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Adam Kuban

Adam Kuban

editor emeritus

Adam Kuban is the founder of Slice, where he has been writing about pizza since October 10, 2003. He also founded A Hamburger Today, but burgers don't really do much for him these days. If you find Adam anywhere on SE these days, it's primarily in Talk and in the comments of Slice. He has taken an extended hiatus from his weekly pizza reviews and monthly Home Slice feature while he explores the actual work of pizza-making at Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Here is Adam's list of top pizza spots in NYC. To narrow it down further, here's his "Great 8" at the moment.

  • Website
  • Location: Astoria, Queens, NYC
  • Favorite foods: pizza, bagels, dim sum, sushi, Japanese curry rice, cha siu bao
  • Last bite on earth: Some White Castle sliders (plain and cheese), a supreme pizza from Maria's Pizza in Milwaukee, oysters on the beach in Cancale, France.

8 Pizzas That Haunt My Dreams, 2013

Every year I like to recap the eight pizzas that really took hold of my imagination. Here are the eight pies or slices that I keep thinking about weeks and sometimes months after having eaten them. (With a very special bonus NINTH pie this year.) More

Video: How the Sausage Pizza is Made at Maria's Pizza in Milwaukee

Photographer and writer Michael Berman of Pizzacentric visits Maria's Pizza in Milwaukee and comes away with a great blog post and a video that sheds some light on the pizzamaking process there. (Not that it's a huge secret, since the kitchen is open to one and all who dine there.) Maria's is one of my all-time favorite pizzerias. Nice to see the Pizzacentric treatment of it. More

Quick Game Day Appetizer: Garlic-Knot Monkey Bread

I've got to thank Kenji for this idea. He suggested a garlic-knot monkey bread as a Home Slice topic, saying it might be good to do before the big game on Sunday. The byword here is EASY. This is almost a twist-and-dump thing. You could make your own dough for this (here's a suitable recipe), but I just used store-bought pizza dough from the freezer section. You'll need 2 pounds. (Most store-bought pizza doughs I've seen come in 1-pound portions, often 2 to a package.) More

Paulie Gee to Open a Baltimore Location with 'Pizzablogger'

Popular Brooklyn pizzeria Paulie Gee's will open a branch in Baltimore in 2013, Slice has learned. Paul Giannone, whose transformation from IT manager to renowned pizza-maker is well-documented on this site (among many other places), is partnering with Baltimore local "Pizzablogger" (who asked to remain anonymous), at what will be called Paulie Gee's Hampden. More

Gift Guide: For the Pizza-Maker

Some of these are stocking-stuffers, some are pretty pricey, but most are somewhere in between. What they all have in common is that I have turned to these products again and again in my own pizza-making life. I hope your pizza obsessive—novice or veteran—appreciates them as much as I do. More

My special hot dog available this month only..

CRAP. I just looked at the picture. That looks killer.

My special hot dog available this month only..

SWEET! This is really cool. Congrats on seeing your dream dog come to life. Double cool that Hawk is illustrating it!

My Pie Monday: Broccoli Raab, Pickled Shallots, Chorizo, and More!

@Eric: Oh, wow. I somehow skimmed right oever that in the caption of your pie. I'm flattered! I wouldn't have even hit upon that combo if it weren't for Paulie's "Brian DeParma" pizza, which I think may have been influenced by the Millennium Falco at Roberta's, which Ryan V. had such a nice tribute to in his pie this week.

Testing some more pies tomorrow. I hope to be in next week's MPM roundup again.!

Jeff Varasano on Baking, Branding, and the Business of Pizza (Part 1)

FANTASTIC interview. I learned a lot here on many different levels.

@Willgadman: It's interesting what you say about Portland being different from Atlanta. I wonder if it's a combination of culture and traffic issues. From what I understand of Atlanta, it has some of THE WORST traffic in the nation. Portland, as I remember it, is fairly easy to get around and more or less compact. (Unless that's changed in the last 15 years.) So to go out of the way for food, maybe people are more willing. I would also say that the culture there ... people's workdays seemed to end at a reasonable time.

My wife and I have the same issue here in NYC that Jeff describes. We don't necessarily go to places where the food is BAD, but we'll definitely go to a mediocre place that's convenient in our neighborhood more often than we'll hop a train to a great place in a different neighborhood -- simply because that is going to be 30 to 45 minutes commute. Of course, our solution as of late has been to just cook at home.

My Pie Monday: Broccoli Raab, Pickled Shallots, Chorizo, and More!

MAN. These look fantastic. Also, geez, the number of WFOs here! People are stepping up their oven game.

