This is a belated posting. A few weeks ago, Chris and I woke one Sunday morning with a sense of adventure in our hearts and a rumbling in our stomaches. It was the morning we decided to check out DiFara's Pizza and other points south. I'm mostly going to let the pictures do the talking here.
Our first stop was Vox Pop, a coffee place on Cortelyou Road I've wanted to check out, because I've noticed it on some neighborhood blogs. The coffee was great (Chris also had some foamy cider or something that he really liked). The atmosphere was like a little bit of Ithaca dropped in the middle of the borough.
From there we went to Di Fara Pizza on Ave. J after hearing countless recommendations and reading about it everywhere from Slice to Zagats.We arrived hungry from our journey (note Chris's "hungry" face), but it was worth it! Suffice to say, DiFara's is the BEST pizza I've had in my life. The burnt bubbles of dough and cheese, the ripe fresh tomatoes that stand out from the sauce. The line wasn't bad enough on the chilly day we were there to overshadow the experience, but for some (for example this bummer review) I have read that isn't the case.
Domenic De Marco -who makes each pizza himself, uses cheeses from his home village in Italy and cuts fresh basil from a green leafy bouquet onto the finished pies - has given my two Auburn, NY, hometown faves, Angelo D'Angelo of Angelo's Pizza and Wheel of Picarillo's, a run for their money.
Some background on Angelo - He finally sold his business, but in his heyday refused to make anything but pizza, even as pressure mounted to add wings or fries to his menu, or to at least get a liquor license. He also used to clean his oven with a mop. The oven was fully visible to the street through the large picture window at the front of his shop, so this was no secret. Local germophobes felt the practice was unsanitary, but Angelop generally responded to this criticism by sputtering some profanity and explaining that the mop was clean and the heat from the oven killed any germs anyway.
And Wheel? His storefront is a full Italian restaurant, checkercloth tables and candlelit ambiance in place, in which he NEVER serves anyone. Take out and delivery only / prices determined at whim. Go for the delivery, because I learned the hard way that a chance meeting with Wheel - who makes wonderful pizzas but takes very little interest in his personal toilet - may lead to loss of appetite.
Researching De Marco a little bit, I have learned that he makes each and every pie himself while his children man the back of the shop. He eats one meal at the end of each day and drinks one good bottle of wine. I have to ask, what is it with these eccentric pizza makers? I also have to wonder, De Marco has found his one thing, what is mine?
1424 Ave. J