3 Girls, an Island, and a lot of Pizza

10 04 2008

My very beautiful and very talented friend Tiffany has decided to apply to be a host on Globe Trekker. I know she would be fabulous at the job and have been helping her with her audition tape, which has to be a five minute tour of some place. Living in Brooklyn, she chose her home town. From this experience have come several adventures, the most recent of which was yesterday’s trip to Coney Island.

Yesterday Tiff, Libby, and myself went to frolic on the boardwalk, where, given that it was off-season, there was lots of room to frolic. It was freezing, and after lots of hard work filiming (and goofing off) we found ourselves cold and starving. Tiffany had recently seen a great pizza place on TV, and had subsequently heard rave reviews about it from her friends. We had to wait half an hour in a coffee shop for Totonno‘s to open, but it was well worth the wait.

Being Italian myself, and daughter to a world-class pizza maker, I consider myself something of a connoisseur. I am not usually satisfied with any old pizza, since I can make my own. In fact, when my brother came to visit me in New York we went on the quest for a great slice of NY pizza. We were both sorely disappointed in the city that is supposed to be famous for just that. But Totonno’s is the real thing.

It was established in 1924 and looks it. It’s tiny, a one room pizzeria that seats about 40 max, at small formica tables and booths. The white tin walls are embellished with designs and wallpapered with photos of famous visitors from years past, including Babe Ruth and, oddly, Conni Chung. We somehow found ourselvs under several pictures of the Bush family. Oops.

The waitress, whom we thought might be part of the family, suggested a large and a small pizza for the three of us, claiming that she herself was known to eat a large on her own. Then she gave use topping suggestions. The large would be spilt, half original with cheese and marinara, and half white pie with garlic, peppers and onions. We eagerly agreed to default to the expert and settled down with a few Brooklyn Lagers (including fun varietals like the Winter Ale and the Pennant Ale). Then our waitress went and made our “pie” herself. We watched her work the dough, pile on the toppings and slide it into the huge oven behind the counter.

Then we chatted with the group of older men who were causing a ruckus in the booth behind us. They were all from Brooklyn, complete with thick accents, and visiting Totonno’s on the whim of one of their group who had since relocated to Mississippi, without losing his accent despite 20 years. Their pizza came first and within seconds we were far less interesting than the concoction before them. And when ours came a few minutes later we understood why. it wasn’t just a pizza but a work of art: colorful and oozing gooey cheese, and that was before we even tasted it.

And taste we did, over and over. We devoured the large and decided that the small was still in order. Though the traditional was good (perfectly seasoned marinara and fresh mozzarella) we decided to reprise the white pie for our small. And then we ate it all. I think I ate five slices of pizza yesterday, and then I was in a food coma for about five hours, but it was well worth it. The crust was thin and crispy throughout, the cheese was gooey, and the combination of garlic and sweet onions was fantastic. I promised the girls a pizza party at my house some time soon, but I fear it won’t quite compare.



One response

10 04 2008

Are you telling me you found a pizza as good as ours? So what was on the white one,no sauce or anything,just the veggies?Sounds like it would be like eating a pepper sandwich.I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the ales.Those are my preferences when I can get them.I have some Sam Adams in the refigerator so we will have to tip a few when next you are home.We’ll do that in place of tea.
Really missing you & praying that something will turn up for you soon.


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