Pizza Making Forum

Pizza Making => Neapolitan Style => Topic started by: hotsawce on January 21, 2013, 02:30:27 PM

Title: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: hotsawce on January 21, 2013, 02:30:27 PM
Curious to know if anyone has made the observation I've made recently.

To me, it seems neapolitan style pizza has branched off a bit here in the states. There are a number of places claiming to be "Neapolitan style," but I'm noticing the doughs are entirely different.

The new American style neapolitan, in my opinion, seems to be much more firm...foldable...less wet. You can cut it easily with a pizza cutter.
The true Neapolitan style is much more wet....with, in my opinion, more supple and tender dough. I'd use Una Pizza as an example of the closest thing here in the states (I know, I know....why continue to bring him up.) Each awesome in their own right, but things I consider totally different.

But truthfully, I think it's something worth looking at, and I think the split is due to the focus on appearance, aka the "leopard spotting." Are we seeing changes in the characteristics of the dough simply to achieve black spotting on the crust?

What do you all think?
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: TXCraig1 on January 21, 2013, 02:55:46 PM
I think we’ve had this discussion here a dozen times already. I don’t think anyone will argue that there are all sorts of pizza claiming to be Neapolitan. This is not only true here, but also in Naples. And, the changes aren’t limited to the dough - there are people claiming to make Neapolitan and using a deck oven – nor are the changes only about appearance.  This is why the discussion will never go anywhere. On one hand the answer is obvious, but on the other hand, the answer is so broad it avoids being pinned down.  Your view is a perfect example – you cite UPN as the closest thing in the US. I suspect some folks would strongly disagree with you; his dough workflow more closely resembles bread making than pizza making. 
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: andreguidon on January 21, 2013, 03:03:24 PM
I live in Brazil so its hard to compare to Neapolitan in the US, but i was in Naples in May/June 2012 for 7 days, i had pizza in 5 or 6 places and they all where different, but basically i noticed the difference in dough hydration and sauce quantity, these 2 differences made "all the difference" because it made the dough wetter or dryer and crispier, but they all used flour+water+salt+yeast dough and canned tomatoes.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: hotsawce on January 21, 2013, 03:41:08 PM
No, the UPN reference is my lone personal opinion, not a broad painting of an opinion. But in any event, why would the work-flow matter? If this finished product is excellent, why be concerned with workflow. There could be more than one way to reach the same result.

I think we’ve had this discussion here a dozen times already. I don’t think anyone will argue that there are all sorts of pizza claiming to be Neapolitan. This is not only true here, but also in Naples. And, the changes aren’t limited to the dough - there are people claiming to make Neapolitan and using a deck oven – nor are the changes only about appearance.  This is why the discussion will never go anywhere. On one hand the answer is obvious, but on the other hand, the answer is so broad it avoids being pinned down.  Your view is a perfect example – you cite UPN as the closest thing in the US. I suspect some folks would strongly disagree with you; his dough workflow more closely resembles bread making than pizza making. 
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: dellavecchia on January 21, 2013, 04:00:06 PM
You bring up some excellent points. There are places in the US that serve pies just like you get in Naples. UPN is technically Neapolitan, but he uses a large percentage of starter as a levain instead of small amounts of yeast - a huge variance from the pizza making tradition in Naples. It is, as Craig pointed out, bread making and there are those who do not consider that acceptable as Neapolitan dough. There is a textural difference in the end product. But I actually agree with you in that the tried and true Naples traditions are being tested here in the US as the pizza grows out of it's infancy and the mystique around it subsides.

John
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: RobynB on January 21, 2013, 05:01:44 PM
UPN was the breadiest, chewiest, hardest-to-eat wood-fired pizza I've ever had, dry on the outside and certainly not wet in the middle.  It was the polar opposite of the soft, tender ideal that is neapolitan pizza. 

Sorry, just HAD to say that.  There is a huge range of pizza called "neapolitan" in the US and elsewhere, as others have said, but UPN is certainly not the best example of authentic neapolitan. 
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: enter8 on January 21, 2013, 05:23:10 PM
I agree there is a philosophical divide between those who strive for "authenticity" and those who are "inspired" by Naples pizza. Whether that translates to a clear differential in product, I'm not so sure. There is certainly room for both to thrive in the US. Where I am currently, in the UK, there is less fervour around "authentic" Neapolitan pizza although it is amply represented in London. I think brits just aren't as impressed by facsimile pizza from the "motherland". Especially when Naples is geographically closer. For what it's worth, I tend to fall into the "Naples inspired" camp especially where sourcing of ingredients is concerned.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: TXCraig1 on January 21, 2013, 05:39:11 PM
But in any event, why would the work-flow matter? If this finished product is excellent, why be concerned with workflow. There could be more than one way to reach the same result.

OK, true enough, but why then why do the ingredients matter? Why does the oven matter? The bottom line is there is true Neapolitan, and there is everything else. And everything else is really really big. And as you observed, it’s getting bigger every day.

My comment about UPN’s workflow was just to make a point – that, as John D. noted, it does matter to some people who care deeply about Neapolitan pizza. Some people think UPN has “branched off” as you put it. My point is that what defines “branched off” varies galactically from one person to another.

There are 10’s of millions of people in this country who believe the diced tomato, dry part-skim mozz, and shredded basil on a par-baked crust they get from their local pizzeria is a Neapolitan Margherita pizza (and probably a great one for that matter). That’s how big this discussion is. On one hand you have this group of people, and on the other you have the people who don’t think UPN is Neapolitan because of the way they make their dough. It makes the concept of “branched off” meaningless outside of the context of true Neapolitan vs. everything else. That or somebody has to make the arbitrary decision of just how far you can branch off true Neapolitan before you have really branched off.

I don’t disagree with your overall observation about differences. Even limiting the discussion to only those restaurants that you and I might consider Neapolitan, I think we’re seeing places trying to differentiate by making more visually stunning pies via exaggerated leoparding (in some cases to the detriment of the pizza). I think we’re seeing thicker crusts and drier centers at least partially because the operators don’t have the skills to execute 60-90 second pies. I think we see all sorts of new toppings because this is America, and we like lots of stuff on our pizza. I think there is no shortage of operators who simply don’t know and are serving their best guess.  I think some operators do things differently because they believe it will be better received by their customers that way (if you grew up with Domino’s, NP is probably “burnt” to you). I think there are as many reasons why we we’re seeing branching off as there are pizzerias making “Neapolitan” pizza.

This isn’t new, and it’s not going to change. The number of people in the US who know true Neapolitan pizza is infinitesimal. The number who care is even smaller. In this country, taste, appearance, hype, value, etc. are going to continue to drive success – not strict adherence to tradition.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on January 21, 2013, 09:03:33 PM


This isn’t new, and it’s not going to change. The number of people in the US who know true Neapolitan pizza is infinitesimal. The number who care is even smaller. In this country, taste, appearance, hype, value, etc. are going to continue to drive success – not strict adherence to tradition.

This is so sad and oh so true. The crafting of NP pizza has gone the way of P.T. Barnum business model before it ever even had a fair chance..... ::)
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: shuboyje on January 21, 2013, 09:13:36 PM
There are 10’s of millions of people in this country who believe the diced tomato, dry part-skim mozz, and shredded basil on a par-baked crust they get from their local pizzeria is a Neapolitan Margherita pizza (and probably a great one for that matter). That’s how big this discussion is. On one hand you have this group of people, and on the other you have the people who don’t think UPN is Neapolitan because of the way they make their dough. It makes the concept of “branched off” meaningless outside of the context of true Neapolitan vs. everything else. That or somebody has to make the arbitrary decision of just how far you can branch off true Neapolitan before you have really branched off.

