Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Just cheese on toast"?

fighting words from the Guardian:

"...I can't help wondering whether such pizza fanaticism is actually a tragic case of diminishing returns: that no matter how good a pizza can be, the edible world is a wide place, with more to offer than a single dish. Treating pizza as a gourmet product defies the dish's own history, it defies logic and reason and a lifespan measured in years rather than millennia. It's only cheese on toast, after all."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Last weekend Mike, Sean, Justin and I had the unique pleasure of welcoming three Baltimore Pizza Club ambassadors to Brooklyn. When Aran, Jen and Chuck arrived, we knew there was only one place to take them: the fabulous Paulie Gee's!

After going to see Serious Lunch, it took us a while to have a beer and find Chuck and then a while to take the subway back to Greenpoint. Anyway, we got to Paulie Gee's at 11:02 pm not knowing that they close at 11. (It's cool, don't worry, everyone in New York eats dinner at 11 pm.) Luckily Mrs. Gee (that's Paulie's wife, if you're keeping track) was acting as hostess and found us charming so she sneaked us to a table.

The pizzas are kind of small, just bigger than personal size, so the seven of us shared six pizzas. Sadly, we forgot to take pictures until almost all of the pies were gone. So you'll have to use your imagination with this one piece:

Some notes:
regina, a classic margherita pizza: delish!
greenpointer (salad on a pizza) Justin: "I like this one because it's so original. It's not just a good pizza, I know I'll never have this pizza anywhere else."
mootz (super garlic white pizza with basil) Jen moans
Hell Boy (described as Fior di Latte, Italian Tomatoes, Sopressata Picante and Parmigiano Reggiano, with Mike’s HOT Honey) yes, honey. on a pizza. I also learned that Sopressata Picante is just a fancy word for pepperoni
porkpie white (basically a sausage and pepperoni pizza, but with more garlic and a white sauce, not red) Everyone agreed it was good, but it was too regular, not original enough
anise and a nephew (fennel! on a pizza!) Aran: what is this? then what is this? they're both fennel!?!?!?!

Jen is sad that there's no more pizza

We were split pretty half and half between giving this pizza 7.5 out of 8 slices and 8 out of 8 slices. The two 7.5 slice dissenters were Aran: "I didn't love how the crust was crispy but there was a floppy part in the middle" and Sean (with the crazy eyes): "almost perfect, I just wish the pizzas were bigger". Jen especially liked the atmosphere, which she described as cozy.

Overall, this is wonderful pizza. The next time any BPCers are in New York, I would highly recommend a visit.

Sweet Sin

Let us first mention that Sweet Sin is gluten free, therefore providing pizza options to those who would otherwise be deprived. However none of the attending members have gluten allergies, so we have no proper way to gauge the relative tastiness of this gluten free pizza over others. That said, we went with open hearts and minds. Sweet Sin offers a rotating array of pizzas. During out visit, we ordered cheese, Caprese, and Veggie pizzas.

Let's talk crust here, as this appears ti be the main challenge and difference with gluten free baking. The main challenge is concocting a suitable gluten free replacement. The crust was flakey and dense. It did not seem to be able to support heavy toppings. Let us be clear here, this is very different from average pizza crust; it is more like pie crust. We speculated that this may be the result of not being cooked in a traditional pizza oven.

Another problem that might have been caused by the absence of pizza is the lack of synergy between crust and cheese. The cheese kinda slid just off. Were they ever really together or just occupying the same space? Perhaps normal pizza dough creates small holes that allows the cheese to fuse together with it.

The cheese pizza was our gateway pizza into the gluten free pizza realm. The sauce was pretty spicy, most people enjoyed it. It might have been nice if you were able to have the option of how spicy you want it, as some people are more sensitive.

The Caprese had a good tomato to slice ratio. It was basically the cheese pizza with tomatoes, there was also basil.

The veggie pizza was piled high with freshness. It had real mushrooms on it, in fact all the vegetables were fresh. On a side note, vegetable dishes are one of Sweet Sin strong points and they are applying this with the pizza.

I would bring my gluten free friend here if I had one. After there was a different feeling of being full than what regular pizza brings.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Frozen Pizza Chronicles: The Original Naan Pizza

I had this in my freezer for a couple of months and decided that it was time to try out The Original Naan Pizza, spinach & paneer cheese. Boy was I glad I did, such a nice post-work snack. The crust, which is made of Naan, is pretty crunchy. At first I had no idea what the sauce is, in fact I'm not totally sure. It is not pizza saucy, but also not like an Indian sauce. The ingredients say that it is made of tomatoes, so it is tomato based with "spices". The box informs us that the artisan crust is hand-stretched and fired in a clay oven approaching 1,000ºF. Impressive?

It tastes like it once was frozen, the magic of the toaster oven could not hide this fact. It is slightly spicy and "foreign" tasting. The more I ate of it, the more I liked it. Eventually I truly believed that I could taste the Naan coming through. After this experience, Alicia and I decided that there should be more pizzas with paneer on them. It is time for the world to listen to our plea! Alicia felt that it tasted like Ellio's pizza, just with paneer. In a jam or snack situation, this is totally good. You can definitely taste the spinach on this pizza, even though it was cut into weird squares.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


On February 17, we went to Isabella's Brick Oven Pizza and Subs. Sadly all the pictures we took while there were tragically lost in a camera accident.

Isabella's is a small place in Little Italy, it is next to the Bocce Ball courts and two blocks from Viccaros. It is a very casual place. There are about four tables there, so it is safe to assume they do a lot of carry out business. Who can wait to take such tasty pizza home? Best to order and eat it there. It takes about 15 minutes for the pizzas to come out of the oven to you. As true and righteous pizza club pilgrims, we only ate pizza, but we did catch of glimpse of their subs and they looked amazing.

We ordered three large pizzas ($13.99 each):
Pizza Bianca - Dolce Ricotta, Fresh Mozzarella, Feta with Garlic and Herbs
Margherita - Homemade Mozzarella with Tomato Slices and Fresh Basil
Garden Pizza - Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce with Grilled Eggplant, Marinated Mushrooms and Fresh Artichokes

The Bianca was the favorite of the night with the Margherita coming in a close second. This was a classic white pizza, which means no red sauce. The Bianca was a little salty in a good way and very delicious. It was chewy, with excellent crust and was well seasoned.

The Garden had thin slices of eggplant on it that came apart when pulled. It had a good combination of toppings, but with a slight bitter taste. This one was a little harder to eat with the topping and cheese coming off when you bit it. The sauce on this pizza so-so. We debated if the artichokes were canned, but then realized that they were not and we also for sale in the deli case. The eggplant on the pizza was not originally identified by "blind eaters".

The Margherita did in fact have thinly sliced tomatoes on it as well as fresh cut basil. Very delicious and well received.

The only negative about the experience is that they gave us styrofoam plates to put our pizza on.

It was brought up that Isabella's pizza might have the best crust in Baltimore. This was overall a great experience. Isabella's is a place that we all felt like we would go back to. Let's face it, there are places you go once and places you go all the time. Isabella's is defiantly the latter.

Bianca - 7.999/8
Garden - 5/8
Margherita - 6.5/8
General Crust rating - 7/8
Overall - 2π/8

Alicia will now forensically recreate our pizza experience in the following slides: