Some further notes on the perennially controversial issue of pizza:
Whatever an NYC pizza lover may say in virtue of my hometown’s best pies, there’s also no denying that NYC has a staggering quantity of terrible by-the-slice outlets. Meanwhile, one should not overlook the fact that New York’s Italian-American population has largely decamped to the suburbs at this point and brought a lot of good pizza with them (I would guess that Rhode Island, which is filled with the right kind of people, has good pizza, but I’ve never had the chance to test this theory out).
By the same token, while Ezra Klein is right to note that some good pizza is now available in DC, it tends to be a very different kettle of fish — more “gourmet,” less rooted kind of thing — largely owing to the district’s lack of Italian-American heritage.
Last, one shouldn’t neglect the fact that the pizza in Italy seemed better to me than the pizza here; I was going to random places without any real insight or know-how and stumbling across tons of great pies. In general, there are better ingredients available in Europe, but cheaper labor available in the U.S. so we do well with really labor-intensive foods but pizza is much closer to the ingredients side of the scale.