Satisfying a niece's jones for some city life, we trekked out to Brooklyn yesterday to eat the best pizza I've ever had. DiFara is a little nondescript joint in a nice little neighborhood, nothing you'd ever notice if it wasn't pointed out to you. There, Dominick DeMarco has been crafting pizzas the old-fashioned way for more than 40 years: boiling fresh tomatoes, importing three kinds of cheese from a certain town in Italy, growing his own basil on the window ledge.

Where to find the best pizza is a topic of endless debate in NYC, and you can't go wrong with any of the top five or seven places people will argue for. But for my money, DiFara is the best, both for the taste of the pie, and the very satisfying experience of eating in Dominick's homey little joint.

In recent years DiFara has built up a huge following, having been featured in several high-profile reviews, including Mr DeMarco pictured on the cover of The Village Voice. Yesterday I overheard a walking Brooklyn stereotype yelling into his cell phone: "Yeah, I'm in Brooklyn! Eating pizza! It's the fuggin greatest pizza evah!"

We also went to the Brooklyn Museum, to check out the new (to me) entrance that is being touted as Great Public Space. Um, okay. Nice modern glass public space apparently stuck on to old classical building. Interesting building, strange effect.

We didn't end up seeing anything at the museum, not being in a patient or artsy mood. But from there, we wandered into Park Slope, where I lived when I first moved to the city, and where Allan and I first lived together. We drank coffee and walked around looking at the beautiful houses.

Then back into the city to meet a nephew, brother of aforementioned niece, both in town for a family event, for more wandering, plus eating and imbibing. A nice day, plus two Things To Do Before I Leave New York checked off the list.

Great Expectations. My last few "goodbye" excursions were a little disappointing, but that was a function of sights being overhyped, or over-anticipated in my own mind.

The Merchants House Museum is an interesting place, a rare opportunity to visualize how wealthy 19th Century New Yorkers lived. But after intending to go there for 15-some-odd years, then seeing it in all of 30 minutes, I was bound to be a little disappointed.

That was my own fault. But the Frank Gehry-designed Conde Nast cafeteria somehow looked better in photographs than it did in person. It's an extremely unusual and cool-looking room, no doubt about it, but these photos are more eye-popping than it is. Same for the Brooklyn Museum entrance. Nice, interesting, but... where's the greatest public space to be built in New York in 25 years? Hype ruins so many experiences.

Regardless, I'm glad I'm checking out these things and checking them off my list. I don't want to leave New York with a long list of things I meant to see.


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

That sticking glass spaces on old museums must be a new trend. They're doing it here in Ottawa too with the Canadian Museum of Nature: http://www.nature.ca/reno/index_e.cfm

laura k said...

Yes, I was saying that yesterday. Perhaps it started with the I. M. Pei's glass pyramid in front of the Louvre in Paris.


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I don't know what the best pizza is in T.O., but I certainly know what's the worst.

Avoid One-For-One, Two-For-One, and Three-For-One (yes, they are all different chains despite their similar names) like the plauge. They're downright horrible.

Pizza-Pizza is sort of the McDonalds of pizza chains here, its not bad, but its not great either.

As usual, the non-chain places are the best, though I must admit I like going to Pizza Hut now and then.

laura k said...

I don't know if it's being from NYC or what, but I can't eat that chain-store pizza. I'd just as soon not eat pizza.

Do you know Chowhound.com? They have a Toronto message board. That would be the place to find the best pizza in T.O. I plan to use it to find all kinds of goodies.

Those three places are unrelated? Weird!

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Fortunately for me here in Ottawa, my favourite pizza place also happens to be one block from my appartment.

But now that I'm on WW, pizza is pretty much a no-no. Everything else I can fit in though, like burgers.

If you're ever in Ottawa, you have to try this place. It started of in a tiny little shack a few years ago, but it's expanded now.


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

A minor bit of trivia. In Canada, Red and Blue are the opposite to what they are in the U.S.

Liberals are red, Conservatives are blue, NDP are orange, and Green is, um, green.

Eraserhead said...

If I was to ever visit NYC I have had it planned out in my mind for years.

Agenda 1: Eat food at small local eateries in the many neighborhoods. Pizza, Chinese, Deli, etc.......

Agenda 2: See agenda 1

Agenda 3: See other stuff.

I was thinking this is the best way to experience New York City. One day, ho hum.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I wish NYC was a little cheaper. We're going to Boston in February since we needed a little break and we wanted to go someplace within a days drive. We've been to Toronto and Montreal so often that they aren't very interesting, so we decided on south of the border. We looked at NYC, but the hotels are pricey even in February if you want to stay in Manhatten.

So, we decided to go to cheaper Boston instead. 5 days in NYC probably wouldn't do it justice anyway.

laura k said...

E'head: YES! This is a food-lover's paradise. Right now that is especially true of the borough of Queens, which is incredibly diverse. People from all over the world mean food from all over the world...

Kyle: Boston is a fun town. But if you ever do want to come to NYC, I can recommend several less expensive places to stay in Manhattan. They are not well known, but they're probably comparable to what you're paying in that little town called Boston. (Joke!) (Sort of!)

You can have a lot of fun in NYC on not very much money. Though your money tends to disappear before you know it. (Though all travel is like that to some extent.)

When are you going?

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

We're going around the end of Feb. We plan to stay one day in Burlington (and from there to Ben & Jerry's!) then another 4 days in Boston. I've already paid (stupid Expedia charges you the full thing in advance), but we think we'll do NYC next year.

Having a mini vacation in Feb. gives me something to look forward to, otherwise Feb is very depressing.

As a note, in Canada there are no holidays between New Year's day and Easter.

laura k said...

February is depressing here too - gray, with nothing going on.

Allan (Redsock) is originally from Burlington VT. We'll be visiting up there in February, too!