It's quite easy to hit New Haven's most famous pizzerias, Sally's and Frank Pepe, in one day—they're only about a block away from each other. All you have to do is waddle out of one and into the next. As we waited in line at Pepe's, I wondered if anyone walking by would recognize us from Sally's and then deem us crazy. Or awesome.
Hello, line. Nice to see you again.
Thankfully, Pepe's line moved more briskly than Sally's. It benefited from having an employee whose main purpose was to keep track of how many people were in each party and seat them. It was organized. My mind, it was blown.
The bright cleanliness of Pepe's spacious interior was world's away from that of Sally's. Not that that made it any better or worse—it was just another thing to blow my mind. Sally's had a unique personality/quirkiness going for it, while Pepe's more refined look seemed like it would score better with the health department. Not to say that Pepe's didn't have it's own personality; I would describe it as "friendly" and "hospitable."
Beer! Tree beer!
You can't order birch beer by the glass, but by the liter? Yeah! I'm not sure I've ever had birch beer before, at least not in clear form, and I had never come across Foxon Park sodas. As the wikipedia entry says, birch beer kind of tastes like a mintier (or perhaps "cooler") version of root beer. It's tasty stuff. But what shot this soda into the territory of "Man, That's Awesome," was the design on the label and the way the frothing soda seemed to be leaping out of its golden mug like a sentient mass of white goo. Nubs, the soda has.
You can also get a pitcher of normal beer, aka fermented starch squeezies. Charlie and Lydia quenched their thirsts with the bitter while Jason and I stuck with the sweet.
Oh, it's a beaut.
Charlie chose our small bacon and clam pizza. Yes, that's two kinds of salty goodness right there; it's from the sea and the land! I had my mind set on Pepe's famous freshly shucked clam pizzas, but I would've never thought of adding bacon into the mix. What a fool I was.
Each bite of tender, briny clam plop, crisp, smoky bacon chunklet, gooey cheese, and crunchy crust (no tomato sauce) provided a delicious variety of textures and sodium-based flavors. And you know how sodium makes everything taste good. You may be aware that I'm not a big fan of bacon on its own (yeah, I'm crazy; hell, some vegetarians probably like bacon more than I do), but combined with other foodstuffs, I'm more likely to give it a warm welcome. Clams and bacon: it works beautifully...on pizza, at least. I'm not sure I'd want to eat a sandwich stuffed with clams and bacon, although if you made me one, I wouldn't turn it away.
After just eating Sally's tender, puffy crust, I found Pepe's a little too hard-crunchy for my liking. Still much better than most crusts, but below Sally's on my scale of New Haven Pizza Crust Deliciousness. The clams and bacon, however, were among the best ingredients to ever sit atop a pizza.
The pizza left behind a nice ghostly slick of clam juice and fat on the parchment paper, its last impression upon this Earth. That is, aside from leaving contented smiles on four very full 20-somethings.
Between Sally's and Pepe's, I preferred Sally's for its crust and Pepe's for its toppings. And while I may find the crust the more important deciding factor of a pizza's deliciousness than the toppings, I don't feel like I should have to pick just one of the restaurants to eat at when I've proven that you can easily go to both in one night (although this is easier if you have a group of four). Screw decisions; make life easier for yourself by eating at both pizzerias. Heh.
In part four, I shall consume things of burger and pie nature. Until then, I will go to sleep; the muscles of all my appendages are sore from moving in. That's what I get for being in grossly inadequate physical shape.