Your so right Craig, and the sad thing is these people aren't even the ones that bother me most.  The ones that kill me are in the next group.  They eat 2-3 minute americanized Neapolitan that is made in a wood fired oven and think they are eating the real thing.  When the first VPN pizzeria in Michigan opened a few years ago this group FLOCKED to Yelp and nearly drove them out of business with their horrible reviews of this "wet, soggy, soupy" pizza that was obviously made by people who had no clue.  I got a personal thank you from the owner after I set them straight even when my own review was less then stellar(for other reasons, the pizza WAS Neapolitan but wasn't particularly good Neapolitan).
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on January 21, 2013, 09:40:14 PM
In Durham,NC. people go ga-ga over "NP" pizza cooked in a 600 degree WFO oven. Makes me  ::)....used to make me wanna smack somebody but I am recently the kinder more....Bob.  :o
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: David Deas on January 21, 2013, 10:45:02 PM
UPN was the breadiest, chewiest, hardest-to-eat wood-fired pizza I've ever had, dry on the outside and certainly not wet in the middle.  It was the polar opposite of the soft, tender ideal that is neapolitan pizza.  

Sorry, just HAD to say that.  There is a huge range of pizza called "neapolitan" in the US and elsewhere, as others have said, but UPN is certainly not the best example of authentic neapolitan.  

I would just be mindful that authentic does not necessarily mean good.  Most of the authentic VPN certified places I've ever been to suck.

I really don't know if you can place ideals like 'soft, wet, crispy and tender' as requirements for Neapolitan pizza.  I think, like most dishes, it is the preparation that is important in defining the dish.  I think of BBQ, for example, and there is no requirement that your meat be tender, smokey, moist and flavorful.  It can be tough, dry, smokeless and bland and still qualify as authentic BBQ.  Even if the meat tastes much better, if it was prepared in an oven then it is not BBQ.

UPN may not be authentic Neapolitan pizza, but I don't think it's good to say its not authentic because it was crap.  All we would have there is 100% authentic crap.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on January 21, 2013, 11:00:17 PM


UPN may not be authentic Neapolitan pizza, but I don't think it's good to say its not authentic simply because it was crap.  
Robyn said....."It was the polar opposite of the soft, tender ideal that is neapolitan pizza."  
Crap or not, David, your response is an oxymoron. Think about it...

"may not be"  ;)
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: scott123 on January 21, 2013, 11:01:25 PM
I think that the idea that Americanized adulterated 'Neapolitan' pizza is overshadowing the real deal and that it will continue to overshadow it isn't correct. Historically, yes, places would, much like the term 'margherita,' throw around 'Neapolitan' without any clue as to what it meant.  But, now, the number of authentic Neapolitan restaurants is growing.  I gave Cane Rosso a little flack over what I felt could have been underfermented dough (which didn't even turn out to be case), but this doesn't change the fact that they're educating tens of thousands of people to what Neapolitan style pizza really is in an area, where, ten years ago, there most likely wasn't a lot of knowledge on this subject. This isn't just happening in Texas.  This is happening all over the place.  With every hugely successful Neapolitan pizzeria, ignorance fades.

That's on the eating front.  That's experiencing the truth directly.  But you also have the written word.  I'd like to think that this forum has directly impacted the national conversation and that this impact is in some way trickling down.  Yes, we are hobbyists at heart, but this is as close as you can get to a brain trust for pizza.  Kenji will be coming out with his book this year, and it will most likely include a recipe for 4 minute Neapolitan (and it will crush my soul), but Slice has done great work in this area as well.

In other words, we care.  And we have influence. And that influence is slowly spreading.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on January 21, 2013, 11:11:45 PM
I hope you are right....but....there are hundreds of thousands more people patronizing the unreal joints to overshadow your hopefuls. And Kenji(Alt) whomever sure as hell ain't help'in...period.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: David Deas on January 21, 2013, 11:14:20 PM
Robyn said....."It was the polar opposite of the soft, tender ideal that is neapolitan pizza."  
Crap or not, David, your response is an oxymoron. Think about it...

"may not be"  ;)

I read Robyn's statement "ideal that *is* Neapolitan pizza" to mean that Neapolitan pizza *is* soft and tender; pizza that is not soft and tender cannot be Neapolitan.  

While I understand Robyn's sentiments, I do think UPN makes Neapolitan pizza because 95% of what he does is taken from Naples.  And the culture of pizza making isn't monolithic even in Naples.  Whether its good or not, or Anthony was having an off night when Robyn visited, I don't know.

The "may not be" comes in because I fully recognize that Tony's breadmaking procedures are often a point of ridicule whenever it comes to evaluating the authenticity of his work.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on January 21, 2013, 11:19:34 PM
Well, I guess there are some "crisp" parts on it too.... ;D
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: scott123 on January 21, 2013, 11:34:46 PM
And Kenji(Alt) whomever sure as hell ain't help'in...period.

No, he's not, but there's always opportunities for correction.  I got in Nathan Myhrvold's face about his bake time claims in Modernist Cuisine, and he eventually corrected them:

http://modernistcuisine.com/corrections-and-clarifications/

Quote
On page 2·27, in step 6, “1˝–2 min” should read “2–7 min” and the step should further note that “the exact timing varies from one oven to another.” In step 7, “By the two-minute mark, the pizza should be done. Remove it from the oven” should read “Once the top of the pizza crust turns brown, remove the pizza from the oven.”

He still has a few more corrections to make :) but it doesn't change the fact that authors can be led to see the errors of their ways. Reinhart doesn't seem to be writing any more books on pizza, but, if he did, it wouldn't have nearly as much misinformation as American Pie.

Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I see Neapolitan 'truth' spreading/taking over.  I would KILL to see this same move towards enlightenment on the NY side. If you want to talk about hopeless...
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: shuboyje on January 21, 2013, 11:42:59 PM
I too hope you are correct Scott, but I don't see even an iota of it here.  Although Detroit proper is shrinking in population by the minute Metropolitan Detroit is still one of the nations largest population centers.  In all of Metropolitan Detroit serving over 4 million people there are:
0 Real Neapolitan Ovens
1 VPN Pizzeria
~25 Americanized Neapolitan Pizzerias and growing by the day

Guess who get's all the press?  Guess who wins the awards?  Guess the bake time of places that win awards such as "Best Neapolitan Pizza"?  Guess which one recently made a top 10 list in national press?

I think that the idea that Americanized adulterated 'Neapolitan' pizza is overshadowing the real deal and that it will continue to overshadow it isn't correct. Historically, yes, places would, much like the term 'margherita,' throw around 'Neapolitan' without any clue as to what it meant.  But, now, the number of authentic Neapolitan restaurants is growing.  I gave Cane Rosso a little flack over what I felt could have been underfermented dough (which didn't even turn out to be case), but this doesn't change the fact that they're educating tens of thousands of people to what Neapolitan style pizza really is in an area, where, ten years ago, there most likely wasn't a lot of knowledge on this subject. This isn't just happening in Texas.  This is happening all over the place.  With every hugely successful Neapolitan pizzeria, ignorance fades.

That's on the eating front.  That's experiencing the truth directly.  But you also have the written word.  I'd like to think that this forum has directly impacted the national conversation and that this impact is in some way trickling down.  Yes, we are hobbyists at heart, but this is as close as you can get to a brain trust for pizza.  Kenji will be coming out with his book this year, and it will most likely include a recipe for 4 minute Neapolitan (and it will crush my soul), but Slice has done great work in this area as well.

