Slideshow: 8 Pizzas That Haunt My Dreams, 2012

The Piccante, Lombardi's Pizza Truck, Edison, New Jersey
The Piccante, Lombardi's Pizza Truck, Edison, New Jersey
With pizza trucks and food trucks in general, I sort of downgrade my expectations. "It's good—for a truck." No such qualifiers are needed when speaking of Lombardi's Pizza Truck, though. It's truckin' good stuff, period. The Piccante was the standout when I visited earlier this year. Lombardi's Pizza Truck, 10 Parsonage Road, Edison NJ 08837 (map); 908-400-7989; lombardipizzaco.com
Plain slice, Mack's Pizza, Wildwood, New Jersey
Plain slice, Mack's Pizza, Wildwood, New Jersey
The slice here is salty, sharp, and, yes, greasy. This turned me off the first year I visited, but this year, I found I loved the slight pungency that the cheddar cheese adds (yes, cheddar). And the grease? Well, some folks say that's an essential part of a Mack's slice. Don't like it? Then blot it with a napkin, or hold your slice tip-down for a spell while the grease pools on the paper plate. Or keep moving up the boardwalk (and watch the tram car, please). Mack's Pizza, two locations on the boardwalk, one at Roberts Avenue and one at Wildwood Avenue
The Saint Louie, Speedy Romeo, Brooklyn
The Saint Louie, Speedy Romeo, Brooklyn
It's topped with provel cheese. I was once a provel hater. But I now find myself agreeing with Lidia Bastianich, who refers to its complexity and "umami of the flavors." The tanginess, smokiness, the velvety texture. As my dining buddy on the night I tried it said, "It's almost like nachos," putting into words the nebulous analogy I had been grasping for. The nacho comparison should have come to me sooner, given that the Saint Louie is topped with pickled chiles in addition to a very good house-made Italian sausage (and pepperoni whose presence was barely discernable). It's a winning combo. Speedy Romeo, 376 Classon Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11238 (at Greene Ave.; map) 718-230-0061; speedyromeo.com
Plain slice, Williamsburg Pizza, Brooklyn
Plain slice, Williamsburg Pizza, Brooklyn
As you can see from the four previous picks, I'm sort of all about toppings these days. A plain pizza really has to be PHENOM for me to sit up and take notice. That's the case at relative newcomer Williamsburg Pizza, where peripatetic pizzaman Nino Coniglio runs the show. The traditional NYC-style slices are crisp where it counts yet have a tender crumb—thanks to the fast four-minute bake times. I've only had this slice a couple times but have it bookmarked on my mental map for those times I'm nearby. Williamsburg Pizza, 265 Union Avenue, Brooklyn NY (map; at South 3rd Street); 718-855-8729; williamsburgpizzabrooklyn.com

[Photo: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Pizza with Sausage and Onion, Federici's Pizzeria, Freehold, New Jersey
Pizza with Sausage and Onion, Federici's Pizzeria, Freehold, New Jersey
The sausage and onion pie I ate at Federici's this summer was killer. They use great, juicy hunkachunka nuggets of fennel-flecked pork. I could eat slice after slice of this stuff. And I did. It's so thin that you can almost eat a whole pie without thinking about it. That's due in large part to the fact that they use a sheeter to flatten the dough, which may not fly with pizza purists. But if you're in the mood for a bar-style pie that's more crisp than pliant, this one'll do you right. Federici's Pizzeria, 14 East Main Street, Freehold NJ 07728 (map) 732-462-1312; federicis.com
Monthly plain slice, Rosario's Deli, Queens
Monthly plain slice, Rosario's Deli, Queens
So this lil' troublemaker is the reason I haven't done much traveling outside of (or within) NYC this year. "Baby Slice" came out of the oven in late July (bake time, 9 months) and has me tied close to home. Anyway, the plain slice at Rosario's Deli (which is pretty darn good regardless) is memorable to me this year because I use it as a measuring stick for monthly photos of the kid. I count down the days until the next sizing slice and grab one on the way home. For now, I get to eat it. At some point I'll have to fight her for it—or just get two. Rosario's Deli, 2255 31st Street, Astoria NY 11105 (near Ditmars; map) 718-728-2920