On cold winter weekends, Paul and I always find a need to walk the streets of NYC. Bundled up with gloves, scarves, and earmuffs, we venture to some of our favorite places, all the while wishing for warmer weather and proclaiming our love for summer. Our noses are red and we can barely feel our toes, but there is something about that city that keeps us coming back for more.
For us, a typical weekend in NYC includes some of our favorites: El Rio Grande (absolutely the best Mexican restaurant in NYC, in our opinion), a walk through Central Park to the lovely Boathouse, a trip to a museum for a little culture, and a healthy walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. This weekend though, we decided to try some new things and also visit an old favorite that we absolutely adore.
Our first adventure this weekend: Brooklyn. To be honest, Paul and I are newbies to this area, but we crave to know so much more. We love the Brooklyn Bridge…architecturally its beyond magnificent. Its beauty and its grandeur as it spans across the East River is magical. (It was an easy and obvious choice for the site of our engagement photo shoot with Julie Harris, our awesome wedding photographer). Although we love the bridge, we’ve had little experience exploring Brooklyn itself. This Saturday, we decided to find out just what Brooklyn is all about. Our first stop, (although I’m now ashamed to say), was…Grimaldi’s Pizzeria….
If you haven’t heard of Grimaldi’s, look it up. It’s famous and its featured on almost every food television show ever made. We recently saw it on the Travel Channel’s 101 Best Places to Chow Down and the food looked mouth watering and delicious. It also looked like a hole in the wall (just the kind of places we like). I guess you could say we are pizza enthusiasts, or maybe just pizza addicts, and we thought it was our duty to find out if this Grimaldi’s place was really the best.
Before I reveal our thoughts, let me explain our experience. First off, you don’t just walk into Grimaldi’s. No, no, no…you stand in line, along with many other people who probably just watched that same episode on the Travel Channel that you did. We waited on line for an hour. Let me repeat, we waited on line for an hour just to get into a pizza parlor. While waiting, we discussed our biggest fears: 1. We look like tourists waiting to get into a tourist trap. We hate tourist traps and try to avoid them as much as possible. 2. What if it’s really not that good? Is it really worth having frost-bitten toes? 3. No one in line is from New York. Oh, that’s right. The New Yorker’s are those pointing and laughing as they walk past this long line on their way to their favorite pizza parlor.
When we finally got to the front of the line and received the grand offer to come in we got seated right away at a small table for two. By this point, my toes felt frozen and my fingertips numb within my gloves. Unlike the line, the restaurant is small and the people packed in like sardines. Don’t raise your menu too high or you will knock out the person next to you with your elbow. This is not a problem for us. One of our favorite restaurants in NYC is small like this. We decided to order a large pizza with sausage and some warm beverages. They don’t do slices and they only take cash. Also, not a problem. Paul and I have always been able to devour a whole pizza in its entirety on many occasions. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long for the waiter to come take our order. After all, there are people outside waiting to come in. However, when the waiter got to our table he said nothing. NOTHING. He didn’t even look at us. He just stood there with a smug look on his face and his pen and tablet in hand waiting for US to address HIM. Wait a minute. Did I just stand in that line to get into your restaurant and now you are too good to talk to me?! Are you serious?! Despite my desire to stand up, walk out, and take my business elsewhere, I was hungry and cold. We ordered our food. Our rude and downright unwelcoming waiter brought us our drinks, then our pizza, and finally our check, all without saying a single word! It’s unfortunate they didn’t feature him on the Travel Channel. If they had, I may have never stepped foot in the place.
Now I’ll tell you what we thought: The pizza isn’t bad. After all, we ate the entire pizza, just the two of us. It’s average. It’s not the best and the service leaves something to be desired. We thought our pizza was doughy and contained very little flavor. In our opinion, it was completely overrated. We think Luigi’s on Asbury Avenue should have a line out the door. Their pizza is worth frost-bitten toes and, the people who work there, are overly friendly and treat you like family. Vic’s and Mom’s Kitchen also deserve lines outside the door for good pizza. But Grimaldi’s…eh, it’s just okay. Of course this is just OUR opinion. You might love it. If you are reading this and you love Grimaldi’s, good for you! We, however, will continue to love our Jersey Shore pizza establishments.
Just an aside: I would love to talk with some Brooklyn natives and find out where they go for good pizza. I bet they would have some good recommendations.
Our exploration of Brooklyn didn’t stop there. After Grimaldi’s we took a stroll down through the Dumbo area. Here we perused some really cool furniture stores: West Elm and Bo Concept. Just a few steps away from these places, we fell upon a spectacular view of the Manhattan Bridge. Paul took the opportunity to stop and take some photos and then we decided, due to the cold, we’d definitely come back to visit Brooklyn in warmer temperatures. We headed back to the subway and to our hotel in Manhattan. We can’t wait to come back to Brooklyn and hope to have a lengthier and warmer visit the next time around.
After a relaxing afternoon at the hotel, we cleaned up and headed out to one of our old favorites: Mario Batali’s Lupa. This is the place where you will also feel packed in like a sardine, but won’t mind because the food and the ambiance, in our opinion, is absolutely incredible. Paul’s favorite menu item, the thinly sliced prosciutto de parma practically melts in your mouth. I think Paul could visit Lupa and be satisfied with just having several orders of prosciutto de parma. It’s that good. However, you can’t leave Lupa without indulging in some of their other enticing menu items. Another favorite is the saltimbocca: veal pounded flat and wrapped in prosciutto over a bed of braised escarole. Ah, heaven. The pasta is also fantastic and the service has always been impeccable.
You may conclude that most of our posts have to do with Paul’s photography and my eating. If so, you are correct. Paul loves to take photos and I love to eat. He shares in my love of eating and I love his photos. In the end, happy Valentine’s Day everyone! May you love doing what you love, with the one you love, just like we do.