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Sandro

Nick's Pizza, Forest Hills, Queens

YES! The De Sica reference lives to see another day, thanks. Your 'zone pics really do it proper justice...covet that hot pocket at any time of day, and yes, beats the pizza by a nose. Not only good, but really "old country" authentic -- my Neapolitan stepmother presses hers similarly down, as though she's fixing to slide them under some attic door.

Daily Slice: Motorino's Cherrystone Clam Pizza, East Village, NYC

Looks great and will have to try. Re: the superb brussel sprouts/pancetta version, my wife once made the slightest comment in passing to our server that at a previous visit, her bs/p pie was under-brussel-sprouted (and indeed it was). What followed that day was a beautifully rendered bs/p pie that just popped with bright green brussel sprout leaves. While they should all come out that way, it does show the spirit of the place.

Street Food: MUD Truck at Astor Place

Agree with the generally negative review. You want to like it. It should be good. It's orange. They pump out WPLJ standards circa 1985. But the coffee and derivative drinks are nothing special, oftentimes thin and not robust tasting. You don't control the dairy aspect, either, which while not a unique failing is a failing anyway. And their prices are no big bargain -- over the summer I would sometimes get the large iced coffee (black) from the Wall St./William St. truck, for $4! I doubt their large holds more than 16 fl. oz., so minus the ice you're not talking about much product.

Pizza Palace: Knoxville, Tennessee's Pizza Drive-In

Looks like it came out of a box. Yes, it's Knoxville, and yes there's beer and soul, but sorry-looking pizza.

Madison, Wisconsin: A Disappointing Dud at The Roman Candle

I'm not really here for any review of pizza from Madison, WI. I will say that the photo at the top, depicting the bucolic, dusky building setting at Ingersoll and Williamson, is quite lovely.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn: Paulie Gee's

pauliegee, I know you're probably working on your business like an "animale" as it is, but any thought to middle-of-the-day hours at your place, if only on weekends? Thanks and best wishes.

Home Slice Brings a Slice of NYC to Austin, Texas

I commend the reviewer for managing to keep such a keen focus on the pizza product alone. I was in Austin in December and took note of the crowd (forget about "line") outside Home Slice. It was a sunny, brisk late afternoon and their side of South Congress (east side) was catching some terrific sunlight. That's a great part of town. Magnolia's just down the road, and you could throw a rock and hit Zilker Park. It's not like you're stuck eating by some bus stop outside the Port Authority.

Fried Calamari Slice at Portobello's in Tribeca

More gloopity cheese and seafood? Bizarre...and, oh yes, wrong. Jim Lahey would probably do seafood on a pie right -- I'm thinking a cheeseless crust slicked with oil and red pepper flakes, some greenery for color, and a lemon squeeze over the top. But putting calamari on a regular pie?!? I guess it's edible and maybe even likeable if each component is high-quality, but it could be so much better!

'Always Hungry' on the Calzone at Nick's in Forest Hills

Nick's calzone is the best I've had in the city. It passes the ultimate test: its best version is the "plain," or ricotta and mozzarella only version, with marinara on the side (as depicted in the photo). The crispychewy shell, smell, flavor, and mouthfeel evoke the fabled mozzarella-in-carozza-envy scene in De Sica's "Bicycle Thief." Another big plus is the shape -- it's pressed virtually flat, in the classic, homey Neapolitan style. Cannot say enough good things about this dish.

Signed, Nick's calzone fan from 1994

Exploring the Roots of Stuffed Pizza with an Easter Calzone from Scudiero's

Chicago Italo-American culture has really gotten away from saying "when."

Manzo's Pizzeria & Ristorante: Proof That Great Pizza Does Not Need a Great Crust

We need to get to an harmonious place where we can conclude that this stuff is not in Motorino's or Co.'s class - not by a very long shot - and yet would still be fun to eat on its own terms. If I'm at this place watching a game with the MGD set to "heavy pour," this pizza would more than do the trick. Context, people...context.

Poll: Do You Eat and/or Dip Your Pizza Crusts?

Forgot to add-- would never dip, no matter where the pizza's from. I just love bread, period.

Poll: Do You Eat and/or Dip Your Pizza Crusts?

My 4-year-old leaves the crust. He's too into the bread-and-sauce synergy of the rest of the slice. From Sal & Carmine's, though, it's probably more a lack of jaw strength issue. I love crust and will go to lengths. He recently threw down a week-old slice from S & C's, leaving the crust, which I then enjoyed. Even after a week, the crust had wonderful taste, crispness, and chewiness. It was like a fresh bialy minus the onion.

