May 3, 2007

A Little Taste of Sicily in Our Backyard

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When I first sat down to choose what restaurant would be featured in my very last column of the year, I decided it had to be a fantastic place in which all my friends and I would dine the night away, reminiscing days gone by and wishing time would just slow down for once. However, I realized that this idea seemed to be kind of far-fetched, not to mention straight out of a cheesy movie, and so went back to the drawing board once more. Luckily, someone would soon come to decide the restaurant for me, thus ending the excruciating decision process that normally precedes every restaurant outing. I was in the clear.
While sitting in Italian class one day, my professor announced that the Italian department was planning a trip to a pizzeria owned by native Sicilians in neighboring Trumansburg (2 West Main Street, to be exact). Always a fan of authentic food, my friend Ksenia and I jumped at this news and immediately decided that we must take part in this adventure.
After telling my professor that I was definitely attending, he suggested that I write about the restaurant in my next column and I agreed; a family-style pizza dinner with a group of crazy Italians would surely be highly entertaining and the best way to the end the semester.
After about thirty minutes of waiting, due to our “fashionably late” Italian professor, and a twenty minute drive, we arrived on Main Street in Trumansburg and began searching for the restaurant. However, this was not the easiest task, as we had split up from the cars we had been following and the rain had begun to downpour, which seriously obstructed our vision.
Driving by a number of pizzerias and Italian restaurants and unsure of the name of the place, we searched for one that resembled Sicily in some way, but not really knowing what that meant. Ksenia pointed out a restaurant called New York Pizzeria but I immediately nixed it, thinking that a Sicilian pizza place wouldn’t name itself after an American city. It turned out that I was wrong and New York Pizzeria was our apparent destination.
Upon entering and seeing large colorful murals of New York City painted on the walls, I found myself slightly confused as to where the Sicilian flavor of the pizzeria was. However, when I looked around more closely, the restaurant began to take on the feel of a quaint pizzeria nestled into a crowded street in Italy.
We arranged the tables to accommodate our large group and ended up occupying the entire center of the place, as if we were one big happy Italian family. The wonderful aroma combined with the large and delicious-looking pizzas coming out of the oven made me extremely anxious to try some for myself.
One of the Italian professors took care of ordering all the pizzas and one-by-one they came to our table. First to arrive was tomato, olive and feta, followed by sausage, ham, mushroom and mozzarella. Next came eggplant, ham, and mozzarella, then spinach, tomato and mozzarella, and finally a vegan pizza, which featured a number of vegetables and no cheese. I did my best to sample as many of the pizzas as I could and found that each had a unique flavor and was extremely delicious. It was as if we were no longer in dreary upstate New York, and instead had been transported across the ocean. I know New York Pizzeria is a bit far to go for a slice, especially with Collegetown Pizza right around the corner, but if you ever find yourself in Trumansburg or just want to go on a road trip, make the stop and try this pizza. You won’t be disappointed.
As we drove away from the pizzeria and back toward Cornell, I looked back on the past year and hoped that my column has been helpful to all those in need of restaurant advice. Now, if you’ve saved every column I’ve written all year, then you’ll have a kind of mini Zagat guide to Ithaca.
If you haven’t (as I suspect), then you can simply hunt me down on campus (or Facebook) and I will happily recommend a restaurant to you.
Finally, I urge you to take the time this summer to enjoy the restaurants around you, whether it be in Ithaca, your hometown, or a brand new place. You’ll never know what wonderful eateries exist unless you go out and try them. And with that, I wish you happy eating and happy summer!