Archive for the ‘Food’ category

Mariella’s Pizza

January 13, 2008

“Cuzn Cathy”, an occasional commenter on this site, mentioned to me that she had heard that Mariella’s Pizza had the best pizza in NYC.

Now, Cathy lives in a very faraway land.  Why, it’s well beyond New Jersey!  (Can you imagine?)  How she can find out such information on the mighty subject of NYC pizza is nearly beyond me, but she made the suggestion and I thought I’d follow up.

There are actually four of them in Manhattan.  I chose the one closest to me, on 60th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue.  If you know Manhattan, that puts it across the street from Bloomingdales.  That means I’ve walked past “the best pizza in NYC” about 100 times or so.

It was time.


It’s the place in blue.  I’m not one to take pictures of the interiors of crowded restaurants, so that’s the best you’re gonna get from me.

I went, I ate, I mostly enjoyed.  I checked out some reviews on and they stated that the cheese pizza was their best.  And that’s the way it always is.  If you want good pizza, the cheese pizza is the measure.

The interior of Mariella’s is nondescript.  It’s long and thin and only stands out because it has a lot of granite throughout the place.  You order at the counter, pay at the counter, and then go hunt for a seat.  I got the last open table (right next to the ATM if you know the place).

How was it?  The crust was perfect.  I have to admit they got the crust perfectly correct (at least to my taste).  The cheese was excellent.  The sause was marginal.  Not bad, but just not worthy of the crust.

Would I go again?  Yeah, but it’s a little out of my way.

Every New Yorker has his favorite pizza place.  Mine is a place close by Tudor City called “New York’s Delicious Pizza“.  How can you go wrong with a name like that?


BAMN! The new Automat

November 21, 2007

The NYC Automats are legendary.  Long ago in a NYC that is no more, the Automats reigned as the place to go to for a cheap meal.  They took only nickels and you could show up with a pocketful and sit and eat all day.  When I talk to old-timers, they wax eloquent about the Automats.

You’d put in your nickels and get sandwiches, soup, sandwiches, salads…just about everything you would want to eat.

The problem?  Well, people would come and get their coffee and stay all day long.  You can’t pay the rent when your seats are taken by people paying a quarter for a whole day’s rent on a table.  Over time, the Automats were chased out of business by that sort of behavior.

Well, they are starting to come back, but with some significant differences.  BAMN, a Dutch company, has opened one Automat-style restaurant in the East Village, located on St. Marks near 2nd Avenue.  To say it is an “Automat” is probably an exaggeration.  From what I understand, the original Automats had “thousands” of little glass doors with food behind them.  This one has only a little more than a hundred.


It’s an open-air restaurant.  There are no doors into it and, although you can eat in there, it is standing room only.


You get your drinks from a separate service area behind a counter.


You still stick your coins into the slots for the food, but it’s dollar-coins only.  There’s a change machine since no one seems to carry dollar coins.

Each of the columns of the little windows has a sort of “food theme”.  Nothing special, but it’s lots of simple foods.  Nothing elaborate here.


The food’s okay.  I can’t say that the color scheme is pleasing; and I’m not one to mention color schemes so that’s saying a lot. 


Hail, the conquering pizza: Lombardi’s Pizza!

October 28, 2007

You’ve read my ramblings about the disappearance of Little Italy.  You’ve seen my flat out statements that Little Italy is only parts of Mulberry Street.

The problem with flat out statements like that is that there are going to be exceptions.  And Lombardi’s is no small exception.


As you can see from the street sign:  at the corner of Spring St. and Mott St.  That’s old Little Italy.  And there are a couple of other places in the immediate area.  But, Lombardi’s is the key.

When you think Lombardi, you may remember the old Green Bay Packers coach.  But this Lombardi is much older and has something that Vince didn’t.


Okay, both Lombardi’s have plaques, but this Lombardi is the FIRST PIZZERIA IN AMERICA!!!!!!! That’s worthy of applause. How could I have gotten through school without pizza?

I’ve eaten here.  It’s okay pizza in the restaurant.  They have one gimmick not followed by most NYC pizzerias:  they serve entire pizzas only.  Most places, you buy pizza by the slice (which I’ve come to love).  When I got my Lombardi’s pizza, I enjoyed it, but didn’t want to proclaim it “the best pizza on the planet”.  I took the remaining slices home and later ate them cold.  (Yeah, I like cold pizza.)

It is simply the most outstandingly magnificent cold pizza ever made by the hands of man.

Enough said.


Stiles Farmers Market

October 24, 2007

This farmers market is a little different than most of the ones I mention in my wanderings.

I’d seen it before, even walked through it once long ago when I first wandered Hell’s Kitchen.  Stiles is located at the corner of 41st Street and 9th Avenue.

It’s not like they typical market:  it’s semi-permanent.


Yeah, it’s  pretty much just a tent.  A nice tent.  But it is a tent.

When I wandered in the other day, I was struck by the quality of the produce and the low price.


In fact, it struck me more as a grocery store than a tent. But it is a tent.

I generally don’t like the quality of produce in NYC.  You have to pay some pretty good money for marginal stuff from a small selection.  To find a good selection, and it can be found, you have to do a lot of hunting and pay for it.  Here was stuff and selection that was pretty good (although not up to suburban grocery standards like my favorite, Publix).  I gathered up a bunch and escaped for way less than $10.  That’s astonishing for me.

I’m heading back soon.


Tea Time at Ten Ren Tea Time

October 20, 2007

Of all the neighborhoods I go into, the one I’m least likely to eat in is Chinatown.  I love Chinese food and Chinatown boasts some great Chinese eating, but I’m generally put off by the smell from the grocery stores.  I’ve mentioned this issue in an earlier post.

But there’s one place in Chinatown that I love to go to and partake of the comestibles: Ten Ren Tea Time.

Ten Ren Tea Time

It’s a tiny place, but kept impeccably clean.  It’s on Mott Street, just to the south of Canal Street (it’s on the west side of Mott).  Tiny in width, but about 50 feet deep, there’s enough seating for maybe 15 people.

And all they serve is tea.  Lots of different teas, but for me there’s only one:  bubble tea.

Passion Fruit Bubble Tea

That’s the “passion fruit bubble tea”.  I’m mostly fond of the mango.

Okay, maybe bubble tea is old hat to you, but most of the people I’ve taken there, or tried to take there, have been blissfully unaware of what it is.  Okay, it’s tea….with bubbles.  A lie!  Actually, if you look at the picture, the dark stuff at the bottom is the “bubble” part of the tea.  Every cup gets the same set of bubbles.  And the bubbles are large pearls of tapioca.  If you can’t tell, the straw in the cup is huge.  It’s specially sized to pull in the tapioca bubbles just right (or, more likely, the bubbles are sized the the oversized straw).  Whatever.  It’s a wonderful, wonderful combination.