Day 21: Valducci’s per una pizza per favore.
Mi chiamo Stefano. Io parlo un poco Italiano, but I will continue this post in English as to not completely embarrass myself. Today was the hottest day of the year at a 97 high, and a feels-like temp of about a billion. It was a serious scorcher, and on days like these, workers inside of food trucks are either super brave souls, or are just genuinely concerned about feeding our StreetGrubbin‘ bellies. I’m inclined to believe it’s an even mix of the two. When I arrived at Grubspot #1, I was drenched in moisture, and when I got to within a foot of the truck, I felt a blanket of heat radiating from the oven inside. I asked for my regular and received a classic, the Sicilian made from Mike’s grandma’s original recipe.
I’m pretty picky with my pizza. I’m a fan of nothing but the thinnest of thin crust (but not to the point of it tasting like a cracker), with fresh sauce and cheese, loaded to the brim with meat. I’d sampled a pizza cart earlier, and it was right on the money, but I was warned beforehand that Valducci’s was not all about the thin crust. Sicilians love their pizza thick, with dough almost an inch tall, and loaded with sauce. This was exactly what I received. The bottom was nicely crisped, but I had to nom with an open mind. I set aside my thin-crust-only mentality, and began to actually enjoy the crust. It was soft and chewy, like a fresh bread- bouncy, airy, and light. The cheese was mixed in with the sauce rather than sprinkled atop, and this created an interesting experience.
Rather than tasting the cheese and sauce as two separate layers, I tasted a mixture of the two, which was almost like a tomato-flavored cheese. It was incredibly zesty (from the super fresh tomatoes), yet parts were stringy from the mozzarella. The basil paired well by bringing a peppery, clove-like quality that interrupted the creaminess of the sauce. If you’re a diehard thin-crust kinda grubber there’s a good chance you might not like the thick crust, but if you put that thought aside, the freshness of the sauce (it really was sweet and so fresh tasting) paired with the creamy cheese and aromatic basil really showcases how great a simple Sicilian slice can be. I’m not about to change my views on pizza, but Valducci’s gave me a different and delicious perspective on a classic NY staple.