I don’t know what to think other than it must be the water. How else to explain why bread, coffee, pastries, and yes, water, taste better up north. In 10 years of living here in ol’ South Florida, I have eaten my fair share of delicious meals, that typically come with a high price tag. Up in the northeastern states, everything, from a $2 pizza slice to a cup of coffee at 7-Eleven, just tastes better. Down here, I assume, at the end of the day that we are working with swamp water. I don’t drink tap water from my kitchen sink. Up in Massachusetts, tap water is crisp and cold, and tastes fine. Hey, everything flows downhill, and in a brackish backwater such as the south, that water is not flowing off the tops of the Appalachians. I’ll bet you a buck that North Carolina tap water tastes pretty damn good. But, I am getting off topic. Back to the point of this post. I ate so much pizza while in Massachusetts (no spell check, bitches! Just don’t ask me to spell Misisippppi) that I am actually satiated in my pizza quest (for about 5 minutes). Of course, we ate fantastic Sicilian and thin crust slices at my favorite restaurant (not just pizza joint) in the entire world, Armando’s in Cambridge.
We also tried my little brother Tyler Merullo’s favorite pizza in the world at Tony’s in Marblehead. THE pizza to order at Tony’s is a “chicken alfredo” with fresh basil and broccoli. The crust is buttery sweet, just a REALLY good pie. Here in Florida, it would easily be the best of the breed. Just for the record, I have eaten good pizza in NYC, but overall, I think Boston’s underdog pies are better. But you know this. I am partial…Tony’s pie is reminiscent of the Silano at Bertucci’s, one of my all time favorite pizzas found at that northeastern chain. So you know, “chicken with broccoli over ziti” in a pseudo-alfredo cream sauce is a dish found at many joints all over the Boston area. Everyone’s mom has their own recipe. Therefore there are many “plays” on this classic dish.
Finally, late on our last night in town, we drove past a Papa Gino’s and I had to stop. Papa Gino’s is a New England chain with many locations. Once again, this is basically “fast food” pizza, yet it runs circles around many of the pies I have tried here in Florida. Forever a place where zit-faced, angst ridden teens find their first employment, Papa Gino’s is found in every small town across the region, a neighborhood gathering place where you can always get a solid slice, and some really good subs too.
Don’t get me wrong, I love living in Florida and wouldn’t trade it’s weather, corrupt local officials, or crowded highways for anything, but I really miss the food up north! Maybe Brooklyn bagels really are on to something…