New York Pizza Department

New York Pizza Department

20130623_133119

When I was a kid, I loved nothing more than a slice of pizza. Sitting in my den, Indian-style on the floor in front of the TV, watching “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and eating pizza was a favorite pastime. Truthfully, not a whole lot has changed about that over the years. Sure, it’s been a minute since I’ve watched TMNT, but pizza is still like a primary food group for me. Ladies, friends, and family members that I have known over the years will tell you that I completely wore them out on eating pizza. I even worked at a pizza place some years ago (childhood dream realized, haha) and ate the stuff pretty much every day and could vary the flavors up enough to not get tired of it. But, even as much as I, to this day, LOVE pizza, it’s just not the same as when I was a kid.

Back then, it was EXCITING to have pizza. It was a treat. Whether everyone was going out for it after a ball game, or it was delivered for a birthday party, or dad just picked some up on his way home from work for dinner, it was SPECIAL to have pizza, even if you had it frequently.

20130623_133240

NYPD brings me back to that. When they drop one of those 24” pies down at your table, it is a thing of beauty. Your eyes glisten with wonder and astonishment and you feel ravenous about devouring it, yet time stands still as you savor each bite. Or at least that’s about how it works for me. It’s hard to describe, but it’s just something magical, and DELICIOUS.

I know some NY and NJ natives who agree it’s the best place in town for pizza/the only place they can get something resembling the true NY-style pizza that they crave. Their pizza is so good that they can even get me to spring for a white pie (Da Gotti Blanca, as pictured below, which is loaded up with garlic and various cheeses) instead of a red base, which is something that I generally consider a pizza sin (with a few rare exceptions). And, furthermore, they pass with flying colors my basic pizza test: having a delicious plain cheese pizza. I have several simple tests like this for restaurants that specialize in a particular type of food. It’s an easy premise, really; I maintain that, if you can’t do the most basic thing for that type of food well, then it’s doubtful that anything else I might order from you would be particularly noteworthy either.

20130623_134707

This place really just fires on all cylinders. The food is amazing and they feature a great selection, most of which is already waiting for you on the line if you want to just quickly grab a slice (which makes me terribly, terribly sad that there is no downtown location that I can run to on lunch breaks). The staff is friendly and helpful. It’s local and family owned by a couple of genuine New York transplants. Check, check, and check. I am elated to see these guys doing well and expanding their business. Do yourself a favor and help them keep that momentum rolling. If you’re feeling truly HONGRY for some pizza, take yourself on down to NYPD and satisfy that craving with, hands-down, the best pizza you’re likely to find in the greater Chattanooga area. Trust me. I wouldn’t mislead you on this. Because I LOVE pizza. And these guys do it right.

Update:
IF (and, with the size of these pies, that’s a big “IF”) you somehow manage to have room for it, don’t skip the dessert. The cheesecake at NYPD is genuine NY cheesecake, brought in from Queens, and it is frickin’ delicious. I must make a mental note to hold back on the pizza devouring enough to sample the cannoli and tiramisu in the future as well. Also, many thanks to Eric, Kurt, and the NYPD crew all-around. They have been extremely kind about this review, and even offered an awesome incentive (a free specialty slice and drink) to people who shared this post on Facebook, which is just killer. It’s that kind of generosity and attitude that keeps a business like this going for the long haul. That just makes me want to say even more wonderful things about what they are doing here. And the awesome food definitely doesn’t hurt either. You guys sure know the way to a HONGRY man’s heart..

NYPD - New York Pizza Department on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

The Muenster Truck

The Muenster Truck

It’s amazing how far the food truck scene has come here in Chattanooga. From its humble beginnings with Southern Burger Co. and Famous Nater’s (which is and likely always will be my favorite) to the brief shining star of Taco Sherpa (which I still have constant cravings for) to awesome relative newcomers like Local Slice (I still think it’s wild that they have a wood-burning oven in a truck). It’s getting more and more interesting all the time. Heck, I’ve even heard tell of a guy trying to stick a barbecue smoker in a food truck. Sounds cool! We’ll see about that one. But, for now, the Chatt truck scene has a welcome new edition in The Muenster Truck.

Clearly, there is no lack of excitement surrounding such things, as this was the scene at Center Park on The Muenster Truck’s opening day..

20130607_124528

.. and thus the reason I, unfortunately, didn’t have time to sample their wares.

But, have no fear, there’s always.. Day Two:

20130608_110737

Guru Shah and his wife Neha and much of their family were present when my fiancée Meghan and I arrived. They were very nice and incredibly friendly. That, along with good food, is a winning combination (precisely why I love Famous Nater’s), so we’re off to a good start.

About the food: there are three sandwiches on the initial menu. I’m told these will basically be the regulars and specials (like apple, brie, and honey) will join them from time to time. We tried The Angry Bacons, The All That, a few chocolate milks, and a little shot of gazpacho.

I liked the gazpacho, though I’m generally not a fan of it. It wasn’t so chunky as what I’ve had before and it had a bit of cumin and spice to it that made it not so bland and one-note tomato-y as it usually is.

The chocolate milk was.. well.. chocolate milk. You can’t go wrong.

The All That was delicious, especially with the sriracha sauce they serve on the side (I’m a sucker for spice). It had gruyere, fried egg, spicy mustard, and we added bacon to it as well. As you might guess from the ingredient list, it was quite breakfast-y, so it’s a good option if you’re in such a mood.

The winner-winner though was The Angry Bacons. Havarti, avocado, and bacon. The textures on this bad-boy are awesome. The white bread (from Bluff View Bakery) is so crisp, crunchy, and buttery. The havarti melts perfectly and has a great flavor as well as that stringy pull-away effect that just makes you feel like a kid. The avocado adds a bit of freshness and amplifies the ooey-gooey factor. And the bacon, of course, is yummy crispy salty bacon (that’s a no-brainer).

20130608_112352

Growing up, I absolutely loved grilled cheese sandwiches. They were literally the first food I recall learning to make for myself. I was so excited when I made my first one. And, on some level, whenever I eat one, I’m transported back to such simpler times. Grilled cheese just screams comfort food. It’s exciting to see someone applying more adult flavor pairings to such an American staple food item and doing it well. I look forward to eating more delicious sandwiches from The Muenster Truck.

The Muenster Truck on Urbanspoon

A Quest

Chattanooga is a fine old town.

I was born and raised here. At twenty-something, as many do, I bolted. I traveled a little. It was fun, and I’d love to visit some of those places again, but it didn’t take long for me to recall that Chattanooga is indeed my home. And now, the more time I spend here, the more blessed I feel to call it home.

Whenever I do travel though, or when I’m right here at home, my main concern is WHERE TO EAT. I just absolutely love food. So, one of the most exciting things about being here in good ol’ Chatt-town is that the food scene is BOOMING. There are loads of ambitious people who are bringing things here that this city has never seen before. You don’t have to hit the road for a good meal anymore – it’s right around the corner. I just love being a part of that, in any capacity, especially helping other people sift through the so-so and find what’s good.

So, here’s to the hope that, when you’ve got a hunger you just can’t kick..

When there’s an itch in your belly that you can’t quite seem to scratch..

When you’re aching for something that will truly satisfy your appetite, and you’re not sure where to start, you’ll at least know that you don’t have to travel far because..

Chattanooga is a fine old town.