Feb 24 2006

Queen Of Pies

Spinach and mushroom pie at Home Slice, South Congress Ave, Austin

There comes a time in every spinster aunt’s life–in my case, every day at around noon–when a slice of pizza is indicated. Regrettably, my desire to become impizzanated has far outstripped the local supply of edible pie. I brush a small tear of happiness from the crinkled corner of my eye when I say that today, everything changed.

I got in at Home Slice Pizza, Queen of Pies.

Which is like getting in to Harvard. Home Slice, it is said, makes the fairest pie in all the land, but until today it was all just a dream to me. Three times I have tried to procure it, and three times I was dee-nied. The first two attempts, I admit, failed from sheer lack of fortitude on my part. The lines were out the door, pizzaphiles were hanging from the rafters, brawls were breaking out over parking spaces, Luke Wilson was supposedly in there somewhere, and the wait was like two hours. In my youth I may have had the cojones to duke it out with Luke Wilson for a slice, but these days it just seems more sensible to walk across the street for an immediate crispy taco plate at El Sol y La Luna.

The third time I tried for Home Slice, it was a Tuesday, and they’re closed on Tuesdays. Who ever heard of a thing like that?

But today I got in. I did this by biding my time until 1:30 in the afternoon, which wasn’t easy, because I was very hungry. I am gratified to report that it’s New York pizza, which is the only kind I’ll eat, that it is indeed the Queen of Pies, which is, again, the only kind I’ll eat, and that I am, consequently, full as a tick, the only kind blood-sucking arachnid I am ever as full as.


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  1. Kat

    How I miss good pizza. Yet another thing England seems to lack, or am I just not looking hard enough?

  2. That Girl

    You know, a lot of places will send you one that you can cook at home. Id be happy to send you some :)

    One Kat, you are not mistaken. My whole diet rests exclusively on chesseburgers and pizzas and sadly, I know where to get the best of each in every country Ive been in. Italien pizza is the very worst – England’s is just bland.

    You could do what I do in England and eat only scones with clotted cream and jam. :::tongue hangs out:::

    A character named Kate in Long Dark Teatime of the Soul did a hilarious rant about trying to get good pizza delievered in England.

  3. B

    What is New York pizza and what is the difference between that and other pizza?

  4. Sam

    I backpacked England for a few weeks as a teen and was rather shocked at 1) the dearth of pizza places 2) some burger place in Liverpool making me pay for ketchup- wft? Are tomatoes very expensive there or something?

  5. hedonist

    Imagine a life allergic to wheat and dairy. So excuse me now while I go cry . . . must. . . .look . . . away . . . (snif)

  6. LMYC

    Britan may suck at pizza, but they have the best Indian food outside of Bombay. :-)

    I once got serious macho cred for scarfing up a vindaloo inside of about two minutes on Anglesey. It was fantastic — the best, most post-nuclear vindaloo I’ve ever had. And I had beefy rugby dudes with no necks staring at me like they’d never seen a yank before. :-)

  7. Arianna

    Ah but Kat, in Britain you have something we lack: the Deep Fried Pizza (or is that just Scotland? I didn’t really spend any time in England).

    I must admit to becoming horribly addicted to mushroom and cheese deep fried pizza during my stay in Scotland. That, and cheese & chips (which, while excellent, has nothing on my home and native land’s poutine).

    LMYC – Agreed about British Indian food. I’ve only found one good Indian place since I moved away from there :/

  8. metamanda

    B, the difference between NY and other pizza is that NY pizza is gooooood.

    (OK, maybe I’m revealing my bias here a bit.) The key is that it must have a thin crust, crisp on the bottom but with a healthy layer of chewy dough.

    I checked with my boyfriend, who lived in NY for longer than I did and he agrees and adds “healthy should be in terms of quality not quantity. crust should be about equal layers crisp and chewy, cheese has to be top quality. fresh mozz or not. doesn’t matter. both make great pie. sauce has to be serious. greasy.”

    As far as I’m concerned it’s the only pizza worth eating.

    They try to do thin crust pizza in St. Louis, but it comes out like cardboard. And then they cut it into little squares. It’s a circular pie and they cut it into squares. What’s up with that?

  9. Kat

    Don’t shoot, but I’m not too keen on Indian food. I instead search in vain for decent Mexican and Italian. I rather foolishly bought some Old El Paso refried beans in Guildford after giving up on finding any restaurants. I think they must take all the rejected tins from America, sprinkle in some pure shit, and ship them over here. Sweet jesus, I thought my tongue was going to separate from my body.

    That Girl, cream teas are indeed of some consolation. Scone, butter, jam, cream, in that order. Mmmm!

    Fried pizza must be a Scottish thing cuz I’ve never seen it round here.

  10. TimT

    I am perplexed. A pizza is a pie?

    In Australia, the term ‘pie’ simply refers to a pastry which has a hollow centre; this centre is filled with meat and gravy or fruit. They come in various sizes, but my favourite is the sort that you can simply hold in your hand. As a kid my favourite way of eating pies was to take the pastry ‘lid’ from the top, pour sauce (that’s ketchup, folks!) on the mince and gravy inside, and eat the lid last. Don’t ask me why.

