Two slices of heaven

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I've been away too long, once again.

The biggest news is of course that it's finally spring around here. Temps should be in the 60s all week, and Beth tells me there's some hope for 70s. Which I think is a bit much for April, but it certainly beats snow.

I just finished and submitted the latest FTM, about which I believe I can't say much, but I will say that the theme is near and dear to my heart.

And speaking of near and dear to my heart, many readers no doubt know about my obsession with pizza, and know that I am not actually exaggerating when I use the word "obsession." I won't get into the details of my pizza woes here in the Midwest, but I will say that I haven't found any decent pizza of the NY style, and so have had to enjoy only Neapolitan pizza, of which there are two excellent sources in the TC, to my knowledge.

But now, as of Saturday, I have a new second home. Not far from the apartment in which Beth and I lived when we first moved out here from the Big Apple is a new pizza place: Hiawatha Pizza. Online rumors claimed this was the real deal, and that the owner and pizzamaker was in fact an ex-New Yorker himself.

You will forgive me for having my doubts.

On Saturday, though, since I have to check out every pizza place at least once, and since a few voices on Chowhound were saying such great things, I decided to drop in for a late lunch. Now, you can't really get a more Minnesota name for your pizzeria than Hiawatha Pizza, and the store front, in the same shopping center as a Cub and a Target, is as bland and Midwest-mall as it could possibly be. Still, I kept my chin up and strode in.

Empty. Of course, it was not exactly peak pizza hours, but I like to see my pizzerias as hangouts. Aside from a group of local teens hanging out on the curb out front, the place was deserted. I went up to the counter, hoping to see the New York City institution of pizza: by-slice-pies, ready to reheat and serve, sitting under glass. No such luck.

A man called out from the back. He had a thick Middle Eastern accent. I recalled someone online saying the place was halal. "What can I get for you?" he asked me.

"Do you have any slices ready?" I asked. He assured me he did. I ordered two and grabbed a can of soda (SODA, not pop) from the fridge case.

After a few minutes, he called me back to the counter, and there they were: thin, big--a sheen of oil floating on their surface. I didn't believe my eyes. My host went to the back to fetch the parmesan sprinkler while I put on some hot pepper flakes. When he returned with the cheese, I partook of that, as well, then took a seat.

After the first bite, I knew. I immediately sent a text a to Beth: I'm at Hiawatha Pizza. And then another, after the second bite: I'm coming here every day. I devoured the pizza and brought the empty tray up to the counter. As my host rang up the purchase, I said, "So you are from New York, huh?"

"How did you know?" he asked, a little suspiciously.

I just pointed at the empty tray.

So finally I've found the real deal, right here. I wish it were a little closer to home, but with spring finally here, and that bike trailer for Sam I've got in the garage, I think a ride over there once or twice a week would do me good--body, mind, and soul.


9 Responses to “Two slices of heaven”
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Alea said...

I'll have to tell my parents! Every once in awhile they will talk about New York Pizza (we moved here when i was little)! We'll go to Cosetta's every once in awhile but it's nothing special, just fun. And agree, it's Soda, not pop!

April 14, 2009 at 4:07 PM
Steve Brezenoff said...

Awesome, Alea! Let them on it for sure. I'd hate to see this place close from lack of business.

April 14, 2009 at 4:09 PM
midway cyclist said...

It's not NY-style, but Eden Pizza on Aldine and LaFond is pretty good.

April 14, 2009 at 4:13 PM
Alea said...

Usually we go around looking for little hole-in-the-wall Middle Eastern Restaurants so my dad is going to get a kick out of a halal pizza place!

April 14, 2009 at 4:14 PM
Steve Brezenoff said...

Believe it or not, I am a fan of Eden Pizza. It's walking distance, and the people are very nice, and it's great for kids of all ages. And I think they don't even cut in squares. I should do a whole post about that square-pieces-of-a-circular-pie weirdness one of these days.

But yeah. Sometimes I need to feel the nostalgic rush that only NY pizza can bring me. Plus it tastes way better.

April 14, 2009 at 4:16 PM
Susan said...

I can't tell you how relieved I am that you found a reason to stay in Minnesota! After the winter we just had I wouldn't have blamed you for leaving!

April 14, 2009 at 5:57 PM
Susan said...

p.s. let me know how Sam likes the bike trailer.

April 15, 2009 at 11:29 AM
Steve Brezenoff said...

I'm hoping to make the time to assemble it this evening, so our trial run, err ride, might be any day now!

April 15, 2009 at 11:42 AM
Emily Harris said...

I am excited to try this place-we LOVE NYC slices. Not that this can really compare, but it's pretty darn tasty and fairly cheap is Whole Foods 2 for $5 slices. AND if they are out of the kind you wanted or were hoping for, they make it to order. You need to have the time to wait-but it's a nice feature!

April 15, 2009 at 7:19 PM