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Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2019, 09:52:22 AM »


during chau's tour, Jon was good enough to capture a stunning photo of sam's pizza here:
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=51896.msg524076#msg524076

the owner and paulie gee had quite a shtick around baked clams. We've been back three times since the tour, tried the clams once, very good but not inexpensive. I haven't been tottono's in ages but it was nothing like sam's. as you say, maybe it's changed.

not that far from sam's is a slice shop called sal's. The owner's father used to make us squid fra diavolo a couple of times a month, it was just incredible. Unfortunately, the owner sold and moved to fl, I regret we never had a chance to say goodbye.

anyhow, I may have already mentioned this, but if you do find yourself at sam's, get thee to court st pastry for canoli, sfogliatella , etc.

enjoy!

That biscotti place you stopped at was on the walk between Sam's and Lucali. Not sure if it was Court Street too.

Grab some biscotti if you are nearby. I didn't think biscotti could be that good.

Offline quietdesperation

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2019, 10:26:29 AM »
Yes, that was court st pastry!
jeff

Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2019, 10:45:06 AM »
That night I got stuck for several hours on a stalled commuter train home...the biscottis I brought home saved me !

Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2019, 12:12:11 PM »
Dammit. Now I want biscotti.

Offline wb54885

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2019, 12:47:51 PM »
I can only read the words, "biscotti," "pastry," and "cannoli" so many times, please have mercy! Court St. Pastry has been added to the list, for crying out loud!

I'm glad this has kicked up more reflections on the tour you all did for Chau's visit--that thread helped me rearrange my own tour. And I can only imagine what Paulie Gee and the owner of Sam's must have sounded like riffing on clams. While Paulie Gee's slice shop didn't knock my socks off, Paulie Gee himself was all charm and class while I was there, visiting with every table and telling a guy with a Red Sox jacket that it was a shame he was gonna have to ask him to leave, because he looked like a nice kid...

Just for the heck of it, here's the picture I got of my visit to Totonno's last May. You certainly can't taste a pizza with just your eyes, and Sam's looks heavier on the topping-to-crust ratio, different cheese, etc., but I'm seeing that gray crust color and blackened top blisters I associate with thicker coal pizzas. Probably just an effect of temperatures being similar. I've also been led to read up on other ovens with gas conversions thanks to you guys, like New Park.

Sal's Pizza Store is also on the slice list, and I'm sad to hear it's been sold, but I hope they live up to the reputation.
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Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2019, 01:26:42 PM »
If I'm remembering right, the main guy at Sam's is named Louie. While Paulie was parking his car. Louie let everyone know he was going to tell Paulie they were out of clams...they tried to get more but they were no good, he wouldn't sell those clams to anyone...Paulie was basically heartbroken and about to settle on shrimp when Louie let him in on the joke and Paulie had a few expletives for Louie.

I still can't believe how great a day that was.




Offline Josh123

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2019, 01:53:12 PM »
Did you go to the original Di Fara's in Midwood? Make sure You go when Dom's making the pies.

Offline wb54885

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2019, 02:39:35 PM »
If I'm remembering right, the main guy at Sam's is named Louie. While Paulie was parking his car. Louie let everyone know he was going to tell Paulie they were out of clams...they tried to get more but they were no good, he wouldn't sell those clams to anyone...Paulie was basically heartbroken and about to settle on shrimp when Louie let him in on the joke and Paulie had a few expletives for Louie.

I still can't believe how great a day that was.

 :-D

Did you go to the original Di Fara's in Midwood? Make sure You go when Dom's making the pies.

Planning on Di Fara in a couple weeks. For some reason I want to say I remember hearing that Dom was in on Thursdays, but all I can find online now is that he was beginning to take a couple days off a week as of a year and a half ago. Any idea when it's still a relatively sure bet to find him there?
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Offline Josh123

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2019, 05:11:16 PM »
:-D

Planning on Di Fara in a couple weeks. For some reason I want to say I remember hearing that Dom was in on Thursdays, but all I can find online now is that he was beginning to take a couple days off a week as of a year and a half ago. Any idea when it's still a relatively sure bet to find him there?

