It was shortly before Christmas, and the drinking buddies and I decided our spirits needed fortifying with the impending arrival of those annual holiday horrors too gruesome to consider. There was an insistent drizzle tapping the windows at Basta’s Trattoria, but the elements didn’t faze our festivities one whit. Our first stop found us snug as a troupe of ticks on a hound dog’s backside, surrounded by Pizza Bianca (capers, pecorino cheese, anchovies, and red onions—$5. Modestly pric...

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