dollar bill to the guy making the pizza. God, is that cheap, or what? I should have made them fivers each time! Nobody tips at Patsy's. This is a fast food joint where you stand there at the counter, order the pie, pay for it, and stick around around until they nod to you about ten minutes later that your pie is ready. They do sell slices, but two of us have always ordered a full pie and then plopped down at one of the nearby formica tables for some topnotch pizza gorging.
Well on this occasion, I decided to go with the East Coast Chowhound recommendation. I asked him if he could make an upside-down pizza. That is, put the cheese on the bottom, and the sauce on top. After a faintly fearful and doubtful expression on his face, he said, " I don't know, I never make it before." I said, "That's OK, I never eat it before. Just try it for me as a spearmint." After this many years away from NY, I practically consider myself a native Angeleno (I hate that word) and by now instinctively know how to talk native. He agreed to try it. Ten minutes and a small tip later, we were practically inhaling this delicious concoction. It brought back memories of the pie at the Alps Inn out on Jericho Turnpike back many years ago. A big thumbs up to the pie maker - he was watching us gobble up his creation - elicited a satisfied grin on his part.
Thanks, East Coast Chowhounds, for the new discovery - upside down pizza.
Thanks for the tip. I will check out this Farmer's Market discovery as good pizza is always a treasured, and in these parts, rare delight. The upsidedowness does help. Still, the pies in Forest Hills, Jamaica, Flushing, Corona, Jackson Heights, et al, rank with Spago's, Campanile, Michael's, and Taylor's Steak House, when it comes to the sheer beauty of "getting it right". I guess that is one thing about being a New Yorker that many people don't understand. Pizza was not an afterthought. Pizza was a requirement. If you were a kid growing up in the 60's (like I was), walking down the street in July or August with a slice in one hand and some lemon Italian Ices in the other was about as close to heaven as you'd want to get. Now I've eaten at all those restaurants I mention above and the same feelings I have when I leave one of those joints is the same feelings I had leaving one of those neighborhood pizza places after a pie at a formica table. We used to butter the crusts at the end and eat them like a final treat.
There's some good pizza in LA. Johnny's New York is good, Grecco's if you get it right out of the oven is OK, and personally I like Joe Peep's in the Valley as well; Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock is OK but not great. A place on Fairfax near the Farmer's Market, Damiano's Mr Pizza used to be very good but they expanded when the shouldn't have and then the old man passed away and he was the one who brought out the tradition from NY and it all came apart until finally about 4 months ago I saw the one over on Robertson in the LA Times list of monthly health department restuarant closings...sad. I'll make a trip over to Farmers Market this weekend and check this joint out. Thanks for the tip.
my friend henry flew back from nyc a few weeks ago and brought me a slice from strombloli's, avenue c... pizza rules,, my place in heaven was called vinnies, on broadway, off 72nd, but that was uptown, and many years ago,,i have lately become partial to a place vitos, on vermont across from la city college,, a good thin chewy crust and open late,,at least they don't put asparagus or bok choy or some of the other ungodly crap you find cluttering up what is called pizza lately around here,, check em out
Great report, thanks so much.
I'm glad you found that old posting. I think a lot of hounds do themselves a disservice by not digging deep into our archives. There's some really amazing information, tips, postings, and not much of it is old/stale yet at this point. And, of course, the General Topics archives are timeless.
Patsy's is some great pizza. i think you recommended it a while ago on chowhound. though it ain't that cheap and am a big eater. usually taking care of a whole small pie myself. good stuff.
Patsy's is ok. A little too greasy for my taste. I should know since I go to Farmer all the time and the best thing with a pitcher of beer at 326 bar is a slice of cheese pizza. And yes it's pricey. Of course you can't beat Patsy's in Brooklyn or on University or 74th. But There is a pizza place down from Farmer's called Berri's. Not exactly NY pizza but it's huge, I mean huge, thin and great sauce. More of a gourmet pizza place but none the less it's good. I'll fork out $20 for a pie there where it's literally close to maybe 18 and 24 inches. I can't remember. But their cheese pizza is awesome and when I'm in the mood, artichoke and Mushroom with Chorizo. Yeah, yeah.. I know it's not real pizza. But don't slam it until you try it. It's about a block or two east of La Cienaga on third. Right after Sushi Roku(no Comment)