Wow, it turns out that people are as passionate about their local food as they are about their sports teams. There were many claims and counterclaims being made by Boston and New York food advocates on yesterday's post, so I thought it might clarify things if I broke down the comparison food group by food group, much the same way newspapers, magazines, sports radio shows, and talking heads on television break down a football team: offensive line vs. offensive line, linebackers vs. linebackers, quarterback vs. quarterback, coach vs coach, and so on.
But for our purposes today, we are going to compare the quality of the two cities' three major food groups: sandwiches, pizza, and ice cream. Let's see how the cities fare when we break down their food cultures in this organized, vaguely scientific fashion. One methodology note: I am limiting my Giants purview to the five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island. I am limiting my Patriots purview to Boston and its immediate surrounding areas, including Cambridge, Walpole, Arlington, Newton, and even Ipswich. If I extend the Giant food area to New Jersey and southern Connecticut, it gets too unwieldy and complicated. Ditto for the Patriot area if I extend it to all of New England.
New York has amazing Italian sandwiches (Salumeria Biellese, Alidoro, Leo's Latticini), terrific Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi), and incomparable pastrami sandwiches from the likes of Katz's, Second Avenue Deli, and Ben's Best in Queens.
Boston has solid roast beef sandwiches from Kelly's, great sandwiches at Chris Schlesinger's All-Star Sandwich Bar, and excellent lobster rolls (both hot and cold) and fried clam rolls. But Boston delis have been known to spell pastrami with two 'o's, like this: postromi. I have seen this with my own eyes, and this, my friends, is just plain wrong.
Edge: New York (but it's a lot closer than most New Yorkers think)
New York is home to superb pizza of every variety imaginable: coal-fired brick oven pizza from Totonno's, paradigmatic slices made with buffalo mozzarella and grana padana from Di Fara, cloud-light Neapolitan-style pizza at Una Pizza Napoletana which is better than any pizza I've had in Naples, and the best clam pizza in the land at Franny's in Brooklyn.
Boston is home to Todd English's fine designer pies at Figs, thick-crusted old-school pizza at Santarpio's, very cheesy slices at Pizzeria Regina's, overrated designer pies at Emma's, and solid Neapolitan pies at Picco Pizza and Ice Cream.
Edge: New York
Boston is the home of Toscanini's (which I hope is only temporarily closed in a taxation dispute with the state), Christina's, Brigham's, and Herrell's. It is the ancestral home of Steve's (where mix-ins were popularized) and I will make an exception to my Boston surrounding area limitation to include Ben & Jerry's.
Edge: Boston (but it's a lot closer than Bostonians might think)
Standings after one day
New York: 2-1 Boston: 1-2
In the following days we will compare other equally important food groups: bread. barbecue, hot dogs, hamburgers, and soup. Stay tuned.
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