Paulie Gee's Opening Tonight in Greenpoint

Thanks, Adam. What was on your namesake pizza, by the way?

Paulie Gee's Opening Tonight in Greenpoint

What train can I take from Manhattan?

Dear Slice: 'Visiting NYC Again; Where Should I Go for Pizza This Time?'

Had lunch at Motorino Manhattan last Saturday. Very, very impressed. First off, they take your cell # so you can roam the neighborhood while you wait for your table. There's an excellent vintage emporium on 1st Ave between E 12 and E 13 that's a heckuvalot more interesting than standing around. We ordered the two available salads then, a mixed greens (nothing special, underportioned, greens were fresh though but not much there there) and a beet/ricotta salata that was delicious (but again, not really for sharing size-wise). Three pies: margherita, sausage/mushroon, and brussel sprout leaves/pancetta. All delicious, like really good. Must clarify that they're not brussel sprouts, they're the leaves only, and while pretty to look at with appealling mouth-feel, any flavor they might have is overwhelmed by the pancetta. I love pancetta, so I'm simply noting this point of fact. Noticed that much of the female clientele gravitate to the bs + p pizza, maybe because of the shrubbery or maybe not, but if so, Co.'s Popeye spinach version is better balanced. During the week, the lunch special at Motorino is a flat $12 for any one of several 'zas plus either a savory dish or a dessert - great deal.

The Bronx: Louie & Ernie's Pizza for a Sausage/Onion Pie to Haunt Your Dreams

FINALLY a place that knows how to "ball" sausage chunks for pizza. Pizza looks terrific, beautiful shots, will go. As much as I love Sal & Carmine's (for ex.), and S & C does use a very fine tasting fennely sausage product, their 1/4 inch thick salami style slicing technique often leaves me with too much of an inadvertently swiney big-bite.

In Which I Finally Get My Ass to Pizzeria Bianco, Have Amazing Pizza, and Finally Write About It

Loved the post, Adam - nice storytelling. The pizzas look amazing. You'd have to agree that if there's one place where you wouldn't mind waiting outside for 2+ hours until opening time, it's probably somewheres in the Valley of the Sun.

What's Your Favorite New York Slice?

L&B for Sicilian - Sal & Carmine's (B'way @ W.101 St.) for a classic "triangolo."

AHT Poll: Has a Burger Ever Given You Food Poisoning?

Too tough to tell. There's an interesting passage in "Fast Food Nation" about a person who attributed their food poisoning to some greasy, sloppy enchiladas they had had. It was later determined to have been caused by some ground meat, and not the enchiladas. Point is, without testing, a layperson cannot self-diagnose what caused what.

Angelina Pizzabar: Pizza Concept or Seriously Delicious?

Sorry to hear you had a mediocre dining experience. I dropped a note to Adam about the place coming from the perspective of someone who, if looking for a nearby "little more than a slice joint" (agreed that Sal & Carmine's is superb), we'd have to truck down to Dean's on West 85th - Angelina's was just a couple blocks north and that proximity for me is worth some points. Yes, it's soulness and opportunistic, but I can walk there. (There's a Woody Allen line in there somewhere.) Anyway, last weekend we discovered the M116 bus which gets us from West 106th to East 116th and 1st Ave. - 20 minutes later, hello, original Patsy's!!!!

Alton FINALLY Sold Out!

No issue with doing an endorsement, but for this garbage? Grape juice has 50% more sugar than Coke. It's the worst of the fruit juices in that respect, which is saying something. Please people, juice is not "healthful."

Initial Report: Five Napkin Burger, Hell's Kitchen

Looks terrible. Is all that lettuce meant to suggest "plentiful bounty?" That slick of cheese looks like it was ladled on. Adam, you're soo right that something - anything - should have been done with the napkin settings to reference the restaurant's name - how do you put down just one napkin here, like every other place?

At least they've gotten rid of Nice Matin's once-topping for this, bitter and toothsome grilled radicchio. Uh, no.

8-Year-Old Forced to Eat Organic Macaroni and Cheese

I can almost hear the chorus of dads murmur, "I'll eat it if [name] doesn't want it... ." Annie's tastes good, people. The pasta has a nutty earthy flavor, and the cheese isn't all gloopity.

