In honor of Damien Jaques' article this morning about pizza by the slice – and in honor of my recent trip home to Brooklyn – I'm going to have a slice a day this week and write about it here.
Because it's right across the street and the idea just hit me, I'm starting with Ian's on North Avenue, where I opted to buy two slices for $5.50, because I'm a hungry man (plus I got two punches on my card).
I decided to stay pretty basic in the interest of being able to compare apples to apples – which means I'm not ordering any pizza with apples on it – and so I chose plain cheese and pepperoni.
Plus, I like basic pizza. A topping here or there is good, but a great slice of cheese pizza is never any greater for having a "wacky" topping added. Those are distractions and sales gimmicks. After all, if you can't do a great slice of plain cheese, can you really be a good pizzaiolo?
These slices are definitely New York-size. The slice with pepperoni is 10 inches by 9 inches and the plain cheese was 9x7. The crusts are thin and crispy, but not brittle, which is a plus when you're eating a slice folded in half without silverware (which is the only way, really).
I'd have liked a bit more cheese up top on these slices, but they are filling and tasty, with some nice flavorful dark crust spots underneath and some mildly sweet sauce in the middle.
It's not fair to compare anyone against legends like DiFara's on Avenue J or the now-departed Bella Donna on Kings Highway in Brooklyn – it's hard to quantify mystique and tradition – but I think Ian's on a good day is certainly competitive.
However, I do not condone the yeast and hot sauce among its condiment selections. Come on, I have to honor some traditions, right?
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.