The toppings, of course, were amazing, although after the first couple of meatballs, I decided they interfered with my enjoyment, so I flicked them off, folded my slice and continued. The pepperoni was perfect. The cheeses, mozzerella and romano, were wonderful and the sauce was a bit sweet. But the crust...it was divine. I chewed it thoughtfully, trying to suss out what made it so good. I like to make my own crusts at home and hoped to be able to replicate this. After a few bites, I determined that the x factor must come from 100 year old, 900 degree bricks it was cooked on. And extra salt.
We finished eating more than we should have and I asked Anna for an itemized copy of the bill, which she remorsefully agreed to provide. When she returned with our change, she explained dolefully that she couldn't give us a copy of the it since their copier was broken. I asked her for the bill itself, but she flatly refused. We were momentarily chagrined. At work, we were recently told: no itemized receipt...no reimbusement. So, then, I had a brainblast: I'll take a picture of the bill! So I did. Andy laughed and said, "Only you would think of that."
Bellies full, we made our way out and to the nearest subway station. Earlier, we had purchased 4 rides on a Metro card, which came with a bonus dolllar fifty on it. Andy swiped the card and went through the turnstile. He handed me the card, but the metal asterisk refused to budge and let me pass. Somehow, it didn't understand that we had more than enough dough on it to get me through. So I went to the machine to purchas a new one with my company card. Inexplicably, it asked for the billing zip code, which neither of us could remember. So I got some, cash, grabbed the card and receipt and went on through.
We had to get back to our Laguardia hotel, and unfortunately, there is no subway that goes there. So we thought we'd head that way, get off at Shea Stadium and catch a cab from there. We wrongly assumed that all places in or near NYC would be bustling and overfull of cabs. We were the only ones to disembark at the Shea Stadium stop and landed on the road which was dark and deserted. I started to think that perhaps we should get back on the subway and try another stop. I turned to Andy to tell him this but he was already fifty paces ahead of me, walking towards our destination.
During our walk, we saw about three cars and one bus, which didn't even pause as it passed us. The stadium (and it's new iteration) glowed spectrally at us as we regretted not stopping in a pawn shop and buying that gun I suggested we get. After about a half a mile, we saw a gas station, that would have been a good place to stop and call a cab from, but Andy, being a man, didn't even consider. Fortunately, there was a Mexican car service not much farther down and I walked right into in order to hire a car.
We startled a man who was loading the little office refrigerator with energy drinks and asked him if we could get a car to our hotel. He considered it a moment, sizing up these two silly gringos who dropped into his life at 11:30 p.m, and then agreed to find us a ride. We waited for a while, taking in our surroundings. It was a small room with a pool table, two skinny kittens, a consul TV perched precariously on a baroque coffee table and a display case full of used CB's, cell phones and flashlights. Spanish television blared the results from a recent soccer match while Andy and I exchanged nervous glances under the glare of flourescent lights.
A driver came in and I think he understood where we wanted to go. As we were getting into the black Town Car, I told Andy we would either make it to the hotel and end the evening or we were on the verge of our own After Hours adventure. We sat in silence as we listened to Mexican radio. Our driver nearly passed our hotel, but we intervened and arrived safely at the front doors.
Andy laughed as we made our way to our rooms, claiming it was all my fault such weird things had happened this night. He said that he had made many trips here with no incident so it must me my luck. I told him to enjoy his cupcakes and we parted ways, exhausted, grime-encrusted and full of the wonders of the Big Apple.
To be continued...