There are few things I miss about New York: not the $7 beers, not the gruff waitstaffs and definitely not those humid, skin-pruning subway rides. But I do miss knowing that no matter which pizzeria I walked into, I was practically guaranteed a delicious slice. Of course, Portland’s got its own doughy masterpieces—Ken’s Artisan and Apizza Scholls to name the best— but most joints are merely mediocre. So when I learned that iwantnypizza.com delivered “New York Pizza!” anywhere in the country, I barely managed to check my Pavlovian response. The pie, the site promised, would be made to order and cooked by only the best NYC pizzerias, then chilled with gel packs and mailed to me.
Trying not to drool, I clicked through my order, while visions of dripping mozzarella danced in my head. Until, that is, I saw the price: $82.48 for a plain cheese pie. The pizza, mind you, was a mere $12.99, but shipping it cost a whopping $69.49. My mouse hovered uncertainly over the “Order” button for exactly three seconds. Click.
It arrived two days later inside a cardboard box, nestled amid a sea of Styrofoam peanuts. And squashed. Turns out those “gel packs” were, in fact, a single frozen gel pack—just the sort the school nurse would strap on a sprained ankle—and it had left a crater in the center of my pizza. “Maybe it tastes better than it looks,” wagered my coworker. (That’s another thing Portland’s got on New York: untempered optimism.)
It didn’t. After reheating it in my oven for the appointed seven minutes, the crust was soggy, the sauce lacked even a hint of oregano, and the cheese tasted subtly of unwashed gym socks. Luckily, a couple of Mirror Ponds washed away the aftertaste. That inevitable hour-and-a-half wait at Ken’s? It’s worth it. Besides, $82 there gets me eight pies—and the kind of service with a smile that you’d never find in New York. Not even by mail.