Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Best Pizza Grows In Brooklyn

I've always been a big fan of L & B!
In New York, there is the constant debate over who’s got the best pizza. Everyone has their own opinions and reasoning behind where you need to go to get the best slice in town. For me, there is no contest; without hesitation my answer is, and will always be, L & B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn.

Although born and raised on Long Island, I inherited a piece of my accent and the love of great pizza from my dad, who for as long as I can remember took me back to his hometown of Brooklyn several times a year for L & B Spumoni Gardens. To this day, it just doesn’t feel like summer until we sit outside at one of the pizzeria’s red picnic tables beside double parked cars and echoes of “how you doin?," over a few oven-fresh square slices and homemade spumoni.

For all you non-New Yorkers, I’ve recently come to realize that not everyone orders pizza like we do. The Big Apple has its own pizza culture, and according to this spot-on roundup from Serious Eats, that culture includes very particular pizza jargon. For instance, what might be known as a “piece of cheese pizza” in your neck of the woods is a “slice of regular” in ours. So before I continue talking about “slices” and “pies” maybe you should quickly reference that amusing little language lesson.

Known by most locals as simply “L & B,” L & B Spumoni Gardens is notorious for their Sicilian pie or legendary “square.” You don’t come to Spumoni Gardens and get a regular slice. I mean, you can, but why would you really want to? The often imitated, never duplicated square can be spotted by its rather unconventional assembly. L & B lays mozzarella down over their thick, doughy crust first, and then slathers bright red tomato sauce on top of the cheese. To finish it all off, the pizza is generously sprinkled with pecorino romano. In the oven, the crust becomes blackened around the edges, while remaining bouncy and bready on the inside. It is no wonder why every time you pass by this place, there is usually a line.

In the Brooklyn episode of Man v. Food, host and Brooklyn boy Adam Richman pays a visit to L & B. If I remember correctly, after this segment he takes one bite, closes his eyes, looks in the camera and says something along the lines of, “I’m home.” I think that sums it up best. In all of Brooklyn--in the entire state--in this entire world, nothing comes close to L & B pizza. I have heard that some people are actually underwhelmed by the pizza of this celebrated institution. To this, I am only forced to believe that such individuals know little to nothing about good New York/Brooklyn pizza and/or pizza in general and should perhaps stick to Pizza Hut (sorry, Pizza Hut)—and yes, that was sarcasm (kind of).

As boasted on their sign, L & B has been family owned and operated for over 70 years—and it all started with scooping spumoni. As chronicled on the pizzeria's website, owner Ludovico Barbati came to the United States in 1917, from Torella Di Lombardi, Italy, and began selling homemade spumoni and ices from a horse-drawn wagon. He had his store built in Brooklyn when the business started to boom, and began making pizza as well. Today his family continues to carry on the tradition. The homemade spumoni at L & B is a creamy, scoop-able blend of almond-speckled cremolata, pistachio, and chocolate flavors.
Spumoni! Meet my
triple-toned bunny, named after the Italian frozen dessert.
Spumoni



















Every weekend in the summer, Coney Island has fireworks. Being just a few minutes away from L & B, it is often the next stop after pizza. The fireworks are set off right on the beach, putting on a great show that draws a pretty big crowd. Here are some photos of the place best known for its hot dog eating contests, landmark amusements, and freak shows:


16 comments:

Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said...

I've watched Throw down with Bobby the other week and there was a pizza competition between Chicago and New York pizza. Seemed like no one wants to admit which is better! haha

Adelina said...

Wow! I love your post and I am craving L & B Pizza so bad. I have to add this place on my list when I am ever in NY.

Magic of Spice said...

I have a friend that is original from Brooklyn, she will get a kick out of this :) I want to give Spumoni hugs and kisses...We had a bunny when my boys were little, she thought she was a dog, lol...

Evan @swEEts said...

I was just in NY a couple of weeks ago.. I wish I would have seen this then! That pizza looks fantastic.. in Texas you can't get pizza like that!

Stephanie said...

That pizza looks and sounds amazing. And your bunny is too cute! I also have a lop ear named after food she resembles: Cinnamon.

Marisa said...

Tanantha, I think it's what you grow up with. NY and Chicago pizza are both awesome but have different styes. NY is definitely better though! (lol)

Adelina, you will love it! It's a great place to taste NY.

Magic, Spumoni is like that too! I don't think people realize how personable bunnies can be unless they've had one! They are so sweet.

Evan, I wish I could send some to Texas!

Stephanie, I love the name Cinnamon! So cute!

Anonymous said...

Marisa,
This Blog Is Great!

Keep Up The Good Work.

I Wish I Had A Slice Of L & B Right Now!!

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Interesting post. Love the photo of you, great smile.

Rick said...

The best pizza does grow in Brooklyn. As well as the best spumoni and bunnies.

Cajun Chef Ryan said...

Now that looks like a great place, the pizza and Spumoni is my favorite Italian ice cream.

Bon appetit!
=:~)

Moogie said...

This post is super. Your rabbit is adorable. I've got a wild one living in my back yard.

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

Yeah, that looks pretty awesome. I'd have to taste it before agreeing with you 100%. Maybe I need to plan a trip!

Angie's Recipes said...

These pizza squares look so cheesy and good.

Cookin' Canuck said...

I lived in Manhattan for a few years and, you're right, the pizza there is unmatched (except maybe by what you'd find in Naples). The question is - do you fold yours in half?

Marisa said...

Thanks everyone!

Cookin' Canuck, Yes, I do! :)

Trish said...

I miss NY (and NJ) pizza. Nothing else like it. I'll have to visit your recommendation next time I'm in that neck of the woods. Thanks for sharing.