after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Posts Tagged ‘Pizza

is this the most beautiful pizza you’ve ever seen?

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t says:  During my daily review of philly.eater, I cam across some pretty awesome-looking pizza.  Check it:

shortrib pizza

The words are here:
http://philly.eater.com/archives/2012/05/09/santuccis-debuts-special-pizza-week-pie.php

Now I just have to figure out when/how I’m getting there …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

9 May 2012 at 10:20pm

Posted in Happenings

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Cochon: The Pizza that Ruined Pizza for g

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t says: Ok, yes, we’ve already been to Cochon for brunch multiple times (1 and 2). You’re tired of reading about it. I’m tired of writing about it. But this time was different. Every time we go, we tend to eat breakfast-y things. This time we went for lunch. It was a miserable Sunday, looking like it was going to rain at any moment, and g and I forgot to go grocery shopping, so there was no food in the house. We needed some … comfort … we needed some … pig.

4/2010, Sunday 2:30pm, Party of 2. Once again – no line. We made the opentable reservation only for the dining points – but we didn’t need it. The hostess/waitress recognized us. Might we be almost-regulars? We sat down, ordered some tea, and pondered the menu. I actually originally wanted pancakes, but decided, for the good of the blog, to try something new one last time. g was also game for this idea. We decided to try one pizza and one sandwich. Pulled pork shoulder sandwich, of course – why try anything else? Plus, we’ve been dying to try Percy Street BBQ, so this would give me a measuring stick when we go. For the pizza, g suggested tomato pie, but I vetoed it … unless she let me order a side of bacon. We compromised and got the “Flammenkuche”, a pizza featuring gruyere, carmelized onions, bacon, creme fraiche, and some kind of orange (in color, not flavor) sauce. What does “flammenkuche” mean? That waitress didn’t know, but suspects that the chef may have made it up. While I’m not sure I believe her, as Bistrot La Minette recently offered a dish by the same name, I totally dig her honesty. You know – I really hoped that the chef did just make it up.

The pulled pork sandwich was accompanied by a fennel slaw, pickled tomato, and french fries (with a few splatterings of hot sauce). The large mound of pork was nestled between two slices of brioche. Aha! The brioche! The object of much criticism from our last visit! And now I’d get the chance to taste it! The meat was fantastic. It was tender and juicy and shredded perfectly (the pieces weren’t too tiny, but they weren’t too big, either). The brioche bread was … interesting. You know – I can see why some people might not like it. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t think it was bad – at least – not for this sandwich. The bread is kind of dry and crumbly. It does soak up the flavor (and grease) from the pork, which I like. And when I bit into it, the bread’s texture rapidly disintegrates into crumbs which mixes evenly with the pork. I thought it was a very unique sandwich experience. BUT, as the main bread for a dish like Eggs Cochon, I can see how this could be a turn-off. I suspect in the sandwich, the brioche wasn’t a horrible mis-step, but definitely could be improved upon. Fortunately, it took a back seat to the pork, so all was well. The fennel slaw and pickle brought a nice lightness (some acid and some anise-flavor) to cut through the heavier, greasier pork. And the french fries were wonderful. I would have liked a slightly crispier fry, but g said those were among her most favorite fries, ever. I think she was just full of superlatives today …

g says: Oh hush, you know they were delish! Just because I like my fries different than you like yours doesn’t mean anything. Although, I may just have better taste… (haha!)

Now … the pizza …

g says: It was the best pizza ever.

t says: So, why don’t you write about how good it was?

g says: I did. “It was the best pizza ever.”

t says: Ok, so maybe g just doesn’t have the words to describe the pizza, but the woman knows what she loves. I liked it as well, but I’m not sure it’s the best pizza ever; I feel like it falls into the same category as Pepe’s Pizza – it was a super-delicious pizza-like “thing”. The crust hit just the right thickness between too-thin and too-thick. It also wasn’t too floppy/rubbery, either. The onions were sweet, and the cheese and bacon played so nicely with one another. I’m not sure what that orange sauce had in it, but it brightened up the pizza, giving it just a dash of whimsy for what would otherwise be a very “heavy” dish. But ultimately, it does lack tomato sauce or tomatoes, so it’s disqualified from the “best pizza” competition on a technicality in my book (g’s book is written differently). Ultimately, it makes me really want to try more of their breakfast pizzas.

g says: It’s true – that particular dish was balanced so delicately with salty, sweet, and smoky flavors (or flavours, as t would say). For this reason, and because the culinary stars aligned at that exact moment to give me the best pizza tasting experience possible, I decided right at that table something very important: pizza would be ruined for me. I just can’t look at it the same anymore – pizza is so pedestrian, so just pizza, now that I have tasted the glory of the flammenkuche. I fear that whenever I have a pie now, I will only be thinking of what it could be if it were made at Cochon with their bacon. ::looks in the air dreamily:: Sigh. (dramatic enough for you? I hear some of our readers really like drama…)

t says: Once again, we paid as much (g: actually, less I think) as we would have for one person during restaurant week. We were full for 8 hours. We’ll go back again and again.

cm says: Flammenkuche is not just at cochon, it is an option we saw at dock street brewery (great pizza there, i would recommend trying it, even k liked it
and she is not a pizza fan).

Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 May 2010 at 10:23am

Pepe’s Pizza: Makes Us Happy As Clams

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t says: One day I told one of my bosses that I was driving to and from Cape Cod for a wedding. His immediate comment was, “You should stop by Pepe’s pizza in New Haven.” Well, maybe it wasn’t the first thing he said (I’m sure he said other, more normal things like, “why?” or “have a safe trip!”), but it’s definitely the comment that stuck out in my mind. Not one for superlatives, my boss claimed that Pepe’s pizza is the best pizza. Now, I didn’t inquire whether he had gone to New York, Chicago, Italy, etc and tried their pizzas (although he was in New Haven for a bit, so maybe he just feels it’s better than that other famous place to get pizza in New Haven), but for such a positive testimony, I knew that we had to go. He did attach one caveat, however (I knew there was a catch): “you have to like clams …”. What a peculiar thing to say?

9/2009, Sunday Lunch, Party of 2.  On our way back from Cape Cod, we took the exit to New Haven. Google maps had surprisingly good directions with the exception of a single left turn onto a street that was not marked (that wasn’t google’s fault, that was New Haven’s fault). Sensing that there was going to be a wait, we called ahead of time and ordered a pizza as I was instructed: “White Clam Pizza”. It’s a good thing we called – Pepe’s was mobbed. People were waiting outside to get in. The parking lot was full. Fortunately, we just wanted to pick-up instead of eat-in, so we walked in the express-door, told them we were there, and watched the show while they prepped our pizza. It’s actually quite impressive how big their pizza-sliding-device is. We picked up our pizza and dashed out the door, not looking up at the eyes in line staring us down for our food. We jumped in our car and locked the door (it is New Haven, you know). We drove off to a nearby park we spotted on the way in and sat down to have a picnic-bench-lunch. Here is what we saw:

Say hello to my little friend ... Frank Pepe!

It's heart-shaped!!

How did it taste? Well, I actually will admit that if you consider this a pizza, then yes, this was the best pizza I’ve ever had! The crust was a smidge thicker than the thin crusts at Osteria, but it was still nice and crispy. There was lots of roasted garlic, and those clams were oh-so-tender. I still wonder if they put raw clams on the pizza and let the oven cook them or if they cook them before the pizza goes in.  In any case, if you like garlic, cheese, and clams, this pizza will blow your mind (and I like all of those). However, some might say that this is not a pizza – no tomato sauce! Clams? Blasphemy! So, maybe it’s unfair to call Pepe’s the best pizza I’ve ever had (I mean, how can I compare it to others?) – but it was certainly a delicious thing. I’m glad we ran out because I’m pretty sure I would have eaten myself sick … Next time, we’ll try out the other pizza place (?Sally’s?).

Written by afterdinnersneeze

24 February 2010 at 9:03pm

Osteria: More Than Pizza

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t says: We loved our visit to Vetri – everything was superb, from the moment we walked in to the moment we walked out.  That said, we wished for a similar quality of food, but for less expensive dishes, like pastas and pizzas, as g and I are not yet bawlers.  Then we heard of Osteria, a second eatery by Vetri that promised just that: delicious pasta and pizzas.  So, when an out-of-town friend came to visit, we took her to Osteria (actually, she treated us, which was very kind of her).

1/2010, Tuesday Dinner, Party of 3.  Despite an 8:30pm reservation, we had to wait ~20 minutes.  Normally waits don’t bother me, but the place just didn’t really seem that “packed” (and open tables were in plain view), so I just didn’t know the cause for the wait.  Fortunately there were seats at the bar so took the opportunity to relax and get reacquainted.  As we made chit-chat and ordered some of their mixed drinks (I had an espresso martini – it was ok), we looked around and took in the space … there was a lot of it!  I guess I would have never guessed that a place with rustic foods could occupy such a large venue – both by square footage and by height – then again, it’s a little out-of-the-way, so there’s probably a location-space trade-off.

