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Offline Madmax9130

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Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« on: June 09, 2022, 07:02:08 PM »
I want to preface this by saying that I have never been to New York or frankly any major pizza hub in the US so take this review with a grain of salt. I do try and frequent a pizza place in every town I stop in while I travel. Currently traveling alot.... I've had plenty of pizza I deemed mediocre stuff your face at a football game greasy floppy disasters ( granted they would be what you'd expect from small town backwoods pizza), but I've never had a pizza I turned away. Even some of my experiments at home yielded have burnt pies that were still partially consumed. Well I met my match the other day. This pizza was so bad I got 3 bites and that was it. It was like eating a wet paper towel in terms of consistency. Flavor wise it was hard to bear and the center came in a pool of grease. Gave the waitress the no can do signal and that was it. I don't really want to put the name of the place on here but I will say it was in downtown Melbourne, FL ( I can put the name down if you want but I didn't want to slander anyone). it was a bit of higher end but not super fancy. It was just hard to process how bad it was... I digress.

I said I'd follow up with the best I've had to date and that was a place called Belladina's in Greenville, SC. I walked in, got a 12" margherita and a slice of NY style cheese. They came out way better than I was expecting. A monster slice of cheese pizza that still held its form when held out barring the last inch and a half or so. Crust was light and crispy yet still full of flavor. Homemade dough and sauce at least according to the guy I spoke to. Margherita was phenomenal. again light fluffy crust but thin and crispy. Ended up eating there two days and a row. Would recommend if you're in that area. Also if you've had it recently, I'd like to know how it compares to authentic NY. That's it, that's my review.

Online Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2022, 08:25:54 PM »
MM,
Hope you'll regale us with more stories from the road..with photos, Max..photos please! :)  What line of endeavor has you city-hopping?


Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2022, 10:52:32 PM »
For sure, I will try and get more photos. I usually don't when I eat at a restaurant as I can hear my mom's voice in my head going "Put that phone away!" but for the sake of pizza reviews I shall. Currently city hopping mainly as part of a vacation/ scouting for areas/states where I would like to work. After I restock this week I'm headed to Tennessee and surrounding states and hitting the job search hard. Got my truck rigged out so I can sleep and camp out of it. Was planning on making some more campfire pizzas but many of the areas I've been to are on a fire ban. So for now it's hop on yelp and web search the top pizzas where I am and pick one to go to.  I'm going to hit Greenville, on my way back to home base so I will for sure snag a pic for ya.

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2022, 12:15:49 AM »
love this

Online Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2022, 02:45:24 AM »
Yup, great! We look forward to it!
 

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Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2022, 01:34:12 PM »
Couldn't stop in on my way back to snap a photo of Belladinas pizza as I had hoped. Passed through on a Sunday and really had to burn it back home so I couldn't spare another day sadly. I am headed through KY starting tomorrow with a pit stop in Lexington. Going to try a place called Goodfellas and hopefully one other in Kentucky before migrating towards Tennesee. Any Kentucky Recommendations are welcome.

Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2022, 01:51:20 PM »
3/5 on Goodfellas got the "Vinny" which was mozzarella with some ricotta as well. It was an ungodly amount of mozzarella. Which was fine when it was hot and melty but when it cooled it was a dense brick that was hard to get through... crust tasted good though. Maybe worth trying at their main location if you're in the area?

Offline wotavidone

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2022, 07:12:59 PM »
I've had plenty of pizza I deemed mediocre stuff your face at a football game greasy floppy disasters ( granted they would be what you'd expect from small town backwoods pizza)
Small town backwoods usually equates to good or even outstanding pizza here in South Oz.
One of the best bar snack pizzas I ever had was in Bute, South Australia. Population 268.

The publican was slinging pizzas into an electric oven on the bar. He said he was getting them par baked from the bakery at Port Broughton. Population 1034.

I had a memorable pizza in Yongala South Australia that I am still trying to replicate. Population 240.

