Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tourist Mode

Even though I've been in NYC for almost a year now, I still feel like such a tourist sometimes. Every time I step out of the subway at the Times Square station, especially at night, I am still completely mesmerized by all the lights and sounds around me as if it were my first visit. With the swirls of color and rush of people surrounding me, I simply feel as though I were standing at the center of the universe. Probably sounds really corny, but it really is what I love most about being in the city - the perpetually lively atmosphere mixed with the anonymity of being just one person in the middle of it all.

Anyway. So I was there last weekend with a couple friends after getting back from a trip to Six Flags in New Jersey. We had a late dinner at John's Pizzeria and dessert and Junior's.

This was the first time I had legitimate "New York pizza", you know, the thin crust foldable type. I've had thin-crust pizza before, but never have really have been a fan; I'm all for the Chicago deep dish pizza with the fluffy, chewy crust and mounds of toppings. (Gah now I'm craving some Gino's East!) But as a resident of NYC, I felt like I had to experience some of the authentic stuff.

The place itself was really cool. It actually used to be a church, so the inside had all these gorgeous murals on the walls and an intricate stained glass ceiling. We ordered the bruschetta and the margherita pizza.


These were decent, but not anything extraordinary. They were a little bit too sauce-y for my liking, so I couldn't really taste anything beyond tomatoes and dough. The crust was hard and crunchy, as expected, but not flavorful so I didn't bother eating the edges. There is something about thin crust pizzas that prevent me from feeling completely satisfied after finishing a slice, whereas deep dish pizza leaves me feeling like I ate something actually substantial. Compare the two pies above with a Gino's East pizza:

My mouth is watering just from looking at that!

Dessert at Junior's was delicious. Junior's cheesecake, I believe, is the most famous in all of New York and after trying it out, I can definitely understand why. My friend and I split the Little Fella mini original cheesecake. 

You know how some cheesecakes have a sort of grainy texture, or have some parts that are lumpier than others? Well, this piece of Junior's cheesecake is on a whole different level. It was so soft, incredibly creamy, and uniformly so. I had to take a long break in between each bite to let the silky texture melt in my mouth. Very rich, so the portion size was perfect for the two of us. And it was not overly sugary, giving it a perfect balance of sweeteness tang from the cream cheese. 

Best cheesecake I've ever tasted, hands down. 

New York style pizza may have been somewhat of a letdown (not that I was expecting much, as a Chicagoan) but it's another thing I can cross of my NYC checklist. Dessert at Junior's definitely made up for it, and I would definitely go back to try some of the other flavors. (Red velvet, anyone?) 

All in all, it was an enjoyable night as a typical tourist looking for typical New York eats in Times Square. I wonder how long it'll be until I get tired of being a tourist and start looking down upon the overly curious and enthusiastic visitors. Probably not anytime soon. After all, who doesn't like feeling as if he or she were on vacation all the time? Hehe.

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