- I recently experienced my first TWO PIZZA DAY, ever in my little lifetime. As far as I've dived into hedonism, I'd never done this. Articles abound in foodie mags lately about all the artisan pizza places popping up in the city, and it was killing my pizza spirit to not have tried any of them. So, because Una Pizza Napolitana in the East Village had already closed down, I made a pizza pilgrimage to the old 'hood in Brooklyn. The first pie of the day was so-so. They relied too heavily on the enormous slabs of expensive meat and cheese we saw topping other customers' pizzas, and didn't pay attention to the basics: good crust, good sauce, herbs. The salad and wine were nice, and it was cheap, so I won't totally dis, but the bottom line is that the brick oven wasn't enough to make this lackluster pizza worthwhile.
That's okay, because that brings us to the second pizza of the day, which was a bit more expensive, and fantastic. This one was from Fornino, and really hit the spot. They were a little weirded when we insisted that they not put sauce or cheese on our wild mushroom pizza (just a little black truffle oil, please!), but once they smelled it, I think they saw the logic. Here, the shrooms were fantastic, as was the crispy crust, and the lack of sauce let the mushrooms take center stage.
This is the best Brooklyn pizza since my beloved JJ's closed. (That's not the real name, but it was along the lines of "Brick Oven Pie" or something that got lost in the fog. I've learned, now, that the owner's name was Terry, but to me, he'll always be JJ.)
- Angelina's is a plain looking pizza joint in Cold Spring. But the owner, Ali, isn't afraid of unusual ingredients, and has been making "farmer's market" pizzas each Saturday. He walks across the street to the market, picks up whatever we have on offer, and tops his pizzas with local, seasonal stuff. Not only am I impressed with his concoctions (pear & candied walnut pizza), but he brings a stack of free pies over the market vendors nearly every week. There's always one sans cheese and topped with fresh hot peppers. How could I not be a fan?
- This magic happened in my own kitchen. Vivian from Madura Farm gave me a maitake mushroom the size of my head. I was starved, and made a pizza on store bought dough-in-a-bag. Yeah, I can admit it! As I chopped up this mushroom (literally, like a cabbage) I worried I was making something really low class with this amazing fungi, but my hunger urged me on. I turned the oven to 500 degrees, flattened my 99 cent crust over some coarse cornmeal, and topped it with caramelized onion, fresh garlic, one pretty dried out tomato (sliced), olive oil, salt, pepper, and an enormous mound of chopped maitake. This was, I think, the perfect pizza. Better than Fornino, better than JJ's, better than pizzas made in the cob oven I helped build, better than potato pizza from Sullivan Street Bakery, better than truffle oil or pears or candied walnuts. Shockingly, amazingly perfect.
Within an hour, I was on ebay looking at maitake inoculation plugs. How many ten minute meals cause a person to want to convert their basement into a forest of fungus?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Ok, maybe it's weird to write about pizza here? But but but, there are plenty of good reasons! My total insane pizza fandom aside, I have three (three!) positive pizzas reports.