So You Think You Know Pizza: The Pizza Expert Meets the Wine Expert in New Jersey

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So You Think You Know Pizza: The Pizza Expert Meets the Wine Expert in New Jersey

Posted By: Pizza Expert
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imagesI traveled to New York City and some of my old stomping grounds from my home in Boca Raton, Florida, to ultimately meet with Gary Vee (Gary Vaynerchuk) and be a guest on his show Wine Library TV in Springfield, New Jersey. I was excited about the idea of pairing wine with pizza for a lot of reasons, one of the biggest being that most people don't think of wine when they think of pizza.

It promised to be unique, fun, and even definitely cool. It was definitely exceeded my expectations and it ended up being all three of those things.

The show itself was phenomenally fun. We didn't really talk much about anything I expected to talk about, regarding pizza. He talked about wine, of course. I talked a bit about pizza, obviously. We just never really met in the middle to put the two together. Let me tell you two things about GaryVee: he's very excitable, as those who've seen his videos can attest; and he's very much not scripted.  Purely awesome how energetic he is.

So the basic idea for the show is laid out: three types of vino to choose from, a great couple of pizzas, hopefully the way I like it, a camera and crew, and a few notes on the show's agenda. Once the camera starts rolling, though, the notes are forgotten, the wine is quickly poured and consumed, and Gary just sort of talks. In that New Jersey way - with a lot of hand waving.

I was surprised and tried to keep up, but this was breathtakingly fast. About the only time I could really say anything was when he finally put some pizza in his mouth. I think he liked my choice of pie, by the way. Most of my problems were thanks to stress. I know it sounds like a cop-out, but hear me out on this one. I arrived at La Guardia and sat and sat. Why? Because some joker had called in a bomb threat, so there was a six hour (count 'em: 6) delay. It took forever to first fly into New York, and ultimately switched to JFK. That meant that by the time I got onto the streets of the city, it was busy, and I was tired.  Great way to start off my journey days before the show.

After spending a couple of days with my parents, I headed into Springfield New Jersey, from eastern Long Island.  Traffic is all I met during this journey.  The roads were busy! I don't mean normal New York metro area traffic busy, I mean bumper-to-bumper, life-in-your-own-hands, this-second-could-be-your-last traffic. It took hours to get to Springfield to meet up with Gary. I managed to get there early regardless, but had to skip a lot of plans I'd had for Jersey – like trolling pizza joints for fresh reviews.

After a two hour wait in his freezing offices, I got in with Gary.  We talked a bit about what to expect, and the camera started rolling. You can see the results on his site. I wasn't very happy with them. I think I came off kind of stilted and lame. I was stressed, you can see that.  Like the polar opposite of Gary.  I was so truly happy to meet with him, I wish my enthusiasm showed through better!

I was also highly confused. I'd thought that the plan was to talk about pizza and wine. Instead, Gary did what Gary does: he talked about everything wine and Jets. He threw pizza in once in a while. What I can't understand is this whole spitting thing. I eat a lot of pizza. It's what I do. I test it by eating it. I note the results and I tell people those results. Wine tasters are different. They put wine in their mouth in large quantities, swish it around, gargle it, and then spit it out. They don't drink it, they spit it out.

Can you imagine doing this with pizza at your favorite oven? Think about it. The swishing around part would be tough enough. But spitting it out? In public? Into an open container anyone can see in? That's just nasty. How funny would it be, if I would have tasted the pizza, swirled it around my mouth and spit it into the bucket? I'm not a wine guy, so I'm probably missing something in all this. On the up side, Gary offered to pay for the pizza, but I didn't allow it.  My wife went into the town of Millburn, NJ and picked up pizza from Semonlina and Pizetta.

Although the show wasn't anything like what I'd expected, and thankfully so, Gary was. He's hilariously funny, extremely hard to keep up with, and very fast on his feet. He's also a lot more intelligent than people give him credit for. When it was all said and done, I had a great time overall. The show wasn't what I wanted in regards to pizza pairings or expected, but looking back I can see that it was unique and a great experience. I had fun and I think that's what really matters at the end of the day.

Did I mention that I got to also meet @kmurph who was super cool!

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