I think Thursday and maybe Monday? Call ahead and ask when he works. Its night and day when he makes it compared to someone else there.

Offline quietdesperation

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2019, 09:52:02 AM »
tbh, I never liked the slices at sals, just the pasta the "old man" (as the owner called him) used to make. I did like the slices at My Little Pizzeria on court st and I *loved* their calzone.  But the husband and wife sold many years ago, not sure what goes on there today.

anyhow, if you don't mind ruining your figure (as my aunt dora used to say), suggest you check out damascus bread and pastry shop on atlantic ave: https://www.yelp.com/biz/damascus-bread-and-pastry-shop-brooklyn

really good, authentic stuff!

best,

jeff

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Offline quietdesperation

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2019, 10:18:34 PM »
Also, itís worth wandering around brownstone Brooklyn after you eat. Garden place is an iconic block, work your way to the promenade for views of downtown manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

Best,
jeff

Offline quietdesperation

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2019, 10:45:25 AM »
My sense is you enjoy jazz? back in the day on thursday nights we rented a gym on thompson st for basketball and then headed to arturos on houston for pizza and jazz. It's coal oven, whole pie, pizza wasn't my favorite but was very good and the jazz was great (though I know little about jazz). Best to check their music schedule if you're going to give it a whirl.

I haven't been in many moons but I think I recall hans went over the last couple of years and liked it.
jeff

Offline wb54885

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2019, 10:56:01 AM »
That's a great suggestion, I'd forgotten that Arturo's did music! The plan tonight is to take some friends to Keste for dinner and then wander towards a trendy amaro bar called Amor Y Amargo in the east village, so we should have the opportunity to walk right past Arturo's, and we've got several jazz fans in the group. Thanks a bunch for all the suggestions. I like making these hip young folks follow me into the depths of older places where the atmosphere hasn't changed in decades.
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Online hammettjr

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2019, 07:35:54 PM »
Doug, I've had this thread open on my phone for a while as a reminder to ask if you finished your pizza tour and if you had any conclusions to share. Would love to hear more of your views.

(When you listed your top pizzerias on the apocalypse thread you mentioned you were only 35 in on a 60 pizzeria list to visit.)
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=51997.msg567383#msg567383
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 07:43:50 PM by hammettjr »
Matt

Offline wb54885

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2019, 03:37:33 PM »
Thanks for the reminder Matt. Iíve been back home for almost four months now and have been making pizzas full time since. I have continued to have many many thoughts, not sure how many of them count as conclusions but certainly quite a lot of pizza related mental activity, as usual. Iíve largely been tied to early morning sessions with a mixer since March, so Iíve been busy wrangling and investigating and tweaking a few hundred pounds of dough each week. Lots of time spent thinking about proteins, mix times, folds and balling technique, flour blends, preferments, hydration, temperature, and the like. Iím fortunate to be able to combine a hobbyistís enthusiasm with a professional environment to put it to work in, and I love optimizing output and streamlining workflows. So, Iím in a good, productive, rewarding place.

As itís my style to naysay whatever direction popular culture is moving in, my thoughts recently have been circulating around the themes of:  1) your yeast is not your dough, 2) your crumb is not your flavor, and 3) your crust is not your pizza. At this point, Iím pretty tired and honestly quite bored of seeing people evaluate a pizza by only the profile of its crust interior. As important a factor as gluten networks and fermentation byproducts are in the potential textural and aromatic experience of pizza crust, all of my favorite spots from the tripóLucia, Patsyís, New Park, Louie and Ernieís, and many othersóexcel at the total confluence of contributing factors, which is SO much more impressive than just having a successful dough management program. And since Iíve returned from NY and continued trying more and more places back here on the west coast, Iíve found several significant mismatches between crust qualities and sauce/cheese flavors from prominent, popular pizzerias. (The sauce really is boss. Does that conversation even exist on Instagram? I honestly donít know, Iím not on social media...Iíd love to know if it is) Pizza remains both simpler and more complex than it appears, and pizza criticism as a field seems still to be growing in murkiness as its cultural visibility increases. How do you really know if you know what youíre talking about? Are those Bon Appetit people experts or charlatans? What is the economic impact of Barstool reviews on pizza making in the northeast corridor? Much to think on!