In other words, we care.  And we have influence. And that influence is slowly spreading.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: TXCraig1 on January 21, 2013, 11:47:44 PM
I gave Cane Rosso a little flack over what I felt could have been underfermented dough (which didn't even turn out to be case), but this doesn't change the fact that they're educating tens of thousands of people to what Neapolitan style pizza really is in an area, where, ten years ago, there most likely wasn't a lot of knowledge on this subject. This isn't just happening in Texas.  This is happening all over the place.  With every hugely successful Neapolitan pizzeria, ignorance fades.

That's on the eating front.  That's experiencing the truth directly.  But you also have the written word.  I'd like to think that this forum has directly impacted the national conversation and that this impact is in some way trickling down.  Yes, we are hobbyists at heart, but this is as close as you can get to a brain trust for pizza.  Kenji will be coming out with his book this year, and it will most likely include a recipe for 4 minute Neapolitan (and it will crush my soul), but Slice has done great work in this area as well.

In other words, we care.  And we have influence. And that influence is slowly spreading.

I agree with you to a very limited extent on the Cane Rossos out there, however, I think you are overly optimistic on the influence of this forum. Of the 20,000 or so members, only about 10% have more than 5 posts - let's say those are the folks with meaningful interest. I think that's generous. For each interested member, perhaps there are 4 serious human guests. About 10% of the posts here are in the NP forum. Let's use that as a proxy for interest in NP. If each member and guest interested in NP then told 10 people meaningful information about NP, and they each told 10 more people with zero overlap at any level along the way, then 0.03% of the country might have been influenced by this forum with respect to NP. That's 3 people out of every 10,000, and my guess is that's a big overestimate. I bet it's less than 1/10 of that. I'm not trying to diminish this forum. It has an important purpose, but it is not and never will be to educate the masses on NP.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Jet_deck on January 21, 2013, 11:48:18 PM
..... With every hugely successful Neapolitan pizzeria, ignorance fades.....


I'd like to pose a question.  What is the ideal outcome? A VPN, UVPN, AVPN, or WhateverPN place that "bends" the rules abit to satisfy the "local" palate; that stays in business for years? Or, a VPN, UVPN, AVPN, or WhateverPN place that is "true" to the style that tanks after 6 months?  Discuss.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: TXCraig1 on January 21, 2013, 11:52:30 PM
Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I see Neapolitan 'truth' spreading/taking over.  

I agree with Jeff. I don't see any evidence of this. Rather with most every review and top-10 list, I see it going the other direction as fast as ever.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: jeff v on January 21, 2013, 11:54:04 PM
I agree with you to a very limited extent on the Cane Rossos out there, however, I think you are overly optimistic on the influence of this forum. Of the 20,000 or so members, only about 10% have more than 5 posts - let's say those are the folks with meaningful interest. I think that's generous. For each interested member, perhaps there are 4 serious human guests. About 10% of the posts here are in the NP forum. Let's use that as a proxy for interest in NP. If each member and guest interested in NP then told 10 people meaningful information about NP, and they each told 10 more people with zero overlap at any level along the way, then 0.03% of the country might have been influenced by this forum with respect to NP. That's 3 people out of every 10,000, and my guess is that's a big overestimate. I bet it's less than 1/10 of that. I'm not trying to diminish this forum. It has an important purpose, but it is not and never will be to educate the masses on NP.

Was just going to type similar.
Add the fact that most people don't want that anyway. Not the work and dedication at least. They want a 4-5 min 00 recipe for the home oven. They will get it, the pizza will be cool but mediocre. A relative few will convert but the masses won't IMO. Soon, they will want the next thing...
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: bakeshack on January 21, 2013, 11:56:39 PM
I think its great that the Neapolitan pizzas are getting this much attention and excitement in America but its also alarming that more and more so called Neapolitan pizzerias are opening with the owner/operator/pizzaiolo having no intention of keeping with the tradition and, worse, succumbing to the pressure to make an Americanized version where the crust is crispy and chewy as opposed to a properly made Neapolitan pizza where it should end up as soft and tender.  

If the people involved in the industry (including us fanatics) are not careful enough, the Neapolitan tradition in America will just be another "hot" concept that will pass after being used up by capitalists who have no intention of keeping with the tradition in the first place and just plan on using it as another business opportunity to make a pot of money.  Since we're talking about tradition, one example is that majority of the Neapolitan pizzerias here cold ferment their dough which, IMO, will give you a totally different end product from a 100% room fermented dough.  I guess they do it for practical purposes but that is one example where a true Neapolitan pizzaiolo will probably never do unless we are talking about leftover dough. 

I really wish that the American market will someday reach a point where they can understand that just because the pizza is cooked in a WFO does not mean that the pizza is Neapolitan.  There are so many fundamental difference between a properly made pizza baked in a balanced wood oven for 60 secs and a pizza baked for 2-3 mins.  Both can be very good in its own right and does not make one better than the other.  They are just different.  



  





Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: jeff v on January 22, 2013, 12:05:29 AM
Also to defend the author, business owner etc. Most of them are in a position where they have to give the people what they want or not be in business. If you could change the demands of the customer the rest would follow IMO.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: shuboyje on January 22, 2013, 12:08:16 AM
For me the ideal would incorporate a few things.  First VPN would be thrown out the window.  My personal opinion is that VPN is more of a minimum requirement then a goal.  I would personally never market a product on the sole fact that I meet a minimum requirement.  

After that I would like to see REAL Neapolitan pizzerias educating their customers on their product.  I don't care how they do, just so people know not only what to expect, but why.  Serving the average american a sparsely topped wet floppy pizza with no warning is going to be a recipe for failure.  Explaining that it is supposed to be that way and why it historically developed that way before the pie is in front of them takes the shock away and gives them a better chance to experience the pizza for what it is, not what it isn't.  In that situation some will love it, some will hate it, and some will be indifferent.  Like pretty much any product.  In that situation the good will thrive, the poor will die, and the mediocre will scrape by, just like any product.

I'd like to pose a question.  What is the ideal outcome? A VPN, UVPN, AVPN, or WhateverPN place that "bends" the rules abit to satisfy the "local" palate; that stays in business for years? Or, a VPN, UVPN, AVPN, or WhateverPN place that is "true" to the style that tanks after 6 months?  Discuss.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on January 22, 2013, 12:14:17 AM
It has an important purpose, but it is not and never will be to educate the masses on NP.
So true.
 And as bakeshacks pointed observation of the American market,they don't give a damn how it's cooked and never will(WFO 800+ degrees ??? )....jus look at the Big 3 burger barns menu changes/flip flops. These folks want A.D.D. food choices that are different every time they pick up the phone or go out for a "family" meal.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on January 22, 2013, 12:17:43 AM
Also to defend the author, business owner etc. Most of them are in a position where they have to give the people what they want or not be in business. If you could change the demands of the customer the rest would follow IMO.
You're absolutely right Jeff! We all should form a consortium and get f'in PAID bro!
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: David Deas on January 22, 2013, 01:02:00 AM
Also to defend the author, business owner etc. Most of them are in a position where they have to give the people what they want or not be in business. If you could change the demands of the customer the rest would follow IMO.

I actually think that properly executed Neapolitan pizza would win a blind taste test anywhere in the world, including here in America.  The problem is not, then, an ignorant audience.  But ignorant chefs who don't know how to properly execute.

I recently visited STG Trattoria here in Atlanta and they're one of the worst offenders.  They have all the proper ovens and equipment and everything.  They talk the talk (60 second bake time).  They do it all, right up until the final moment of truth.  Their pizza is not even close to being able to separate itself.  I think they'll maybe have to consider doing what Shuboyje suggested and have a server explain to the customer why he or she should like this pizza while they're gagging over it.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on January 22, 2013, 01:18:38 AM
I actually think that properly executed Neapolitan pizza would win a blind taste test anywhere in the world, including here in America.  The problem is not, then, an ignorant audience.  But ignorant chefs who don't know how to properly execute.

