20 July 2009

NYC 07/09: Day 2: The Horror at Di Fara

At some point in the night I feel a heavy dead weight on my leg. I figure Zack somehow crossed over onto my futon but I was too out of it to look into the matter further, I simply ripped my leg out from under the heavy log-like mass and passed back out. 9am rolls around and I groggily arose as nature was calling. I rub my eyes and try to get a sense of my surroundings and what do I find but a completely nude man whom I don't recognize sleeping next to me. A moment of confusion hits unlike nothing I've ever experienced. The last thing I remember is Adam and his girlfriend saying goodnight and Zack and I passing out on our respective futons. And somehow in the four hours following a naked man has made his way into my bed. Upon closer inspection I realize it is in fact Adam, he was luckily facing away from me. I slink out of the bed without making the slightest sound and in doing so completely cramp up my left calf. So here I am hopping around on one leg, cringing in pain, not making a peep for fear of waking the naked beast. I go to the restroom to get my thoughts together and make sense of this whole affair. I come back out and see that Zack has also arisen and I look at him and spread my hands and say simply "What the F-!? What the F- ?!?! What the F- is this!?!?" Zack has no idea. He gets up to relieve himself. Adam is oblivious to it all. I set my plan of action and get to work. While looking the other way, I kick his foot saying "Adam!" "Adam!" in the loudest whisper I can manage. Finally, he blearily arouses, turns and looks up at me and says simply "F- you man". He grabs the sheets off of Zack's futon to cover himself up and stumbles back into his bedroom without saying another word. Am I still dreaming? Things like this just don't happen. But this was all too real. We manage to get back to sleep and don't wake back up until 1pm. This is by far the latest I've slept in since college. Everyone else is awake and the house is bustling with activity since they were getting ready for the dinner party they were hosting that night. After breaching the subject as delicately as possible we find out that apparently Adam sleep nude. He woke up to use the restroom and his step-dad was in there so he plopped down on the first thing he saw, which happened to be my bed. I guess he was still a bit drunk due to the fact that he failed to notice that I WAS SLEEPING THERE. I will never forget that experience as long as I live. Great tan Adam.

Well since we slept in so late my breakfast plans to hit up Barney Greengrass were down the tubes. After a quick shower I conversed with Zack and said since it's lunchtime and we missed out on pizza the night before that's what I wanted. I had Sal and Carmine's lined up since it was close and supposedly great. I off-handedly expressed my desire to go to Di Fara but said it was quite a hike out to Midwood and, as always, the ever-adventurous Zack simply said "Let's do it." That was all I needed to hear. Di Fara here we come. We hopped on the C train to 42nd then transferred onto the Q out to Ave J. The ride wasn't too bad, the Q train looked brand new and had a swanky digitalized stop display. Not too shabby. We got to street level and turned and there it was, Di Fara in all its majesty. I had read so much about it and couldn't believe I was finally going to get to try it. I knew about the legendary waits, of course, but upon seeing no line outside I got super-excited. Had we somehow found the sweet spot on Saturday when there are no lines at Di Fara? Upon entering and speaking with some of the patrons I find that the line can be very deceiving. We were most certainly in store for the 1-1.5 hour wait that I was expecting. We figured out how to order and when I looked to Zack for opinions on what toppings to get I got the usual "Whatever you want, man" response. So I came up with half pepperoni, sun dried tomatoes, onions and half sausage, sun dried peppers, onions. Mr. DeMarco's son scribbled down our order on the notepad and it looked like we were about 4 pages back. We waited around a minute to watch the master at work. This display of old world pizza artisanship makes the time go by much faster than one would expect. Eventually we hit up a grocery store across the street for some beverages since neither of us had eaten since about 11pm the previous night. I got a Mango Madness Snapple which I had never seen before in my native Maryland. Very mango-y. This market was playing some crazy Middle Eastern jams and that combined with the excitement of getting to sample what some refer to as the best pizza in the world an impromptu dance party broke out by the frozen foods section.

