Profile

Damian

I am a high school art teacher in a Boston suburb. In my spare time I enjoy working on my bonsai trees, boomeranging, tasting (and trading) craft beers and, of course, traveling the country for amazing pizza.

  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Favorite foods: Seared tuna, arugula, truffles, king crab, Neapolitan and New Haven-style pizza, mozzarella di bufala and burrata, wagyu beef, mashed potatoes, raw oysters and dark chocolate.
  • Last bite on earth: Last bite(s): Wagyu beef from Oya (Boston), a Truffle Bomb from Alinea (Chicago), a Porcini mushroom slice from DiFara's (Brooklyn), a warm lobster roll from Neptune Oyster (Boston) and a pint of Jeni's Salty Caramel ice cream.

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

@smiling hope: What an inspiration you are. In addition to doing such a terrific service to these kids, the pies look fantastic! I hope your dream of having the kids, shop and community integrated comes true one day.

Video: Inside Roberta's Pizza

@ jim s: Hahahaha. I wouldn't doubt that.

My girlfriend and I went to Roberta's this past summer. The pies we got were fantastic. Despite this being perhaps the hippest restaurant in the hippest neighborhood of NYC's hippest borough, our servers were also very friendly.

Video: Inside Roberta's Pizza

@ jim s: Hahahaha. I wouldn't doubt that.

My girlfriend and I went to Roberta's this past summer. The pies we got were fantastic. Despite this being perhaps the hippest restaurant in the hippest neighborhood of NYC's hippest borough, our servers were also very friendly.

Video: Inside Roberta's Pizza

@ jim s: Hahahaha. I wouldn't doubt that.

My girlfriend and I went to Roberta's this past summer. The pies we got were fantastic. Despite this being perhaps the hippest restaurant in the hippest neighborhood of NYC's hippest borough, our servers were also very friendly.

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

1. Buy a Blackstone pizza oven and have some pizza and good beer parties for friends and co-workers.

2. Hit up L&B Spumoni Gardens on my next trip to NYC. I'd also love to try Sullivan Street Bakery's pizza bianca, especially after trying pizza bianca at Rome's Forno Campo De' Fiori.

3. Make a pizza pilgrimage to Naples to try Da Michelle, Starita and perhaps some street-za. I chaperoned a high school trip to Italy a few weeks back. Our hotel in Sorrento looked out onto the Bay of Naples, but we never made it to the city. I had to restrain myself from sneaking out after the kids had fallen asleep!

Ask a Cicerone: The Best Beer to Drink With Pizza

@jedd63: Kudos! Especially if it's Foxon Park.

@Aharps: Just like various sommeliers might recommend different wines to pair with similar dishes, the same can be true of cicerones with regard to margherita pizzas and beer. A classic pairing might be an amber ale (or a pilsner or pale ale), but the saison might be an interesting pairing as well. Personally, however, I'd pair a saison or a witbier with a white pie rather than one topped with sauce.

My Pie Monday: Bratwurst, Poblanos, Broccoli, and More!

@derricktung - Outstanding work! It's inspirational to see the before and after photos. That second pie looks killer!

Can't wait to get my WFO one day. In the meantime I'll have to settle for a Blackstone or KettlePizza/Baking Steel mod.

Game of Pizza: The Battle for Chain Dominance

I know that some might disagree, but I think Bertucci's should be on this list as well. Even though they have a full menu, they are first and foremost a pizzeria. IMO, Bertucci's margherita is excellent. For people living in the 'burbs on the East Coast, this destroys most crappy mom-and-pop Greek pizzerias.

Poll: What Soda Do You Like to Drink With Your Pizza?

Oops. Meant to write "Pepe's."

Poll: What Soda Do You Like to Drink With Your Pizza?

Foxon Park Birch Beer and a Pape's white clam pie is a perfect pairing in my book!