I recently visited STG Trattoria here in Atlanta and they're one of the worst offenders.  They have all the proper ovens and equipment and everything.  They talk the talk (60 second bake time).  They do it all right up until the moment of truth.  Their pizza is not even close to being able to sell itself.  They'll maybe have to consider doing what Shuboyje suggests and have a server explain to the customer why they should like this pizza while they're gagging over it.
Sorry David...I feel you are backward again. :)
The money minded "chefs" must cater to the "ignorant" clientele....those patrons ain't gonna listen to Matradee Shuboyie, no matter what!  ;D
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: shuboyje on January 22, 2013, 01:49:58 AM
I'm not suggesting anyone tell the customers "This is what it's supposed to be and you should like it like this".  I'm suggesting explaining to the customers what will be on their plate and why it is that way before it get's to them.  Take away the shock.

Waitress: "Have you been here before?"
Customer: "No."
Waitress: " Let me tell you a bit about our pizza then.  Our pizza is traditional Neapolitan Pizza.  It's cooked hot and fast in a wood burning oven, and because of that it might be a bit different then you are used to even from other pizzerias advertising Neapolitan pizza.  It's going to be very thin, soft, pliable, lightly topped and maybe a bit wetter then you are used to.  Traditionally it's made this way on purpose for lots of reasons from being easy to fold for mobile eating to ease of digestibility.  We make it that way because we think it tastes great, hopefully you do too."

All of this is in the goal of hoping the pizza get's a fair chance.  Put a 60 second pizza in front of somebody expecting a hot and ready and their mind will me made up before they ever taste it.  I'm also not pulling this out of thin air.  This is very similar to how I introduce people to Neapolitan pizza in my own home. 
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: bakeshack on January 22, 2013, 02:04:37 AM
I'm not suggesting anyone tell the customers "This is what it's supposed to be and you should like it like this".  I'm suggesting explaining to the customers what will be on their plate and why it is that way before it get's to them.  Take away the shock.

Waitress: "Have you been here before?"
Customer: "No."
Waitress: " Let me tell you a bit about our pizza then.  Our pizza is traditional Neapolitan Pizza.  It's cooked hot and fast in a wood burning oven, and because of that it might be a bit different then you are used to even from other pizzerias advertising Neapolitan pizza.  It's going to be very thin, soft, pliable, lightly topped and maybe a bit wetter then you are used to.  Traditionally it's made this way on purpose for lots of reasons from being easy to fold for mobile eating to ease of digestibility.  We make it that way because we think it tastes great, hopefully you do too."

All of this is in the goal of hoping the pizza get's a fair chance.  Put a 60 second pizza in front of somebody expecting a hot and ready and their mind will me made up before they ever taste it.  I'm also not pulling this out of thin air.  This is very similar to how I introduce people to Neapolitan pizza in my own home.  

Very well said!  This is assuming that they make a respectable NP pizza.  Unfortunately, a lot of the newer NP pizzeria owners think that they are the chosen few and they approach this topic with a certain elitist attitude, which I find ironic because pizza napoletana is the food for the masses in Italy and everyone can eat it at any given day because it is cheap and convenient.  
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: enter8 on January 22, 2013, 04:28:23 AM
Re: education
A very similar situation exists for "specialist" Coffee places here in some parts of the UK.  Customers come in expecting a certain product/service which puts the barista in a difficult place between meeting the customers requests and educating them about the actual product they offer.

In the end, Neapolitan pizzerias will never become the "mainstream" any more than Stumptown will outsell Starbucks. This means there will always be customers with misinformed expectations. This is just the way things are. I don't think it's any true reflection on the "state of Neapolitan pizza" which is surely healthier today in the US than it has ever been at any point in its history?

Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: scott123 on January 22, 2013, 08:35:04 AM
I agree with you to a very limited extent on the Cane Rossos out there, however, I think you are overly optimistic on the influence of this forum. Of the 20,000 or so members, only about 10% have more than 5 posts - let's say those are the folks with meaningful interest. I think that's generous. For each interested member, perhaps there are 4 serious human guests. About 10% of the posts here are in the NP forum. Let's use that as a proxy for interest in NP. If each member and guest interested in NP then told 10 people meaningful information about NP, and they each told 10 more people with zero overlap at any level along the way, then 0.03% of the country might have been influenced by this forum with respect to NP. That's 3 people out of every 10,000, and my guess is that's a big overestimate. I bet it's less than 1/10 of that. I'm not trying to diminish this forum. It has an important purpose, but it is not and never will be to educate the masses on NP.

Craig, no offense, but your numbers are a bit arbitrary. I've seen lurker/member numbers thrown around many times on quite a few forums and while they can be greatly exaggerated (On one forum, I read a post that referenced 1,000 lurkers to every member) they can be underestimated as well.

If you look at the guest numbers on the front page, it's usually around 8-10 guests to each member.

But that's not really the point that I'm making.  Our impact on the public is not that direct.  When Cook's Illustrated wrote their most recent pizza recipe, where did they come? They came here.  There's enough information gathered here that when people write articles, this is where google takes them.  Haven't you told me stories about meeting people that have never heard of the forum, that know about your story?  Before I started recommending soapstone, the distributor that I went to was overflowing with remnants. 8 months after I started recommending it, they were just about empty.  On multiple occasions I've spoken to people who've gone shopping for steel in various parts of the country and their steel people have told them "we've been getting a LOT of people coming in to get steel for baking pizza on."  This is not a coincidence.  When we flap our wings, the effect ripples.

If there was a bigger repository for pizza information on the internet, I'd be there.  There isn't.  And this isn't some closely guarded secret. Anyone with basic google skills knows that we're it.  The obsessives are gravitating here.  And it's the obsessives that are the most amped about pizza, the most likely to talk about it with their friends, the most likely, when asked, to tell the truth about Neapolitan pizza. We don't have Slice's page views, but we make up for that in breadth of knowledge.  And, like I said, Slice has done a boatload for the Neapolitan cause.  Every photo they post of Neapolitan pizza, the cause wins a little.

It's not like, one day, everyone is ignorant about Neapolitan pizza and the next, they're all enlightened.  It's a painfully slow progression.  But it is a progression. Neapolitan pizza, to John Q American, no pun intended, is new, is novel.  NY style falsely repackaged as Neo is not. It's old and it's stale. You can just picture the dust and the grime on the walls.  The younger generation is too obsessed with novelty, authenticity and world cultures not to, if given the chance, take Neapolitan pizza seriously.  For those of us that aren't Italian, this generation is not like our parents, who might have mistakenly assumed elbow pasta and tomato soup was Italian. I mean, seriously, have you ever read a Betty Crocker or a James Beard cookbook?  It was a different universe 30 years ago.  And it will be a different universe 30 years from now. And part of that journey is a better understanding of world cuisine.  We have a better understanding than most of our parents, and our children will  possess far more details relating to world cuisine than us. And some of those details will be pizza related.

The world isn't really melting any more.  Instead of merging into a monoculture like a lot of people did that passed through Ellis Island, we're preserving cultures and treasuring them- and I'm ecstatic about that.  If only we could have started developing this world view centuries ago.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: jeff v on January 22, 2013, 09:54:59 AM
I actually think that properly executed Neapolitan pizza would win a blind taste test anywhere in the world, including here in America.  The problem is not, then, an ignorant audience.  But ignorant chefs who don't know how to properly execute.