The next adventure is a mini tour of Portland in a few weeks, with Apizza Scholls, Scottieís, and Lovelyís Fifty Fifty on the agenda. But I foresee much future confirmation of the lessons our best pizza makers always emphasize:  success comes from practice, and enjoyment comes from harmony. You can always advance your skill, take on new challenges, and drill down to more sophisticated levels of technical comprehension, but youíll never invalidate those basic truths when it comes to good pizza. In fact, the strongest correlation I saw on my trip was a very simple one:  that the older a pizzeria was, the likelier it was to be somethingóa taste within a settingóIíd want to revisit again and again. Very few of the new food media darlings and subjects of the NYC hype machine held my attention. There were exceptions and standouts, but in the end, I want pizza to make me feel that goodness in simplicityóthe sublime, reallyóabove all other considerations.

Again, the music analogy comes upóI donít think I can say I have any ground from which to criticize someone whoís honestly enjoying their pizza or music, even if I know from an advanced professional perspective that itís a poor example of its type, or that there are better versions of the theme out there, etc. There are going to be people who feel truly moved listening to music I could never stand, and Iím faced with two options in light of that. I can decry their choices and suggest theyíd be fitter earth citizens with a more robust education and more developed tastes, or I can let their good mood go unaffected by my internal screams of objection and simply let them have their experience of the world. With pizza, I feel like Iím tired of arguing. It gets in the way of my own pleasure, and Iím finding more and more that being in a bad mood about other peopleís decisions is a pretty obvious waste of time. When I make my own version of it I will bring every bit of knowledge, experience, and education I have to bear on the project, because I want to make the best pizza I can and I know something of what that means due to a broad exposure to a large sample size of specific examples as well as to the field of possibility. But the truth is that simple, sloppy pizza properly baked can be just as great as difficult, ďperfectĒ pizza, because enlightenment isnít merely an academic specialistís pursuitóthere is the yoga of pure movement, of love, of intellectual knowledge, of self control, and each is valid and instrumental in expressing devotion to the oneness of being, the enjoyment of which must be at least pretty close to what we think of when we talk about the meaning of life. So, you made bread rise without commercial yeast? Big deal, welcome to civilization. Tell me whatís in your heart. Move me, and then your starter and your crumb become interesting to me. I recently had a pizza that was made with parbaked pastry flour, that had no ďcrumbĒ to speak of whatsoever. It tasted like cardboard and childhood, and it was immensely enjoyable. But Iím trying generally to care less about what goes on out there and focus instead on being where I am, and developing my own ideas about flavor and texture, because Iíve learned that I can trust myself to be honest about when Iím on and when Iím not.

Iíve long been drawn to the problem of distilling the complexity of global social reality into prescriptive behaviors that would make a ďbetterĒ world from a planetary perspective. Iím not sure thatís even a desirable goal anymore, let alone an available outcome of even the most coordinated human activity. Maybe some people listening to Miles Davis and Dire Straits while other people listen to Ariana Grande and Coldplay is actually the way itís supposed to be, because music evolves from the proliferation of sound rather than from its constriction. How do you get great new music if you donít have manifold past influences for future generations to draw on? Would we have seen the American pizza renaissance of the 1990ís through the present if folks hadnít been so discouraged by how ubiquitous chain pizza had become, if they hadnít had external stimuli to spur their motivation? The thing about evolution is that you canít direct it, right? Itís an ongoing conversation between environments and organisms that has no goal except adaptation to whateverís coming that canít currently be known. I know I have my personal preferences and tastes as well as a long list of dislikes when it comes to both pizza and music, but I canít say I feel justified pushing anything oriented toward the universal on disparate communities or denying people the right to experience what they enjoy in this short, confused set of trips around the sun.