The Food Lab: 11 Essential Tips for Better Pizza

Me too! But I was young(er) and dumb(er).

The Food Lab: 11 Essential Tips for Better Pizza

I love this post! So many great tips here. The best of which, yeah, use a freakin' scale, and start using baker's percentages!

One thing I will add that I learned from DMCavanagh, is that, if you are experimenting with a recipe's components, ONLY CHANGE ONE VARIABLE AT A TIME. For instance, if you want to play with hydration levels, play only with hydration. Don't change water amounts AND thickness. If you're trying a new baking surface, don't change the recipe you've been using until AFTER you've seen how it works on the new surface.

It's pretty obvious, but I never took this advice to heart until I got obsessed with making a passable bar-style pizza. That's when I really caught the bug.

It truly is amazing how the same (roughly) four ingredients -- flour, water, salt, yeast -- can be manipulated through time and temperature and baking method and relative amounts. Once you begin to understand how they all relate, it is revelatory, liberating, and AWESOME. I love pizza-making more than ever lately!

Also -- KEEP NOTES, so you know what your changes did! It can be as long as 2 weeks between bakes for me, and my memory ain't what it used to be. I keep all my recipe formulations in a spreadsheet, along with a field for notes/observations. It has been extremely helpful over the last year that I've had the bug.

SUPER HELPFUL post, Kenji.

What's Up in Pizza: Kit-Kat Pies, Edible Boxes, and More!

This link should have been in the roundup! This is a PHENOMENAL exposé on Ferrara ovens: http://eater.com/archives/2014/03/31/stefano-ferrara-pizza-ovens.php

My Pie Monday: Smoked Oysters, Chinese BBQ Pork, and More!

Mike R.: Thanks! I'm mulling over how to do the pop-up as far as guests/customers go. Not sure if I'm going to just open to the public straightaway or do a ticketed thing so I can control for seatings/number of people.

Chris Koller: If the WFO is the only way to get the temps up in the 600's, then try it. But I would say that other than that, the WFO is not ideal for this. I don't want to romanticize it as a tool for bar pies. It's a pain in the ass, because you have to constantly monitor the temperature and feed the fire -- or wait for the fire to die down. For Neapolitan, fine, because that's the only way to get that style. But for bar pies, the less-sexy deck oven is a better tool. BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Meet the Chinese Food Issue of the Serious Eats Magazine!

F*** you guys. Where is my Apple Newton version.

Smiling With Hope Bakery: How Pizza-Making Transformed This High School Special Needs Program

@Burger365: I wish I had more pics of the pies! These are what Walter sent, and he says that the colors do not accurately reflect what comes out there. The lighting is difficult in the classroom. Still, they look good to me. If you follow Walter on Pizzamaking.com, he occasionally posts pics of other pies. And I should note that that's how I found out about him. I saw him posting in a forum there and mentioning his bakery, and I eventually followed his links and gleaned his and his students' inspiring story from what was out there.

Smiling With Hope Bakery: How Pizza-Making Transformed This High School Special Needs Program

@11USCCH7: Thanks, and there was so much about Walter himself that I couldn't fit in here without getting very long and veering away from the main story of the program. I've gotten to know him via email (and his Pizzamaking.com postings), and he's a genuinely caring man with much wisdom to impart. It's not surprising his students are doing well under his guidance.

And of course, the subtle subtext of this article is, IF YOU LIVE NEAR NEWARK OHIO, GO ORDER A PIZZA FROM HERE!

Elmwood Park, New Jersey: Pizza-Town USA, 'America's Favorite Town'

Paulie: Did you ever get your vintage hat that lights up?

Elmwood Park, New Jersey: Pizza-Town USA, 'America's Favorite Town'

Sweet! Nice to hear that, Robyn. I'll watch your Flickr for the pics. You should do a post on Slice about it — or even just a slideshow with minimal captioning. I'd love to see your pics on Slice.

Cook's Illustrated's Thin-Crust Pizza

@jjestelle: the crust will have almost no flavor and very little browning. You can do it though. Just won't be very good crust.

HELP with pizza dough recipe

We really need to know what your recipe is. Do you have your formulation?

My Pie Monday: Braised Pig's Ear, Black Garlic, Tofu, and More!

@DerrickTung: I knew you were joking. ;) As you can see, I've pretty much said what's in the blend. I vary the sharpness of the cheddar from time to time, depending on what's cheapest/available in the cheese case. I prefer a white cheddar and usually grab the mildest version available. It's hard (at least around me) to find MILD white cheddar. Most mild cheddars are yellow. It's not until you get into the more expensive name-brand cheddars (Cabot, Tillamook, heck even Land O'Lakes or Cracker Barrel) that you get the white cheddars, and those are always sharp to extra sharp. Blah blah blah.