I recently visited STG Trattoria here in Atlanta and they're one of the worst offenders.  They have all the proper ovens and equipment and everything.  They talk the talk (60 second bake time).  They do it all, right up until the final moment of truth.  Their pizza is not even close to being able to separate itself.  I think they'll maybe have to consider doing what Shuboyje suggested and have a server explain to the customer why he or she should like this pizza while they're gagging over it.

I'll say again-if customers demand better they will change or close. Using your example I skimmed the Yelp reviews for STG http://www.yelp.com/biz/stg-trattoria-atlanta . Most of the reviews were solid or very good for the pizza with lots of the lower ratings attributed towards noise and service. I have no idea if its good or bad, but I think it proves my point.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: hotsawce on January 22, 2013, 12:02:23 PM
I wonder if a place like Da Michele would fly in the states. Just a few types pies well crafted and not overpriced....casual eats. In dollars, Da Michele is about half the price of any other "neapolitan" pizzeria here in the states.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: enter8 on January 22, 2013, 12:08:02 PM
I wonder if a place like Da Michele would fly in the states. Just a few types pies well crafted and not overpriced....casual eats. In dollars, Da Michele is about half the price of any other "neapolitan" pizzeria here in the states.

Totale tried to make a go of it but didn't last.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: TXCraig1 on January 22, 2013, 12:08:49 PM
I wonder if a place like Da Michele would fly in the states. Just a few types pies well crafted and not overpriced....casual eats. In dollars, Da Michele is about half the price of any other "neapolitan" pizzeria here in the states.

How much is a Margherita at DM?

If someone asked me what I thought the average price for a Margherita is at a decent NP place here is the States, off the top of my head, I'd say $12-13.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Serpentelli on January 22, 2013, 12:10:08 PM
I am absolutely starving and I would eat 99% of any of that food shown in the STG yelp pics. Its surprising to hear that a pie with such a high degree of visual appeal (leoparding, charring, high quality ingredients) could taste as bad as David says it does.

Anyway, I am STARVING, if anyone cares.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: enter8 on January 22, 2013, 12:10:30 PM
How much is a Margherita at DM?

If someone asked me what I thought the average price for a Margherita is at a decent NP place here is the States, off the top of my head, I'd say $12-13.

About or less than 5 euro I think. It's about the same for Franco Manca in London.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: hotsawce on January 22, 2013, 12:14:58 PM
No more than 7 dollars. How they keep it at that price is beyond me....how they maintain the quality and do so is even more impressive.

How much is a Margherita at DM?

If someone asked me what I thought the average price for a Margherita is at a decent NP place here is the States, off the top of my head, I'd say $12-13.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: bakeshack on January 22, 2013, 12:46:47 PM
No more than 7 dollars. How they keep it at that price is beyond me....how they maintain the quality and do so is even more impressive.


I believe their proximity to the ingredients and the pricing dictated by the market in Naples is what's driving their prices much lower than the US.  They opened in Japan and they sell their pies for 1,450 yen or about $16.  The doppio mozzarella is $18. 
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: La Sera on January 22, 2013, 07:10:05 PM
It does cost that in Tokyo, but the cost of living makes it feel much less than the exchange rate amount. I guess the old Big Mac analogy works here: that cost in Tokyo is equal to the cost of two medium Big Mac sets in Tokyo.

Another comparison is that it's 2/3rds the price of a 10" pizza delivered by any national chain.

So, it's pretty cheap.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: La Sera on January 22, 2013, 08:36:37 PM
As someone in the business of trying to sell high quality pizza against large chain store "food" resembling something almost pizza-like, I can tell you that it's a hard road.

Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to sell Ferrari's and Armani suits to farmers. If you grew up eating Pizza Hut or Domino's, you think that Pizza Hut is pizza.

It's a small niche of people who understand and appreciate Neapolitan pizza outside of Italy.

I bet I could give away pizza and 90% of people would still pay an outrageous amount for the crap shoveled on loaf bread with ketchup on it that passes for pizza here. I wouldn't put a dent in their market share.

The power the national brands with TV advertising have over the masses is phenomenal.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Tscarborough on January 22, 2013, 08:44:55 PM
Neapolitan pizza made with in house mozzarella and local tomatoes would have minimal cost no matter where you made it, your fuel and flour would be the largest expense.  To me, the spirit of Neapolitan pizza is not using imported Italian ingredients that counts, it is the freshness and localness of the ingredients used, as well as the simplicity.

Here in Texas, that is not going to mean week old buffalo cheese that has 10,000 airline miles and canned tomatoes, it will be fresh mozzarella pulled daily, local Rockwell tomatoes prepared well, and a hot fire. 
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: David Deas on January 22, 2013, 10:17:09 PM
Neapolitan pizza made with in house mozzarella and local tomatoes would have minimal cost no matter where you made it, your fuel and flour would be the largest expense.  To me, the spirit of Neapolitan pizza is not using imported Italian ingredients that counts, it is the freshness and localness of the ingredients used, as well as the simplicity.

Excellent point.  I like it.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: David Deas on January 22, 2013, 10:56:14 PM
I'm not suggesting anyone tell the customers "This is what it's supposed to be and you should like it like this".  I'm suggesting explaining to the customers what will be on their plate and why it is that way before it get's to them.  Take away the shock.

Waitress: "Have you been here before?"
Customer: "No."
Waitress: " Let me tell you a bit about our pizza then.  Our pizza is traditional Neapolitan Pizza.  It's cooked hot and fast in a wood burning oven, and because of that it might be a bit different then you are used to even from other pizzerias advertising Neapolitan pizza.  It's going to be very thin, soft, pliable, lightly topped and maybe a bit wetter then you are used to.  Traditionally it's made this way on purpose for lots of reasons from being easy to fold for mobile eating to ease of digestibility.  We make it that way because we think it tastes great, hopefully you do too."

All of this is in the goal of hoping the pizza get's a fair chance.  Put a 60 second pizza in front of somebody expecting a hot and ready and their mind will me made up before they ever taste it.  I'm also not pulling this out of thin air.  This is very similar to how I introduce people to Neapolitan pizza in my own home. 

Nice post.

Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: David Deas on January 22, 2013, 11:02:38 PM
I am absolutely starving and I would eat 99% of any of that food shown in the STG yelp pics. Its surprising to hear that a pie with such a high degree of visual appeal (leoparding, charring, high quality ingredients) could taste as bad as David says it does.

Anyway, I am STARVING, if anyone cares.

That place is not strictly a pizzeria.  They do a lot of other foods.  Generally speaking, don't order pizza from a place that isn't strictly a pizzeria.  That goes for STG just as much as it does for the Olive Garden.

There *was* once an exception; Double Zero Napoletana when they first opened here in Atlanta.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: gabaghool on August 03, 2013, 07:27:43 PM
I live in Brazil so its hard to compare to Neapolitan in the US, but i was in Naples in May/June 2012 for 7 days, i had pizza in 5 or 6 places and they all where different, but basically i noticed the difference in dough hydration and sauce quantity, these 2 differences made "all the difference" because it made the dough wetter or dryer and crispier, but they all used flour+water+salt+yeast dough and canned tomatoes.
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is there a lesson here??     
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: peytonssmith on August 29, 2013, 05:51:05 PM
In Durham,NC. people go ga-ga over "NP" pizza cooked in a 600 degree WFO oven. Makes me  ::)....used to make me wanna smack somebody but I am recently the kinder more....Bob.  :o

Chicago Bob, you talking about Pizzeria Toro????
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: peytonssmith on August 29, 2013, 05:57:55 PM
For me the ideal would incorporate a few things.  First VPN would be thrown out the window.  My personal opinion is that VPN is more of a minimum requirement then a goal.  I would personally never market a product on the sole fact that I meet a minimum requirement. 

