On Thursday night, I went to the Ball Park to watch the Mudhens. Munching on peanuts and sipping a beer was not enough to keep me going. After the game, I split a piece of salmon and some crab cakes with a friend. This was still not enough food for me. So a little later, I met up with other pals at a local watering hole and found out about another new secret in Toledo...
28 S St. Clair Street
Downtown Delivery is free ($10 minimum order)
This is an original, New York style pizzeria. It is furnished with just a few sticky tables and chairs with a clear view of the pizza ovens behind the counter. This is not a place for a romantic date. This is a place to quench a late night appetite and soak up some of the deadly toxins in your tummy. Regardless, it's exactly what I remember from college on the East Coast...a real slice of NY "Za" in a simple pizzeria. In college it was $3 for three slices or $3 for 2 slices and a soda. Yes, "soda" is the term that is still used in the East for what Midwesterners commonly refer to as "pop".
The price has changed but nothing beats a skinny, bubbling pizza crust with hot mozzarella and sweet tomato sauce. A true "slice" is always served on a plain, white Dixie paper plate. The paper pulp soaks up some of the cheese grease. Plastic or china wouldn't work. I always liked to add a dash of garlic powder, a sprinkle of dried basil and a few of the crushed red peppers available in disposable plastic shakers on the counter of "NY ZA" in Hamilton, NY. I didn't see these at Home Slice, but I wasn't looking either. I was too much in awe of the properly shaped slice, its consistency and the wonderful smells around me.
The beauty in a slice of Za is that the crust is thin enough so that you can fold the slice in half to eat it. This serves the purpose of keeping all the cheese grease in one place and preventing the diner from burning his/her mouth on the bubbling cheese. Somehow, the crust manages to cool off just enough between the oven and the service counter to spare the roof of your mouth. Leave the slice open, and you risk spending a week playing with the raw, hanging flesh on the roof of your mouth.
It is still the perfect antidote to an empty stomach and one too many pints of cheap beer. Upstairs is another throw back to my college days, the skinny bar. The space is long and narrow with elbow high tables and plenty of bar stools. It is the ideal setting for not-so-serious beer drinking. We hung out long enough to hear a set of cover tunes from a cute guitar player who was not afraid to use his notes to sing lyrics written before he was born. He added to the charm of the place, really.
I will definitely go back soon in yet another attempt to recapture lost youth with heavy drinking and the joys of a hot slice of fresh Za.
N.B., On the 5th year anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, sharing a little slice of New York within Toledo is a small recognition of the simple pleasures of life that we so often take for granted.
“Glass City Gourmet” is a chronicle of one woman's attempt to cook, eat, diet and entertain with both flair and whimsy while based in Toledo, Ohio. I encourage you to read on as the "Glass City Gourmet" attempts grand recipes, samples locally owned restaurants, visits indigenous markets and humbly pursues her quest to be formally recognized as the official "Glass City Gourmet".