Absolutely fantastic pizza.
Not worth the price they want for it.
That's the short review. And that's really all you need to know about Una Pizza Napoletana.
By now most people have heard of Una Pizza Napoletana, the hardcore purveyors of authentic Neapolitan-style pizza (which, according to them, is the only true pizza). Their menu consists of 4 simple pies, all 12"; each priced at a rather astronomical (for plain individual-sized pizza) $16.95. That's it. Nothing else. No starters, desserts, nothing. They even have a nicely printed
manifestobrochure full of dense text explaining their methodology which somehow ends up reading a little defensive I thought.
Wallsé is an Austrian restaurant located on a typically charming block in the far West Village that has been open for about five years. To be perfectly honest, and I don't mean this in a disparaging way, German/Austrian food is just not something that makes me say: "Hmm, let's have Austrian tonight!"
Well, it was a friend's birthday and he said: "Hey, let's have Austrian for dinner!" And so we went.
I was in LA last week, so naturally I had to have In-N-Out (pictured above). I've already made the claim previously that Shake Shack is better than the great In-N-Out and I was eager to see if I know what I'm talking about (since I made the claim without having eaten at In-N-Out in almost two years). I wondered if my taste memory is as sharp as I'd like to believe it is.
Every review of Annisa I've read starts with the explanation that "annisa" means "women" in Arabic, so I might as well oblige. Now that we got that out of the way, the reason we went to this place was that my date wanted to go to a restaurant run by all women. We had watched the owner/chef Anita Lo's victory over Mario Batali just a couple of weeks prior on Iron Chef America and on that program they mentioned that her restaurant is all women. Or maybe we remembered wrong as the staff there wasn't all women. [Update: I just saw that episode again. They did say she has an "all female staff".] There was a male waiter (he was our waiter, in fact... nice guy) and a bunch of dudes in the kitchen. Okay, to be fair, I don't know if the dudes in the kitchen were cooks or maybe they were just dishwashers or something, especially since I peeked into the kitchen late in the evening when the last dinners had probably been served. At the minimum I know there is one woman cook, and that's the owner Anita. She was in the kitchen that night. The point is, the restaurant is not "all women" as we had believed. Maybe they were talking about the section of her wine list that lists only women vintners. In any case, the girls in my group were slightly disappointed by the presence of boys working in the restaurant. Nevertheless, the service, from the hostess to the waiters, was extremely warm and friendly. And really, if the food is good and the service welcoming, who cares if it's men or women?
Located in the basement of an apartment building near Hengshan Lu in Shanghai, there is a tiny gallery that has an amazing collection of vintage Communist propaganda art from the Cultural Revolution period. To get to this apartment building, you have to walk through a gated private parking lot/complex (very common in Shanghai) and find the building tucked in the back. The gallery, with a 20RMB/US$2.42 admission fee, consists of two dinky rooms in the basement. There is a talkative fellow there who is eager to practice his English on you and loves discussing the particulars of every poster and painting.
The not-for-sale posters aren't very nicely presented, just hanging here and there all over the tiny basement rooms. Some clipped to a board, some poorly framed, others covered with a dirty plexi. But the posters themselves are incredibly interesting, both historically and visually. Plus, they are sometimes unintentionally hilarious. They also have a selection of vintage posters which you may purchase (cost: 700RMB to 2,000+RMB), but those aren't nearly as nice as the ones on display.
It's worth a visit if you are in Shanghai.
See my photos of some of the posters and paintings from the gallery posted over at figure-ground.com:
- See the posters [ 22 Photos ]
Propaganda Poster Art Center
Rm BOC 868 Huashan Lu / 華山路868號總統公寓B座OC室
+86 (21) 6211-1845 or +86 (139) 0184-1246
Hours: 9am-4:30pm daily
Xiao long baos (小籠包), or commonly referred to as "soup dumplings" in English, originated in Shanghai. At least in New York, I have never tasted a single one that I can even remotely consider to be a passable rendition of this fine Chinese delicacy. All xiao long baos in New York have one thing in common: the skins are ridiculously thick. And they tend to be too large. If you're lucky the filling might be about right, with a good amount of soup; but the skin.... oh the humanity! Sometimes they are so thick I could swear I was eating a cha shao bao (roast pork bun). New Yorkers love Chinese food and, if you've ever seen the lines at Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown and Flushing (horrible xiao long baos, btw), many love xiao long baos. Sadly what they are waiting in line for are not even a pale imitation of the real thing.