As you can clearly see, I may be a skinny white boy, but I've got some ridiculous moves. Afterwards we browsed the discount store next to Di Fara for hoots and hollars. Now we know where to get spare toilet seats or statues of Jesus should the need ever arise during future visits to Brooklyn. Good to know.

We return to Di Fara and gobble up an open spot at the counter and settle in for some spectating. We ordered our pizza at around 3:15pm. I occupied myself by making friends with a few women and their mother who had also never been there before but were from Hells Kitchen. They actually took a pizza that was up for grabs after the owner didn't announce himself. Looking back I wish we had acted on it. It was around 4:30pm and I was starting to get anxious. The excitement was building as the patrons emptied out and the sign went up signifying that they were out of dough and would re-open in a few hours.

Five o'clock rolled by and my body started to protest. I figured we would've had our pizza by now and the lack of calories started giving me the shakes as it usually does. At around 5:30 things really took at turn for the worse. There was a line outside since the door was barred and there were also people at the window placing orders for when he re-opened at 7. Suddenly the guy who was first in line, a very obnoxious Sicilian, bursted in the door and started yelling at Dom about how he had been waiting in line for an hour and people were placing orders from the window. He was relentless. I wanted to punch him in the face for treating the quiet gentle-hearted Dom that way. I wanted to punch him in the face for delaying my pizza. I wanted to punch him in the face for yelling in my ear. Dom turned and since they had already put up the notebook, he grabbed a pizza box and scribbled down this irate jackass's order, which was 3 pies. Then after Dom turned back to his work the guy asked if he could bring in his family. In comes half the damn New York Sicilian population. It seemed like aunts, uncles, grandparents, and three VERY loud children. The previously half-empty dining instantly transformed into a chaotic circus. This wasn't happening. A large vein popped out in my forehead. To add flames to the fire while this whole fiasco was taking place a regular who ordered right after us had just walked away with his 2 pies.

Screaming kids. Empty stomach. The fear of the possibility that my pizza was forgotten. The urge to kill was rising. I wanted to feed an ATM a stray cat. I'm on the verge of tears when our toppings finally make it to the table and Dom sets to crafting our pie.

Relief washes over me in an awesome wave. It's almost 5:50 when we sit down with our pizza. This had better be worth the wait. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

The ingredients were by far the best I've had on a pizza, especially the sun roasted peppers. They added a sweetness that at first I thought was inherent in the sauce but realized I had selected a slice with a lot of peppers. The fresh basil was also money. The crust was great but nothing mindblowing. The thing that annoyed me the most is I had to eat each slice in two parts.

Dividing the slice horizontally, the lower half was so soggy due to the olive oil that the moment I tried to pick it up, it completely fell apart. Only the top half could be eaten without the use of a knife and fork, and I hate using a knife and fork for pizza, it feels so... unnatural. After we were done eating I was covered in oil/grease to the elbows.

It soaked through two plates and a paper towel onto the table. I felt pretty disgusting. All in all the pizza was very good, just not usually what I prefer. The man most certainly makes a good pie, I just like my pizza a lot less greasy and with a crust substantial enough to enable one to eat it without the use of silverware. If I go back I will probably order either a plain pie or just a few slices. After we cleaned up as much as we could we had to flag them down to pay them. We could've easily walked right out the door and no one would've said a word. In the end, we ate great pizza but waited too long to do so.

Our next stop was 5 Napkin Burger for the supposed best milkshake in Manhattan. I didn't get my hopes up too high because I was pretty sure it wouldn't beat out the Stand. That milkshake was otherwordly. We got there and put in our names for a 20 minute wait but quickly gobbled up two seats at the bar. We ordered two s'mores milkshakes and used the wait to clean up from our grease bath. It was really great to watch the girl bartender use a butane torch to toast our marshmallows. Something the Stand most certainly didn't do. It was kind of a turn on. The flame had to have been 8 inches at least, it was huge.

