Monday, July 23, 2012

#27 Di Fara's

Ok, so here's the thing.  I grant you that the last slice of the pie you get at Di Fara's is a pretty darn fine slice of pizza.  Those Salerno tomatoes, the fresh mozzerotzugatzuzatz, the newly scissored basil (and that scrumptiously faint trace of mouse hair) all finally eaten at a temperature at which the mouth is able to actually  discern flavors...YUM!

But the fact, the simple fact of it is, Di Fara's isn't worth it.

Now as a threshold matter, I've always thought that people take pizza way too seriously in New York.  Yes the better slice you get at that place you think is great is better than the average slice I get ANYWHERE ELSE in the city, but not that much better.  Not better to the extent that we've all have to have that same conversation over and over again. I get it, you like pizza, you have "taste", a sophisticated palate. It's the minerals from the rust in the pipes of this particular place.  I get it.  You can proudly show off your membership badge of the I-live-in-New-York Society of the Insufferable Sycophants Who Make Too Much Over Minute Differences.   It's freaking Pizza.  It's bread, tomato, mozzarella and if you're lucky, some good EVOO, basil and anchovies.  It's not trout freakin' almondine, or slow-smoked pork shoulder.  It's pizza. Just calm down.

Now again, even against that background, I'll cede that that last slice of Di Fara's is the best pizza you or anyone has ever had ever in the history of this pretty ordinary foodstuff. I was gonna write this one about your New York Pizza Place, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Di Fara's is really what I'm talking about. Even if it's that good (debatable, but ceded), it's still not worth it.

A) It's a shlep to get to whatever neighborhood in Brooklyn Di Fara's is actually in (no one can give me a straight answer on this, but I think Di Fara's exists in some kind of quasi-toric inter-dimensional n/r/f/d/q train rift and appears at the corner of Alpha Centauri Prime and Avenue Zebulon at random once every .17 nano-ergs per micronewtons squared.  I'm pretty sure I'm right about this).  Regardless, it takes forever to get there, if only b/c of your anticipatory foreknowlege of

B) It takes forever to get your pizza.  Now, whatever, there's good reasons for it, Dom's an artisan and true art takes time and IT'S FREAKING PIZZA!  Anyway, that's not the point. The wait is simply the background.  It exacerbates C,D, and E.

C) While you wait, you're waiting in an infernal hellhole.  It looks and feels like the downstairs "rec" room in your Uncle Randy's house. Randy, who is 54, could never hold down a job and was the first person from whom you ever heard the phrase "motherfuckin' assholes".   It's usually hot in almost the exact same way that balls are hot.  If' you're lucky, you can grab an uncomfortable chair! And THEN you get to spend the next 45 minutes reading about how great Di Fara's is from the geniuses at the New York Daily Soil or the Brooklyn Weekly Fashion Trough.  How privileged you are, what a "real New Yorker" you are to be sweating there, making yourself progressively hungrier chugging down overpriced Fantas, and shifting uncomfortably in a chair; waiting in that way that is always so long that about 45 minutes into the waiting, you say to yourself, "wow, I really feel like this is taking a long time"...and then it takes another hour and 35 minutes.

D) And speaking of overpriced, a "Regular" pie costs TWENTYFIVE DOLLARS.  The truly discerning and sophisticated New Yorker must, of course, order the "Square" (by declension, "irregular", and kind of odd, that it's like 25% more expensive than the round pie, which also kind of implies a normative geometric philosophy that just feels kind of arbitrary and wrong) pie or a "Di Fara's Special" (by declension, so crazily "irregular" that it comes with sausage, peppers, mushrooms, AND onions) at a premium of  THIRTY dollars.   That's just insane.  Nothing is worth thirty dollars.  Nothing.  Particularly when,

E) So you've been sitting there basting in your own smells and dehydrated Fanta-sweat for 3 hours and 25 minutes reading about how great the stuff you're about eat is, and remember you went to Di Fara's in the first place expecting a wunder-pie, with a healthy appetite that by now has burgeoned into such a preposterous voraciousness that, I posit here, you lose your ability to actually judge how good the thing you're actually shoving in your parched and infernal mouth is and your name is finally called (well after, by the way, the names of several people who arrived a full 2 hours after you ordered).  And so here it comes and it is, just slightly colder than...Satan's Own Hell.  There is no way the human mouth can distinguish flavors at that temperature.  There's no way the human mouth can do anything but sustain injury at that temperature.  But you're so freaking starving that you start scarfing it down, if only b/c you've suddenly found yourself in some absurd prisoner's dilemma with your friends and if you don't dig in you're gonna be out a slice at the end and so you end up shooting each other in the face (In classical economics that's EXACTLY what happens.  Either that or the prisoners end up deciding to share everything . . . . Wait, no, that's just stupid.).  And but so you are all so invested in this not being a complete waste of time and money, in being real New Yorkers who get it, that with blistered tongues you extol the virtues of the best slice you've ever...not really tasted at all.

So yes, then, finally, at the end (it's evening now), you get to that last slice and it's finally cooled down, and it, is, fantastic.  Again, I'm on your side here.

But it's just not worth it.  The difference in awesomeness b/w Di Fara's and your average pie place is less than the difference in not-being-a-total-pain-in-the-ass-given-the-price-y-ness b/w Di Fara's and your average pie place.

Plus, it has mice.  Let's just all agree to boycott Di Fara's for a couple of years.  Let it get back to being just another pizza place, exert some market pressure, force them to drop their prices, move closer to my neighborhood, and then go back.  I promise not to tell you how amazing the pizza is at this place down the block from my house if you do the same.


  1. I do love Lucali. Also a wait. The guy kneeding the dough as if in a Moonstruck sequel. Women craning necks accordingly. Craning yourself, for that matter. A heap of basil. Good stuff.

  2. I've heard good things about Lucali, but your description sounds terrible. Also, I mean they knead dough everywhere don't they? And basil's nice but...You like a wait? How about hangnail; you like hangnail? Or a busy signal? Do you enjoy shaving your neck? Howzabout replacing the paper towels in the paper towel dispenser? It may be OK to have a bottle of wine before a nice pizza dinner and all, but not the volume of time it takes to get a DiFara's pizza, in that s*&T#*le. And Moonstruck is also kind of something you're technically not supposed to not like but isn't, in the end, all that good, really...

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