As mentioned earlier, yesterday was Pi Day so a bunch of statisticians and other such nerds celebrated at the new(ish) Artichoke Basille near the High Line. We had three pies: the signature Artichoke, the Margherita and the Anchovy, which was delicious but only some of us ate. And of course we had our custom cake from Chrissie Cook.
It gets really interesting when he says, “You know these deep-dish pizzas—it’s not pizza. It’s very good, but … call it tomato pie or something.” While an argument can certainly me made that deep-dish pizza is almost a casserole, I think the folks down in Trenton (where Scalia was born) have already claimed the name tomato pie, referring to a round pie with the sauce on top.
Last Wednesday I made a trip to Di Fara in Midwood, Brooklyn. Since that place is wellcoveredandlauded I won’t talk about the pizza, as amazing as it is.
I gave Dom a copy of my thesis (pdf) on NYCpizza and he loved that his place was one of the few pizzerias mentioned by name (along with Lombardi’s and Otto Enoteca, two of my favorites) in the paper. My friend captured these great photos and I’m extremely thankful to Dom for letting me in his kitchen.
And to make the trip all the more surreal, Avenue J was lined with lulav and etrog vendors trying to clear out stock before Sukkot started. The juxtaposition of Di Fara and the surrounding Orthodox neighborhood was striking and really shows the beauty of New York City.
After years of waiting a new Artichoke Basilles our dreams have been answered. The new spot, which hasn’t even been updated on the website yet, is at 17th and 10th opened this weekend. Unlike the original location this one has seats and wait service and only sells pies, albeit smaller than the originals. There is a side shop where they sell slices, but I didn’t venture in there.
The pie, seen below in the blurry iPhone shot, is just a smaller version of the pies at the original shop and were just as tasty. One pie was too much food for a friend and me, so figure one pie ($17) for 2.5 to 3 people.
Additionally, they have a larger selection of pies and non-pizza food, such as salad and the sorts. They don’t have beer or liquor yet, but should soon.
The first thing to note is that there are only 16 data points, so multiple regression is not an option. We can all thank the Curse of Dimensionality for that. So I stuck to simpler methods and visualizations. If I can get the raw data from Slice, I can get a little more advanced.
For the sake of simplicity I removed the tomatoes from Eataly because their price was such an outlier that it made visualizing the data difficult. As usual, most of the graphics were made using ggplot2 by Hadley Wickham. The coefficient plots were made using a little function I wrote. Here is the code. Any suggestions for improvement are greatly appreciated, especially if you can help with increasing the left hand margin of the plot. And as always, all the work was done in R.
The most obvious relationship we want to test is Overall Quality vs. Price. As can be seen from the scatterplot below with a fitted loess curve, there is not a linear relationship between price and quality.
The other day I found myself walking down 7th Avenue South, as is usual, and I decided to pop into Blecker Street Pizza. I haven’t been there in years because of all the other great pizza in the neighborhood like John’s, Keste, Number 28 (which is claimed best by Citysearch), Risotteria (so I’ve heard) and Joe’s.
I remember not being a blown away by the place and I reaffirmed that this time. It’s not awful but it certainly isn’t the Best Pizza in New York as the Food Network seems to think. With all the good options around the area I think it will be a while before I pop back inside.
This makes me doubt everything the Food Network says. I’ll be sticking to Travel Channel’s Man v Food starring Adam Richman who regularly shows his affinity for Lombardi’s with his t-shirts (as seen below) and loves L&B Spumoni Gardens.
My friend and I got a sicilian pie (12 slices) half plain and half mushrooms. They make it in an upside down style similar to New York Pizza Suprema, but it is the atmosphere that really makes L&B. You can feel the ocean breeze as you sit at picnic style tables outdoors. Quite an experience.
We finished off the meal with their signature Spumoni. I forget what flavor I got, but as you can it was extremely tasty and a great way to top off the pizza.
It also gets approval from Man v Food’s Adam Richman who visited some time last season (or the first?).
Thanks to some early data from Pizza Girl, of Slice fame, I have some very preliminary findings.
There are a few different ways to tip, check (only one person did this), credit card at the door, pre-tipping with a credit card and cash. As seen in these boxplots, cash tippers were the highest, on average. Pre-tippers, who really are just tipping based on feeling, not performance, have the greatest variability. There was even someone who only pre-tipped a dollar. Pre-tipping a large amount might be a good idea–kind of like greasing a palm at a restaurant to get a table–but I don’t see how a small pre-tip is a good idea.
I wonder why people give bigger tips with cash than with credit cards. I would have thought it would be the other way around.
This is just the beginning. Pizza Girl is providing more data as the weeks go on. And as I get more data the analysis will become more sophisticated, so stay tuned as we unravel the world of pizza delivery. In the mean time, check out Pizza Girl’s third installment of her findings on Slice.