Author Topic: American Flatbread  (Read 8508 times)

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Offline wayno

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American Flatbread
« on: May 23, 2005, 07:47:06 PM »
I was in Vermont over the weekend and had the opportunity to enjoy a flatbread pizza made in a wood fired (Quebec style) clay oven.  The place called American Flatbread is mainly a bakery (but opens Friday and Saturday evenings as a restaurant).

It was very light, in weight, but had a crunchy charred crust and was very full flavored, but very light on the tomato sauce.

What was amazing to me was the popularity of the place.  It was packed! And has people waiting at the bar for a table.  The theme is organic, organic, organic!

HERE IS THEIR SITE

http://www.americanflatbread.com/

Wayno
At night, I either sleep, make love or dream about making pizza.


Offline scott r

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2005, 01:39:51 AM »
I got to hear George Schank the owner speak at the NY pizza show and it was very special.  I have never seen anyone so focused and passionate about using organic whole foods and being involved in the comunity.  He even spent a good deal of time talking about the healing power and love that needs to go into each pie and all the ingredients, and how this can spread from pizza maker to the person eating the pie.  He was a very unusual person to say the least.  We were also shown a short excerpt of a PBS special that was just made about him and his pizzeria that showed him making sauce (with Vermont maple syrup in a cauldron over a fire) and a detailed look at a really amazing sounding home made sausage pie.  It appears as if this guy does not mess around.  I would keep your eyes out for the PBS special.

Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2005, 09:05:37 AM »
I was just turned on to American Flatbread by locals at the Sugarbush Ski resort. I was just there during the week before Xmas when the resort and other local restaurants are dead but this place was packed and people were waiting, drinking beer and wine around a campfire outside in the snow. They do not take reservations but preference is given to those who stop by early and leave a name. This is not traditional Italian pizza, it's more like California style with a Vermont organic twist. The complex toppings might seem odd but are really well done.
They have a number of other locations around New England listed on their website  http://www.americanflatbread.com/.
This is not just a restaurant but a philosophy as well. The Dr.Bronner's of pizza if you will. Very cool
If you go don't forget it's only open Friday and Saturday nights although they will be open the week between Xmas and New Years.

Michael
« Last Edit: December 22, 2005, 09:17:51 AM by mmarston »
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline pcampbell

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 03:15:23 PM »
I wanted to bring this up again because this place is 100% deserving of it. 

American Flatbread is open just two days a week.  Friday and Saturday.  They open at 5:30pm but people will be lined up to make reservations at 4pm.  Yes it is worth it!  By about 4:45pm, we had given our name and scheduled to eat at the first sitting at 5:30pm.  Now we had a little while to kill.  It was an absolutely beautiful Vermont afternoon so we got a couple of drinks from the bar and strolled around the grounds.  Just give your name and they add the drinks to your check.  There is a barn directly across that often has art shows going on... there are also Adirondack chairs, picnic benches and three firepits with nice big slates of rock to sit on.  It is not just about the pizza but the whole experience I think... this is not to say that the pizza isn't amazing.  We got to sit at table #1 which is a 2 person table directly to the left of the oven.  Watching the person who mans the oven (this time  a woman) is mezmorizing.  They are constantly putting a pizza in, rotating, taking a pizza out and adding fire wood.  My wife and I are "boring" (I like to say traditional....) so we just got a "Med bread" pizza (actually two of them) basically cheese and tomato sauce.  While Ido not have magic dicerning taste buds like many ... the pizza is fantastic.  The ingredients are super fresh and all local.  The flour is 100% organic.  I am not sure if they use yeast or starter.  They will often have a co-op with a farm where the ingredients come straight to them (e.g. the chicken they had at the time was not "inspected" because it came directly from the farm).  The pizza itself is maybe a bit soggy due to the generous amount of cheese, but you get to the crust and it is absolutely crunchy but not at all dry or crackery... light, fluffy and moist at the same time.  My wife and I finished about 1 1/2 pies.  In retrospect I would say go for one pie and save room for desert.  Last time they were able to make a mini pie for us so we could finish it entirely...I absolutely hate to waste food.  Anyway my wife and I will go to American Flatbread every single time we are up in Waitsfield.  It is not just American Flatbread but MANY restaurants and businesses up there are ALL about the community and being local, organic and fresh.  DO NOT forget to try "Red Hen" bakery organic bread.  The "Easy Street" Cafe across the street from American Flatbread has amazing sandwiches as well.  "David Egans" is mostly American with a great beer selection and more very fresh food.  These are the places that make me want to move to Vermont!  The scenery is not bad either!
Patrick

Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2007, 06:26:21 PM »
I tried the American Flatbread in Burlington last year and was rather disappointed. It's a real restaurant without the character of the original place in Waitsfield. The pizza was alright but not nearly as good as the original.
This opinion is based on one visit so it might have been an off night.
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2007, 09:11:14 AM »
I'm headed back to Sugarbush next week and expect to visit American Flatbread at least once.
I'll report back.

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline abatardi

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2007, 01:08:48 AM »
they sell american flatbread frozen pizzas at the whole foods near me.  I tried it once, not good at all (the frozen ones) :-)

There is another "flatbread company" pizza place that is a small chain (with a location where I am from) and after some research realized that they are a spin-off of American Flatbread... they too use a stone/clay oven, EVERYTHING organic and make all the sausage and other things in house.  They have locations I think in Portland Maine, Portsmouth NH and somewhere in Hawaii.. maybe a couple others..  Same concept... pretty good stuff. 