Openings: Famous Pepe's Coming to West Hartford, CT

gage3: I grew up in Newington, and it seems that the title of "CT's most dangerous city" alternates between Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport. This year, all three made the top 25!: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-dangerous-cities-in-america-2013-6?op=1

Eater's 38 Essential American Pizzas

As a Boston resident, I agree with many on here that Santarpio's might not be the best choice to represent the city. Personally, I'd either go with Posto in Somerville for their amazing Neapolitan pies or Galleria Umberto for their gooey, oily squares. Both are totally different but equally amazing. That said, I'm just happy that Regina's didn't appear on the list. They are one of the most overrated pizzerias in Boston, if not the country.

Paulie Gee on Belief, Baltimore, and Being Your Own Boss (Part 1)

Excellent piece! Paulie Gee is truly an inspiration. Looking forward to part II.

Dear Slice: Texas Pizza Summit II

Unreal. That 36.7 second pie is simply mind blowing!

Pizza Obsessives: Jimmy Coponi

@thezaman: Thanks for the tip. I've heard similar advice from a few other people as well. When I eventually get my oven, I'll definitely spring for the Primavera 70.

Pizza Obsessives: Jimmy Coponi

@scott123: Point taken. I guess the fact I'm trying to make is that eating at some of the best pizzerias in the country (Sally's, DiFara's, Totonno's, UPN, etc.) often involves dealing with a lot of B.S., be it surly attitudes, less than pristine restrooms, holier-than-thou egos, etc. I've learned to deal with it because I really only care about the pizza.

To those pizzaioli who are both talented and kind (Paulie Gee, Jim Lahey, Roberto Caporuscio, etc.), kudos to them.

Pizza Obsessives: Jimmy Coponi

@deliciouslymeta: I totally agree with your sentiments. This kid is is passionate about what he does and truthful. At least give him credit for being honest, even if you don't agree with what he's saying.

@Jimmy Coponi: Beautiful looking pie. Sixty second bake times? Are you kidding me? I am planning on purchasing a Primavera oven in the next week or so, and this makes me even more excited to do so. Do you have the 60 or the 70 model?

It's funny how the Slice community is so supportive and so positive, except when people come off as being a bit arrogant. I belong to a number of other blogs and people get slammed when they post less than perfect demonstrations of their accomplishments. Here on Slice, every pizza on My Pie Monday is "gorgeous" (when they really aren't), but when people are arrogant, Slicers get really miffed. I'm not sure what this says about the community, but it's interesting.

On a final not, let's not forget that many of the greatest pizzaiolo are/were arrogant and angry, and often eating in these pizzarias is/was quite an adventure. Anthony Mangieri is the obvious angry pizzaiolo that we all love/hate. Anthony "Totonno" Pero used to routinely shut off the light and throw his customers out of his pizzaria when he got angry. His daughter Cookie doesn't quite go this far today, but don't try to get a smile out of her. The dining experience at Sally's in New Haven is horrific. Ed Levine was quoted as saying that, service-wise, his first trip to Sally's was the worst he had ever experienced. In all fairness, Paulee Gee might be the rare exception to this norm. I'm not sure why pizza making and being an a-hole go hand in hand, but it seems to be the case. Blame it on the Southern Italian blood perhaps (BTW, I'm 50%). In any event, I find it rather interesting.

Best of luck Mr. Coponi. I look forward to visiting your pizzaria one day.

New Haven Plain Pizza Recipe?

Neapolitan style pizzas do not use a pre-cooked tomato sauce, as canned tomatoes are always "cooked" prior to canning. I'm pretty certain that the same can be said of New Haven style pies. To get that bright, fresh tomato flavor, minimal cooking is critical.

To the best of my knowledge, the only pizza styles that use a "twice cooked" (one prior to canning and one prior to pizza application) sauce are those that require a more stew-like, concentrated flavor (i.e. Sicilian pies, deep dish pizzas, etc.).

Sally's uses barely any parmesan cheese on their plain pies, if any at all. Pepe's, on the other hand, uses a much heavier hand of parm. If you're baking your plain pies in a home oven and decide to add parm on them, I would definitely grate it onto the pie immediately after coming out of the oven.

Top 5 "Must Eat" Pizzas/Slices in NYC?

Thanks everyone for the feedback!

My girlfriend and I ventured out to Roberta's this past weekend and were very impressed. After hearing from some that the best items on their menu were the non-pizza dishes, we ordered some salads and apps and split the Specken Wolf. Awesome stuff. Nice, tender, slightly smoky crust and fantastic quality, tasty toppings. I'd go back again just for the pies.

