As a New York transplant living in Los Angeles, I wholeheartedly fit into the angry east coaster stereotype. When someone brings up the idea to go eat pizza or bagels, I start spitting my dogma across LA county about the inedible dough that comes from the undrinkable tap water of the other 49 states of the USA. Most people agree with my rants: no pizza or bagel can compare to that of NY. So where did this legend of New York’s supernatural water come from? And why, do all my friends from New York bestow this same propensity?
Let’s get a little bit technical. New York’s water is actually special. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s one of the nation’s healthiest water supplies. So healthy in fact, it was deemed fine to drink unfiltered in 2007.
The water comes from the natural wonders of upstate. Nineteen reservoirs and three lakes trickle down their paths, traveling through the lands and underground, as the water dissolves its natural minerals before hitting the five boroughs. Once this water hits our area, it’s in the perfect condition. Infiltrated with ideal quantities of calcium and dissolved minerals, ultimately strengthening the wheat protein when creating our famous doughy treats. The flawless combination constructs the chewy texture New Yorkers demand when it comes to our pizza.
Because all waters across the world differ in mineral count and chlorine, it’s obvious that chemical reactions when making dough are gonna go down quite differently. The New York water legend has inspired people worldwide to recreate this perfect 7.2 pH.
Steve Fassberg, the man behind Brooklyn Water Bagel, has successfully reformulated water from other states to make a ratio similar to the tap water of Brooklyn. With over 14 locations throughout the US, Fassberg has mastered the water recipe. The key, he says, is a “quarter of calcium here, a milligram of magnesium there.” Many other restaurateurs have followed suit, including Lamonicas NY Pizza in Westwood, Los Angeles.
This whiny New Yorker had to go out for herself and make sure that our longtime food mascots were not being degraded by the LA water. A quick trip to Brooklyn Water Bagel and Lamonicas had me impressed, yet not sold. Alas, what I have learned, is that nothing will give me that same wave of pleasure I get while biting into a slice of New York pizza — no matter what you try.