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Friday, November 16, 2012

Dispatches from the Front

It was a crisp chilly evening, invigoratingly so.  I had a couple of hours to kill in the West Village, and so I wandered about, taking in the glow from the neon of the "adult" shops, striding past exceedingly well dressed locals, pondering life and all its many complexities.  Before long, it was quite clear that I would need to sample the delights of quite a few food purveyors. 

First, I stopped at the Tea and Sympathy store, a British store which carries a multitude of goods.  I purchased a Cadbury Dairy Milk with Whole Nuts, and the chocolate had a deep, malty complexity. It was not overpowering in an artificial way like a Hershey's, but natural, refined, restrained, delightful.  Carry on.

Afterwards, I headed east and stopped at Percy's pizza on Bleecker, a well-reputed $1 slice place.  I had been there a year earlier and enjoyed it quite much, thinking it was a good bit better than your average slice place. 

Let me be clear here: a good bit better than your average slice place, not your average $1 dollar slice place.  To explain, I find $1 dollar slice places to be, on average, better than "regular" slice places.  I believe the reason is two-fold: regular slice places often use too much, low quality cheese; further, you're often getting reheated pizza.  One dollar slice places, on the other hand, use less low quality cheese, which has the effect of making the pizza seem more like a cheese bread, in a way; when it comes to reheating, the $1 places are turning out so many pies, that you're almost guaranteed to get a fresh or semi-fresh slice.  Therefore, in conclusion, and to state my point as clearly as possible, I find $1 slice places to be, on average, better than regular slice places, but I also find Percy's to be better, on average, than your average $1 slice place and therefore your regular slice place.

However, that opinion was formed after one experience a year ago, on a somewhat snowy day in January, I believe it was.  Last night, my slice was reheated in the oven, and what came out was fine but not as good as I remembered my slice from last year as being.

As any person worth a grain of salt knows, a chocolate bar and a slice of pizza is not a sufficient meal for a man such as myself, so I ventured on for more tastings. Next I found myself at the MacDougal Street Artichoke.  In the past, I have been a staunch defender of Artichoke, thinking their square slice to be one of the finer pizzas in New York.  Is the crust charred: yes.  Is it oily and strongly flavored: yes.  Do I like these things: yes.  The eponymous Artichoke slice, with its smotherings of garlic, butter, artichokes, etc., is enjoyable enough if you have 2 bites, but otherwise is too much.  The round pies are quite enjoyable.  But indeed it's the square slice I love.

Well, at the MacDougal Street location (the original being on 14th Street, of course) I was dismayed to find the pizza looking positively lifeless, bland, and alien-colored gray.  I had one of those moments where you walk into a pizza place, recoil at the horrors before you, and have the immediate reaction of wanting to leave but then feeling embarrassed and not wanting to offend the pizzaiola.  I ordered a square and awaited my doom, and indeed it was one of the worst slices of pizza I have ever had.  It is quite possible that this Artichoke location is simply attempting to exploit the NYU population.  I will need to go to the 14th Street location to test this theory. 

I decided to end my evening at Thelewala, accross the street on MacDougal, an Indian street food place.  I ordered an "egg roll," which was roti filled with egg, onion, green chiles, and a green chutney.  It was enjoyable.  I also ordered a chai. 

So ended my evenings excursions.  As I glance back on what I wrote just now, I can appreciate the fact that it's a boring, rambling mess.  Further, these writings are so insignificant and about such a meaningless subject, that I am forced to admit that all food writing is completely absurd. 

Good evening. 

Tea and Sympathy Store
Greenwich Avenue

Percy's Pizza
Bleecker Street

Artichoke
MacDougal Street

Thelewala
MacDougal Street