Wallaroo has a population of 4000. Coopers Tavern has a full on wood fired Italian oven in the middle of the dining room, and a pizzaiola knocking out outstanding pizzas.

Wallaroo and Port Broughton are tourist towns I guess, but Bute is a little country town, and Yongala is middle of nowhere, welcome to the Outback.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2022, 07:15:36 PM by wotavidone »
Mick

Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2022, 11:18:36 AM »
I wasn't trying hate on small town pizza. My area in particular is not really the hub of gourmet pizza but Its what I grew up with and I will never say no to eating one. I would hope to find some hidden gems from small towns as I go along here.   

Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2022, 11:39:18 AM »
Hard Knox Pizzeria in Knoxville Tennessee: I ordered the "Mancini" which was basically a Margherita. All their pizzas are named after famous boxers and fighters which I thought was pretty cool. Really liked this one. Wood fired. The oven is right next to the service are so you can see it all happening. Liked the taste enough to eat the whole 12". Only complaint which is more preference really, was that the dough was a little heavier and bready than what I would have expected. And couldve used some more basil. Overall though really solid.

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Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2022, 09:06:33 PM »
Okay, I need some outside opinions on this one. It seems to be the bane of alot of pizzas I am running into that is a really big turn off for me and that is excess moisture. I have my own (albeit still very much amateur) rubric that I try to adhere to and when I get a pizza that is super soggy in the middle I find it really detracts from the quality. I don't feel too far off base with this and would like some confirmation that a pizza in the photos below just have too much moisture to be considered top tier. Granted everyone's pizza preference is different... Let me know what you think? is this too much moisture? Mostly around the center left in the first photo it was a pool when i got it.

This was at A dopo Sourdough Pizza in Knoxville. A little hipstery vibe going in and were only open after 5pm. Outer crust was nice and light and the char was so good but the center of it was bleh imo.

Edit: Having learned more about Neapolitan from some other threads and the reply's below I would say to stop in here if you are in the area. The crust was pretty tasty just my personal preference limits my enjoyment of the soggy center Neapolitan. It gets a good rating from me.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2022, 12:18:55 PM by Madmax9130 »

Offline HansB

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2022, 09:12:10 PM »
Don't get pizza in Italy if you don't like wet centers...
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"The most important element of pizza is the dough. Pizza is bread after all. Bread with toppings." -Brian Spangler

"Ultimately, pizza is a variety of condiments on top of bread. If I wanted to evolve, I figured out that I had to understand bread and first make the best bread I possibly could. Only then could my pizza evolve as well." Dan Richer

Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2022, 09:40:30 PM »
So then a wet center is pretty standard? Does the soggy center dough come standard with that as well? I don't mind the moisture as much as the texture of the dough that the moisture causes if that makes sense. I doubt I will ever make it to Italy...

That's a genuine question not intending for that to sound like sarcasm, I just don't know.

Offline HansB

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2022, 10:38:05 PM »
It is. I was very surprised the first time I had pizza there, wet soggy center.
Instagram @hans_michigan.

"The most important element of pizza is the dough. Pizza is bread after all. Bread with toppings." -Brian Spangler

"Ultimately, pizza is a variety of condiments on top of bread. If I wanted to evolve, I figured out that I had to understand bread and first make the best bread I possibly could. Only then could my pizza evolve as well." Dan Richer

Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2022, 10:55:25 PM »
Well that is a genuine surprise to me as well. Guess I will chalk it up to personal preference as opposed to poor quality.

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Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2022, 07:31:05 AM »
For sure.... Neapolitan pizza is wet by definition.    There is no way to bake out all the moisture or get a crispy crust with less than a minute in the oven. 

