Friday, June 5, 2009

GQ, you gotta be kidding

This has been a week of moments. The president delivered a major address to the Muslim world, known as the Arab Street.

I know when I show up in synagogue tomorrow, all the right-wingers will be waiting for me, screaming "I told you so's" at me about Obama's talk. He's throwing Israel under the bus to cozy up to the sheiks. He's siding with dictators against a democracy. 

He's soft on Iran, just because he's allowing Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 parties. Actually, I'd like to attend (can't--it's a Saturday) an Embassy bash, just to watch the Iranian diplomats dive under the table the first time someone sets off a firecracker. 

I'll have to discuss all this with the "Obama's an Arab" set. By the way, the Arabs who called him "Abu Hussein" were dead wrong, unless he has a love child named Hussein salted away somewhere. 

But I don't want to talk about that now. 

I want to talk about pizza. I'm neutral about the subject of really great pizza because I can't eat any. Really great pizza isn't kosher. The Edge of the Woods in New Haven makes a pretty good kosher pizza (Sunday and Thursday, call first, no slices, a few toppings.)

But really great pizza isn't kosher. So, here comes the confession. I haven't always eaten kosher. I have eaten really great pizza right here in New Haven many years ago. 

But now I can stand on the sidelines and watch the next version of the pizza wars. 

GQ has come out with its list of 25 best pizzas in the nation. 

They say a place in Chicago has the best pizza in the nation. You know, that thick stuff, I think they call it deep dish. This place doesn't have deep dish, as a reader pointed out, but Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pizza. 

The bad news for New Haven is that the city, which calls itself the place where pizza was invented or at least begun in America, didn't even make the top five.

The best we could do is sixth. Sally's was named fifth runner up, sixth best. 

Frank Pepe's didn't even make the top 10. It was voted 12th, beaten out by a joint in Port Chester, N.Y., for cripes' sake.

And the Port Chester (a pit if there ever was one--the village, not the pizza joint) place was cited for its clam pizza, something on which Pepe's hangs its apron, so to speak.

You have to fight through five-plus pages of rationale and complaining by correspondent Alan Richman before you get to the list. First is Chicago, then Brooklyn (of course, New York, not Brooklyn, Nova Scotia. Yes, that exists...nice place). San Francisco, Phoenix and Providence (that hurts) are mentioned until we get to New Haven.  Then comes Los Angeles, Manhattan, Philadelphia and then the aforementioned Port Chester before we come back to New Haven. I guess there is solace in the fact we get two onto the list, but then again, just about everyone else does, too. Not Port Chester, thank heaven. 

Anyway, I must confess I've eaten both Sally's and Pepe's pies (many years ago) and I agree with Richman about Sally's being better. The service at Sally's was better, too, all those years ago. From what people tell me, that hasn't changed, but I'd have to sustain a hearsay objection to that last statement. 

But Chicago having the best pizza?Puhhleeze. Many years ago, while attending a Society of Professional Journalists convention in Chicago, I went great-pizza-joint hunting with my convention traveling companion Richard Peck, who has gone on to that great newsroom in the sky where every desk's bottom drawer has a bottle of Blue Label and you can smoke and cuss as much as you want, never get beaten on  a story and they always save you a spot above the fold. Never mind, those not in the business. That's newspaper talk.

But we had to get Chicago pizza. I don't remember were he ended up, somewhere where the pizza was supposed to be great and typical Chicago. Fahgettaboutit. 

So, Mr. Richman, thanks for starting the next pizza war. But if you ever want to start a fight about hamburgers, see Louie. Not that I've eaten there, either. 

Page 2

It's raining as I write this, but tomorrow and Sunday are supposed to be nice, spring days. Enjoy, have a great weekend and, for those in the Tribe, a great shabbos.

Until next time...


Anonymous said...

Why so rough on Port Chester, NY? Last time I checked, New Haven isn't Greenwich. You old guys must LOVE this new era of social media because you feel empowered by the parenthesis to interject your opinion where you couldn't do that so freely in the past. Is your name Len or Lou (Grant)? If you're so good at journalism, stick to the topic at hand -- which, in this case is pizza -- and save us from your stodgy sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

You know what might lend some validity to your criticism? If you had actually read the article you're bashing. The article named New York the best pizza city in the country and had Chicago 4th. The individual pizza chosen as the country's best is from a place in Chicago, but they DO NOT SELL deep dish pizza. It's called Great Lake and they make thin crust artisinal pizzas.

Mind of Len said...

Yes, Anonymous, New Haven isn't Greenwich. Let's see...Greenwich has no universities, New Haven has three (don't count University of New Haven, which is in West Haven); Greenwich residents, if they want to go to a major theater, have to journey to Stamford or New York. In New Haven, you have your choice of Long Wharf, Yale Rep.,the Shubert. Major, world-class museums, let's see: New Haven has at least two world-class art museums, the Yale and British Art, the Peabody, a world-class science museum. No, Anonymous, New Haven is no Greenwich.
That said, you are perfectly entitled to criticize me on my back-handed slap at Port Chester. I used to work near there and never liked the place because I used to get lost there all the time--bad or nonexistent road signs.
But, and I'm being serious here, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.