JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Dear Cacciatore. Come Here.

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The above photo was texted to me via Matt Walker, a longtime pal who grew up about six houses down (and across) from where I lived in Mahopac, N.Y.

Matt, to my great dismay, had returned to the mean streets to grab a few slices at Cacciatore, the longtime pizza joint that has been making mouths salivate for decades. This is not an exaggeration. The pizza at Cacciatore is heaven. The smell at Cacciatore is heaven. The mojo at Cacciatore is heaven. It’s not merely the pizza parlor of our youths; it’s THE pizza parlor.

Were I on death row, offered a final meal, I’d send the guard to Cacciatore. “Grab some slices for yourself,” I’d add. “Trust me.”

I bring this up because, a few nights ago, I ordered pizza at a local place called, literally, “New York Pizza.” I entered to pick up the pie and was greeted by (egad) this …

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Look twice. That’s quasi-pizza, sitting beneath a heat lamp. The cheese looks plastic. The meat hardened. There is barely any crust—and even that looks as if it were glooped out of some Pillsbury canister. And here’s the kicker—the place doesn’t sell pizza by the slice. It’s called NEW YORK PIZZA … and one can’t purchase slices?!

Anyhow, I love California. I love the sun, the palm trees, the Mexican food, the sushi, the beaches, the warmth, the coastlines.

But can a brotha get some Cacciatore? Please …