A Revisit to Stand: Burger Backslider No More

Livetotravel, have to compliment your use of the terms "young gut" and "salt lick" - that could have been ripped from William Goldman's superb "Harper" screenplay, but wasn't. Are you Larry McMurtry?

Flor de Mayo's Peruvian-style roasted chicken: What's the spice?

Flor de Mayo is a popular Latin food/Chinese food place with two location on Manhattan's Upper West Side. One of their major offerings is a whole, Peruvian-style roasted chicken, which tastes very good. There's a distinct spice note to the dish that I've wondered about for some time. Sure, there's a blend, but just as in, say, Indian food, there's a prevailing note there. I had this last night, loved it again, and am again wondering what that flavor is. Thanks in advance...

Recollections re: DDL Foodshow (or Food Show)?

I'm thinking of the flagship location of Columbus Ave. between W 81 and W 82 (NYC), back in the early 80s. I was surprised that the architectural tome 'New York 2000' makes no mention of DDL's usage of the space (now Calle Ocho restaurant, previously Main Street restaurant, and prior to that??). This place was a big deal when it first opened, but failed to gain suction on the Upper West Side even though aesthetically it blew away Zabar's (and was more expensive). Any recollections of the place would be appreciated.

Starwich - your opinions?

Anybody try this place? There's one on Wall Street here in NYC, but I've got to believe there are others. No, to my knowledge it's not affiliated with any Craft offshoots, although there is that confusion. Relatively expensive, particularly because the base sandwich (yep, you do the work here) is underportioned and contains only 4 ingredients if I recall, and one of those is your protein. (This is coming from a guy who thinks that good cooked ham and gruyere on buttered baguette is probably the greatest sandwich going, so I know 4 ingredients sounds like enough, but a Starwich, it doesn't add up to much.) Any opinions of this place or its backing? - I'm curious.

Bruni v. Meyer, Round 2

First it was Frank Bruni's lukewarm Times' review(s) of certain Danny Meyer establishments in the past (not the immediate past, where Bruni recently double-dipped excellent reviews of 2 Meyer outposts). Now, in today's (1/24) Times (Dining Out, 'You May Kiss The Chef's Napkin Ring'), Bruni, who's really starting to show some tiger stripes in his writing style, takes a shot at Meyer (no other way to put it) for feeding into the cult of chef ethic that's pervading many restaurants these days. The beauty part of the dig is that Meyer is the ONLY NON-CHEF who's name-checked for criticism, and it's a valid one: self-book-selling at his places' doors and above at least one of his bars (paraphrasing Bruni, in case you didn't see the book when you first walked in). Oh, it is so on...

'Iron Chef America' on the Food Network

They know the secret ingredient beforehand, right?

Also, if Julie Chen, Mo Rocca and other non-food types can be on the panel, I'd like to try to get on as a judge myself - doable?

By the way, saw Ed Levine as a judge recently (Citrus battle - yeah, I agree, way too broad), and he did a splendid job filling the Jeffrey Steingarten seat, minus the necktie stains.

Experiences with Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron?

We've had to replace two pieces of Lodge cast iron cookware in the recent past. Back when they were purchased in the 1990s, these pieces required home seasoning. Now, Lodge has at least two product lines (Logic and Pro Logic) where Lodge has done the cast iron seasoning for you, using industrial strength ovens that bake in the seasoning at temperatures mere home cooks couldn't dream of achieving. Anyway, anyone try any Lodge pre-seasoned cookware, and is it worth the extra expense to have them deal with seasoning the cookware?

Ideas for building around leftover Indian?

This is probably an apt topic for most delivery leftovers, but I think that Indian presents the biggest challenge. Certainly, you'll likely need more rice, and I've tried the ethnicky Near East brand's coconut-ginger version with Indian. Also, a room-temp cucumber salad made with Indian-type flavorings also agrees with this food. Any ideas?

Uh, Starbucks breakfast sandwiches actually taste ... good?!

