Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later (Motorino)

Soppressata Piccante

Today marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Just as Pearl Harbor and JFK's assassination became the defining moments of their respective eras, 9/11 and the war on terror have came to define my generation. In the ten years since, we have fought in two wars, experienced a global recession, and seen the Red Sox put an end to the Curse of the Bambino -- all things that we could not have foreseen happening on September 10, 2001 (Red Sox joke -- zing!). Like most Americans, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news on that fateful day (second period Health class with Mr. Cangelosi). As I grew up in the north Jersey suburbs a mere fifteen miles from Ground Zero, the attacks were especially devastating, as pretty much everyone in town knew someone or had a friend who knew someone that perished in the World Trade Center. From the depths of tragedy and despair, however, hope and unity emerged. Following the tragedy, our country became more united than ever before. We were all New Yorkers; we were all Americans. And in this glorious city of ours, few foods are more iconic or more representative of it than pizza.

Bagels, cheesecake, and pizza are probably the three most New York-y foods that immediately come to mind. Okay, so Motorino isn't  "New York-style pizza." But hey, it's still one of the best pizzas in the city, and their lunch prix fixe is pretty bangin': $12 for a pizza and a salad. Considering that most of the pies on their menu are in the $15-17 range, this is quite the bargain.

Brussels Sprouts and Smoked Pancetta

I've gone several times and have tried both the Soppressata Piccante and the Brussels Sprouts pizzas. Soppressata is essentially classier and more flavorful pepperoni. The pie also comes with ultra-creamy Fior di Latte, tomato, chili flakes, and garlic. The toppings all work really well together, and the pie basically takes a familiar flavor profile and elevates it to a different level. As for the Brussels Sprouts pie, the sprouts develop a nice char and, in tandem with the smoked pancetta, give the pie a smoky flavor. It's unconventional and pretty good, but I think I prefer the Soppressata Piccante a bit more. What sets these pies apart, though, is the fantastic crust. Light and crisp with a good amount of char on the undercarriage, the crust at Motorino isn't something that you'd leave behind on your plate.

Today, let's all take a moment to remember all of those innocent civilians who lost their lives ten years ago. Let's remember the heroic passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93, who undoubtedly saved hundreds, if not thousands, more lives. And let's honor all of our servicemen and women around the globe. To my mom, a member of the Army Reserve who, following 9/11, was activated and away from home for three years; to all of my friends who have gone to West Point, the Naval Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy, and/or joined the armed forces; and to all of those other selfless individuals who have fought and died for our country and freedom: I salute you and thank you for all of the sacrifices you have made. Lots has changed in the ten years since that fateful September day. With all of the vitriolic bickering and extreme partisanship in Washington, I hope that we can all step back and rekindle some of the unity that seems to have fallen by the wayside over the years. Today, we are all New Yorkers; we are all Americans.

349 E 12th St.
New York, NY 10003

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