June 5, 2007

Awards in Georgia, Pizza in New York

I came home to the delightful news that I had won – or rather, Between, Georgia won - the Georgia Author of the Year Award for fiction. I am very pleased and honored!

One goal for this New York trip was to go all AMERIGO and intrepid and discover the here-to-fore uncharted-by-me high caloric wonderland known as Real Yankee Pizza. Karen and I tried to get some first by asking the concierge, and that little prat sent us to this touristy nightmare of a place where everyone wore NO SLICES t-shirts and the thing we ordered tasted like what would happen if you put a little Ragu and some cheese on white pita bread and toasted it. Not just plain old regular blah. This pizza was SO ULTRA-blah it could have made the Boring Food Olympics team and handily beaten China’s Plain White Rice and ALL of England’s Pub Food in the first heat.

Karen is from Philly, and she thinks Mello Mushroom sucks. Now, I think the Shroom is located just left of heaven, so that is a BOLD statement. REAL pizza, Karen says, is flat and foldable and dripping with orange grease and the cheese stretches when you bite off the succulent tip. Humbug, says me. She says I only humbug it because I have never experienced it, and so I was not ALLOWED to leave NYC without giving her chance to convert me to the One True Pizza. After the Toasted Ragu incident, I was more skeptical than EVER, but I agreed to give Real Yankee Pizza a second go.

On Sunday, our last day in NYC, Karen and I woke up so tired and wired that we were on the edge of hysteria before we’d even hit Starbucks to caffeinate. By noon, we were punch-drunk and giddy. On the way back out of our hotel room, repeatedly pressing the button that allegedly called the elevator, we were talking all MANNER of exhausted nonsense.

As the elevator did not arrive and did not arrive, I hypothesized that Karen had been too ROUGH with the elevator’s button and harmed her in the feelings, and now she would not deign to pick us up.

Karen denied it, but even after the elevator had at last lumbered up and grudgingly cracked its doors to allow us access, I maintained the belief that she had made the elevator feel shoved and unappreciated. She countered then, suggesting, as the doors closed, that I may have been GENTLER, but that I had been impatient and punched the button many many times to make the elevator arrive sooner (this completely works, btw) and how this sort of brusque demanding treatment made the elevator feel like I was not really her friend, but only using her to change floors.

The elevator ground to a halt unnoticed by your punch drunk heroines, and as we argued, a woman joined us. As the doors closed behind her, I said, “We could be reading this wrong. Maybe the elevator is a boy.”

The woman’s head cocked to the side like the head of a quizzical dog and she said, in a hesitant voice. “I’m sorry…but..um…did you just say maybe the elevator is a boy?”

I have no idea what came over me. I gave her best deadpan face, then cocked an eyebrow and said, very earnestly, as if slightly worried about her, “No! That would be…crazy.”

She flushed and we stared at each other for five endless seconds. I WISH I COULD HAVE PULLED IT OFF. But I could not. I ABSOLUTELY broke and fell out laughing. She started laughing, too, and she said, “YOU DID! YOU DID TOO SAY IT WAS A BOY!” By then Karen had broken down and was cackling and saying, “Well it might be. How can you tell? I wouldn’t even know where to LOOK on an elevator.” We all stood there giggling like loons for the rest of the ride down. I suspect the woman had been in town for 5 days too and was JUST as punchy as we were.

The second try at pizza, by the way, was better but…meh. Karen says we still didn’t find the mythical IT, the ONE TRUE PIZZA, and is now badgering me to come to Philly to eat something called tomato pie that has no tomatoes in it and isn’t actually like pie in any way. “It’s COLD!” she says, like this is a selling point. I will NEVER fully understand Yankees.

IN OTHER NEWS, here I am, CLEARLY so excited that I appear to be demented, and here is Stephen Colbert looking insouciant and relaxed and gorgeous. My publicist sent it because he is AN EXCELLENT HUMAN BEING with a BIG RED BEATING HEART CHOCK FULL OF VIGOROUS KINDNESS, and MAYBE because he wanted you guys to stop badgering me to get a decent camera. *grin*


Posted by joshilyn at June 5, 2007 7:44 AM

Well, to hear New Yorkers tell it, to get really for truly real New York pizza, you HAVE to go to Famous Ray's, of which there are many in NY. But that may be where you did go for your "meh pizza" based on your description. Even though I'm from the south, dripping with grease is not really something I strive for in my foodstuffs. I was not blown away by New York pizza and decided that I much preferred Chicago's deep dish style. And I agree with you about the `Shroom -- best pizza around.