What was confirmed for me coming back from New York is that what makes the city so special in terms of pizza culture is how compressed the talent pool is from a production perspective, and how knowledgeable the public is from a market perspective. The equivalent here in Seattle would probably be pho, sushi, and teriyaki. You can seek out the chefs with the most press and highest dollar dishes and have some incredible meals, but you probably wonít be let down by the $7 big bowl special at the place right around the corner from your house either, if you want to keep it easy. And these are foods that you can afford to keep pretty easy, and that it just feels somehow right to.

I still get just as big a thrill as ever from good pizza, and I know I donít have to be in NYC to have it. I learned from the trip that I do know what I know, and I identified some things that other people still know way more about than me. That was the real goal, so Iím very satisfied with the experience. I love that city in a way that makes me proud to be on this planet, and Iím grateful for the time I got to spend walking every borough for hours on end with no schedule to attend to and no requirements on my time but what I set for myself. That was truly awesome and Iím already scheming ways to do it all over again. I ended up with checkmarks next to 45 pizzerias out of almost 80 on the final wish list, with 5-10 of the unvisited spots at a high priority level. There will be a return.

Next time, though, Iíll try to make it happen during a warmer time of year.
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Online hammettjr

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2019, 09:57:53 PM »
Your posts are works of art...I can only imagine what your pizza tastes like.

It's all about the sauce. Deceptively complex and ever elusive. If, and when, you figure out your desired sauce, please share.

Matt

Offline jkb

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2019, 10:57:46 PM »
Your posts are works of art...


Yeah, really...  :o  (mine?  not so much)
John

Offline wb54885

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #37 on: July 04, 2019, 04:48:49 PM »
Those are kind words, thank you.

Had a busy night last night with a whole neighborhood of college kids doing their pre-4th partying, lots of slices being sold right out of the oven. I stole a second to get a quick picture of a cheese pie during a stretch where I was in a really good zone. This is about a 19-20Ē pieówe sell 18Ē and I overstretch for slice pies. Please forgive the odd light, which I tried a bit to correct for. Twilight combined with dark bar lighting and the intrusion of neon here and there often makes it quite difficult to see what the real color of your pizza is during a dinner rush!

Later I grabbed some pics of a slice I ate in the back under fluorescent light. Iím not a big fan of the basil leaf per slice look, but it sells well. Weíve put this dough recipe through 10-15 iterations in the past three months and itís in a really good spot right now. This is 70% HR with high protein flour from Shepherdís Grain, using 25% biga, 5% oil, 3% salt. The biga ferments for 1-2 days and the dough goes 24 hrs cold bulk before another 12-24 in balls, depending on business. Our IR thermometer has been on the fritz and Iíve been leading guided therapy sessions between our temperature control knob and thermocouple to keep the pilot light on in our main oven so I canít say exactly what temp weíre currently baking at, but itís well above 500 and 550 is in the ballpark. This is a wet, flavorful dough thatís not easy to wrangle, so I get a lot of satisfaction from well constructed pies. The crust has nice micro blisters and ďthe crunch.Ē Cheese is Grande shredded and fresh. Sauce is milled Alta Cucina with a simple, minimal spice blend.

If I were to compare this cheese slice to spots from the NY trip, Iíd say itís part Joeís and part Mamaís TOO. Sparsely topped like Joeís, unusually high hydration and depth of flavor in the crust like MT. The basil leaf I think is inspired by Líindustrie? Itís a hearty slice without being heavy.

Matt, my favorite home sauces have always shared two components:  an imperceptible dash of soy sauce and some amount of garlic oil. Beyond that, I like to play with red wine and vinegar, and onion powder is usually also present. I usually keep herbs as a topping to put on a freshly baked pie instead of in the sauce. My approach is to try and use trace amounts of lots of different things, but I havenít tried to nail down a recipe yet. The sauce is where I have fun winging itówhen itís ready, you know!

« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 05:49:52 PM by wb54885 »
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Offline jvp123

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #38 on: July 05, 2019, 11:02:27 PM »
Those are kind words, thank you.

Had a busy night last night with a whole neighborhood of college kids doing their pre-4th partying, lots of slices being sold right out of the oven. I stole a second to get a quick picture of a cheese pie during a stretch where I was in a really good zone. This is about a 19-20Ē pieówe sell 18Ē and I overstretch for slice pies. Please forgive the odd light, which I tried a bit to correct for. Twilight combined with dark bar lighting and the intrusion of neon here and there often makes it quite difficult to see what the real color of your pizza is during a dinner rush!

Later I grabbed some pics of a slice I ate in the back under fluorescent light. Iím not a big fan of the basil leaf per slice look, but it sells well. Weíve put this dough recipe through 10-15 iterations in the past three months and itís in a really good spot right now. This is 70% HR with high protein flour from Shepherdís Grain, using 25% biga, 5% oil, 3% salt. The biga ferments for 1-2 days and the dough goes 24 hrs cold bulk before another 12-24 in balls, depending on business. Our IR thermometer has been on the fritz and Iíve been leading guided therapy sessions between our temperature control knob and thermocouple to keep the pilot light on in our main oven so I canít say exactly what temp weíre currently baking at, but itís well above 500 and 550 is in the ballpark. This is a wet, flavorful dough thatís not easy to wrangle, so I get a lot of satisfaction from well constructed pies. The crust has nice micro blisters and ďthe crunch.Ē Cheese is Grande shredded and fresh. Sauce is milled Alta Cucina with a simple, minimal spice blend.

If I were to compare this cheese slice to spots from the NY trip, Iíd say itís part Joeís and part Mamaís TOO. Sparsely topped like Joeís, unusually high hydration and depth of flavor in the crust like MT. The basil leaf I think is inspired by Líindustrie? Itís a hearty slice without being heavy.

Matt, my favorite home sauces have always shared two components:  an imperceptible dash of soy sauce and some amount of garlic oil. Beyond that, I like to play with red wine and vinegar, and onion powder is usually also present. I usually keep herbs as a topping to put on a freshly baked pie instead of in the sauce. My approach is to try and use trace amounts of lots of different things, but I havenít tried to nail down a recipe yet. The sauce is where I have fun winging itówhen itís ready, you know!

Looking very nice, Wb!  When you cold ferment in bulk and then divide and ball (12 to 24 hrs out), what is your process?  Is it straight from the fridge and then degas the bulk and ball?  Are you remixing the bulk dough or just pressing down lightly and then forming individual balls?

I've never had success reballing dough straight out of the fridge.  It is very hard and obviously cold and seems to want to tear from the surface tension since the dough isn't relaxed.

Oh also, do you have a restaurant or a pop up type thing going?

 
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 11:04:11 PM by jvp123 »
Jeff

Offline quietdesperation

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Re: NYC so far: Doug eats pizza and thinks about it a lot
« Reply #39 on: July 11, 2019, 04:10:10 PM »
wb54885, I believe you, along with the rest of us, are pondering age-old questions: what constitutes art? Is some art better than other art? And what is the interplay between art and proficiency?

I don't know anything about music but my wife was an art history major so we're in a lot of museums and over the years have talked quite a bit about painting. If we were to compare two renaissance paintings hanging in a museum, it's probably a good bet both artists achieved the level of proficiency necessary to create their art.

Once proficiency has been attained, while we might say one artist is more proficient than the other, one painting may evoke more of an emotional response with me, the other painting may resonate with my wife. I don't believe it's possible to say one painting is better than another.  I'm sure you see where this is going, but substitute "pizza" for "painting" you'll have my view.

best,
jeff

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