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Freelance wood-fired pizza guy for hire. Currently working for Chef Ori Menashe at his new downtown restaurant, Bestia, kicking out some serious Neapolitan-inspired pies and wood-fired sourdough breads: www.bestiala.com
Great job, Lance. So much great info here. One day I'll try his pies...
Buffalo-Style Cauliflower looks so good. And those tofu balls? OMG. Keep 'em coming, Kelly...Yum!
Totally unrelated but...just in case any of you hasn't have not met Reggie yet...
I'm assuming we all know Tom, right? Magnum PI...
@ Howard Li - Ha! "The guy in the middle looks like a white Reggie Watts." You have no idea how right you are. Jonathan has the body of a Jewish Pizzaiolo and the soul of Reggie Watts...times 100. What you don't know is that he used to look like a young Tom Selleck before he gave it all up for Neapolitan pizza. What a dream-boat!!!
pizza bianca with arugula, gorgonzola dulce, oranges, castelvetrano olives, pomegranate and slivered almonds
Awesome! When do we get to see some pics of YOUR pizza??? Can't wait...
Lou is the real deal and a chip off the old block. I'm sure his grandfather is very proud of him...
Lance, you nailed it once again. By coincidence, I had coffee with a local chef/pizzaiolo this afternoon who was instrumental in setting up the pizza program at Michael's after training with Enzo Coccia in Naples. He has a mobile pizza oven that he built himself which kicks out some very impressive Neo-inspired pies. And if you don't believe me, track him down. He flies way below the radar for now but I believe he's often at Monkish Brewery in Torrance. Well worth the drive from Hollywood IMHO...
And, after Monkish, don't forget to hit up Smog City Brewing...right around the corner. Best craft brews in LA!!! In fact, hit me up and I'll join you...
I want one!
I'm speechless, for once, so I'll just use someone else's words:
"The only journey is the one within."
Hey Matt. I can't believe I missed your call last night! You have earned this adventure more than anyone I know. You are a pizza pioneer and I feel honored and blessed to have crossed your path...
@PaulieGee, re: your comment, "...my walk-in's not big enough to keep an extra day's worth of dough now..." I think I have a fix for you. Have you tried mixing a batch of dough and then retarding it in bulk containers instead of balled in dough boxes? This allows you to retard your dough for as many days as you like while only taking up a small percentage of space in your walk-in compared with balling it and then retarding. You can then just pull the dough out of the walk-in the day of service (or the night before if you have the time and space, which you probably don't), ball it up, leave the dough boxes to be used first out to warm up and return the dough boxes to be used later in the evening (or the next day) back to the walk-in. Just a thought.
I've been doing it for years for when restaurants don't have enough storage space in their walk-ins, which is usually the case. My old boss laughed and a told me that I was actually the "bulk retard" when I told him about the idea, but now he says my dough is the best he's ever had in his life. And you know my secret now: bulk retard, baby! But don't tell anyone. It will be our little secret. Shhhh...
And Lance, thanks to you (and PG) for this epic Q&A. You guys make a great team. Hey, just an idea. You should write the pizza wars pilot starring Paulie Gee. The only question is, who would be talented enough to play him?
50's Vintage is awesome! But, yeah, it's as good (or bad) as any label. 10 people will always agree with just about any title you give "their pizza" anyway but I think it's fun and useful at times. And, for the record, I found your Pizza Styles thing very useful. It opened my eyes to a few styles I had never eater or even heard of.
I'm doing a presentation this week in LA for about 100 mom and pop pizza shop operators and industrial food service people as well and I'm going to demo a bunch of pizza styles over the course of maybe 40 minutes so and I'm thinking about using a sheeter and adding this style to my presentation. I think I'll just call it 50's Vintage Chicago Thin Crust for now. Ha!!!
I meant 'thin-ish'...and, while I'm at it, add 'Midwest' and 'bar' to the list...
@AdamKuban - I knew it! Thanks for the link. Also, does this type of pizza have a name? For lack of a better description: sheeted, think-ish crust, well topped, friendly, neighborhood, no attitude, old school pizza???
Just curious, does anyone know if Maria's uses a machine or a rolling pin to get the crust so thin? I can almost see one of those machines in the foreground at the beginning of the video but it's dark and blurry.
Last time in was in Chicago, Lance Roberts gave me a list of places to hit up, of course, and one of them was Vito and Nick's. When I saw how thin they roll out their dough at Maria's (not to mention the old-school neighborhood bar vibe), I thought of Vito and Nick's...who use an old-style bakery machine to roll out their dough extra thin and fast.
Beautiful pizza, Kelly. I like how they slice the eggplant so thinly. As for the artisan debate, I think your point is a good one. They were "artisan" before Domino's, for sure. The owners are definitely ahead of the curve. I prefer to think of these guys as "budget artisan" because the prices are so low compared to the competition. Solid crust (though nowhere near the best in town) and cheffy, seasonal toppings. What's not to like?
Wow, that pie looks killer. And that pie guy must be pretty good too after two years at Delfina. I for one like the idea of "chefy toppings" mixed with things like ranch dressing, which I noticed on their menu page. Wonder if it's homemade or bottled???
Great interview, Lance. Really though, did you inject him with some truth serum before the interview or what? This guy is an open book. Amazing.
Very fair review, Lance, as always. And funny. I thought I was the only one who found Entourage abhorrent.
Never had a bad pizza here, especially when Bradford was there everyday. How often is he there now, Kelly?
Great job Lance, as always. Love the last shot too, 49 of 49. I thought I saw EVERYTHING at the Expo but I guess not.
What a useless list.
@Lance: Ah, yes, the Spice Girl thing. Well, we'll never really know for sure unless one of us gets his greasy paws on a time machine so let's just get back to the meat of your post: cheffy pizza.
I guess the good news for all of us is that LA pizza has come up several notches in recent years mostly thanks to these guys, particularly with regard to the toppings but also the crust. Most chefs have taken a back-to-basics, artisan approach to the dough using premium quality flours, longer fermentation times and of course wood fired ovens. What's not to like, besides the prices?
And, these day, if you don't like the prices you can just go to any of the new generation of fast-casual pizzerias which seem to be multiplying by the minute. I haven't found a decent fast-casual pizza place yet which delivers on the "artisan" promise but hopefully that's just a matter of time.
No substitutions, no modifications, no alterations, no deletions, no really. Was it Gjelina or Father's Office who started that whole thing? I thought it was F.O. Whatever the case, these days I mostly see...menu modifications politely declined. So much less sassy, don't you think?
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