After that I would like to see REAL Neapolitan pizzerias educating their customers on their product.  I don't care how they do, just so people know not only what to expect, but why.  Serving the average american a sparsely topped wet floppy pizza with no warning is going to be a recipe for failure.  Explaining that it is supposed to be that way and why it historically developed that way before the pie is in front of them takes the shock away and gives them a better chance to experience the pizza for what it is, not what it isn't.  In that situation some will love it, some will hate it, and some will be indifferent.  Like pretty much any product.  In that situation the good will thrive, the poor will die, and the mediocre will scrape by, just like any product.

I disagree.  I live in a pizza backwater, where the best offering is poor NY imitation.  Been selling best version of napoletana I can make  from an oven mounted trailer for 3 years, and I can count on one hand the number of clients/guests/customers who thought it was burned, or not enough cheese, etc.  My founding belief was/is that, despite the totally f'ed palate of too many Americans, that everyone knows when something is better than another thing; even if that something is brand new to them.  Successful places that sell bad pizza places don't have to explain to their customers what their intent is... 
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: peytonssmith on August 29, 2013, 08:11:42 PM
No more than 7 dollars. How they keep it at that price is beyond me....how they maintain the quality and do so is even more impressive.

Here's how they do it.  I could sell a good margherita, using premium ingredients to other pizzerias, and still end up with a food cost well below the industry norm of 30-33%.  Modern Neapolitan in USA goes for $12-14 because the market for Mellow Mushroom bears a similar price point.  In fact, good NP, just as anything better than another thing, should cost more due to premium quality (AM takes this as far as it will go, but he does so in large markets with more potential customers).  That market was established well before NP began to gain traction here.  Not so in Naples.  For that matter, you can't separate the proliferation of NP places from the fact that, even using relatively expensive ingredients, pizza realizes lowest COGS in industry.  Most of new NP is driven by profit incentive, not passion.  Isn't that obvious?

I'm not suggesting anyone tell the customers "This is what it's supposed to be and you should like it like this".  I'm suggesting explaining to the customers what will be on their plate and why it is that way before it get's to them.  Take away the shock.

Waitress: "Have you been here before?"
Customer: "No."
Waitress: " Let me tell you a bit about our pizza then.  Our pizza is traditional Neapolitan Pizza.  It's cooked hot and fast in a wood burning oven, and because of that it might be a bit different then you are used to even from other pizzerias advertising Neapolitan pizza.  It's going to be very thin, soft, pliable, lightly topped and maybe a bit wetter then you are used to.  Traditionally it's made this way on purpose for lots of reasons from being easy to fold for mobile eating to ease of digestibility.  We make it that way because we think it tastes great, hopefully you do too."

All of this is in the goal of hoping the pizza get's a fair chance.  Put a 60 second pizza in front of somebody expecting a hot and ready and their mind will me made up before they ever taste it.  I'm also not pulling this out of thin air.  This is very similar to how I introduce people to Neapolitan pizza in my own home.

Huh?  The best pizza, bbq, pie, etc. I've ever had didn't have to tell me it was different.  I just knew when I ate it; the fact that it was better than my previous "best I ever had" meant it was necessarily different.  I would be skeptical of a server explaining to me the differentiating qualities of their pizza versus her presumption of what I was used to, which would be clear to me the moment I took a bite; as if she was apologizing in advance based on the whack assumption that I wouldn't like it.  Well if that's your paradigm, don't sell pizza.  That's dumb.  Same way with BS, meaningless descriptors like luxury, custom, and with pizza--artisanal and gourmet.  BS words meant to sell the idea of a thing rather than the thing itself.  The product does all the talking. 

I wonder if a place like Da Michele would fly in the states. Just a few types pies well crafted and not overpriced....casual eats. In dollars, Da Michele is about half the price of any other "neapolitan" pizzeria here in the states.

Totale tried to make a go of it but didn't last.

This place does just fine.  http://www.800degreespizza.com/ (http://www.800degreespizza.com/)



Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: shuboyje on August 29, 2013, 10:23:56 PM
I've read through your 6 posts(2 of which are directed to me) and your bio, and you seem to be all over the place which is making it hard to get a read on where you are coming from.

You bio states your favorite style and "Napoletana" and your favorite pizzeria is Pepe's.  I know Pepe's uses the term Napoletana in their name, but it bears little resemblance to Neapolitan pizza.

You then state you have been selling Neapolitan pizza for three years, but in another board you ask very basic questions about pizza cooked in a 550F oven with bread flour.   

So, if the pizza you are selling is similar to Pepe's and cooked in a 550F oven, then your experiences are exactly what I would expect.

Am I missing something?

Here's how they do it.  I could sell a good margherita, using premium ingredients to other pizzerias, and still end up with a food cost well below the industry norm of 30-33%.  Modern Neapolitan in USA goes for $12-14 because the market for Mellow Mushroom bears a similar price point.  In fact, good NP, just as anything better than another thing, should cost more due to premium quality (AM takes this as far as it will go, but he does so in large markets with more potential customers).  That market was established well before NP began to gain traction here.  Not so in Naples.  For that matter, you can't separate the proliferation of NP places from the fact that, even using relatively expensive ingredients, pizza realizes lowest COGS in industry.  Most of new NP is driven by profit incentive, not passion.  Isn't that obvious?

Huh?  The best pizza, bbq, pie, etc. I've ever had didn't have to tell me it was different.  I just knew when I ate it; the fact that it was better than my previous "best I ever had" meant it was necessarily different.  I would be skeptical of a server explaining to me the differentiating qualities of their pizza versus her presumption of what I was used to, which would be clear to me the moment I took a bite; as if she was apologizing in advance based on the whack assumption that I wouldn't like it.  Well if that's your paradigm, don't sell pizza.  That's dumb.  Same way with BS, meaningless descriptors like luxury, custom, and with pizza--artisanal and gourmet.  BS words meant to sell the idea of a thing rather than the thing itself.  The product does all the talking. 

This place does just fine.  http://www.800degreespizza.com/ (http://www.800degreespizza.com/)
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: peytonssmith on August 30, 2013, 01:14:06 AM
I've read through your 6 posts(2 of which are directed to me) and your bio, and you seem to be all over the place which is making it hard to get a read on where you are coming from.

You bio states your favorite style and "Napoletana" and your favorite pizzeria is Pepe's.  I know Pepe's uses the term Napoletana in their name, but it bears little resemblance to Neapolitan pizza.

You then state you have been selling Neapolitan pizza for three years, but in another board you ask very basic questions about pizza cooked in a 550F oven with bread flour.   

So, if the pizza you are selling is similar to Pepe's and cooked in a 550F oven, then your experiences are exactly what I would expect.

Am I missing something?

Sure, you are missing quite a bit. 

Yes, my preference is for NP.  FWIW, my favorite NP places are Keste and Paulie Gee's.  A Mano was very good when I was there visiting RC in 2007 when he was anonymous.  I liked Motorino, but my recollection of it was that its cornicione wasn't as light and delicate as I prefer, though the flavors were spot on.  When I had UPN before he sold to MP, the pizza I had was very good, light and delicate irrespective of his much discussed method.  I thought Bianco was damn good, especially the Wiseguy--though not NP as far as I'm concerned.  Pizzicletta was very good, and a cool space.  And yes, Pepe's is my favorite pizzeria--not my favorite pizza;  2 vastly different things that are not mutually exclusive.  Why would you assume I cook in a 550 degree oven?  Because of a 6 year old post?  If you paid attention to my 6 post history, it should stand out that my first 3 posts were from 6 years ago.  Did it occur to you that maybe my POV and frame of reference has changed during those 6 years, given my remarks? 