It's with a healthy dose of humble pie that I post this addendum to our earlier discussion about these egg n' meat critters - fact is, I was initially inclined to bury my "correction" at the end of what appears to be the now-moribund prior discussion, but I figure, go ahead and get flayed on this one. I totally prejudged this one, and I was majorly wrong. The discussion inspired me to actually try the 'Bucks eggwiches, and they're actually quite tasty. Maybe they've always been like this, or maybe with time the whole prep process is ironing itself out, but I'm a fan. The one-stop-shopping aspect of it (Starbucks coffee plus food) has always been an enticement. I've now tried the pepper bacon version, and the turkey bacon version. They both feature a different cheese, the former a yellow cheddar and the other a whitish jack (it seems) . The "toaster" that's used to revive the sandwich really does the trick, in that the English muffin is somewhat crisped, the egg is slightly lofted, and the whole thing does get properly heated (this morning's even had real melted cheese, rather than just warmed cheese). The taste is the crux, though, and it's reasonably winning. The pepper bacon is just that, black-pepper-flecked and with a proper cooked texture. The turkey bacon, being other than swine, provides a milder bacon flavor, but it's enough of a flavor to do the trick in concert with egg, a white cheese and muffin. The big sell for me is that after taking the eggwich out of its cartouche-type serving baggie, the eggwich does not come off as made ages ago in a land far, far away. Granted, it doesn't and probably can't have the "ups" of an eggwich made right in front of your face, but if you remove that comparison and just contend with how it tastes and mouth-feels, it's good. So, I stand corrected.

I Love Pahn-eh-TONE-eh

Why don't more bakeries try to make panettone? Sullivan St. is the only boutique place I know of that gives it a shot, but the two I've had from their shop (diff. years) were on the dry side. Could it be it's because even the most generic, truck-stop-looking, boxed Italian panettone for sale at Gristede's or Rite Aid blows away any more hi-falutin', contemplated baking attempts at the stuff? Maybe it's also labor-intensive as well, but fact is, it's so unnecessary when you consider that a Motta, Alemagna or Perugina panettone is pretty much treading Platonic ideal territory. In my life, I've had one elevated version, a Sorisi panettone purchased from Williams-Sonoma some years ago, containing marrone glaces pieces rather than raisins or candied fruit. What I'm curious about is whether anyone's tried to flip panettone into an even more elevated form, like panettone french toast or panettone bread pudding (come on, that sounds good, don't it?).

Why is Lonesome Dove Western Bistro getting killed?

I've read several reviews of this Flatiron District restaurant (in NYC) and it's just getting hammered. After having eaten there, I don't get it. The reviews I've read (Cuozzo in the Post, NY Ragazine, Bruni in the Times too I recall) kill this place, like a bad Broadway premiere. It's like, they WANT to kill it, and I definitely sense some East Coast bias in the tone. Everyone agrees that the steaks are great, which I know gets a big whoop here because alleged Luger waiters are all getting backing to open their own cattle pens. But if they're great, they're great. The reviews don't seem to even enjoy the idea of a game-based menu, and on top of that the execution at LD also gets crucified. Anyone else eaten there care to share? I will admit the lighting for menu reading purposes is bad, but overall there are far worse places in Gotham that get coddled by comparison.

Love/Hate Mama' Mexico (W 102 & B'way)

This place has probably the best, freshest, most carefully prepped Mexican in the city, and yes, you do pay for it. Don't believe me? - Do a dry run by ordering a basic combo platter, all items you've gloopity-glooped through at other places before. Here, the tamale is pristinely executed, with a firm, flavorful delivery, and the chile relleno is far more than a melted block of spicy Jack ensconed in a pepper. Chimchangas? Awesome. I could go on about the food...

It's alot else that irks, though. The service is way, WAY too stuffy, from the besuited and betied maitre d' at lunch to the plurality of servers just standing around, like sentinels ringing a fort. They're also overdressed. There are always the wallet-gouging specials, even at lunch and even with an 8-page menu. (Just ask not to hear them - they'll make it stop.) Service takes awhile, but only because it's DELIBERATELY slow, to artificially formalize the dining experience. This is also another place that insists upon dining clusters - if there's one other occupied table in the whole place, be sure you'll end up sitting right next to it. But my big peeve is the customer-assisted Changing of the Table Paper, in which after your meal and before the dessert course (and by the way, no one there cares whether you're actually having dessert - YOU'RE GONNA HELP CHANGE THE PAPER) a sentinel with a fresh piece of white table paper will come over, say to you "Change the paper", and expect you to lift up everything off the old table paper so the paper can be changed. You've got your hands full managing a 15-month old? - too bad, change the paper. Busy reading the latest installment of Connolly's "The Overlook" in the Times Magazine? - too bad, change the paper. And of course, you've already asked for the check before the paper sentinel appears (didn't I mention that?).

I'll return for the food and the home proximity, but pretty soon, we're gonna decline the paper change just to test the waters of defiance...

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