    I was given the impression that the ‘hand-held’ sort of pie doesn’t exist in America; but I had no idea that the term pie could have such a different meaning on the other side of the Atlantic!

  11. Arianna

    Kat – no Deep Fried Pizza? That’s horrible. Mind you, it’s probably better for you anyway that you can’t find them, I wrecked my previously hardcore martial artist form while in Scotland on those damn things. I got my ass whooped by my Sensei when I got back. Think mini deep dish pizza, smothered in too much cheese with mushrooms, and then deep fried. Deliciously evil, in a horrible wish never to eat it again but then you do sort of way.

    TimT – We have the mini handheld pies here in Canada, not sure about the states though. We call them “Scotch Pies”, and my partner (Scottish) enjoys eating them in the same fashion you do, though complains he can’t get the lids of as easily on the ones here, and that he can’t find them fresh, only frozen. I’ve heard the term “Pizza Pie” before, but only from Americans :P Just plain old Pizza here.

    My favourite pizza comes from (ack! a chain!) Pizza Pizza (www.pizzapizza.ca) here. Grilled Zucchini, Grilled Eggplant, Carmelized Onions, garlic seasoning and olive oil on a whole grain crust with Thai Sweet Chili sauce instead of tomato sauce

  12. Grace

    “Pizza” is Italian for pie. Oddly enough, there are many who agree that despite having invented it, the Italians don’t really have a clue how to make pizza. For example, they put whole onions on it. Yuck.

    And pardon my looking down my nose at y’all, but you Do Not Know Pizza until you have tasted the pies baked on 700 degree brick ovens in my hometown, New Haven, CT, official home of the Best Pizza in the World.


    There are two other pizzerias that claim to be the best (Sally’s and Pepi’s) but Modern is It. You have not lived until you have managed to survive the line on Saturday night to get a table for ten to feed all your ravenous friends who have just helped you move, and your 12-year-old sister who is crying because the Red Sox traded Nomar, and the only thing keeping you from gnawing your own arm off is the thought of an extra-mozz mushroom-and-sausage pizza with the orange grease you blot off with a paper napkin and the burnt bits of the crust that get all over your clothes.

    And they ship pizzas by FedEx worldwide.

  13. Twisty

    Metamanda alludes, when she speaks of the thing they call “pizza” in St. Louis, to the product of a chain of restaurants called Imo’s. This foodstuff (I use the term loosely) is a sentimental favorite of locals who grew up eating it (presumably because their parents were too poor to afford real food), but can in no way be construed as pizza. It is in fact a sheet of cardboard covered with a molten plastic they call “provel cheese” (never mozzarella!) which cauterizes the human tongue and bonds chemically to the teeth. I would rather die screaming than come within 10 yards of one of those things.

    Thus: “St. Louis-style” pizza, which, even when it doesn’t come from the repellent Imo’s, is a large burnt matzoh cracker topped with flavorless tomato paste, fake cheese, and rubbery sausage, cut into rectangles. Avoid it at all costs, is my advice.

    There is real pizza in St. Louis, though. Interested parties may find an edible slice of the NY school at Racanelli’s in the CWE.

  14. shoefly

    Here in Chicaaago, king of deep-dish “pizza” and god-awful accents, my friends have labeled me a heretic for my NY-pizza preference. I still haven’t found a place here that serves a good NY slice.

  15. Twisty

    Man, I can’t hang with that Chicago deep-dish pizza. It’s all right if what you’re in the mood for is an 8-pound casserole of tomato-y cheese, but you can’t fold it in half and eat it with one hand, now can you?

  16. Kat

    Arianna, mmmm, that does sound deliciously evil. I’ll have to try some if I’m in Scotland.

  17. metamanda

    Racanelli’s is the ONLY pizza I will eat in St. Louis. I’ve only been to the location in the Loop though.

  18. TimT

    Arianna, Kat – it sounds like Scotland does everything right! Meat pies AND deep-fried pizza, yum!

    Grace – I believe the ‘pizza’, originally, was not much more than a slice of bread; the tomatoes and cheese came later. I’ve made this sort of ‘simple’ pizza a few times: you make your own dough, and top it with an onion puree, olives, and some olive oil. It’s delicious. I must admit, I have mixed feelings about pizza with melted cheese. Sure, it can be delicious, but it’s easy to put on too much cheese. And if you load the pizza with ten different sorts of veggies and twenty different sorts of meat, then it turns into a tasteless mush.

    The best pizza I’ve had in Australia is at Cordobes pizza, on King Street, Newtown – that’s an inner-city suburb of Sydney.

  19. thebewilderness

    I, I do not eat teh pizza, no, blech. I do love to read you all talking about it though, yes I do. I shall blame the patriarchy for it though it is probably not at fault it has committed so many other felonies lately one more won’t make any difference.

  20. Ed Bremson

    Interesting blog. I especially like your photography, and I especially like your photography of food. Cool. Thanks.

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