Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This is a horrifying tale with a happy ending. We recently went on vacation with my family to NYC, and for the most part it was completely awesome and wonderful and really perfect. This is not about that part of the trip, though.

You see, we were staying in the deepest heart of Midtown, and we arrived exhausted, after being stuck in traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel forever, and when we all checked in to the hotel they had one room ready for all nine of us. Which was not conducive to what we all (me especially) needed, which was some time to rest and get our bearings.

So we decided to go explore. Hours later- hours of wandering through tourist crowds which I cannot even begin to describe- we start looking for a place to eat. Which, with nine people and all of us cranky and exhausted and also everywhere, even the Bubba Gump Shrimp house, having two or three hour waits, was just a nightmare. We finally wind up in some faux Irish-y pub and when we sat down, I was so overheated and exhausted and the thought of potato skins was more than I could handle so Jeff wound up taking me back to the hotel.

Which is where the happy ending comes in- after we got our own room and a bit of rest, we went back out in search of food, and wound up at the not original Original Ray's next door where we had a few slices of white pizza. And even if it is not the ultimate New York slice, it was good enough to get me to reconsider my entire opinion of the New York slice, a pizza genre I had wholly dismissed as a result of, well, never actually having had a New York slice. It was really, really, good, and the snap of the crust was unlike anything else.

So of course when I got home the first thing I did was pull out American Pie to see what it had to say about New York pizza, and of course it had plenty to say. I immediately added the white pizza to our menu for the week. The crust was as close to the Ray's version as I've ever had- nothing at Los Angeles' NY-style pizza places, even the vaunted Mulberry Street, comes close. (And Peter Reinhart was right about it having even more of a snap when you reheat the leftovers). The toppings, though, were a bit much. Reinhart calls for a white sauce which is more onion than cream, and a ton of seasoned ricotta smeared over that. This may be how the Prince Street Ray's does it, but I would have to give the midtown location's version (barely any white sauce, with some onion and a little garlic, mozzarella, and then a few blobs of ricotta) higher marks.

So to sum up: The one good thing about Midtown Manhattan was the white pizza at Ray's on 7th and 53rd.