Scott's Pizza Tour!
For pizza lovers like us, a pizza tour is a great way to spend a Sunday
- go to several pizzerias with a group of people, sample,
compare, and talk pizza all day.
But we'd never formally done it - not counting our
informal pizza day in New Haven.
So when our daughters gave Cary two tickets to Scott's Pizza Tours
last Father's Day, we were thrilled. We've known Scott Wiener for about
a year but had never been on one of his tours.
It took several months for us to clear our schedule - which worked out
fine, since we were able to celebrate National Pizza Month (October) by
going on a pizza tour!
Guide, Scott Wiener
of all, Scott Wiener is a funny, energetic, pizza-obsessed guy.
"Is there anything you don't know?" Cary asked him early in the day. "I
know what I
know," Scott answered, "and I don't know much else."
He knows his pizza. He knows where to find it, and he's eaten a lot of
it. By rights, he should not be skinny, but we suppose the 'energetic'
part takes care of that - we envy him his metabolism - Scott is more
animated than a Warner Brothers cartoon.
also warm and friendly and gets to know his audience. Scott has a great
ability to make each person on his tour feel welcome and special,
including his bus driver, Ronnie Palmer (who deserves a shout-out for
patiently and skillfully driving that schoolbus with Scott, tour after
There were about twenty of us on that Sunday, from all over including
Canada and England, all pizza enthusiasts and all hungry!
were promised four pizzerias - each of Scott's tours features
four pizzerias, and he changes them up each time. On this
particular tour, it
would be two in Manhattan and two in the Bronx, and we'd only been to
one of them before. In fact, Lillian and Cary had never had
together in the Bronx before!
Our first stop was a delicious bite of pizza history - Lombardi's, the
first pizzeria in the United States!
gives us a history lesson at Lombardi's
didn't just get to see Lombardi's
and taste their coal-fired pizza
- Scott took us behind the scenes to see their oven, and even their
In this picture, Scott is showing us a piece of anthracite
while describing the workings of an early 20th-Century commercial
Later, he opened it up and showed us the workings. By then, we were
ready for the pizza!
We'd never been to Lombardi's
before. Impressed by it's history, yes, but we'd never tried the pizza.
It is very, very good.
2015 Update -
Scott's book, Viva la Pizza!: The Art of the Pizza Box
, is fast becoming a best-seller among art lovers and obsessive
pizza fans. It's a beautiful piece of work!
Lillian shows the char
kept us entertained and educated, and he kept us moving. Still hungry,
we headed uptown for our second coal-fired slice of the day.
On the bus, Scott talked about the international quality of pizza as we
passed the United Nations.
addition to eating a lot of pizza and making his own pizza, Scott reads
extensively about pizza - its history, its ingredients, its
manufacture, even the politics of pizza!
We knew where we were headed - Patsy's on First
Avenue and 118th Street. We'd
been there before, but it'd been awhile.
We'd just gotten
seated when the first pies came out. Patsy's
pizza is superb stuff - if anything, the crust was better than the last
time we were there. A perfect balance of dough, cheese and sauce. So
good it was almost gone by the time we got the camera out!
Again, we got to visit the kitchen and the 1930's-era coal oven.
And then back on the bus, headed for The Bronx!
a well-known pizzeria in the Morris Park section of the Bronx, has ...
how many ovens, Scott?
right - they've got both a gas oven (for good ol' New York style pizza)
and a wood-fired oven for the more Neapolitan-minded. Patricia's
couldn't accomodate all of us on a Sunday afternoon - it's a small
space and usually crowded - so they set up a table outside where we
could sample both kinds of pizza. And both were excellent.
took the opportunity to tell us about New York gas-fueled 'deck' ovens
as we ate our pizza on the street (giving the non-New Yorkers a chance
to eat pizza as we often do).
Talking ovens on the street...
Three pizzerias and still feeling fine! Next stop, the famous Louie and Ernie's!
Ernie's is an old-fashioned slice joint - gas oven, pizza
by the pie or slice. It looks almost like a basement rec room, probably
because it's under someone's house.
The pizza is great - a firm flavorful crust with a crunch, bright
sauce, and the right amount of mozzarella. Lillian said she tasted
sausage, although there was no sausage on the pizza.
This was a delicious, full-flavored pizza that, after all the other pizza, put
most of us on the tour into a daze all the way back to Manhattan.
The ride back was pretty quiet, the riders satisfied and full.
If you think you know all there is to know about pizza, you need to
meet Scott Wiener - or he needs to meet you. Either way, you'd enjoy Scott's Pizza Tours
as much as pizza lovers on their first trip to New York!
from Scott's Pizza Tour
to the Pizza Adventures
to the passion-4-pizza