I could be wrong--that's the problem with text as a medium, but I sense you are sensitive to my comments.  You made a speculative comment about what people who sell NP should do, so I thought my POV as someone who actually does sell NP--as close as I can replicate--to people was valid, maybe even desired.  Despite your assertion that your thoughts aren't outta thin air, there is nothing similar about the social contract of feeding your friends at home and the business contract of selling food to people.  I didn't disparage you, I simply stated my perspective, based on actually selling pizza to people.  Your statement that 2 of my posts were "directed" at you, rather than seeing them as the "replies"--and part of a larger conversation--that they are, indicates that you feel I somehow challenged you.  If I'm right, I would caution all on this board that such hyper sensitivity is the reason people lurk in these forums but don't engage.  Why would you participate in a forum if you can't deal with someone expressing a different opinion than yours?  Your assumptions and "am I missing something", along with educating me on FP's lack of real NP credentials smack of elitism, and are indicative of someone trying to protect their pizza-insider turf.  Is my silly name dropping above enough to get me into the club, or do I just have to say "Manhattan Clam Chowder?" 

I simply disagree with your POV about having to educate people about NP, and I don't agree with the idea that you have to qualify it in order to get people to accept it.  No one educated them about fake NP, or imitation NY style, or grilled pizza, or Detroit or St. Louis style, but people still determined on their own whether they like it or not.  If someone makes good NP, people will respond to it positively--same for good NY style, or any other style/method/type of pizza.  New stuff comes around all the time.  Consumers are accustomed to this, they know how to handle it.  No one educated people about the Beatles; they were previously anonymous, and novel.  They just showed up and people apparently went ape %$#.   

I could easily be wrong about the sensitivity I perceive.  I hope I am.  Regardless, a simple "Hey man welcome to the forum, tell us about your experience" may be a better tact.  If you want to be inclusive, that is. 
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: CJ on August 30, 2013, 01:40:16 PM
Sure, you are missing quite a bit. 

Yes, my preference is for NP.  FWIW, my favorite NP places are Keste and Paulie Gee's.  A Mano was very good when I was there visiting RC in 2007 when he was anonymous.  I liked Motorino, but my recollection of it was that its cornicione wasn't as light and delicate as I prefer, though the flavors were spot on.  When I had UPN before he sold to MP, the pizza I had was very good, light and delicate irrespective of his much discussed method.  I thought Bianco was damn good, especially the Wiseguy--though not NP as far as I'm concerned.  Pizzicletta was very good, and a cool space.  And yes, Pepe's is my favorite pizzeria--not my favorite pizza;  2 vastly different things that are not mutually exclusive.  Why would you assume I cook in a 550 degree oven?  Because of a 6 year old post?  If you paid attention to my 6 post history, it should stand out that my first 3 posts were from 6 years ago.  Did it occur to you that maybe my POV and frame of reference has changed during those 6 years, given my remarks? 

I could be wrong--that's the problem with text as a medium, but I sense you are sensitive to my comments.  You made a speculative comment about what people who sell NP should do, so I thought my POV as someone who actually does sell NP--as close as I can replicate--to people was valid, maybe even desired.  Despite your assertion that your thoughts aren't outta thin air, there is nothing similar about the social contract of feeding your friends at home and the business contract of selling food to people.  I didn't disparage you, I simply stated my perspective, based on actually selling pizza to people.  Your statement that 2 of my posts were "directed" at you, rather than seeing them as the "replies"--and part of a larger conversation--that they are, indicates that you feel I somehow challenged you.  If I'm right, I would caution all on this board that such hyper sensitivity is the reason people lurk in these forums but don't engage.  Why would you participate in a forum if you can't deal with someone expressing a different opinion than yours?  Your assumptions and "am I missing something", along with educating me on FP's lack of real NP credentials smack of elitism, and are indicative of someone trying to protect their pizza-insider turf.  Is my silly name dropping above enough to get me into the club, or do I just have to say "Manhattan Clam Chowder?" 

I simply disagree with your POV about having to educate people about NP, and I don't agree with the idea that you have to qualify it in order to get people to accept it.  No one educated them about fake NP, or imitation NY style, or grilled pizza, or Detroit or St. Louis style, but people still determined on their own whether they like it or not.  If someone makes good NP, people will respond to it positively--same for good NY style, or any other style/method/type of pizza.  New stuff comes around all the time.  Consumers are accustomed to this, they know how to handle it.  No one educated people about the Beatles; they were previously anonymous, and novel.  They just showed up and people apparently went ape %$#.   

I could easily be wrong about the sensitivity I perceive.  I hope I am.  Regardless, a simple "Hey man welcome to the forum, tell us about your experience" may be a better tact.  If you want to be inclusive, that is.


Man there is a lot of good stuff in this post. Words without expression from the body or the tip of a beer or glass of wine are sometimes imposable to understand. Some like Omid and Craig are so very good at presenting a good picture for me to see, cause that's how I communicate best, hands on. Yet to experience what is here I have to come. I have no choice. I have to type. I hate typing. I'm no good at it. Yet come to my house this weekend and I will show you how to ranch kill Berkshire pigs and make fresh sausage for your pie. Craig is so right about the amount of us out here, so few with a passion and it is so cool. Keep this in mind when you read the words we hand each other. yea there are ass holes out here but most of us pizza guys and girls are good people lovers that's why we do it, we love to serve people our food and they love it.
I have a gun to load, knife to sharpen and oven to heat.
Time to turn corn eaters into Bacon.

Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 30, 2013, 02:51:53 PM
Sure, you are missing quite a bit. 

Yes, my preference is for NP.  FWIW, my favorite NP places are Keste and Paulie Gee's.  A Mano was very good when I was there visiting RC in 2007 when he was anonymous.  I liked Motorino, but my recollection of it was that its cornicione wasn't as light and delicate as I prefer, though the flavors were spot on.  When I had UPN before he sold to MP, the pizza I had was very good, light and delicate irrespective of his much discussed method.  I thought Bianco was damn good, especially the Wiseguy--though not NP as far as I'm concerned.  Pizzicletta was very good, and a cool space.  And yes, Pepe's is my favorite pizzeria--not my favorite pizza;  2 vastly different things that are not mutually exclusive.  Why would you assume I cook in a 550 degree oven?  Because of a 6 year old post?  If you paid attention to my 6 post history, it should stand out that my first 3 posts were from 6 years ago.  Did it occur to you that maybe my POV and frame of reference has changed during those 6 years, given my remarks? 

I could be wrong--that's the problem with text as a medium, but I sense you are sensitive to my comments.  You made a speculative comment about what people who sell NP should do, so I thought my POV as someone who actually does sell NP--as close as I can replicate--to people was valid, maybe even desired.  Despite your assertion that your thoughts aren't outta thin air, there is nothing similar about the social contract of feeding your friends at home and the business contract of selling food to people.  I didn't disparage you, I simply stated my perspective, based on actually selling pizza to people.  Your statement that 2 of my posts were "directed" at you, rather than seeing them as the "replies"--and part of a larger conversation--that they are, indicates that you feel I somehow challenged you.  If I'm right, I would caution all on this board that such hyper sensitivity is the reason people lurk in these forums but don't engage.  Why would you participate in a forum if you can't deal with someone expressing a different opinion than yours?  Your assumptions and "am I missing something", along with educating me on FP's lack of real NP credentials smack of elitism, and are indicative of someone trying to protect their pizza-insider turf.  Is my silly name dropping above enough to get me into the club, or do I just have to say "Manhattan Clam Chowder?" 

