TRAVEL CONCIERGE: It isn't hard to find good, no, amazing, nay, divine pizza in Naples. It's everywhere. But it's the best one you're after?
According to David Rocco, who has had the enviable job of eating through Italy with his show, Dolce Vita, the answer: L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele.
"It looks like you're eating in my grandmother's basement," says Rocco, whose parents hail from a village near Naples. "There's white-walled paint, with the typical crucifix and tacky photo. The tables are all marble. … It's loud, it's boisterous, there's always a lineup." But once you do sit, your pizza arrives from the wood-burning oven within minutes. And in traditional fashion - the Condurro clan has been making the 'za since 1870 - there are only two types: Margherita, dressed with just-picked San Marzano tomato sauce, uber-fresh mozzarella and basil, and Marinara, with tomato sauce, garlic and oregano. "It's soft, it's chewy, it's doughy, but in a good way," Rocco says about the pizza, which has inspired everything from a YouTube clip to a cameo in Eat, Pray, Love. "And it's just fantastic."
I'll be in New York for a job interview in late November, and need to stay at a hotel with cachet but without a giant bill. What do you recommend?
TRAVEL CONCIERGE: The Jane might be your gal. The vintage-themed hotel, inspired by its history as a home for sailors, packs style into a tiny space. The lobby looks like something directly out of the movie Barton Fink. The "standard cabins," complete with luggage racks above the single beds, are indeed tiny at 50 square feet. But 300-thread-count sheets, flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations are not sacrificed. Neither is your bank account.
"The Jane really is a genuine budget hotel because there are single rooms that start in the low season at $79 [all figures in U.S. dollars]a night. They're currently $99," says Lisa Ritchie, who edits the Time Out New York Guide. "It's a great atmosphere as well as being a cheap deal."
(Note: Bathrooms are shared among The Jane's small rooms. If you can't live without a throne of your own, the 250-square-foot captain's cabin will cost you about $325 a night.)
Or if you want some insider credibility, tell your future boss you're staying at the NU Hotel in Brooklyn, an emerging entertainment hot spot, Ritchie says. Rates at this eco-chic property start at about $199 a night for the classic queen room. Decor features recycled teak, cork floors and chalkboard walls in the bathrooms (where you can jot down your positive affirmations). Continental breakfast is included, so fill your pockets with croissants and cram for your interview on the subway ride in to Manhattan.
E-mail The Concierge with your travel questions.
Karan Smith is a former Globe Travel editor. Special to The Globe and Mail