I know the name of the flour they use is Champlain Valley (organic) and the dough is just flour/water/yeast/salt (fresh cake yeast).  It is mixed in a hobart for I believe 10 or 15 mins (could be mixed less in my opinion).  I'm not sure what brand the tomatoes are, I was told it was a lightly cooked sauce (cooked in a cauldron over a live fire in the restaurant).  The clay oven stays anywhere between 800 and 1000 and was built with local riverbed clay and other materials.  The one in Portland Maine (Portland Flatbread Company) also has a smaller clay oven that they keep at a lower temp to make desserts and other things. 

It's a possibility that one of these will be opening in the Denver area in the next couple years... finally ending the decades long "good pizza" drought in that area... ;-)

- aba
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Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2007, 11:01:34 AM »
I forgot to post these pics from my last trip.
As I recall the oven can handle 6 pies 3 on each side. It was HOT! The pizzaiolo was drinking water and sweating at about the same rate.

Michael
« Last Edit: December 30, 2007, 11:06:15 AM by mmarston »
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline abatardi

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2007, 12:54:17 PM »
yeah it is very hot, but doesn't seem to be the most efficient creature.  they go through a LOT of wood.  seems they are constantly adding to it. 
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline pcampbell

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2007, 02:21:21 PM »
I was trying to figure out how hot it was because it didn't seem like the pies were cooking in 90 seconds... but I also had no idea how many pies it held.  It seemed like pies were going in more than coming out.  Is this Waitsfield?  I don't recognize the picture but I'm used to seeing it from the left side of the oven (where we've sat every time).
Patrick


Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2007, 04:32:44 PM »
This is Waitsfield from 2 years ago. I suspect the oven is running around 750-800 f at the pizza with a great deal of wasted heat at the top of the dome. I recall the pies taking 2-3 minutes. Many of the pizzas have complex toppings so I don't think they could bake at very high temperatures. I would guess that a large oven like this requires much more fuel than a small one. probably some function of the inverse square law where doubling the size would require four times the fuel.
(disclaimer, I am not an engineer nor do I play one on TV)

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2008, 08:08:39 PM »
Just back from Sugarbush and had dinner at American Flatbread last night. The pizzas were fabulous as before and I got to briefly talk with the founder, George Schenk. The restaurant was very busy and I could not take all the pictures I wanted but here are two of the best including one with George by the oven.

Here's a link to some of their press. You might like to read about the chicken event!  http://www.americanflatbread.com/press/index.htm

By the way the pictures I posted earlier are from Burlington and not Waitsfield as I first thought.
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline DanCole42

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2008, 04:45:13 PM »
There's one open in Ashburn, VA now.

Forget Naples. Forget New York.

This is my favorite pizza of all time and what I try to emulate at home.
-Dan

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Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2008, 05:46:35 PM »
Don't ever forget Naples. One of the best pizzas I've ever had was near Naples and only had tomato, Parmesan and oregano. (Marinara). New York is another discussion I don't have time for right now.
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline pcampbell

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2008, 02:06:20 PM »
I can't comment on any of the other American Flatbreads other than the one in Waitsfield, VT but I am surprised this place gets so little credit.  I believe these guys go to the level of Bianco and beyond with their dedication to fresh, local, natural and organic.  We visited there again this weekend (I tend NOT to say "we are going to Vermont this weekend" on the internet and suggest you keep things like that in mind as well) but was very excited when someone brought this post back up on Aug 27) and it was as always, amazing.  Perhaps it is because it's in the middle of no where (a lot harder to get to than Phoenix or NYC), or perhaps these expectations are just more common in Vermont - I am not sure.    I am not sure their crust is as good, but at Bianco I tend to get more black and char than I like.  At American Flatbread at least this time I think they were missing a few % of water.  It could have been that they overcooked it by maybe 15-30 seconds and dried it out because we ordered a non-menu pie that threw off the oven guy, I am not sure.  Either way.... this is a place to go.
Patrick

Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2008, 05:54:48 PM »
I agree that the toppings at American Flatbreads in Waitsfield are some of the best and most creative I have ever had. There is room for improvement on the dough front but the toppings are so good it's not a big issue.

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline corkd

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2008, 08:35:14 AM »
We ate at the Burlington Location a couple of days after xmas... we hit at the right time for late lunch (2pm) & so didn't have to wait long. The pies were excellent-- they are certainly not trying to reproduce neopolitan style, but clearly that's the inspiration (high temp; puffy; soft; char) & it's how they take it in their own direction that is most fun. The oven is enormous, rough-hewn, home-made looking & I agree with an earlier post that suggests it could be inefficient, but it does the job well otherwise. Affordable, quality ingredients, great micro-brew beer, & a great philosophy behind the business... I am sorry to say that  that here in Syracuse NY (our metro area has slightly more people than the entire state of Vermont) we have nothing even approaching this kind of place. I had a feeling that someone on this forum would have sniffed it out & was pleasantly surprised to find this thread! Worth a visit!

Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2008, 08:41:46 AM »
Corkd,

You do have Dinosaur Barbecue though.
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline corkd

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2008, 09:22:21 AM »
True! and I know better than to try & make their food at home.....
happy new year!
best ch

Offline mmarston

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Re: American Flatbread
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2009, 09:25:10 AM »
After my forth trip to American Flatbread (Burlington) last week
I decided I had to replicate their Mexican style pizza. It's not always on the menu but I had it on my first visit and again this trip and loved it.
Here's the post with my recipe.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7686.new.html#new

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry


 

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