Best Pizza in Westchester

Posted on May 8, 2008. Filed under: Things to Do, Westchester | Tags: , , |

Today is about Things to Do

On any given Saturday, I often am out with my kids and they frequently get hungry. I don’t want to feed them junk food like McDonald’s, but I don’t want to spend a small fortune to feed them either. So what’s the compromise? Pizza!

We are lucky to have lots of pizza places in Westchester, and one of the best is Sal’s in Mamaroneck. This place was first recommended to me by a friend who is Italian and grew up in Brooklyn. I figured he should know a good pizza when he tastes one.

The last time we went was on a Saturday afternoon. As we walked up the street towards the restaurant, I could see the line of people coming out of the door. Was something wrong? Did the oven break down? Were they rationing the pizza? Nope. It was just a usual Saturday, and with pizza this good, there is often a line out the door. I knew that was a good sign, and was happy to join the line. Fortunately, it was not a long wait.

We ordered a regular cheese pie, with one quarter pepperoni for my meating-eating teenage daughter. You can see that the pie was a vision of perfection. Not too much cheese, baked to bubbly brown colored perfection. Adequate amounts of sauce to support the cheese. Generous crust to hold it all together. Then comes the first test to see if it’s a good pizza: when you take a slice (we don’t eat “wedges” we eat “slices”) from the pie, is the crust crispy enough to hold the cheese? Or is it soft and flabby and melts under the weight of the cheese. This pie crust held up! The first sign of a good, crispy crust.

Next comes a paper napkin to remove excess oil from the top of your pizza slice. You can dab it with a paper napkin, but I prefer to lay the napkin on top of the pizza, apply slight pressure to help it soak up the oil, then gently lift the napkin taking care to not rip it and leave some paper on top of your pizza.

Next comes your condiments–for me, the pizza trifecta is garlic powder, red pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Then you need to decide how to hold your pizza. I like to fold it in half lengthwise. This helps to keep the cheese from falling off. Others prefer to eat a slice unfolded. To each his own. The first bite will tell you if it’s a good pizza. The crust will have a good crunch, and may have a slightly smoky flavor. There won’t be too much cheese, and it will be tasty and not too salty. The sauce will play a supporting role, again not too salty but adding good flavor. If you have ordered additions like pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, or other meats and veggies, they too will play their role in providing you with a sublime pizza experience.

I am pleased to say that Sal’s pizza provided the perfect pizza experience, just as I have described. While they have other great foods on th menu–I suspect the Minestrone soup is excellent because there were so many orders being eaten at other tables–their stand out specialty is their pizza. Thus, I would call this the best pizza place in Westchester. If there are others that you think are just as good or better, then let me know. I will be happy to go and check them out and report back here. Until that time, Sal’s has the best local pizza in my opinion.


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Lego Fun at Lyndhurst Castle

Posted on April 20, 2008. Filed under: Things to Do, Westchester | Tags: , , , , , |

Today is about Things to Do

The warm weather is FINALLY returning, and I am headed back outside with my kids! One of the good things about living in Westchester is there is a lot of outdoor public space available for exploring, playing, and learning. One such place is Lyndhurst, which is a beautiful Gothic Style mansion with surrounding grounds that overlook the Hudson River. They have events open to the public throughout the year, and this weekend held a LEGO festival.

Admission cost $7 per adult, while kids were free. LEGO activities included seeing LEGO Robotics League submissions from NYC school children. After talking with a couple of the teachers who were there with their teams, I learned that there are no teams from Westchester schools, and there are few girls who get involved. My husband is an engineer, so I came home and immediately launched into why he should start a LEGO League Team in our town’s school and reach out to girls to participate. He just nodded and smiled, as he often does when I come home really jazzed about something.

Other activities included seeing the work of master LEGO builder Arthur Gugick, who told me he is a math teacher by day, and LEGO Builder by night. I asked him how he created his designs, and he told me he designs everything on paper and devotes lots of time to mapping out his designs before he begins. I also learned he gets his parts through a huge Ebay trade on LEGOs pieces, and there are 4,000 different LEGOs pieces he uses for his creations.

Other activities included open tables with loads of LEGOs pieces for the kids to build and create, a treasure hunt through the property, and a tour of the Mansion. While there was food available for purchase (bring cash, no debit cards accepted), the weather and the grounds were so beautiful, it would have been a perfect venue for a picnic. Overall, it was a fun and inexpensive outing, with lots of running around, which was great for inducing a good afternoon nap in my four year old.


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The Best Hot Chocolate in Westchester

Posted on February 25, 2008. Filed under: Things to Do, Westchester | Tags: , , , |

Today is about Things to Do

Photos by Anneblog-010.jpg
I recently wrote about the Best Hot Chocolate in New York. After reading my post, a friend reminded me that we have great hot chocolate right here in Westchester. It can be found in the village of Larchmont at Cocoa.

This is a cute little shop located on Boston Post road that sells nothing but chocolate–truffles, brownies, non pareils, and of course hot chocolate. The shop is tiny, so it’s the kind of place where you order a shot of hot chocolate, can sit on one of the four stools at the counter and drink, but cannot linger.

The chocolate itself, is very thick, smooth and creamy and is definitely made by melting pure chocolate and adding just enough milk to keep it liquid. It is not served very hot, but you do sip it slowly since it is so rich. The hot chocolate comes in three sizes–small (a satisfying taste), medium (a chocolate addict’s portion), and large (able to induce a chocolate coma), and they offer fresh whipped cream with it.

The prices are very reasonable, a small cup costs $1.95, a medium is $3.50, while a large is $4.90. blog-003.jpgA small is about 3 oz, but since it is so rich it is very satisfying. In fact, my four year old wasn’t able to finish hers. If you are a true chocolate glutton, or just having a party, they also offer cocoa-to-go, an 80 oz container of hot chocolate for $37.

While the hot chocolate here is great, and certainly worth a trip, they only serve chocolate and nothing else to eat. So if you want a place where you can eat pastries, drink great hot chocolate, and hang out, this place is too small and does not fit that bill. However, if you do want a cup of rich, creamy and very satisfying hot chocolate, then Cocoa is certainly worth a visit.


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New Year’s Eve

Posted on December 31, 2007. Filed under: Things to Do, Westchester | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Photo by ms. teaprosecco.jpg
Today is the last day of the year, and I remain committed to making things easy and simple in the upcoming year.

Since it is New Year’s Eve, the Westchester town of New Rochelle is hosting a First Night celebration with lots of activities and things to do with kids. I was thinking about going to the children’s library for their “crazy hat making” event with my four year old, but stayed close to home and had one of her friends come over for a play date instead. After dress up and pretend cooking, they ended up having tea in the kitchen while the other mother and I killed the “supernatural brownies” I made yesterday from a recipe I read in the NY Times. After they left, I cooked up a pot of black eyed peas for hoppin’ john, which we ate for dinner. My husband wants to make sure we have enough left over to eat tomorrow on New Year’s Day for good luck this year.

Now that the night has settled in, I am relaxing on the couch watching the Twilight Zone marathon (another New Year’s tradition in my home). My teenagers are gone—both were invited to parties with their friends. As a result, the house is really quiet. My husband and I are sharing a bottle of Prosecco, while my four year old is thrilled to be allowed to stay up late and play with her crayons.

So no night out, no running around, and no drama. It would be nice to have more nights like this in the upcoming year. Now I am going to watch one of my favorite TZ episodes, Time Enough at Last.

Happy New Year.


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    Musings on how a disorganized woman with a full time job, three kids and a real need to relax is trying to make life simple.

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