Being from a small town in Upstate New York, my idea of home is a tree-lined road winding up a hill, a local ice cream parlor where all the neighborhood gossip spreads, a U-shaped driveway perfect for making bike rounds and a central Market Street with local artisinal shops, nail salons, dive bars and my favorite local pizzeria.
Once I moved to Manhattan after college, I grew even more of an appreciation for the quiet, rural town of Corning I grew up in. It may be home to the renowned Glass Museum, but there’s not much else there. Despite that, after too much time in this city I start to crave a quiet escape to the serene corners of New York and last weekend I got just that.
For my birthday weekend, my boyfriend Harrison surprised me with Saturday plans which required waking up early and heading to Grand Central. If it weren’t for the coffee and croissant (#bestbfever) I wouldn’t have made it even that far. Without telling me where we were headed, we hopped on Metro North and luckily both donned some hiking gear to break the brisk, unseasonable chill (there was a high of 32 degrees)!
Finally, Harrison revealed to me where we were going: Cold Spring. “Magical, yet practical — like Brigadoon stuffed into your neighborhood deli,” as the NYTimes coined it. We were going to spend the afternoon doing exactly what the article says the small town is good for: “Nothing too constructive, and taking your sweet time doing it.”
As we stepped off the train and onto Main Street, a sense of nostalgia hit me. The town was reminiscent of what I was used to back home, only smaller and even more intimate. Cold Spring sits right on the Hudson and the further you walk up Main Street the prettier the view as the street slopes upward. We passed several antique shops, cute cafes and tiny storefronts and eventually made a right on Chestnut St. As we approached a small plaza next to a gas station and convenient store Harrison said, “This is it!”
Angelina’s Pizza didn’t look like much from the outside, which is how every fantastic pizzeria I’ve ever eaten at typically looks so you know it just has to be good. When you step inside though, the smell of fresh pizza instantly hits you and even if you weren’t hungry, you’re suddenly salivating.
“The Pizza from Mars is supposed to be great,” Harrison said. I’m not typically the adventurous type when it comes to toppings but this I had to try. The pizza (pictured at left, above) has mascarpone cheese, truffle oil (my favorite), spinach, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes. In all truth, the pizza should be renamed Pizza from Heaven because it’s just that.
The traditional New York-style pizza had a crisp, perfectly cooked crust. Nothing special on that front. But the toppings, OH, the toppings. What happened after I took a bite was actually magical. Yes, magical. The Times was right…
The mascarpone was creamy and savory. Think of the texture and taste of Artichoke Pizza only less greasy and less rich. The additional flavor of the spinach and mushroom made for a trippy, tantalizing experience. It was comforting in all the same ways that anything with cream and truffle oil can be while still being incredibly dynamic and not overpowering. Every bite tasted a bit different from the last, and each bite after made you want one more just to figure out what was in that bite that made is so mind-blowing. The toppings, shocking even to me, worked so well together that I can safely say that it’s my new favorite topping combo, though I don’t believe just any pizzeria could pull this off.
If you’re looking for a pizza that’s a bit out there, you’ve got to head to Cold Spring. Angelina’s Pizza is truly out of this world, yet something about it still feels reminiscent of home. At least for us Upstate New York types who get nostalgic for nature and a slice of comforting New York pizza.
Don’t worry, you can hike it off afterwards.