Two Boots | various locations, Manhattan & Brooklyn | 212.734.0317 (UES) |

IT'S ALL A MATTER OF perspective.

I couldn't decide if I was more saddened or relieved that, after hours of online research, the general consensus of foodies—both from New York and New Orleans—had convinced me that there existed no real or reputable representations of traditional and authentic New Orleans cuisine to be found or had anywhere in the City of New York. Or, at the very least, in Manhattan.

So I had to give up on my quest for a decent muffaletta sandwich or oyster po' boy (not that I couldn't find places that offered them on their menus, it's just that almost all of them were very poorly reviewed!), it wasn't until I remembered that a friend of mine had procured a slice of "muffaletta pizza" at the neighborhood Two Boots that I start to believe I could sate my Mardi-themed appetites, so I headed across the street to do so.

I am always surprised to find that most people don't know where the name Two Boots comes from. Both the country of Italy and the state of Lousiana are shaped like boots, so the food represents most Italian-style pizza reinvented with more traditional Louisiana foods, such as crawfish, andouille sausage, spicy peppers, and their indigenously ubiquitous cornmeal, which is the base flour in their pizza dough.

Many of these special ingredients are already combined to make specialty pies—also available as slices, referencing some remote pop culture entertainment characters, such as Jackie Brown, Newman from Seinfeld, Jeff Bridges' "The Dude" from The Big Leibowski, and Steve Buscemi's "Mr. Pink" from Reservoir Dogs.

Of course any of these toppings can be mixed and match to your liking, but I would save that for another special occasion. Today was Fat Tuesday, and although a little forlorn about the fact that they were not, in fact, featuring the aforementioned muffaletta pie today, they were featuring a new pie just for Mardi Gras: The Swamp Witch, topped with alligator sausage (?) sausage, crawfish, red & green pesto, and something called "swamp witch spice mix". i quickly ordered a slice

Two Boots specializes in its spices and seasonings, and this Swamp Witch slice was no exception. Not that I would know alligator when I taste it, but it did have all the proper seasoning slight heat of sausage with nary a hint of expected gaminess. The pestos were nice as well, one seemingly basil-based and the other possessing more red pepper richness, and were nice players to the crawfish, which, by their nature, run a little sweeter and pronounced in flavor than their shrimp cousins.

Like the other pizzas, each bite into the crispy thin crust is added to by the textural elements of cornmeal, which also give the crust an extra hint of savory-ness.

Not having even researched beignets here in the city, this was due to be my only culinary tribute to Mardi Gras. I'm sure I'll more than make up for it with alcohol during any number of Mardi Gras parties I could attend this evening. Which makes it probably better that I didn't have a muffaletta pizza. Especially not have yet had a plain, decent muffaletta sandwich. Maybe after I have one the purist in me would think the very idea sacrilege ("Scare Bleu!"). Or, as Two Boots has done more than decent business with, maybe the combination of two world class cuisines could only make a food idea better.

Again, a matter of perspective.

Bun Apple Tea!


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Two Boots | various locations, Manhattan & Brooklyn | 212.734.0317 (UES) |