Offline foreplease

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2022, 08:23:28 AM »
Hard Knox Pizzeria in Knoxville Tennessee: I ordered the "Mancini" which was basically a Margherita. All their pizzas are named after famous boxers and fighters which I thought was pretty cool. Really liked this one. Wood fired. The oven is right next to the service are so you can see it all happening. Liked the taste enough to eat the whole 12". Only complaint which is more preference really, was that the dough was a little heavier and bready than what I would have expected. And couldve used some more basil. Overall though really solid.
Do they have an “Ali” or “GOAT” ? I can picture something that floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.  :)
-Tony

Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2022, 12:11:49 PM »
Sadly they did not, Maybe Ali wasn't Italian enough to make it to the menu.

https://hardknoxpizza.com/menu/

@
For sure.... Neapolitan pizza is wet by definition.    There is no way to bake out all the moisture or get a crispy crust with less than a minute in the oven. 

I read through some of Omid's thread on the Philosophy of the Neapolitan pizza and it was quite the learning experience. I bounced around and skimmed around to check out some of the pizzas that were pictured there and they looked very akin to what I got at A Dopo. I will have to re-evaluate my rubric knowing more about Neapolitan. All part of the journey and learning curve. Going to try to make another campfire one tonight and give myself a review as well.

Offline quietdesperation

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2022, 01:08:26 AM »
I want to preface this by saying that I have never been to New York or frankly any major pizza hub in the US so take this review with a grain of salt. I do try and frequent a pizza place in every town I stop in while I travel. Currently traveling alot.... I've had plenty of pizza I deemed mediocre stuff your face at a football game greasy floppy disasters ( granted they would be what you'd expect from small town backwoods pizza), but I've never had a pizza I turned away. Even some of my experiments at home yielded have burnt pies that were still partially consumed. Well I met my match the other day. This pizza was so bad I got 3 bites and that was it. It was like eating a wet paper towel in terms of consistency. Flavor wise it was hard to bear and the center came in a pool of grease. Gave the waitress the no can do signal and that was it. I don't really want to put the name of the place on here but I will say it was in downtown Melbourne, FL ( I can put the name down if you want but I didn't want to slander anyone). it was a bit of higher end but not super fancy. It was just hard to process how bad it was... I digress.

I said I'd follow up with the best I've had to date and that was a place called Belladina's in Greenville, SC. I walked in, got a 12" margherita and a slice of NY style cheese. They came out way better than I was expecting. A monster slice of cheese pizza that still held its form when held out barring the last inch and a half or so. Crust was light and crispy yet still full of flavor. Homemade dough and sauce at least according to the guy I spoke to. Margherita was phenomenal. again light fluffy crust but thin and crispy. Ended up eating there two days and a row. Would recommend if you're in that area. Also if you've had it recently, I'd like to know how it compares to authentic NY. That's it, that's my review.

i told this story somewhere on the forum so i’ll keep it short. visiting family in central fl, leave kids with my niece and go out with my bro and sil. head back to brother’s house, niece says they were good but refused to eat pizza cause they didnt like it. i think to myself “are they really that entitled?”.

ask my 13 yo son how bad it could have been that they couldnt eat it, he silently walks off and brings me a piece. i took one bite and had to spit it out.
jeff

Offline Madmax9130

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Re: Pizza from my travels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2022, 08:42:44 PM »
I hear ya. I'm sure there is bad pizza everywhere but I feel like I hear more about Florida than any other. That said, a couple places in Miami made the top 50 list that recently came out and I'm disappointed I didn't sample them while I was in the area. Still hitting the Tennessee area. Went to some of the more touristy places like Pigeon Forge and did find one good place I really enjoyed.

The place was called "West by God" coal-fired pizza and it was delicious. First off it's located inside an axe throwing venue but you can go just for the pizza. Spoke with one of the owners and he said they went to Connecticut and did a bunch of research up there before starting there own pizzeria.  I got the "Party Pizza" first. Extra pepperoni with a drizzle of Mike's hot honey. Delicious. Great char, crust was chewy but light enough for me to crush the entire 12" plus another slice of their tomato pie. Hot honey was awesome and I will definitely have to try it. Second pizza was the tomato pie and it was just a tomato sauce and some grated pecorino cheese. Very much tomato flavor which is usually not my style but I really enjoyed this one as well. First time having Coal fired for me.

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