Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The One Thing I Miss Most About New York City (Besides My Friends)

Call it the sex and the city effect, especially if you met him (or her) in the East Village, and you're taking the long way -- Avenue A -- home. There's no better foreplay after a night of debauchery in my favorite New York City neighborhood than stopping off at a corner pizzeria for a thick slice -- or two -- of cheese pizza. It's the one thing (besides my friends) that I miss most about living in the Big Apple: not the foreplay, not the nights of debauchery, not even the East Village, just its pizza!

Those Sex and the City reruns that I watch nightly on the Sony Channel in Bangkok don't help. At the end of each evening's double episode, I always seem to find myself briefly reconsidering a return to New York City, and gorging on pizza is usually at the top of my to-do list. I'd make it a pepperoni slice, since I never experienced one NYC-style during my entire 15 years living there due to the fact that I was a pescetarian.

Unfortunately, the pizza in Buenos Aires never cut it, which is strange, considering Argentina's Italian heritage. (Speaking of which, I've never had a slice of pizza in Italy that I can actually remember, which must mean that pizza-making prowess is an Italian-American thing.) Pizza in Argentina is pretty much a slab of bread with melted cheese on top. Perhaps it was the missing tomato sauce, but it never tasted quite right, certainly not nearly as divine as the homemade pasta there.

In Melbourne, a few places came close. Base Pizza in St. Kilda, right down the road from my first apartment in Melbourne, is probably the closest I've come to heaven while eating pizza, since I left New York City. If I could live permanently in any of the apartments I've called home in the last six years, it would probably be that one-bedroom pad on Clyde Street, because it was an awesome space, and because it was less than half a block from Base Pizza.

But if I could be anywhere in the world at this very moment, it would probably be the pizza joint on the corner of Avenue A and St. Mark's Place, which is quite possibly my favorite spot in all of Manhattan and whose name I can't recall because I never knew it in the first place. It was where my friend Dave and I ended some of our most memorable nights out. (We'd switch to Ray's Pizza and St. Mark's Pizza, both on 3rd Avenue just off St. Mark's Place, when we were on that side of the Village, and when splurging on an entire pie, Two Boots Pizza on Avenue A and 3rd Street was always my No. 1 choice.)

I haven't been able to get the nameless pizza joint on Avenue A out of my head since yesterday -- and not only because I miss the good times Dave and I had there. Maybe it was the solidly average Margherita pie at Wine Fusion in Bangkok that I finally let myself have yesterday after months of craving pizza. It may have been the most flavorless meal I've had in the spicy capital of the world. It left me wanting more -- but not from Wine Fusion.

For a city that almost always excels when it comes to food, where a woman cooking Pad Thai on the sidewalk can serve up one of the best meals you've ever had for 40 baht (or $1.30), Bangkok was bound to get one thing not quite right. On the plus side, I won't have to worry about burning off any more pizza calories because I won't be returning to Wine Fusion for seconds.

I'll continue to watch my Sex and the City reruns, and when they're both over at 11.45pm, I'll close my eyes, pretend like I'm sitting on a high-rise stool in front of a juicy mozzarella slice on Avenue A and St. Mark's, and say to myself, "There's no place like home."
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