@Adam: I really appreciate the thorough list. Thanks. As for places I've been: Motorino, Keste, Paulie Gee's, Totonno's, Di Fara and Roberta's. It looks like I still have a lot more "research" to do. Next visit, L&B Spumoni Gardens will be on my list.

Cape Cod?

Pizza Barbone seems to be THE place to go for Neapolitan pies on the Cape. Meredith did a piece on them here on Slice last summer: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/07/the-bay-state-gets-its-first-stefano-ferrara-oven.html

Kenji raved about a place in New Bedford called Brick Pizzeria: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/11/great-pizza-in-new-bedford-ma-who-knew.html

New Bedford isn't quite the Cape, but perhaps it's worth a detour depending on where you're coming from.

Top 5 "Must Eat" Pizzas/Slices in NYC?

FYI, NYC means all five boroughs. Also, if you feel compelled to make this a Top 10 list, go for it!

HBO's "Girls" at Roberta's

My Pie Monday: BBQ Brisket, Pizza Pringles, Kobe Beef Bacon, and More!

@TXCraig1: Forty-five seconds? Amazing! What are you doing to decrease you bake times?

@Norma427 and Adam Kuban: Beautiful looking Detroit-style pies! Is this going to be the next big trend in the pizza world? I sure hope so. Adam, love those crunchy, charred edges.

@Florida9: Solid looking pie. Then again, what pizza wouldn't look good next to a bottle of Zombie Dust? I hear it's amazing. How did it pair?

@millions: Nice leoparding. Your cornice looks shockingly similar to that of my pies. Was this a combination of TXCraig1's dough recipe and a super hot broiler in an electric oven? Just curious.

On the Beer Trail: The Alchemist's Heady Topper IPA in Vermont

FWIW, Heady Topper is now the #1 rated beer in the world on BeerAdvocate: http://beeradvocate.com/lists/top

Introducing the New Slice Editor, Niki Achitoff-Gray, or 'Lady Slice'

@Meredith: It'll be sad to see you go but best of luck! When Becky and I get that apartment in Arlington with the WFO in the back yard, we'll be sure to invite you over.

@ Nikki: Welcome!

@pauliegee: You must have tried the homemade squid ink pasta with ground squid and garlic at The Daily Catch, right? To die for. My deathbed meal however would be a lobster roll from Neptune Oyster (which is steps from TDC). Perhaps you should give it a shot next time you are in the North End. That followed by a cannoli, an espresso and a piece of torrone from Modern Pastry. Absolute heaven.

Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker

I saw this product on the Williams-Sonoma website and was wondering if anyone has used one: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/breville-crispy-crust-pizza-maker/?bnrid=3101668&cm_ven=E3&cm_cat=EDM&cm_pla=0519_BrevillePizza&cm_ite=hero&cm_em=vanessabarneschi@comcast.net

It sounds pretty crazy.

Top 5 "Must Eat" Pizzas/Slices in NYC?

My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to NYC this weekend and are trying to figure out what pizza place we should hit. Rather than going through the trouble of telling you where we've been and what you recommend, I thought it might be more fun to simply see what Slicers feel are the top 5 "must eat" pizzas/slices in NYC.

HBO's "Girls" at Roberta's

Just curious if anyone else caught Marnie and Charlie's quasi-breakup on the roof deck at Roberta's, followed by their subsequent makeup two minutes later out front.

Sourdough Starter-Along: Day Zero

A sourdough starter is a simple concept—let some flour and water hang around for a while, and almost magically, the correct combination of yeast and bacteria will take up residence. Over the next many days, I'll be posting daily updates on a new sourdough starter that I've got growing. Today is Day Zero, i.e., your materials list. Read this, gather your supplies (most of which you probably already have), and then come back tomorrow! More

My Pie Monday: Foolish Poolish's Margherita

[Photograph: Foolish Poolish] From a name I know you know, Foolish Poolish: For your new feature, "My Pie Monday," a Margherita pulled from the oven about half an hour ago. Not my best pie by a long shot, but still tasty.Toppings are fairly self-explanatory (foodie specifics: S@n M@#!$&o tomatoes, Sicilian sea salt, fior di latte blah blah blah :) ).Oh, and sorry about the terrible photo quality...I'd blame the kitchen lighting, but, honestly, my photography sucks. I tried to fiddle with the colour in iPhoto but probably made it worse."... More

From Serious Eats Talk: Your Favorite Pizza Dough Recipe?