I simply disagree with your POV about having to educate people about NP, and I don't agree with the idea that you have to qualify it in order to get people to accept it.  No one educated them about fake NP, or imitation NY style, or grilled pizza, or Detroit or St. Louis style, but people still determined on their own whether they like it or not.  If someone makes good NP, people will respond to it positively--same for good NY style, or any other style/method/type of pizza.  New stuff comes around all the time.  Consumers are accustomed to this, they know how to handle it.  No one educated people about the Beatles; they were previously anonymous, and novel.  They just showed up and people apparently went ape %$#.   

I could easily be wrong about the sensitivity I perceive.  I hope I am.  Regardless, a simple "Hey man welcome to the forum, tell us about your experience" may be a better tact.  If you want to be inclusive, that is.
I think Jeff's suggestion is a real fine one....but before going into the story/details about "what NP pizza is" the waitperson just needs to first ask the table "do you all know what NP pizza is like?"....but that statement is probably a given wouldn't you think CJ?  :)
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: shuboyje on August 31, 2013, 12:20:37 AM
Sure, you are missing quite a bit. 
Like 6 years.  Makes a lot more sense now. 

I really don't think what I'm saying is that far out there.   Give a life long Bud light drinker an Belgian Sour Ale.  Give somebody who drinks Boones Farm a bottle of dry red table wine.  Give the typical american a Neapolitan pizza.  I think all three lead to similar results.  The new product is too far a deviation from their expected norm.  The new product is therefore defective.  I know it's the same with the people I associate with because I live it, lol.  Show the typical middle class blue collar Detroiter a Neapolitan pizza and you will hear "It's too small", "it's too thin", "it's burnt", "where's the cheese" and my personal favorite "it's thin so it must be crispy".  Show them the price of one and they will say "I can get 3 hot and ready's for that and eat for a week".

Pizza is so ingrained in us there is a prototype that is expected.  We expect a blanket of bubbling cheese over the entire surface.  We expect a golden brown finish.  We expect slices of some form that we can pick up and eat with our hands.  Neapolitan pizza is none of these things.  Going in blind a person may judge it for what it is and really enjoy it without any education.  My point is many people don't go in blind.  They go in AFTER having experienced non-neapolitan pizzas that are being called neapolitan....pizzas that are eaten in slices and aren't "burnt".  Because it conforms to their prototype this is correct to them, and when they come across the real deal IT is defective because it does not conform AND it is not like the other "Neapolitan" pizza that does conform.  This isn't purely speculation.  I've watched it play out locally as I've already mentioned.       
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: CJ on August 31, 2013, 02:24:08 AM
Bob, yes I am ready for the fight. Bring it on. My only point is...... Don't leave or I have no one to slay with my sword. A fight alone and I might as well ask my wife about Pizza. For the record I bake it hot in a mobile oven. but to tell you the truth I say it falls short cause the weight of the right oven is hard to carry down the road. Do I do a good job? yea I think so but it takes a lot to get to a Craig and Omid pie if you are moving. funny thing is, a lot of Pizza people want to get into this program going mobile. That is the worst f...ing thing you could do. It is hard beyond words to do this %$# in your house let alone pull it down the road. %$# I ripped the clean knob of my oven 4 years ago, until I met all of you I thought I was the only crazy person out here. The thing is, we know it can be done right, or better, or righter, or my way, or what? The way it is done in ? Where? Yea.... I know, we know, you know. Does ice cream need to be explained to a 3rd grader? No need to explain what we are trying to do. My explanation just called me back to do another wedding pizza night for the second time, I love it and still want to get better and go see Pizzicletta in flagstaff and work my way to Craigs one day. This journey is bitchen and if you are here, you must love it. Lets rock and I got 50lbs of GM OO coming my way, I cant wait. I want USA flour to rock the Neo world.
Where is my gun? I need to go shoot something. try that in Naples. Yea.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: CJ on August 31, 2013, 02:29:03 AM
Oh yea, Sorry I went off the deep end.  Ahh   No I do not want any wait staff explaining my Pizza. Come to the oven and I will explain it to you.
Where in the hell is my shot gun?
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 31, 2013, 05:41:44 PM
Oh yea, Sorry I went off the deep end.  Ahh   No I do not want any wait staff explaining my Pizza. Come to the oven and I will explain it to you.
Where in the hell is my shot gun?
CJ,
Please remember that alcohol and firearms do not mix.  8)
Have fun mixing your Born in the U.S.A. 00 flour...you seem to be a pretty fun case...oh, and welcome to the forum friend!  :chef:
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: italdream on September 01, 2013, 11:48:41 AM
Like 6 years.  Makes a lot more sense now. 

I really don't think what I'm saying is that far out there.   Give a life long Bud light drinker an Belgian Sour Ale.  Give somebody who drinks Boones Farm a bottle of dry red table wine.  Give the typical american a Neapolitan pizza.  I think all three lead to similar results.  The new product is too far a deviation from their expected norm.  The new product is therefore defective.  I know it's the same with the people I associate with because I live it, lol.  Show the typical middle class blue collar Detroiter a Neapolitan pizza and you will hear "It's too small", "it's too thin", "it's burnt", "where's the cheese" and my personal favorite "it's thin so it must be crispy".  Show them the price of one and they will say "I can get 3 hot and ready's for that and eat for a week".

Pizza is so ingrained in us there is a prototype that is expected.  We expect a blanket of bubbling cheese over the entire surface.  We expect a golden brown finish.  We expect slices of some form that we can pick up and eat with our hands.  Neapolitan pizza is none of these things.  Going in blind a person may judge it for what it is and really enjoy it without any education.  My point is many people don't go in blind.  They go in AFTER having experienced non-neapolitan pizzas that are being called neapolitan....pizzas that are eaten in slices and aren't "burnt".  Because it conforms to their prototype this is correct to them, and when they come across the real deal IT is defective because it does not conform AND it is not like the other "Neapolitan" pizza that does conform.  This isn't purely speculation.  I've watched it play out locally as I've already mentioned.       

I have only given a cursory glance at this thread and I am not entirely sure what the point really is. However, I want to throw in a couple of personal anecdotes that support this last post.

1. Years ago, for the first time I took my wife's family (american, non-Italian but very "traveled" internationally) in Naples at Da Michele. We waited over an hour, get in, sit tight in the small tables, wait a little more. Pies finally arrive and I was in pizza paradise as usual. I asked them, how is it then? they said "very good" but I could see on their face the look of Paulie Walnuts when in the Sopranos' episode in Naples, he asked, very offended, "but where is the gravy?". They literally never tried any of my home NP-style pizza experiments and it's been a long time that I experiment at home. I invited them several times for pizza, they just politely decline. BTW most friends of mine love NP style and can't wait to come over for pizza. Lesson: some Americans will just never like NP style pizza.

2. First time in grad school in the States, professor asks us to introduce ourselves. "I am so and so and I am from Naples, IT, the place where pizza was invented". A very upset New Jerseyan (no offense here, just recounting) from the other side of the classroom, shouts "what you are talking about, pizza was invented in NY?". I felt that I had profaned the U.S. flag or something like that. Lesson, for years, I have never claimed in front of strangers that Naples is where pizza was invented. I usually just look at them with a mix of sympathy and condescension, when they tell me how much they like the next pizza joint around the corner.
Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: TXCraig1 on September 01, 2013, 01:39:29 PM
I don't think I've ever met anyone named so and so before. Is that a common name in Naples?

Title: Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
Post by: italdream on September 01, 2013, 02:20:04 PM
I don't think I've ever met anyone named so and so before. Is that a common name in Naples?

Sorry.  :'(  :'( the actual quote was "Prof., I am italdream from Italy ....". And that was the last I saw of grad school.