One thing I immediately noticed about this milkshake was the marshmallow looked homemade whereas the ones on the Stand shake looked of the bagged variety. As I had expected, this milkshake was great, but not better than the toasted marshmallow masterpiece. The consistency was closer to what one would find at your standard burger joint. The marshmallow itself was better, and there was a really solid graham flavor with lovely little graham bits waiting at the bottom of the glass, but it didn't hit me like the first one. Zack pointed out that maybe the first one upped our standards and if we had had this one first it would've had a more significant impact. I conceded the possibility, but what ultimately put the TMM above the S'mores was the ultra combo of extreme marshmallowy flavor and a consistency which enabled sublime drinkability.

We decided to walk the 3.5 miles back to Adam's place for his dinner party, hoping the walk would help with digestion and revive our appetite. It didn't. So, we felt like complete jerks when we sat down for dinner and ate nothing more than a bite here and there. We didn't plan on eating pizza so late and were hoping the s'mores milkshake would be light like the TMM, but unfortunately it didn't turn out that way. After dinner we went to their local watering hole and played darts while they played pool. Again, we passed out around 5am. I fell asleep with fingers crossed, hoping to wake up in the morning with no one in my bed other than myself.

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DiFara Pizza on Urbanspoon

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cgorange said...


Mistake 1 -- ordering the regular instead of the square pie.
Mistake 2 -- getting all that shit on it

Losers, here's the deal -- at MOST one topping. and there are only 3 acceptable toppings -- Pepperoni, Sausage and Baby Artichokes. MAYBE Garlic, but why bother. Just get the normal frickin square pie and eat the best goddamned thing you've ever eaten. Why f it up? If I were Dom and you ordered that bullshit, I would kick you in the crotch.

Kyle said...

You don't know how happy it makes me that the first user post on my blog turned out to be such a cheerful one.

I'm usually not a fan of Sicilian pies because they're more often than not too heavy for me, but watching him craft his definitely had my saliva glands fired. I will take your advice and thank you for all of the gushing compliments.

Anonymous said...

We're getting ready to go to NYC for vaca, and we're thinking about visitng Di Fara. Worth the trouble or not? You sounded pretty disappointed, but if I follow crotch-guys advice above, then do you think we'd walk away happy? Or sad?

Kyle said...

I think any foodie who's into pizza would enjoy the trip to Di Fara, just be sure to have something planned for after you order if you have a short attention span. Oh yeah, and bring a snack for the wait :)

If I were to go back to NYC tomorrow I would check out Kesté. It's supposedly the best pie in NYC and has been open less than 6 months.

serotta_nyc said...

At first I thought that topping order was a funny joke play on exactly what NOT to order at DiFara! You’ve got to be kidding my friend. As I just read in the SLICE FAQ, the recommended First Time Visitor suggested order is to get one of Dom’s “plain” Round or Square pizza -- as first timers really first need to a “plain” pie, experience the subtle interplay of Dom’s crust, sauce, three different kinds of cheese, fresh hand cut (ok, scissored) basil and yes, generous dribs of olive oil; Getting this taste under your belt as a “baseline” and then you perhaps order One topping like Dom’s incredible Porcini mushrooms on top. The amazing thing is that a “plain” pie made by Maestro DeMarco is not plain at all; there is so much going on there, down to the final handful of Grana Padano, grated not that morning and ready and waiting to serve. NO, Dom grates it literally just before he puts it on your pie, and cuts the basil, and eyes how to slice it up for you. Watching him work his magic as we all stand there “in church” I think of ARTIST, like watching Michelangelo chisel a piece of marble.

Kyle said...

I'll admit our trip to Di Fara was more of a spur of the moment thing. I had spent much more time researching UPN and when we were screwed out of that I threw Di Fara out as a shot in the dark. I still enjoyed the pizza. The issue wasn't the toppings. Order aside, my main complaint was having to stand around for 2 HOURS AND 45 MINUTES on an empty stomach with a room full of loud obnoxious Sicilians. I wish I had some iocane powder on hand, I would've challenged them all to a test of wits and then basked in the silence as I ate my pizza off of their lifeless corpses.

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