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Since I grew up in New York I admit that I am somewhat picky about my pizza. I also had the added benefit of a Sicilian grandfather who ran a bakery on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. Every Saturday he made the pizza that he grew up with in the old country. He lived to be 100 years old, so well into my adulthood I was able to enjoy his authentic pizza.
I’ve lived in Philadelphia now for half my life and was fortunate to live near the best pizzeria in the area: Volare Pizza in the suburb of Ambler. Their crust has just the right combination of chewy and crisp that is representative of the true New York style. It has to do with using the right type of flour. The pizza maker, Nic, is from Naples and his wife from Brooklyn so they certainly have the pedigree for it.
We were a month into our trip when I was really Jonesing for a slice. I don’t think I had been without pizza for that long since I started teething. One night I was walking down a side street in Hong Kong when I saw a bright green sign that said “Paisano’s NY Style Pizza, Home of the giant slice.” I’m used to being disappointed by such promises but at this point I was desperate so I decided to give it a shot.
The slices are cut out of a 24” pie so they truly are giant. But it wasn’t the size that impressed, it was the flavor. The crust was both crispy and chewy in the finest NY style. The sauce had just the right balance of sweet and savory and the cheese was perfectly melted in their brick oven. It was the pizza I craved from my youth.
One of my requirements to live somewhere is that they have good pizza. After one bite of Paisano’s finest I said to Larissa, “I could live here.” Sometimes all it takes is a little slice of home.