NYC Pizza History By the Slice!

Whether you have lived in New York forever or are just visiting, everyone can enjoy going on one of Scott’s Pizza Tours. I have lived in NYC for almost 10 years now but aside from having my own favorite pizza spots and knowing some famous locations, that was about as far as my knowledge of pizza history goes. After going on Scott’s Pizza Tour yesterday, I can now say that I know a lot more about the delicious dish and how it came about in NYC.

We began the tour in front of what had once been the very first pizzeria location in NY. From there, we walked to many varied locations so that we could really learn everything there is to know about NYC pizza making. During the three hour walking tour, everyone got to sample three very different slices of pizza. It was interesting to hear all the opinions on which was each person’s favorite. At the first location we ate at, each person on the tour received their own goody bag containing a pizza tasting notebook, some pallet cleansing candies, and a gummi pizza for those who could not bear to wait till the next slice.

Everything we learned in between our tastings though is what made the tour extra special. With Scott’s guidance, we were able to get a look at an original coal burning pizza oven while it was in use, we went to the oldest Italian cheese store in the country to sample some amazingly fresh mozzarella, and we also went to the place where the famous Bari ovens (which are distributed all over the world to make pizzas) are built. From discussing how pizza actually became a popular food to the ingredients that go into making it, I learned a lot!

Scott is an excellent tour guide. His knowledge and enthusiasm are part of what makes this a great tour. His attention to detail really shows throughout the tour. He offers both walking tours like the one I took and a bus tour which will take you to the different boroughs to sample pizza. Most of my fellow tour-goers were from New York and we all had a fantastic time. You don’t have to be a tourist to learn about the great things (or in this case – pizza) that the city has to offer.

Head to http://www.scottspizzatours.com/ for all the information on how to experience “New York’s Cheesiest Guided Tour” yourself!

A Great Place to Skate!

I recently had the pleasure of trying out a relatively new ice rink in the NYC area. City Ice Pavilion in Long Island City is a great location to enjoy a public skating session or to work on your skating skills whether they involve figure skating or ice hockey. This rink is NHL sized and it is actually the only roof top skating rink in the five boroughs. An air dome helps to keep the temperatures skate ready and protects skaters from any bad weather.

A couple blocks away from the 7 train (the 33rd St.-Rawson St. stop), City Ice Pavilion is just a short subway ride outside of Manhattan. During the public skating session that I went to, I really enjoyed the fact that it was not overwhelmingly crowded. There was room to actually move! Most of the ice rinks that I have been to in the area have been a more crowded and expensive ordeal so this was a refreshing experience. My friends and I had a lot of fun during our skating session.

Rental skates are available for $6 and because it is such a new rink they are still in great condition. The public sessions are reasonably priced at $5 on weekdays and $8 on weekends. If you are so inclined, City Ice Pavilion also offers a full range of ice hockey and figure skating lessons/sessions. You can visit their website for all the details at http://www.cityicepavilion.com/. If you are interested in ice skating, I definitely recommend giving this new rink at try!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I am of the opinion that you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Today, everyone can be at least a little Irish! Whether you are out watching the parade, enjoying some fabulous Irish fare at your local pub or just wearing your best green attire, I hope everyone has a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!

A Ski Day at Windham Mountain

I finally went on my long awaited ski day last weekend and it was most likely my last one of the season. Once again, I had signed up to go with Zogsports and this time the group was headed to Windham Mountain for the day. Our bus was scheduled to depart from the city at 6:30am and after some interesting subway detours to get there, I was in my seat and ready to go!

It just so happens that this particular day in March ended up being unseasonably warm. Windham, NY was supposed to go up to 45-50 degrees which is not your usual ski weather. Since I was so cold last time I went, I still brought all my cold weather gear just in case but when I stepped out into the sunny, warm weather on the mountain it became immediately evident that I would not need any of it.

This trip was really well organized – something I have come to expect from my past experiences with Zogsports. However, this time I felt like our group leader took some extra steps to encourage everyone to mingle and come together as a group. We all had the option to put some colored tape on our ski jackets or pants to help us recognize other group members throughout our day on the mountain which was helpful. Since I had come alone on this trip, I was not sure if I would have anyone to ski with this time and I had made my peace with that going into it. But before we left the bus to get into our gear our trip leader helped people to pair off this time so that no one had to go it alone. Because of that, I got to spend the day skiing with a great group of girls. I had way more fun than I had expected!

The challenge on this day was the ski conditions. Because it was so warm, there was less snow, melting slushy areas, and sections that were a lot more difficult to maneuver through than they ordinarily would be in colder weather. Later in the afternoon some of the slush had turned into ice. I had some fantastic wipe outs (luckily I didn’t get hurt) and my muscles were definitely feeling all the extra work I was doing to try to stay upright down the slopes. I was going to be sore the next day for sure!!! I certainly missed the powdery snow I had enjoyed on my last skiing adventure!

Like my last ski trip with this company, everyone was welcome to meet up for lunch at 1pm. It was great to take a break and hear how other people had been enjoying their day. We then hit the slopes for a while longer before finishing the day off with an Apres Ski at the lodge bar. Our ski day ended at just the right time since it actually started to rain heavily once I had already returned my skis and was back inside. After some drinks and snacks with the group, it was then time to get back on the bus and return to the city.

For this day trip, rentals were not included in the price but I was really pleased that a group rental rate had been arranged for us. There is one weekend trip remaining with Zogsports for this ski season. Next year, I am hoping I will be able to sign up for one of these longer trips and I would also like go on more of the day outings. It really is a great way to actively enjoy the winter season. You can head to www.zogsports.com for all the details on their upcoming trips and their numerous sports leagues. For all the information on skiing at Windham, please go to their website at www.windhammountain.com.

The end of the ski season does not mean the fun is over, however. It only means it is time for a different variety of activities! There are still plenty of things to look forward to in 2009 and I can’t wait!