We were seated at the table, and, after perusing a menu of very appetizing-sounding dishes, we opted for … surprise … some pizzas and pasta.  We placed our order with our slightly awkward server and waited with excitement, enjoying the bread and oil they had provided.  The octopus pizza and the margherita pizza (gotta try the classic) were both delicious with perfectly-thin thin crusts.  The octopus was still tender, and the margherita, despite being so basic, sung tomato and basil.  Our friend’s side of kale was a nice complement to the pizzas.  I, on the other hand, had the potato gnocchi in a mushroom sauce with piave vecchio.  I was flabbergasted by the texture – it was so soft and airy, but not mushy – perhaps a little more dense than the gnocchi at vetri, but the lightest potato gnocchi I have ever had (I got the spinach gnocchi with the brown butter at vetri).  And the sauce was perfect – mushroom flavor without overpowering the other herbs and cheese. I found myself trying desperately to slow down sending the gnocchi to my mouth – they were so good.  I will confess, however, that I wished there were more on the plate for $16 …

Desserts on the other hand were hit-and-miss.  We ordered the chestnut crepes, but found that there was just too much honey for the chestnut flavor to handle.  The polenta budino with hazlenuts was spot-on; it was a new dessert to me, and one I hope to try out at other places, too (if anyone else serves it).

In my opinion, the pizza was very good – I look forward to trying out the other combinations on the menu.  However, the possibility that the other pastas on the menu could be at least as half as good alone warrants a second visit.  Now if only they were BYO …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

23 February 2010 at 4:39pm

Kimchi Pizza (with pix)

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t says: You read the title, and now you’re wondering: “why?”. Trust me, it tastes good.

For those that don’t know what kimchi is, here’s a picture:

Meet my friend Kimchi.

It’s cabbage that’s been pickled in a fiery red chile liquid. Korean grandmothers are said to have buried jars of it in the ground as it “ripens” in flavor (that’s my term for it). It’s not much to look at (it’s red cabbage) and it’s offensive to the nose (I thought that they buried it due to lack of modern refrigeration, however, I now believe they buried it to keep it out of the house). Nowadays, most people will either have a separate fridge for it or keep it for no longer than a couple days. But the taste is unique; it’s sour and spicy and (depending on how far along it was) crisp and fresh. It’s also readily available in Korean supermarkets (e.g. Hmart), and the quality’s pretty good.

So now, back to pizza … Surely you’ve had your fair share of frozen pizzas, be it Ellios pizza as a kid, Bagel Bites in college, or DiGiorno as a sucker for believing those dumb commercials (been there, done that). Well, g had some friends in college who claimed that that putting kimchi on frozen pizza was the best way to make it, period. I’ll admit, I was doubtful at first, as cheese and kimchi is not a traditional combination (I blame the higher prevalance of lactose intolerance among Koreans).  That said, in our household, kimchi has elevated the frozen pizza from a we-should-keep-one-in-the-freezer-just-in-case option to a we-should-definitely-eat-frozen-pizza-for-dinner option. We’ve tried many varieties of pizza and they all work reasonably well (with one exception being the self-rising crust pizzas – I guess there was too much liquid in the kimchi). The following is the best combo we’ve come across thus far:

Ingredients:

__ 1 California Pizza Kitchen “White” frozen pizza (it’s the one with cheese and spinach – they didn’t have it for the one I used for the pix – so I had to use some weird non-CPK “Organic” one that boasts “Tastes Organic” – what does that mean?).
__ Kimchi, to taste (I use ~0.5 c; the longer you keep it in your fridge, the more “funk” it gets)
__ Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste

Methods:

0) Preheat the oven as per the frozen pizza’s directions.

1) Pat dry the kimchi you intend to use. Slice kimchi (this is perhaps the only time I’d advise against cutting on a wood cutting board – kimchi will stain it red and give it a funk for along time) into thin strips about 1″ long.

2) Distribute kimchi on top of unwrapped pizza. I tend to avoid the middle of the pizza because the middle is often the least-cooked part of the pizza, and I want the entire crust to be crispy, so I don’t want to add additional water to the middle. Finely grate parm-reg on top of pizza.

Kimchi, say cheese!

3) Bake as per the directions (I bake directly on the oven rack with a sheet of aluminum foil on a rack below to catch drips) plus an extra minute or two. The more kimchi you added, the longer you may have to bake. To ‘test’ doneness, I use a fork/spoon to gently lift the edge of the pizza and see if the pizza is as stiff as I like.

Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is brown ...

... like this!

4)  Remove from oven.  Cut and enjoy.  Cutting this kind of pizza with a knife might be difficult – go for a rotary pizza cutter.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

20 February 2010 at 2:03pm