Anyway, I'm sort of holding on to some of my secrets until I do my bar pie pop-up. I'm going to use the pop-up as a focus group and refine the recipe there. Hoping to begin prelim testing (just me and a buddy who is helping me) next week.

Does Mission Cantina Make the Best Burritos in NYC?

Kenji: Get a Yelp account, and then submit your application to Sonnyrojo.

Does Mission Cantina Make the Best Burritos in NYC?

"a bunch of flip flop wearing motherfuckers with yelp accounts"

You win the internet this evening, sonnyrojo.

My Pie Monday: Braised Pig's Ear, Black Garlic, Tofu, and More!

@Derrick: I put a ™ symbol on it. It's too expensive to try to TM something and the review process, FWIU, takes a long time. Also, it's not like I can patent a common blend of cheeses. I do like that a buddy of mine dubbed the bar pies I'm making "Kubar pie."

Open Thread: What's at the Top of Your Pizza Wish List?

@Passion4Pizza: Sounds familiar. Try, "Lookin' a little dark in that oven."

What do you think about Yelp/Foursquare?

I routinely use Foursquare to find things in neighborhoods I'm not familiar with and/or to jog my memory and give me outside-my-routine suggestions. I trust it much more, because, as Paul says, its suggestions reflect the tastes of the people you follow. For that reason, I follow a very small amount of TRUSTED people. I rarely add random strangers/unknown quantities to my network the way I do with Twitter, FB, or Instagram.

I USED to use Yelp as a discovery engine, until Foursquare moved in this direction. I used to find Yelp useful for this -- and when I'm in a new city, sure, I may launch the app to get a bigger picture of the landscape -- but I find that Yelp's reviewers place a HUGE emphasis on perceived value and that this often skews ratings. For instance, I know some places that are popular on Yelp, and sure, I get why, but I think it's largely for the "bang for your buck" attribute rather than the actual quality of the food.

Soda vs. Pop vs. Whatever: What Do You Call Cola Drinks?

@imsscott: You're correct. I did phrase that incorrectly. Apologies. But, yeah, I meant "soft drinks" and not just cola drinks. Thanks for the correction.

Open Thread: What's at the Top of Your Pizza Wish List?


Open Thread: What's at the Top of Your Pizza Wish List?

  • A Blackstone pizza oven to experiment with more high-heat cooking
  • A pizza tour of Chicago, both thin crust and deep dish (I'd enlist FredipusRex and cpd007 to lead it)
  • A dough sheeter for making bar pies

Of course, I don't have room for the Blackstone or the sheeter (no outdoor space and we live in a tiny NYC apartment), but the Chicago tour is on my list in the next few years.

@CTMike: I can't promise you a true pizza crawl, but if you visit NYC at any point, email me ("adamkuban" on the gmails) and I'd love to meet up with you for a slice at lunch. That goes for any Slice'r reading this. I'm always up for meeting folks and have had some of the best lunches in recent memory with Slice'rs -- Fredipus most recently and JEL last summer come to mind.

@shuboyje: Are you documenting this on Pizzamaking? I havne't been over there in a while, and I LOVED the thread you started on your WFO. I learned a buttload from that.

The Food Lab: 7 Old Wives' Tales About Cooking Steak That Need To Go Away

I'm not generally a negative person, and my normal reaction to seeing misinformation spread through the internet is to simply try and dilute it by spreading some verity and beauty—I've produced more than my share of articles about how to grill steaks (baked up and backed up by real science and research, no less!) in the name of truth and pageviews, and if you want to take a look at those, you can scroll on down to the bottom of this article for some links. But today, I'm fighting back for once. We're going to put to rest seven of the most stubborn myths about grilling steaks, and hopefully come out the other end as better—or at the very least, slightly less frustrated—people. More

Pizza Is...

