Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Curbside Pizza – The Eddie’s Pizza Truck

A couple of weeks ago, Zany comes into my office with a colleague. They’ve just returned from a lengthy restaurant lunch. She is agitated.

“There’s a new food truck downstairs,” she says. “They serve pizza. I think I could go for a snack around three o’clock.”

“Znap out of it!” I tell her. “You just had a full, sit-down lunch. I think you need a time-out.” Reluctantly, Zany consents to a cooling off period and we make a date to check out this new entry into the food truck fleet at a time when we’re both actually hungry.

Now, the agreed-upon day has arrived and we are standing curbside in front of The Eddie’s Pizza Truck -- an eye-catching, fire engine red vehicle staffed by a team of attractive counter people in snappy baseball caps. Note the emphasis on The in the title, suggesting that one should accept no imitations.

We are joined by our pal Marie Antoinette, who is auditioning to replace the dearly-departed Mad Me-Shell. Marie Antoinette’s favorite food quote is “Let them eat cupcakes,” and she’s not too happy about having to audition. Still, she’s gamely approaching the challenge. She’s dressed in a smart summer ensemble and she’s ready for her close-up. There is a group of well-groomed, professional types clustered around the truck, waiting for their orders. It’s like pizza in reverse. Instead of dialing for a delivery, you pick it up at the curb. How old school. We approach the menu board. Zany’s been craving the Fried Zucchini Sticks we spotted on the online menu.
“What about the combo meal?” asks Marie Antoinette. “Pizza, a side and a salad?”
Zany gives her a look of utter contempt. “We’re not here to eat salad,” she says in a menacing tone.
I don’t get it. There isn’t a mean bone in Zany’s body. What’s going on?
A word about The truck. It’s the automotive offspring of Eddie’s Pizza, a restaurant in New Hyde Park, Long Island. After many request to open a restaurant in Manhattan, Eddie’s decided the easiest way was to take the menu mobile and the customized truck hit the streets of the Big Apple earlier this year. The vehicle is equipped with four Cecilware ovens used to make the signature dish, “The Bar Pie.” For those of you watching your weight, a Regular Bar Pie – a 10 inch cheese pizza – is only 270 calories.

We decide to go for a selection and order the Bar Pie with Whole Wheat crust and one topped with Sausage, Meatballs, and Pepperoni. Zany is peeved to learn that the Zucchini Sticks are no longer offered, but she perks up when one of the staff offers us a free sample of their Sweet Potato Gnocchi.
“They get extra points for freebies,” she notes, and orders a serving for our dessert. While we wait for our order, Marie Antoinette leaves us to go to the ATM machine. She is gone for some time.
“Where is she?” wonders Zany. “She’s missing the opportunity to drink in all this ambiance. It’s the best part. I don’t think she’s doing very well.” I decide to reserve judgment until the food is ready.
Marie Antoinette returns and with our order in hand, we sit down a few feet away and inspect the “meat lovers” delight. The Bar Pie features a crisp, paper-thin crust with a molten coating of savory cheese and a respectable layer of sausage, meatballs and pepperoni.

The Whole Wheat Bar Pie is, well, healthier, but with a nice, nutty flavor. Marie Antoinette asked if they have knives and folks. Zany just snorts.
We pass around the slices.
“Do you fold your slices?” asks Marie Antoinette.
"Folding is lame,” pronounces Zany.
I feel like I’m having lunch with Oscar and Felix.
Then, the unspeakable occurs. Marie Antoinette takes a napkin and blots the top of the pizza. Zany makes no attempt to mask her look of horror. I’m thinking we should have given Marie Antoinette a briefing on street food etiquette, as in no manners required.
“Mad Me-Shell would never have done that,” declares Zany. Now, I think I get it. Zany’s hazing her. It’s all part of the initiation. Marie Antoinette mutters something under her breath about being "sick of these damn comparisions," but takes the cue, and does not blot her second slice of pizza.
We’re impressed with the food. The Bar Pie intoxicates with a crisp-tender crust, and big aroma and flavor. Most important, it delivers that authentic pizza buzz. We like them both, but decide that the Sausage, Meatballs and Pepperoni is particularly crave-worthy. Marie Antoinette notes that she is an avowed carnivore and the combination works for her. A carnivore, eh? Maybe she’s got potential here.
We decide to give her one more test. We challenge her to approach the blonde woman in pigtails staffing the counter, and ask her if she is Eddie. Resolute, Marie Antoinette heads on over, and returns momentarily with the answer.
“She said she gets that question a lot,” we’re told. “Eddie started the restaurant about 75 years ago, but he’s no longer with us.”
We give Marie Antoinette extra points for her gumption, and ability to ferret out interesting food history anecdotes. That puts her over the top. She’s in, and we are a trio again. Zany and I have to decide who’s going to tell Tyler Florence he didn’t make the cut.
By the way, if you ever find yourself in front of The Eddie’s Pizza Truck, don’t even think of passing up the Sweet Potato Gnocchi. They remind us of fried delicacies like funnel cake, and Zany is correct that they make the perfect dessert. Hot, chewy, nuggets with a hint of cinnamon, you can’t eat just one. We certainly don’t.

©2010 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Julia said...

Phew! I'm glad Marie Antoinette made the cut. I was worried for her.

~amusette~* said...

This is such a funny tale ... congrats to Marie Antoinette ... that pizza looks incredibly delicious. And sweet potato gnocchi for dessert ! Reminds me of a recipe for squash sfinci made with rosemary ... fried deliciousness!

lostpastremembered said...

I was going to chid you for being terrible wicked not telling us where the truck was... but a click through to the site and voilá there was the schedule. They do move around, don't they? I guess they are sussing out the best pie spots. Interesting idea, I must say... how do they get ovens so hot in a truck??? Great post... your cast of characters is book-worthy TW!

Zany said...

In my defense, we had to ensure Marie Antoinette had the strength to make it through our lunch excursions. I'm glad we have a new partner in crime - as long as she doesn't blot her pizza, or advocate that we eat SALAD wherever we venture!

Mad Me-Shell said...

I'm gone one month and Zany's already allowing THREE-meat pizza?!?! This from the woman who told me I wasn't allowed to have a burger topped with pulled pork and bacon...oh how the tables have turned!

Sounds like Marie's pretty green, but hopefully she'll rise to the occassion next time. On a serious note, that gnocchi looks absolutely amazing --- what a great idea for truck food! T.W. - I think you need to come up with a recipe and share!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Fun story and I'm so glad you are a threesome again. Please tell Mad Me-Shell the next time you speak to her that I miss her. Where are my manners - a big welcome Marie Antoinette.

Eddie's truck reminds me of a New Orleans street car. Definitely cool.

Sophie said...

What a lovely review!!

Indeed, those pizzas look delightful & even the gnocchi look amazing!!

I also think that it is pretty cool to have a van like that!

Lucky you!!

Mary said...

I think you all deserve each other :-). Your office sounds like a great place to work. I hope Tyler wasn't too disappointed when you broke the news. . Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

tasteofbeirut said...

I would be mad about the missing zucchini sticks too; the pizzas look great and the finale is one I would reserve to enjoy separately, like for the 5 PM hunger pang! Yum!

Chef Dennis said...

it sounds like you have way too much fun at work! I would love to meet zany!! The pizza sounds pretty good, and a pizza truck is an awesome idea!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This is yet another great food truck that I was not aware of. I like the looks of Marie's meat pizza.