Have you ever gone out to eat and thought this was absolutely the best? I am always left wondering whether this is a reproducible experience. Will I have the same impression the next time?
Growing up in Flushing, NY, pizza places were seemingly on every corner. And everyone had their favorite place to get a slice. As a reward for enduring the trials and tribulations of my mother’s trip to the supermarket, my brother and I were occasionally treated to lunch at the pizzeria in the same strip mall. This is the place where I mused why the delicious eggplant parmigiana on a plate cost more than an eggplant parmigiana hero. But it was the mouth-watering plain cheese pizza with the perfect thin crust that kept us coming back. Regardless of where I have lived or traveled to, Fresh Meadows Pizzeria has been my yardstick for great pizza.
I had not been back to my old neighborhood in Queens in almost 30 years. So when I googled Fresh Meadows Pizzeria I was shocked (and delighted) to see that it was still in the same strip mall of my youth. But…maybe the place has the same name but but different owners and recipes. With some degree of trepidation, I suggested to my husband that we stop there on the way to return our rental car at LaGuardia. Would it be as good as I remembered? Have I hyped it up so much over the years that my husband will think it falls short?
Pulling into the strip mall parking lot, the storefront has not changed significantly. I open the door and I feel that I am walking back in time. We decided to order a large cheese pizza, rationalizing that we can take the leftovers to my kids in Manhattan. In my opinion, plain cheese is the best way to judge great pizza since you aren’t camouflaging it with tasty toppings. After settling into at our table with a bottle of Diet Coke, hypnotized by the aroma wafting out of the kitchen, we wait. The advantage to ordering a whole pie is that you know that it is made fresh, rather than ordering a slice and having it reheated.
Finally, our pizza arrives. Salivating at the smell, we could hardly keep the drool in our mouths. The gooey cheese pulled like a string as we separated our slices and put them on the requisite paper plate. The thin crust was a perfect golden brown. Being a true New Yorker, I folded my slice in half. And took a bite. Ah, heaven. This pizza, some 30 years later, is just as good as I remembered. Even my husband, who is on a mission to try all of the top 50 pizzas in the United States, agreed that this pizza was delicious. If a picture is worth a thousand words, notice that there were no leftovers to take with us.