Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Slice of Brooklyn: Pizza Tour!

Over the summer Hubby JL and I were invited to go on a pizza tour run by A Slice of Brooklyn.  I hadn't heard about it before, but any mention of a food tour and you can count me in!  At 11am on a Sunday, we showed up at the designated meeting spot near Union Square.  We didn't have any expectations other than to enjoy a low-key day eating pizza, but by the end of our afternoon with Tony (a true Brooklyn native, the founder, and our tour guide!) we were pleasantly surprised by how much fun we had!

A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour: TV screens in the tour bus
Right on time, Tony's very comfortable bus rolled up and all of us pizza-lovers filed on.  I'm guessing there was under 20 of us in the group, so (thankfully!) it didn't feel like we were a giant herd of tourists, though tourists did make up a good chunk!

View of Brooklyn Bridge and the NYC skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park
Visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park and a close up of Brooklyn Bridge
First up, a little driving tour of DUMBO and a walk around Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fulton Ferry Landing.  The weather was beautiful and the view of Manhattan from the Park was awesome!  It's a great place to snap pictures of the Manhattan skyline and the nearby Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge.  Brooklyn Bridge Park is also home to the newly restored Jane's Carousel.  Sitting along the Brooklyn waterfront, it's a great addition to the park with the carousel music playing and the pretty horses prancing about.

Jane's Carousel
All the pretty horses go 'round and 'round....
Keeping in mind our mission of exploring Brooklyn's pizza... nearing noon, we wandered just up the street to Grimaldi's, famous for their Neapolitan-style pizza.  You'd think going to Grimaldi's was cool enough, but what was even exponentially more awesome was walking right past the queue of people lined up outside waiting for the open and straight in to the tables reserved for Tony's group.  Yes that's right - as a guest of Tony you've got the VIP fastpass!  We each got 2 slices of regular pizza and a soft drink included in our tour.  Definitely go for the Olde Brooklyn sodas which come in glass bottles!  I've had Grimaldi's pizza before, and while the pizza was as good as always, this trip definitely upped the cool factor up a bit by skipping the line :).  The pizza is cooked in a brick oven so the crust has a lovely crunch to it, while the cheese is gooey.  So yum!

Grimaldi's Pizza
Olde Brooklyn Orange Soda
[Some Piggy History:  A few years back, Piggy KK and I ventured out to Brooklyn and made our way to Grimaldi's on a very hot August day.  We were standing on line in the blazing heat for nearly an hour.  It was our first time there, and our original plan while still at the back of the line was "let's get a slice each".  30 mins later and still on line, "maybe we'll get 2 slices each...".  Another 30 mins later and nearing the entrance, we see a sign that reads 'PIES ONLY'.  "Well ok, since we have to do a pie...".  We finally sit down to order (our pie, of course) and before we know it we ask for 2 pies!  Perhaps it was heatstroke, but I think our reasoning was we should have a souvenir to take home.  Typical of us Piggys, two slices turned into two pies, and we loved every bite!]

After lunch #1, we hopped back onto the bus and had a driving tour of some neighborhoods in Brooklyn.  Tony filled us in on some Brooklyn history and also showed us tidbits of films shot around the area.

Before we knew it we were at lunch spot #2 - L&B Spumoni Gardens!  We tried Neapolitan-style pizza at Grimaldi's and now we were up to try L&B's Sicilian-style pizza to see which one wins us over.  At L&B, the cheese is actually underneath the sauce.  We each got 2 slices of pizza and soft drinks, but this pizza is so much thicker!  I wound up getting so full I took my 2nd slice to go.

Sicilian-style pizza at L&B Spumoni Gardens
Before heading back to the city, Tony took us over to Coney Island, just a short drive from L&B.  We spent a bit of time on the boardwalk and Tony shared with us some history and the direction Coney Island is moving towards.  It had been several years since I've been there and I was shocked to see how much they've built up the amusement rides recently!  I'm definitely putting it on my list of day trips for next summer.

Coney Island's Cyclone!
Before we knew it, 4.5 hours had passed and we were back in the city.  Tony took great care of us all.  Even though I've been to Brooklyn many times, I had never seen it like this.  You also can't beat 'touring' Brooklyn in the comfort of a snazzy air-conditioned bus!  (No need to worry about MTA's endless service changes on the weekends).  Tony has so much character and you can feel his passion and love for his hometown, you just can't help but love it too!

And if you're wondering if Neapolitan or Sicilian pizza won my heart over... I vote Neapolitan!  Both were delicious in their own right, but I'm a fan of brick-oven pizza.  Can't beat the crust!  But I'm curious, what rocks your boat?

Piggy says yes (to all three!)!

A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour
Reservations required (online or via phone 212.209.3370)
*they also have other tours*

Grimaldi's (various locations)
Under the Brooklyn Bridge
1 Front Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

L&B Spumoni Gardens
2725 86th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11223

Piggy KL


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