Two years ago, we moved from Rome to New York City. As we were getting settled in Manhattan, a friend mentioned I should write a post about finding Italy in New York. Little Italy, Eataly, Buon Italia in Chelsea Market. Sounded like a great idea to me. Over the last two years, I visited those places when I needed an ingredient, but pushing through the tourists and making eye-contact with no one was a far cry from my stomping grounds in Rome. The missing ingredient was not culinary. It was human.
Then Roman and I stumbled upon Portobello's- our neighborhood pizzeria. It wasn't long before Anthony, the owner, knew our names and we felt like friends. This was the missing piece - humanity is not something you feel every day on the streets of New York City. Southern Italian warmth cuts through the crush of strangers. Someone commenting on Roman's growth, cracking jokes with him, treating him like he matters. These are the things I missed most about Rome.
Portobello's makes great pizza- that quintessential New York slice, that once you've tasted it, there is no substitute. But it's also a place where we are not anonymous customers. We feel at home there, and it's the reason why when it's time to go, we will miss New York City, too.
Next time you're in downtown NY, stop in and have a slice. Tell him Nicole sent you.
Portobello's Pizzeria and Sicilian Kitchen
83 Murray Street, Tribeca