As with the other attendees at TXPSII, I would also like to thank Craig for his hospitality and generosity in hosting that event. I wasn't even sure I would be able to attend. I had just returned from a week in Mexico and had a queasy stomach and digestive reactions from something I ate or drank toward the end of my Mexico visit. But I decided that come hell or high water, I was going to attend PSII. Also, I knew that there would be a physician in attendance. That was Scott, known on the forum as pizza dr. As it turns out, Scott is a plastic surgeon. Plan B in case Scott couldn't help me if needed was to drink copious amounts of wine and eat the pizzas that Craig and others would prepare. But I will say up front that Scott is one hell of a guy. I very much enjoyed our conversations. I also learned that he was born in Texas, the son of cotton farmers. It would be a distinct pleasure to see him again at any future Texas Pizza summit.
I also enjoyed meeting the other members in attendance. The fact that there were so many superstars from the forum in attendance in itself compelled my attendance at TXSII. Getting to meet Diana, who is as lovely and friendly as they get, and to meet and chat with Chau (and his girlfriend Michelle), Norma, the Hunt brothers (the founders and owners of Via 313), Omid (Pizza Napoletana) and Antoine (breadstoneovens), and to see Tom (tscarborough) and Gene (deck_deck) and Bill (wheelman) again, as well as meet some of the newer members, was a real treat. As one might imagine, there was a lot of conversation about pizza, but the attendees also shared a lot about their personal lives outside of pizza. And there was a lot of laughter.
I perhaps spent the most time with the Hunt brothers, Zane and Brandon. Knowing that they were masters at the Detroit-style pizza, and successful with selling that style of pizza in the Austin area (they now have two trailers), I peppered them with quite a few questions. But, I told them up front that I did not want them to tell me any of their trade secrets since that would prevent me from disclosing them on the forum even if I were to reverse engineer what they were doing on my own. That said, I really enjoyed my conversations with Zane and Brandon. They are sharp guys who are dead serious with what they are doing and their plans for the future. And they are funny guys. And they know the Detroit pizza scene very well. Zane told me that he and Brandon spent two years researching, testing and developing their brand of Detroit style pizza before going public with it. They were also full of praise for Norma's Detroit-style pizzas. Norma tried to deflect the praise, but the Hunt boys told her that they meant what they said about her Detroit-style pizzas, and that they were in awe of her versions of that style.
As for the pizzas themselves, there is not much more that can be said than has already been said, or seen from the photos to date and to follow. The members who worked the ovens performed masterfully and produced some of the best pizzas that can be found anywhere. One of the big surprises was how well the new General Mills 00 flour performed. That is likely to engender a lot of discussion and debate on the forum.
I hope that things pan out such that there is a TXSIII. But life has its twists and turns that often dictate outcomes in ways that were unforseen.