Sunday, December 10, 2006

Brooklyn Pizza Tour

Brooklyn pizza is all the rage these days, with Domino's coming out with it's own "Brooklyn-style" line of pizza, but why settle for a cheap imitation? Brooklyn's own Tony Muia provides the awesome "A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour", where you can taste some of the best pizza in the world and get a true insiders tour of Brooklyn.

The tour starts in Manhattan and Tony explains the history of pizza in America. Maps are provided as you travel over the bridge to Brooklyn:
The tour bus is pretty small, holds maybe 20, nice intimate size.
Tony gives some Brooklyn history and points out the sights as the tour makes some scenic stops:

Then the tour makes it's first food Grimaldi's. Typically at Grimaldi's you would have to wait at least 30 minutes on line outside before getting in, but Tony, in true Brooklyn style, "makes arrangements" so the group walks right in and gets a good table up front.This part of the tour showcases traditional New York pizza, thin crust, crispy with charring from the coal oven, with fresh mozzarella melted and sweet sauce scattered on top and a few pieces of basil to top it off. The ingredients are all prime and the pizza comes hot from the oven and is the best pizza you will ever eat. Hands down.
The belly stuffed tour continues on. Tony caters the tour to the group; moving at their pace and adding in things off-the-cuff that relate to them or where they are from. It didn't feel like a scripted tour at all, very down to earth and relaxed but still incredibly informative. We passed some obnoxiously large houses in Bay Ridge:

The tour goes through a bunch of different neighborhoods, here's a small Revolutionary War Cemetery (ignore the misspelling in my caption please!) that surely no other tour would pass.

Here we pass the garage from The Godfather (I think that's the movie?).. there's lions on top. While the bus is driving, Tony plays clips of different movies shot in Brooklyn timed perfectly so right after you see the clip, you drive past the same location- so cool!Remember the opening scene from Saturday Night Fever, when John Travolta stacks 2 slices of pizza on top of one another and eats them... this is the spot!

All this history makes one hungry and the tour makes it's second stop at L&B Spumoni Gardens for a taste of some Sicilian style pizza.L&B cooks up a unique pizza with the sauce on top and very little cheese. It's soft and delicious, some of the best Sicilian style pizza I've had. They also make a killer spumoni (which is not included in the tour price but worth it definitely). Spumoni is like ice cream and gelato in one.

The tour ends in Coney Island, where if you are somehow still hungry, and the only ones on my tour that were hungry were the marathon runners, you can buy yourself a famous Nathan's hot dog. The bus drives everyone back past quite a few other interesting neighborhoods and sights.
The tour is awesome. It's a great mix of history and pizza and pop culture but the real crust to the whole tour is Tony. Tony holds the whole thing together affably and mixes in personal anecdotes and jokes about growing up in and life in Brooklyn. You're not going to learn about stoopball from a tourguide on one of those red double decker bus tours. He's a true Brooklyn personality. You really get "a slice of Brooklyn" and it's tasty enough to fill both your belly and your brain. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.