If you missed this thread over on Serious Eats Talk, it's worth visiting: Dear Slicer's: What's your favorite pizza dough recipe? Simon asks: It's been far too long since I've made pizza at home. I have a new oven with a top broiler (instead of the kind all the way in the bottom with the pull out drawer), and would like to put it, and my stone, to good use. I can get it REALLY hot in there with the broiler on. (about 650*)I'm curious to know what your favorite dough recipes are. I'm not scared of yeast, not scared... More

Build an Outdoor Pizza Oven for $20

I know a lot of people reading the My Pizza Oven series on Slice are salivating at the beautiful ovens depicted. Judging by the comments, a lot of folks want to build ovens of their own. A masonry oven might be a large undertaking for some, both in terms of project skill level and money. But Ziggy over on The Year of Mud gives a breakdown on building an oven from cob, a building material similar to adobe. Best part: It costs just $20. More

Now It Can Be Told: What 'Pizza Madness 2009' Was All About

Click me bigger! [Every Day with Rachael Ray] Some of you may have seen the stuff on the various Grub Street blogs, the Eater blogs, Village Voice/Fork in the Road, on the Chicago Tribune's Stew blog, in the New York Post, etc. The news that Rachael Ray has found the best pizza in the country. Yes and no. Every Day with Rachael Ray *magazine,* for the March issue, pegs a best-pizza-in-the-country story to college basketball's March Madness. The story will feature a 64-entrant mad-good-pizza bracket. I'm told that subscribers should be getting theirs as early as today; the issue... More

Totonno's Reopening Wednesday, February 10

[Photograph: Adam Kuban] Our man Ed Levine just got off the phone with Totonno's owner Lawrence Ciminieri, who tells us that Totonno's is reopening next Wednesday, February 10 at noon. Ciminieri says he himself will be making the pies that day. We're confident that this is the real deal this time. Ciminieri says he will have the necessary permits in place, and that the pizzeria will be ready to go on Wednesday.... More

In Videos: 'Pure and Simple,' a Day in the Life of Una Pizza Napoletana

Looks like Pure and Simple, that short documentary on Una Pizza Napoletana that we blogged about last summer when it appeared in the NYC Food Film Festival, is finally available in its entirety online, thanks to New York magazine's Vulture Picture Palace. It follows obsessive pizzaiolo Anthony Mangieri through one day in the life of his renown Naples-style pizzeria. At nine minutes, it's a bit longer than most web video we bring you, but it's the weekend. It ain't gonna kill you to watch. And, who knows, you might learn something.... More

Pizza Obsessives: Foolish Poolish

And so starts the first of Slice's Q&A's with folks who are mad about pizza. This week, we talk to someone whose screen name you might recognize. Without futher ado... Name: Foolish Poolish Location: England Website: Foolish Poolish Bakes; Flickr What type of pizza do you prefer? It's all good! (oh, boy, what a cop-out). OK, I'll sort of justify that by throwing up a link to a TED talk about the nature of choice and pursuit of the "perfect spaghetti sauce": http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_spaghetti_sauce.html Truthfully, I haven't eaten nearly enough pizza or sampled adequate variety to give an informed opinion. Generally,... More

'Pizza Hacker' and His Amazing Franken-Weber

I've been sleeping on this story for a while, and for that I must apologize to you, dear reader, and to the Pizza Hacker, a pizza street vendor who I've known about for a couple months but haven't yet blogged about. The Pizza Hacker, based in San Francisco, uses a modified 22.5-inch Weber kettle grill that he's fitted with fire bricks. To mimic a traditional pizza oven, whose shape is ideal for cooking a pizza, he used the original lid to mold an oven dome from refractory cement and perlite. Pizza Hacker shows up at various locations throughout SF... More