garfield nj

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Today is truly the day that the music has died. Charles Rigolosi, owner of Platter World Records in Garfield NJ has passed away. Charlie was my mentor not only in music but with education in general. My first job was at his store, learning about all types of music and taking store credit for pay. The two bottom pictures are from today, when I visited his store for the last time and even though I cried when I drove back, I will remember forever that music is the most powerful thing on this Earth, and that’s all because of Charlie.

La Bella Pizzeria - Garfield, NJ

Recently, Paul and I met up with some fellow members of the Pizza Mafia to discuss the future plans of That’s So Cheezy (stay tuned, we have some exciting ideas!). What better place to have this meeting then over some za? Our boy Dom offered to show us the ropes of Garfield pizza and took us to La Bella. He’s a pretty serious foodie and had good things to say, so we were definitely excited.

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It was getting kind of late by the time we arrived, so the individual slice selection was pretty weak. We were all pretty hungry though, so we went big and ordered two full pies. Dom asked for a square pie and at first we were like “What?!? Are you mad?!?? Sicilian sucks order a round one too!” He assured us that the square pie was actually just a square shaped neapolitan though. He also went on to tell us about some of the secrets the old owner told him they do, like freeze the cheese before they bake it to allow the crust more time in the oven without the cheese burning. They also use special trays with holes in them to do something. I’m not sure what exactly, but regardless, all this pizza talk was getting me psyched up to try this pie!!

I never thought I would say this, but I’ve finally found a place that serves better square pizza than round pizza. Unfortunately, we all burned our mouths on these piping hot slices because they came right out of the oven, but I have no regrets. I was loving every bite of the FOUR slices I ended up eating. I started with a side slice off of the square pie and was instantly impressed by how heavy and flavorful the cheese was. I’m all about cheese heavy pizza and this place nailed the ratio. The sauce was blended in excellently underneath as well and the crust was nice and crispy. I sampled a round slice after I finished which, while similar in quality and taste, was just not as good. I then proceeded to have a corner off the square pie and a (GASP!!) middle slice. Yeah, it was THAT good. On top of being delicious, La Bella’s pies were also a great value. The square pie was $14 and the round $11, which is a great deal for pizza this good. Good luck finding that in NYC. Highly recommended, just do yourself a favor and go for the square pie! Oh, and that “Only Brick Oven in Town” bit is a little bit whack….but you’ll just have to see that for yourself!

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-Tom

I’m a little late, but here’s a post dedicated to those who love vinyl records.

A lot has happened to me in 2014, as I’m sure you’re all aware of due to the amount of pictures I’ve posted. But I’d like to dedicate this little New Years post to the closing of Platter World, which has been my home for a long time now. I miss Charlie Rigolosi but his gift of music will always stay with me and I have a kickass record collection to prove it. Plus, my interest has spawned a few people that I’m close to to have their own collections. It will be weird passing the place and not seeing all the same stuff in the windows, but I guess this is a “wake up call” to change and new times.

What I’m going to miss most about this store is hanging out. Truly. This was the place I would go to hangout and talk music: learn about new bands and albums, try different things. It was a musical buffet with amazing variety. Sure, there were a lot of weird people who came in but at the end of the day, the people in there loved music and they loved vinyl. It is great to be around that kind of passion, it really is. And now that’s gone for me- there are no real record stores close to me and definitely none like this one. This one was so special that I cannot even describe it to someone who hasn’t been there all their life. It was for me and many of the friends I made there, paradise. 

Everyone used to ask me if I was going to inherit the store after Charlie passed and I guess in a way, I kind of did. On Sunday, I was able to lock myself in the store for an hour completely alone, and say goodbye to all the 33s, 45s, posters, and colored vinyl that surrounded me for years. I was finally able to see it uninterrupted, in-tact, the way that Charlie saw it every day when he opened up and every night when he closed it. The way that I always used to dream about it as a kid, and thinking of it as I still do, with amazement.