New York City: First Impressions of Pizza, Dining, and Beyond

This is going to come as a shock, I know, but I’ve never been to New York City until this past week. So many of my favorite movies and shows that feature the Big Apple (SATC, Maid in Manhattan, Eloise at the Plaza, the list goes on…) have allowed me to build up this magical idea of what NYC is like. And it was nothing short of magical, as I hoped it would be.

I’ve had a few (claimed-to-be) NY-style pizzas in Buffalo. A lot of local reviews have said it doesn’t come close to the real deal. I wouldn’t have known any difference, but now I totally get it.

Stop #1: B-Squared

After a long day at a conference for work, we hit up the city for dinner and some exploring! We were staying in Midtown and had only a few hours of downtime to whole trip, so we went to Times Square. It was so surreal seeing it in real life at last! I was totally blown away, and thoroughly impressed, at the organized chaos.

We ventured a few blocks over from Times Square to find a spot to eat in a quieter spot. We landed on B-Squared, a cozy, dimly-lit bar restaurant with an Italian menu. I love that they pride themselves on NYC innovation with an Italian flair. In some ways, it reminded me of Vera Pizzeria in Elmwood Village.

I think that’s what I loved most about NYC, even within my short amount of time spent there. All of these little pockets around town with tiny bars, tight seating, and music playing, it brings the dining experience to a whole other level of intimacy, class, and fun. I was totally in my element and ready for some good conversation and food!

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There were many artisan pizzas to choose from, but sometimes there’s nothing that can make me happier than a margherita pizza. Their “Marge” consisted of tomato, basil, oregano, mozzarella, and sea salt. Sometimes you just need something simple, yet flavorful.

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The rich flavor of the pizza went perfectly with my crisp glass of Pino Grigio. The cheese was clumped throughout, but didn’t weigh down any of the slices to ruin the experience. You could’ve eaten it with knife and fork if you wanted to be tidy, or handheld.

I could also taste the sea salt throughout, which I loved, and it wasn’t too overpowering. It evened out the strong tomato taste. Safe to say, it was a winner. Plus, I ate the whole thing, happy as can be.

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My coworker chose the Carbonara, also a good choice with parmesan, egg, black pepper, and pancetta. I loved that the egg was right in the center of the pizza, so with every slice she pulled out the yoke oozed and I drooled a lot! And if you like to dip your pizza crust in just about anything, the egg yoke pizza is for you!

Highly recommend B-Squared if you’re looking for NYC atmosphere on the casual side with great Italian food, solid service, and yummy drinks!

Stop #2: Famous Famiglia Pizzeria

Unfortunately our work trip was quite short, so before we knew it we were already heading back to JFK to fly home and said goodbye to the city. I never got to have my vision of eating a true NY-style slice yet, so eating at the Airport had to do.

The pizza looked like the NY-style pizzas at Gino & Joe’s on the first floor of Mainplace Mall. There were so many to choose from! I ended up choosing a slice of pepperoni and cheese, but secretly wanted a whole pie to myself!

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My first impression of the pizza was how easy it was to eat. It was so thin, but had a firm crust to not ‘flop and drop’ (when all your toppings slide right off and then you just end up eating crust and sauce). There was this perfectly sounding crunch to the pizza that you really can’t find most places.

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A large difference to people between Buffalo-style and NY-style is the pepperoni topping. While it didn’t have my cup-n-char pepperoni that I love, I have to say I was diggin’ these flat pepperonis. Not only was the grease still pooling in them, but the borders were still slightly crunchy. I hate under-cooked toppings, so I was pleased with this pizza! Next time, and there will be a next time, I’ll be standing on the streets of Manhattan doing it right!

NYC really felt like a dream. I already can’t wait to go back and eat more pizza!

Pizza & love,

Mandy

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