Posted by: Leandra at June 5, 2007 8:12 AM

Wow, a photo where you can see faces and everything! Yeah, baby!! Although why you and your publicist think this will stop us nagging you to get a real camera, I have no idea. This would seem to me to just ENFORCE the opinion of those of us who believe you need to carry a real-but-tiny camera on your person at all times for just such encounters as these. :-)

I haven't tried Real NY pizza or the heavenly 'shroom sort, so I have no opinion on the pizza issue, although I am available for tasting and commentary should anyone want to send me a plane ticket to the relevant locations. Ahem.

Posted by: DebR at June 5, 2007 8:46 AM

Congrats on the award!!!

Mr. Colbert does the unshaven manly casual cute look quite well. Lucky girl, you, lucky girl. You don't look that demented -- more like dazed excitement that STEPHEN COLBERT is THISCLOSE.

Posted by: Jennifer G. at June 5, 2007 9:00 AM

Dear Ms. Georgia Author of the Year for Fiction,
Please do not paint all Yankees with one broad stroke. Dripping with orange grease? I shudder at the thought. Should your travels take you through southern New England (Please, please come, please do come), I myself will take you on a tour of our favorite pizza spots, beginning in Providence's version of Little Italy (ie, Federal Hill, or, in local colloquialism, Da Hill) and moving south. Although truth be told, some of the best pizza I've ever had came from a little pizza place by the Trevi Fountain in Rome that sold pizza by the pound. Ahh, heaven. And nary a bit of orange grease to be found.
A Fan Who is Also a Yankee (but NOT a Yankee fan)

Posted by: amy at June 5, 2007 9:33 AM

Oh Amy--I was not trying to be truly insulting to my friends in the NE, pinky swear. Some of my best FREINDS are Yankees... (she added slyly)

Actually, both of my best friends are Yankees, and half the fun of Yankee best friends is pranging the heck out of them. They get me back though, BOTH convinced that we are nothin' but Rebs and Debs down here, every Southern one of us not just Wack but WIGGETTY wack.

True Dat.

ALSO, for the record, the REAL best pizza in the universe is CHICAGO deep dish. The End.

Posted by: joshilyn at June 5, 2007 10:04 AM

No fear, I was not insulted. Mainly, I'm concerned with the quality of pizza you'd been consuming. Friends don't let friends eat bad pizza. :-)

I've never been TO Chicago, just THROUGH Chicago, so my only experience with deep dish is Pizzeria Uno. I'm betting it's not QUITE the same. But I take your word on it.

Posted by: amy at June 5, 2007 10:23 AM

Orange grease? *shudders* No thanks. We have yet to find truly wonderful pizza here in San Diego, except for the stuff we make in our own oven. And yes, we would make one especially for you if you were here.

Posted by: Aimee at June 5, 2007 10:42 AM

I have to agree with Joshilyn that Chicago takes the pie, so to speak. YUM, just thinking of Gino's pizza can make a girl swoon.

Aimee, if you find a good pizza place in SD, please let me know. We moved to SD last summer and haven't found one either.

Aimeee, I also think we need to start a petition or something to make sure our lovely Josh comes to SD very, very soon. Or at least on her book tour for TOGWSS.

Posted by: Patti D at June 5, 2007 10:56 AM

Yes, but did you ask Stephen-baby where to get great pizza?

Posted by: jennielynn at June 5, 2007 10:58 AM

CONGRATS on your latest award! The love is pouring out for you and your talent!

And woohoo that you met Stephen Colbert. That is soooo exciting! You don't look demented but perhaps you were feeling that priceless giddiness from being with fabulous women in a big fabulous city!

Posted by: Andrea at June 5, 2007 11:49 AM

Dude, I am as Yankee as they come and I would totally make out with the Mellow Mushroom EVEN NOW THAT I AM MARRIED. So would Otto. Which I guess makes it okay.

Posted by: Mir at June 5, 2007 11:51 AM

Okay never having eaten pizza in NYC I can not say, but this post struck me as so funny. In March ER author Karin Tabke went to NYC in search of the perfect pizza - and er - cheesecake. She says Ferrera's was to die for http://www.ferraracafe.com/.

Congrats Joss you might have not gotten the best pizza, but who cares about pizza when you're Georgia's best?

