No. 246 may not be a "pizza place" per se, but the under-the-radar pies certainly deserve mention when you're talking about the city's finest.
'Wood-Fired Ovens' on Serious Eats
Millie's Old World, a snazzy new spot on Morristown's main drag, has not one, but two types of ovens. The first, a wood-fired import from Naples, is capable of churning out Neapolitan pizzas in 90 seconds flat; the second, a coal-burning oven, yields a chewier (but equally flavorful) crust. Why not pick just one style of pizza? According to Marlene Carrabba, mother of sibling owners Vince and Brandon, her boys each had a favorite and couldn't choose between the two. So, in true Jersey style, they went with both.
New York-style pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven became a thing a few years ago when Best Pizza of Williamsburg introduced it to the masses, but I never expected it to make its way all the way up to my 'hood in Harlem. If you discount the now 80-year-old East Harlem institution Patsy's (and we're talking the real Patsy's, not the inferior spin-off locations around the city), Harlem doesn't have much going for it pizza-wise. 1Forno is a step in the right direction.
How do you get a two ton plus imported Italian WFO oven into a Brooklyn brownstone? With a crane of course. Scott Wiener covers the details on the hoist of Neapolitan newcomer Sottocasa's oven over a three story building and into it's new home outside the building.
Each Thursday at the Westport Winter Farmers Market, the first thing you'll notice is not the plethora of local produce, but the wood-fired oven attached to a green Dodge pick-up truck. The pleasant smell and warmth emanating from Jeff Borofsky's Skinny Pines Pizza Truck makes it challenging to walk into the market without getting hungry for pizza.
"It was installed when we built our house, circa 2006. It is made of French stone and has has a honeycomb shape (the inside portion that is). It is alleged by them (the manufacturers) that this particular stone retains heat better than most, so the baker does not need to feed the fire as often. It came as a kit, but the builder put it all together. The outside stone is from a portico on one of the buildings on our property which fell down. The stone mason built this around the honeycomb inside kit. It probably took a few days to build because the granite had to be cut and fitted around the oven."
Inspired by the rustic pizzas they found in Northern California, Pitfire Pizza co-owners Paul Hibler and David Sanfield opened their first branch in North Hollywood in 1997. They have since expanded to three additional locations in West Los Angeles, downtown, and Culver City. With the motto "Slow food, fast", they strive for simplicity, focus on quality, and specialize in wood-fired pizzas, pastas, salads, and paninis. After hearing several friends rave about their pizzas, I was eager to check them out.
I interviewed David Sheridan yesterday for the latest installment of My Pizza Oven, but what I didn't mention is that David had actually invited me out to see him in action and taste the pizza fruits of his oven labor. Scott Wiener of Scott's Pizza Tours joined in on the fun, as well, helping us sample six pies. Peep the slideshow here for outtakes from the MPO photo shoot.
It's the two Italian made, Ambrogi wood burning pizza ovens located behind the bar area which are the main draw for the pizza obsessed. But with such lengthy cook times, why even have a wood fired oven?
A few days a week, Dan Latham gets up and tows his portable wood-burning oven to one of four different farmers' markets in Atlanta. When he arrives, he gets the fire started and goes shopping for that day's topping ingredients. See, although he brings the dough, sauce, and cheese with him, he depends on other vendors at the market for all the rest. Once he settles on his toppings, descriptions of the day's pies go up on the chalkboard and Latham and his team get to work, usually selling out of their very good pizzas before the market closes.
"You don't need a lot of money or space to have a wood-fired oven. I built this oven by myself in less than a week of actual work for less than $200. It makes excellent pizzas, and with a live fire can make easily more than a dozen 12-inch pies, bake tons of bread, and even roast a chicken. I had zero masonry experience and still pulled this off.... Go for it! What's the worst that can happen? You have a pile of mud in your backyard?"
I recently got this email from Vinny, a self-described pizza freak and longtime Slice'r. I thought it'd be worth opening up to everyone out there for thoughts. —The Mgmt. Aside from the pizza making & eating madness (born & raised in Brooklyn doesn't help me break the addiction!!), I'm also longtime BBQ cook and competitor.There's a lot of similarities between great, traditional pizzas and BBQ.One thing I rarely see discussed in the pizza world is the types of wood used. So much focus is put on the flour/dough making process, origins of sauce & cheese, type of bricks used, temps...