I'm reading between the lines here a bit but I find it interesting that the overall best experience came from a place that did not have a coal oven...
Frank, are you implying some NY deck oven bias has influenced our judgement?
I wouldn't rule it out. Maybe, due to the oven induced variations in the crust, sometimes coal can produce a NY-ish pie, and that's why I went so crazy about the Pepe's slices I had a few months back, but, at the end of the day, NH isn't just the pie I tasted, but it's the whole gamut of what a coal oven can produce, and, since I haven't been exposed to the drier versions of NH style, I'm not able to give Pepe's as fair of a shake as they deserve.
Is that what you're saying?
I do know what you're capable of, and I know what other NH experts (like Scott R) are capable of, though, and I feel pretty strongly that the crust that we had that day at Pepe's was not in the same league.