Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scott's Pizza Tour

This past weekend, Beth and I went on a Pizza Tour!!! (This sentence gets lots of exclamation points because it was so exciting) I think you know by now how passionate I am about pizza but I was put to shame after meeting Scott, who is a self-proclaimed "pizza enthusiast."

And an enthusiast, he was!

Now as we all know, a tour guide can make or break a tour but Scott was so personable, energetic and full of knowledge that he kept me fully entertained throughout the 3 hour tour. He told us he averages about 20-30 slices of pizza a week (which is really impressive since he doesn't eat pizza during his tours) and is currently in the thick of going to hundreds of pizza places throughout New Jersey for the Star Ledger.

Needless to say, he KNOWS his pizza :)

We started our tour at Gatsby's on Spring Street which is the site of the original Lombardi's. Lombardi's was THE first Pizzeria in New York and was officially born in 1905. Because their coal oven had broken due to the 6 train being built underneath the pizzeria, they had to move to their current location.

Here are way too many pictures of my mecca:

The flag post above was also used by Lombardi's.

We then walked over to the current site of Lombardi's on 32 Spring.

Scott showed us their coal-burning oven which has some of the original brick from their first location. It was very busy as they bake 6-7 pizzas at once!

The temperature in oven can go up to 1000 degrees! To demonstrate how hot it is, he showed us a failed pizza with the outline of a brick.

Once seated, we were presented with a goody-bag with palate cleaners and a little notebook to write pizza notes!

We had a slice of their marguerita pizza which was oh-so-yummy!

The tomato sauce was super fresh and the mozzarella was creamy and delicious. It wasn't oily at all which I appreciated, as it was 11:00 in the morning.

They sprinkle the basil leaves AFTER the pizza comes out of the oven so it doesn't lose any of the taste. The crust was thin but not soggy.

On our way to Lombardi's, Scott had taken us to Alleva, a cheese shop in Little Italy. This is where a lot of pizza places buy their cheese, including Lombardi's.

We watched them make mozzarella cheese and then sampled some unsalted ones. It was very creamy but light at the same time.

Look at how fluffy it looks!

Then Bob let Scott make bocconcini, mini-mozzarella balls. He had never done it before and was VERY excited!

We also went to a pizza supply store...

I was tempted to pick up a few pizza-making supplies but I don't think that would be the best thing for someone like me who would eat it every day if I could.

We also walked by the ACTUAL original Rays pizza.

Then headed over to Joe's Pizza on Carmine Street. Apparently Spiderman worked there!

There was limited seating inside so Scott hand delivered our slices!

You can see my pizza partner taking a picture for her blog, too!

Beth described it as a "street slice" which is pretty apropos. It was a comforting taste to me (whatever that means!) and wasn't greasy at all. The crust was nice and chewy and the bottom was nice and crisp.

Our last location was John's on Bleecker. Apparently John worked at Lombardi's - keeping it all in the family!

John's was definitely Beth's and my favorite slice of the day. The pizza had the sauce ON TOP of the cheese which gave it a whole different dimension! The cheese was smoked and was nice and salty (but not so much so) which made is all the more delicious. I think it was the best slice of pizza I've ever had!

Beth agrees...

Look at how beautiful it is!

One of the men that worked at John's went into the basement to get something and Scott took it as an opportunity to show us the coal they use for their brick oven.

You can see, he is very animated and THRILLED to talk about pizza! He certainly knows his stuff.

Beth and I both had so much fun and learned SO MUCH about pizza. I wish I could tell you everything but I really want you to go on the tour to find out for yourself.

As a pizza-lover myself, it was great to finally go to classic New York pizzerias. This tour was awesome because you get the history of pizza and New York, eat some delicious pizza and see some historic sites! Tickets are only $30 for three hours so it's really a good deal. The day Beth and I went was ridiculously freezing but still fun! However, we did spend most of the time outside so I definitely recommend a warm coat and walking shoes.

Scott also has pizza bus tours so you may see that on the blog eventually (I'm up for it, Beth!). For now, though, we have a long list of pizzerias to go to in New York, including Keste's where they make an original pizza with lard, cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Sounds suspect but I have to try an actual "original" pizza.

I'm not sure where Beth found this tour but I am so glad she did! It was one of the most fun things I've done in the city. I definitely recommend this tour!


  1. Bus tour here we come!!! Let's set up some pizza dates for 2010 buddy!

  2. mmm looks good. did we go to alleva one time? maybe we went to the italian deli down the street from alleva. i gotta get to lombardi's!