1jan10-2.1 Bigger: not necessarily better, but cheaper per square inch.

1jan10-5I’m currently in the apartment of S. and K., two lovely people I just met after hitting up Benny Tudino’s pizza in Hoboken as part of Wandering Foodie’s 93 Plates project. I’m more than happy to participate, because (1) free food and (2) I get to be a part of a (self-selected) list of New York City’s “best and brightest independent food writers.”

I’ve always thought of myself as one of the New York Metro area’s best and brightest mooches, so being a part of this was right up my alley.

Despite the fact that I live 3 seconds from Hoboken I’d never been to Benny Tudino’s, which is, as you can see, the self-proclaimed King of Pizza in the New Jersey Pizza Oligarchy. There’s a dark side to Tudino’s that I’ll save for the end; we’ll start with the positive. 1jan10-1

This pizza is 32″ in diameter. Think about that for a minute.

Pictured above is the Wandering Foodie with my slice of pizza, which should give you a sense of scale. And his head is no small affair – I’m looking at it right now – so you know that this is a giant fucking slice of pizza. Tudino’s does, in fact, make good on its “Hey! Our pizza is bigger than that other guy’s pizza!” claim.

As for the slice itself, I was prepared for it to be utterly subpar, because “King of X” is usually a self-imposed title. I was pleasantly surprised that it was slightly above par – a little doughier than I prefer and with rather a blander sauce than one would hope for, but just cheesy enough, with a crisp bottom and wonderfully chewy crust. It also exhibited one of the hallmarks of New Jersey pizza: when folded in half, grease starts to run out of the fold. 1jan10-3

This is all the pizza I managed to eat. Because I am weak; you can clearly see that Wandering Foodie did a far better job of scarfing his down. In my defense, he was chivalrous and gave me the larger slice, so his was like a 2-in-1 and mine more a 3-in-1. Still, I couldn’t make it through despite not having eaten any breakfast, and I am suitably ashamed.

Now for the grisly. 1jan10-4

As one would expect from the Hoboken King of Pizza, the walls are covered with memorobilia, pictures of “famous” people who have eaten there, photos of the Hoboken Little League team, etc. Just over our table, I espied this terrifying specimen.

Is that joy in the man’s eyes, or terror? Is Benny Tudino’s secretly the Saw IV of pizzerias? Did they have to bake the pizza around his neck? How did he survive the ordeal? Given the size of the pie, will he ever be able to eat his way out? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m glad I didn’t see this gem before I ate; frankly, it gives me the extreme heebie jeebies.

More frightening is the idea that there is an artist somewhere who ate the pizza and was inspired to create this. It gives me the same feeling as BBQ joints that advertise with smiling cartoon pigs showering themselves gleefully with barbeque sauce, and that feeling? Is not a positive feeling.

You can follow Wandering Foodie’s month of food exploits here.