The slap of the dough on the table
More than the words on a label
Tomato sauce, cheese
Napkins and grease
A whole pie or more if you're able More

Bread Baking: Cocktail Rye Bread

In our house, cocktail rye was typically served as the base for chopped chicken livers or cream cheese, always served open-faced, kind of like the untoasted rye version of crostini. The smaller size of the loaf always made it seem fancier to me. More

Brooklyn: Everything On The Menu at Best Pizza

Opened just over a year ago, Best Pizza has fast become one of our favorite pizzerias in New York, and yeah, it's mostly because they serve some of the tastiest by-the-slice stuff around. Since opening the shop, the menu has expanded ever-so-slightly to include sandwiches and a single salad. But man, oh man what good sandwiches those are. Check out everything they've got on the menu. More

Bread Baking: Fast Buttery Buns

Bread snob that I am, there are times when all I need is something simple. Something that can be made quickly. But even when I'm in a hurry, I'd prefer that the resulting bread isn't completely bland. Sometimes that means I'm a little more generous with flavor enhancers. Like butter! Just a little extra. Y'all. More

What to Expect at a Neapolitan Pizzeria

Things I've overheard in a Neapolitan pizzeria lately:

  • "Oh, wow, there's not that much cheese on this."
  • "They're pretty small. You could probably eat one yourself." (Waitress to customer.)
  • "You can't really pick it up."

I guess that even after the great pizza renaissance of the 2000s, Neapolitan pizza is still new to some folks. And, whatever, that's cools. I just figured I'd try to demystify it a bit if you've never had it.

Update/note: This post is geared toward folks in the U.S. or elsewhere who have never tried Neapolitan, Neapolitan-style, or Neapolitan-inspired pizza. It does not pertain to actual Neapolitan pizza in Naples, Italy.


5 Can't-Miss Korean Eating Experiences in Flushing

Visitors to Flushing, Queens might think of the neighborhood as primarily a Chinese food destination, but the world of Korean options is vast and diverse. Our intrepid Flushing explorer Chris Hansen has tracked down massive goat feasts, pork belly cooked on your table, killer Korean barbecue, and more. We asked him to pick his five favorite finds so far; check out his can't-miss Korean eating experiences in Flushing! More

Pizza Obsessives: Frank Pinello of Best Pizza

If you were at Sandwich Fest two weeks back, you most likely picked up an amazingly delicious meatball sub from Best Pizza. After running into Pizza Obsessive alum amusebouche1 at the festival, I couldn't get those hot seat questions out of my mind. Luckily, I was able to find a willing interviewee in pizzaiolo and Best Pizza (reviewed here) owner Frank Pinello. More

Building a Pizzeria: Closing in on Opening up

Building this pizzeria has been a complete whirlwind since June 1, and even as I type this post, my notepad is sitting next to my laptop, yearning for my attention. My apologies to all the Slicer's that have been following along and patiently waiting for my next post, but I should let you know this is very likely my last post before opening day, which is scheduled for... drum roll please, July 5th. More

Grilling: Roasted Corn Relish

I loved how this all came together. The first taste was of sweet and tangy corn, but the sweetness slowly fades, giving way to the heat from the jalapeno and an earthiness from the chili powder and cumin. The "relish" can double as a dip for tortilla chips, salad topping, or taco condiment—it'll add excellent flavor to whatever it touches. More

How to Make Pizza Monkey Bread

Monkey bread. Because kids go ape over it. You know what else they go ape for? Pizza. Let them help you make pizza monkey bread and they'll go positively King Kong in the kitchen. Making this stuff is way easier than making pizza, too, since you don't have to worry about stretching the dough or precise cook times. All you'll need are these recipes for dough and pizza sauce as well as and some Parmesan, mozzarella, and fresh basil. More

Koshary: Feeding a Revolution in Cairo

Liberation requires massive amounts of strength. Without discounting the passion that alone has fueled millions into a weeks-long protest, it is clear that Egyptians also rely on another direct source of energy. And that is a deceptively simple comfort food: koshary, the legendary dish that every Egyptian can both wax poetic on and furiously debate the merits of. More

Cook the Book: Pickled Ginger Peaches

To those of you not familiar with this classic Southern pickle, adding copious amounts of vinegar and sugar to perfectly ripe summer peaches might sound a little strange. But bear with me here—the combination of vinegar, sugar, and a few choice spices turn summer peaches in to a spectacular pickle that can be enjoyed well after peach season is over. More

Bread Baking: Peanut Butter Graham Crackers

While today's graham crackers aren't the same as ones promoted by 19th century diet reformer Sylvester Graham, they're still a relatively healthy option, with lots of fiber from the whole wheat. But that's not why I eat them. As far as I'm concerned, graham crackers are the perfect vehicle for peanut butter. The majority of graham crackers around here disappear under a smear of the stuff. To me, that's the perfect quick and satisfying snack. But why stop at putting peanut butter onto the graham crackers? Why not put some in the crackers as well? More

Where's the Beef?

The beef's right here, suckas! After lots of talk and little action, A Hamburger Today—in a bare-bones, not-much-to-look-at-yet version—is open for business. This is, in restaurant parlance, a soft opening, meaning that we'll be posting here on the down... More