back from London

When you take a trip out of the country, what should your first meal be after you return? For a New Yorker, pizza comes to mind. I guess they have pizza places in London, but I didn’t visit any. And frankly, why would I? New York has the best pizza. (Oh yeah, except for Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix — best on earth from what I remember…) I already wrote about Artichoke Pizza once before. If you don’t want to click through, the story went like this. Early Sunday afternoon isn’t the best time to go, because they were out of the sauce for the artichoke pizza, and it would be hours before they’d be able to make more. Lesson learned. I had the “regular” and Sicilian slices instead, and wow was I impressed. So, it being Tuesday afternoon, I figured it might be a good time to venture to Artichoke again. Good call — no line, just a bunch of people milling around, and multiple artichoke pies ready to go. I resisted all temptation to order a Sicilian slice instead of the artichoke, and I’m regretting it to this very moment.

I’ve said it about Pinkberry and the original Momofuku, and I’ll say it again. When New Yorkers go crazy over a food spot and start lining up out the door, that’s not a good sign. Nothing can ever live up to those high expectations. But let me try to describe this thing. Thick crust, with none of that great charred, sort of smokey oven taste and smell that you get with the regular and Sicilian. Strike one. Oozing hot, like soup on a pizza. Strike two. Remember the 90’s? Yeah, well, you will once you take a bit of this pizza. I forget when I first tried artichoke dip. I think I was behind the curve. It probably wasn’t until about 1997 at one of those suburban, quasi-fast food, mid-priced, sit-down restaurants. I was kind of amazed at the time. The dip was warm, very cheesey, very gooey, and loaded with fat. That was all good, by the way. But tastes evolve, and times change. Now I think if you saw artichoke dip on a menu anywhere in Manhattan, you’d probably chuckle. Don’t get me wrong… if you’re dining out with your 12-year-old niece or nephew, or maybe your 60-something parents, then artichoke dip on the menu is a score. Wow, that’s a lot of information. To get to the point, this pizza is basically swimming with artichoke dip, only wetter because it’s really hot, and that’s not helping the crust one bit. If anything I’ve just described is turning you on, and you haven’t been to Artichoke Pizza, then what the heck are you waiting for? Go there right now!

As for me, I feel a little sick looking at that photo. I’d go back to Artichoke again and again (if they don’t ban me) for their Sicilian pizza, or nearby I’d visit Lil’ Frankies, Grupo, or even the vegetarian spot Viva Herbal Natural Pizza.

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