We kicked off the weekend with a fun date on Friday night that completely redeemed the bust of a day I'd had in Queens. The redemption actually started with a quick stop I made in Greenwich Village on the way home when I came across a shawarma shop. I got so  sick of shawarma in Jordan and will probably never eat it again of my own volition, but I had to stop in because I knew an Arab would be working behind the counter. And that's where I met Hussein from Lebanon! I shot the breeze with him for just a few minutes--it felt so nice to have that language rolling off my tongue again. I'm a little rusty, but I can tell it's all still there in my brain :)

Anyway. Our date. One thing Brock always makes fun of New Yorkers for is their obsession  with "slices." You do not  call a piece of pizza here "a piece of pizza." It's a slice. And whenever a New Yorker thinks about moving to another city, the first item on their Cons List is usually expressed with "Awwww man I could never do it--I can't get a good slice there!" (This is the trademark sentence that Brock uses to make fun of his slice-obsessed co-workers . . . he says it with the most terrible  New York accent you'll ever hear. Imitations are not his strong suit, but that's okay, because terrible imitations are almost funnier than good ones!)

I'd heard great things about Joe's Pizza in Greenwich Village. I mean, Kevin Bacon said a slice from there would be his last meal on Earth if he had a choice. KEVIN BACON. I don't know why I just typed his name again, but I guess that just speaks to the effect that KEVIN BACON can have on you.

Joe's was indeed good . . . but I just don't think New York slices are our cup of pizza tea. All the places that people rave about--Joe's, Lombardi's, Grimaldi's--are indeed delicious, but not in that knock-your-socks-off way that we think Chicago deep dish is.

However. Our pizza night didn't end with Joe's. Walking back to the PATH station, Brock decided he was still a little hungry, so we popped into the closest place near us for one last slice. It happened to be Bleeker Street Pizza, which apparently has won the Food Network's title of Best Pizza in New York for three years running now.

New York, you can thank Bleeker Street Pizza for single-handedly redeeming your obsession with thin-crust slices. I've never tasted a Tuscan style pizza better than that. The tomatoes used in the sauce tasted like they'd been plucked off the vine only hours before, and the crust could actually hold its own as fresh bread. Unlike the crust at Joe's, it wasn't just a flimsy mess of an afterthought. For a thin crust pizza it was a little  on the thicker side--stable enough to support the bite in your hand, light enough to not overwhelm it--and managed to hit the jackpot between fluffy and crispy (a subtle crunch in every bite, followed by an airy, melt-in-your-mouth center). Bravo, Bleeker!

Look near the bottom of the pizza . . . you can see  how perfect the crust is!

Right before heading into the PATH station, we came across this sign.

The store owner saw us looking at it and came out to greet us. He was a tall, wirey guy in his late 20s with shoulder-length hair and a Woodstock swagger. His store--at twelve feet long by four feet wide--was indeed small, and I saw no working lights inside (a problem which he remedied with a disco ball). He Kramered out the door and greeted us using a microphone.

"Heeeeey, guys! You two're lookin' fancy tonight."

"Just comin' back from date night, man!" said Brock. "We see you offer free advice. What advice can you give us?"

"Oh, dude. It doesn't work like that. You gotta think of something you want advice on first,  and then I give it to you."

"Ahhh, I see. What's your name?"

"Parks Are Zoos For Trees."

"My name's Brock."

"Oh, so, you don't like have a name that's a sentence?"

After more chit-chatting, we learned that his real name is Ivan and that he's an aspiring comedian. Parks Are Zoos for Trees is his stage name. Brock asked if he had any upcoming shows.

"Dude, I'm starting a mailing list so people can know when my events are. You wanna get on it? You'll be like the second person on the list. It's"

I don't know how much stand-up comedy Ivan does because I'm pretty sure he just smokes bongs all day in his small shop. He makes t-shirts for a living and they're basically amazing. We may have to buy a couple of them to, you know, support the arts. My personal favorite is one the reads "I am more humble than you" in puff paint with some unicorns stamped on it.

Overall, it was a great night in Greenwich Village and a great way to start the weekend. We topped it off with a pint of Chunky Monkey and two lottery tickets. 

The bad news is that we're not multi-millionaires. The good news is that you don't have to be one to afford Chunky Monkey.


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