Monday, February 6, 2012

Post-Run Pizza, or Food is the Best Motivator

I don't listen to music on my runs (except for the occasional treadmill workout), so my mind has lots of time to wander on my long runs. On Saturday, however, I was pretty focused the whole time. Was I focused on my pace ask? My form? My RPE (rate of perceived exertion)? No. I was focused on pizza! One of my running friends, Bobby, lives and trains in Brooklyn. Back in November he ran the inaugural Brooklyn Marathon. I had just run the New York City Marathon so there was no way I was going to run another 26.2 but I did volunteer. The race consisted of a series of loops around Prospect Park (7, I think). That many loops is enough to make anyone loopy so I had promised to run the final two laps with my Bobby. I talked and tried to distract him so he would forget that he had already run 20 miles.

Flash forward several months. As a thank you, Bobby offered to take me for to L&B Spumoni Gardens, a famous pizza shop in Brooklyn's Bensonhurst neighborhood. I've always wanted to go, but it's quite a schlep from Manhattan. Bobby has a car, though, so I was able to meet him at Borough Hall and hitch a ride. Alright, now that you have the background (probably too much background), let's talk about the pizza experience! When it first opened, L&B Spumoni Gardens was basically an ice cream stand--they sold spumoni (an Italian ice cream) and Italian ices. They still sell these frozen treats, but they've expanded. What they're known for today are their Sicilian (square) slices which they been serving up since the 1950s.

Two delicious slices! Look at that nicely charred edge.
Even if you're a square slice connoisseur, you've never tasted anything quite like this before. The crust is very thick while simultaneously being light and airy. The bottom gets a nice char from the pan so there is a bit of crunch too. On top of the crust they sprinkle a layer of mozzarella which they then cover in their house made tomato sauce. The sauce itself is incredible--thick with fresh tomato flavor and just the right amount of sweet. Finally, on top of that, there's a dusting of Pecorino Ramano that ads a nice nutty and salty balance to the sweet sauce. I ended up having 3 and half slices of this pizza and would have eaten more if it weren't for the fact that I didn't want to go into a food coma. Long story short? If you're looking for the best square slice in the city, you've got to pay a visit to Spumoni Gardens. And when you go...take me with you!

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