Posted by: Cele at June 5, 2007 11:57 AM

Oh, I think every region has both good and bad pizza - in CT, there is the famed New Haven pizzas, and there are some local wood-fired oven ones in Eastern CT that I think are awesome, and there is a plentitude of the "meh" ones too.

Everyone's trying to say you just look giddy with happiness, but sorry, I think you DO look demented ;-)

Posted by: Brigitte at June 5, 2007 12:39 PM

Mmmm.....Tomato Pie

Posted by: Laura L at June 5, 2007 12:44 PM

Grimaldi's. mmmmm

Posted by: ScottsdaleGirl at June 5, 2007 6:39 PM

and what is wrong with you girl? You have to go no further than Sam's club for great pizza!

Posted by: Desi at June 5, 2007 7:24 PM

I have no opinion on the best pizza because sadly, I am a pizza whore. Any time, any place, greasy, deep dish, thin crust, whatever. Bring it on.

I do, however, need to comment on Stephen Colbert. Why the scruff?? Didn't he know he was going to meet Joshilyn Jackson that day? He must've been so embarrassed.

Posted by: Em at June 5, 2007 9:38 PM

I am on a "read the best bits of the blog as fast as you can before you go to work" binge. So I just skipped to the pics of Steven Colbert. And now I will be late for work because I have to go re-do my makeup because I have been laughing so hard at the lost FIRST pic and the resulting head-banging-on-the-bar comment and reshoot. TEARS are rolling down my face as I laugh at your description. And at his expression in the replacement photo. Not this hotty photo, the first one you posted. Anyway, since I am late for work now, I should google and see if Steven Colbert has a blog, in case he chronicals meeting YOU. Bet he did. Bet he was as star struck as you were.

Leslie, in Hiawatha

Posted by: Leslie Noon at June 6, 2007 7:16 AM

Orange grease is a total necessity for great pizza. Karen is right.

Posted by: Amy-Go at June 6, 2007 9:11 AM

Congrats on the award-- saw it on the GAYA site and gave you a little cheer. No, no pompoms involved.
So, Did you get into that cool bar at GCS- they booted me out for wearing sneakers a few months back--MAN!

Posted by: linda at June 6, 2007 10:24 AM

Okay, several things:

1. If the award was for AUTHOR of the year, then it was TOO you who won it!

2. Congratulations! *slaps self for not saying it yesterday*

3. Patti D! Another San Diego-er. San Dieg-ite? Whatever. I am *so* on board with your petition idea. Let's get one started. And I'll keep you posted on the pizza, though I fear it's an exercise in futility.

Posted by: Aimee at June 6, 2007 10:42 AM

Much deserved and I'm sure you're still basking in the glow of the accomplishment.

Meeting Col-bear, that is. Congratulations on the book award, too, which is what smartarse really meant:)

Two other things about that picture:

- Audrey Hepburn called. She'd like her cheekbones back.

- And not for that reason alone, I've shamelessly stolen that pic and splatted it at the end of an entry to be read by the countless thousands ::koff:: tens of readers of my own near-daily rants, most of who are rabid fans of one (or if they've got any taste, both) of the writers in that shot.

It coincides with the journal's 1500th entry in just over three years, and its message is for you and the others who post here as much as to anyone:


(And yes, I'll de-link the picture if you want. Or if he does, for that matter.)

Posted by: Ray at June 6, 2007 11:28 AM

WOOHOO!!! Congratulations!

Posted by: Angel at June 7, 2007 1:50 AM

Congrats! And awesome pic with Colbert. Did you see him on some magazine cover holding a baby-version of himself. So creepy. Don't remember which magazine it was though.

Posted by: Parker Peevyhouse at June 9, 2007 6:06 PM

Congrats to you on THE GEORGIA AWARD! I now HEART Georgia even more.

And we have foldable-orange-grease-dripping One True Pizza in Berkeley. It is called Gioia, and run by a man who is a member of the Pizzafarian Diaspora out of Brooklyn. They sell t-shirts that say "Best Pizza West of the Jersey Turnpike," and it is true. So I want to take you there.

Posted by: Cornelia Read at June 9, 2007 8:49 PM

As a Georgian now living in New York, the absolute best pizza in New York is Rosario's which is on the corner of Stanton & Orchard on the Lower East Side- it blows Famous Ray's out of the water. (Which, btw, my Brooklyn Native friends will tell you that the pizza in Brooklyn is better because the water is different there and it makes all the difference in the dough). Still, NY pizza will never, ever beat my momma's cooking. Or Chick-Fil-A.

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