My choice for desert island sustenance after bread and butter would probably be ice cream. But my New York self (the one where I incorrectly go by Ree-ahhhh-na instead of Ree-anna) would advocate strongly for pizza. Not a shocking factoid given its origins in yeast and flour. It’s baked in a hot oven. It gets topped with something fatty and/or sweet-acidic. You eat it with your hands. Pizza is just my beloved all tarted up.
I would hire a lawyer to petition for pizza to be included in my bread and butter (perhaps for the court’s purposes, bread and fat) desert island food choice if I was to be banished. The border between them is loose enough that I think I’d have a strong case. I could call witnesses. There are notable places here where there’s a successful mash-up between pizzaiolo and baker. Dan Richer at Razza makes fantastic pizza and bread. There’s Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery who branched out with pizza at Co. And now that I’ve tried the delicious pizzas of Roger Gural at Arcade Bakery, I’m confident a judge would listen to me.
Like when I indulged in the laminated baguette, the weekday-only, daytime hours of the bakery mean I can only have an Arcade pizza on a day off. That rarity definitely increases its allure. As does its location. The lobby of an office tower sounds as comfortable as a bus station, but the effort that Arcade has put in to create wooden wall nooks for seating has paid off. They’re comfortable, and despite not completely forgetting you’re in a corridor, they create enough of a sense of place to make you feel like you’re eating at Arcade, not the lobby of 220 Church St.
It is hard to ignore Arcade’s sandwiches, bread, and pastries, but when I want pizza, I want pizza. The cornicione presents puffier than most Neapolitan pies I eat, but it doesn’t eat as fluffy. The chew and pliability are there, and some char that’s not textbook leoparding. There’s the traditional margherita-like pie (fat + sweet-acid) that can be embellished with extras, and there’s also a daily special, usually a white variation. It might be an affront to other pizza lovers that I prefer white pies, but I think I do. Tomato sauces easily overwhelm me if they’re not balanced with both their own sweetness and the other toppings; a white base doesn’t take the spotlight away from what else might be on the pie.
Does this come from me preferring my bread with butter only and rarely with jam? My lawyer might advise that I should take the plea deal if offered to include white pies only…