That last post was a bit sad, according to my sister. “Why are you always writing about death?” she asked me. “Can’t you write about puppies and rainbows and bubblegum?”
Okay. I’m trying. Today I’m going to write about pizza.
Our last night in Brooklyn, before we moved to Texas, we went to Lucali’s for dinner. It’s the best pizza in New York, and listen people, I should know. I’m a native New Yorker. I’ve eaten a lot of pizza in my life. In fact if they made a special food pyramid just for New York City, the entire bottom layer would be one massive slice of pizza. I’ve eaten at too many pizza places to count throughout Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan (and I’ve eaten pizza in Staten Island too, but the schlep on the ferry is a bit of a hindrance.) And I’ve tried the “Best” places many times—Patsy’s, Grimaldi’s, Totonno’s, John’s on Bleecker Street (I will always have a soft spot for John’s, since we went there all the time when I was a kid), DiFara, and Lombardi’s.
Lucali’s is the best, hands-down. All they serve are pizza and calzones and nothing else. They don’t need to serve anything else, since there is often an hour wait to get in. But we were lucky on our last night—they had an open table and seated us right away, right in front of the marble table piled with mounds of gleaming white fresh mozzarella and leafy basil and tomatoes, just a few feet away from Mr. Lucali himself, who makes every pie, facing the room. (His real name is Mark, but I can’t seem to call the Zeus of Pizza such a mortal name.) He is also, I must disclose, kind of gorgeous. He looks like Keanu Reeves crossed with Al Pacino and a little Johnny Depp thrown in. My husband patiently let me stare at him throughout our meal. “Do I have to put on a tight white t-shirt and a white apron and toss dough into the air to get your attention?” he asked.
Um, yes. Yes! Please please please!
The pizza was mind-bogglingly delicious as always (get the extra basil and extra garlic on top, and pepperoni too), and I ate four slices, as much as I could, since I knew this would be my last meal there for a long time.
And then, before I left, as I gazed yearningly at the fresh mozzarella on the marble table, he spoke to me. Yes, Mr. Lucali himself SPOKE TO ME. He said, “Hi.” I tried not to faint. When I regained my composure I told him we were moving to Texas and it was our last night in New York, and how was I ever going to live without his pizza?
He was very gracious and said in his thick Brooklyn accent: “Bianco’s. They got the best pizza in the whole country. Bianco’s in Arizona. Is that near Texas?”
“I don’t think so,” I said.
I’d like to get myself to Bianco’s one of these days and try it. But I’m not entirely convinced it will be that good. My heart will always belong to Lucali’s.