Profile

JEL

Pizzaiolo, restauranteur, writer.

  • Website
  • Location: Northwest Florida
  • Favorite foods: Handmade pasta, pizza, rich fatty bloody meat.
  • Last bite on earth: A plain slice from Patsy's in East Harlem.

First Look: Neapolitan-Style Pies at Bufalina Pizza in Austin, TX

Those salads are beautifully presented, but the pizza photos absolutely scream excellence!

Finding the Best Slice on Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

@Kelly Bone - Wow, I don't know how I didn't remember the Palermo review, but will bookmark it for my next trip to L.A. Another old spot with some bolder flavor that I found was Tony's Bella Vista in Burbank. I thought it was the holy grail for non-NY style before finding Casa Bianca. It would almost be fun to see some coverage of other old places like Little Toni's or Barone's, but they are probably not worthy enough subjects for Slice.

Finding the Best Slice on Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

The more pallid slices with remind me of so many other pizzas that I have tried all over the city. Many of the older L.A. Italian restaurants have pies that look similar. Anna's(I think it's gone now) did. I wonder if the trend started at Miceli's, which has one of the most bland pies on the planet.

firing WFO

When firing my oven, I don't close the opening at any point in the pre-heat, or cooking stage. The bricks should be soaking in as many btus as possible. While some energy obviously escapes through the opening, putting the door on only helps retain the heat. Without air, the wood is no longer expending as much energy. Possibly closing the door after the oven has reached maximum soak point might save a bit of wood if you weren't ready to cook, but I'm not that curious to try it. Figuring out the max soak, is the biggest deal.

I personally like my floor to be above 900 degrees, and be able to hold that without a huge fire.

I'd be interested to know about any brisket experiments. I haven't ever done much with meat. I tried doing baby backs once the day after doing pizza. The oven was at over 200 deg when I started. I didn't have a door, and the oven got too cool before the internal temp was high enough. Not saying I wouldn't try again though!

Excellent Neapolitan-Style Pies at Etto in Washington, DC

Shame on me. I thought elitism and snobbery were more polite descriptions of Makanmata’s claims of pomposity. Since we are parsing words to an unreasonable end, there is no more reasonable debate left to be had.

I’m intrigued Conaglio, I wasn’t aware that I had made any sort of speculative or leading argument. Please point it out specifically.

Excellent Neapolitan-Style Pies at Etto in Washington, DC

@Conaglio: That certainly is some dubious logic, but who came up with it? I don’t think that there is any point in this thread where a causal connection is made where “Neapolitan pizza in America is destroyed”. If you really want a non-sequitur perhaps the whole space time continuum is at risk and those stakes are REAlly high.

I get the fact that the internet thrives over the kind of vitriol expressed here. One side wants to add to the conversation, and the other feels the need to draw wildly destructive conjectural examples with no basis in fact. I really love what Slice does, but this thread is hopeless.

Excellent Neapolitan-Style Pies at Etto in Washington, DC

Putting this dialogue in the context of pomposity surely shines a new light on things. The idea that we are “castigating” one another like spoiled American children fighting in a school yard would indeed be a funny one,.... if that was what had taken place.

I am in total agreement with Shuboyje and Scott123’s comments on this issue. Without wanting to speak for them, the three of us seem to be on the same page with regards to a suggestion about accuracy. I certainly wasn’t insulting any specific person.

We are not all arguing for some VPN rule dominated definition, but expressing an opinion about using more informative descriptions.

The entire argument on the other side basically states that accuracy really isn’t important, especially if it makes us look like elitists or snobs. How can an argument for lack of proper information be taken seriously? Perhaps this dubious logic explains the need for seeing things in terms of “sad” or “pompous”.

Excellent Neapolitan-Style Pies at Etto in Washington, DC

Very well said, Scott123.

Excellent Neapolitan-Style Pies at Etto in Washington, DC

So what’s the big deal in a name? For a Sardenian kid (a close friend) who had rare trips to Naples, it means everything. For me as an American who has only grown to appreciate Neapolitan pies in the last few years the slight differences are momentous. My bar is set at a high level for this style.

I’m not trying to compare a masterful pizzaiolo’s pizzas to those produced in an American joint. I’m not comparing Etto to the pizzas of Naples, I am writing about them in a proper context.

Excellent Neapolitan-Style Pies at Etto in Washington, DC

@conaglio: Ciro Salvo's pies look fantastic nonetheless. I would wait in line to try one. Would he take offense to the label "neo-Neapolitan"?

If I tried one without knowing about the ingredients, and it reminded me of Naples, Neapolitan might be a great description. If I was writing about it, and did some research, I would probably mention the difference.

The problem when issues are divisive is that too much is read into comments. It may not be fair to judge a book by its cover, but Etto's pies don't bear the visual traits of Neapolitan. Salvo's pizzas do.

Excellent Neapolitan-Style Pies at Etto in Washington, DC

@conaglio: Ciro Salvo's pizzas look fantastic!

Excellent Neapolitan-Style Pies at Etto in Washington, DC

@11USCCH7: No need to be offended. The fact is that misinformation is harmful to the greater public's perception, and shuboyje’s example of the VPN place in Detroit is a prime example.

My remarks about frozen pizza and being “schooled” have nothing to do with the writer, or the readers of Slice. They have to do with the perception that supermarkets and chains place in the minds of the general public, who feel the need to go out and pass judgement on people practicing artistry.

There are many types of great pizza out there other than Neapolitan. This has nothing to do with some sort of elitism, but does concern accuracy. There is no judgement about Etto’s quality. I do think that there should be some parameters for terminology when writing about styles of pizza.

No Italian food police are around to knock at the door, and people can label things in any way that they want. My point is about conveying information in a factually informative way.

Excellent Neapolitan-Style Pies at Etto in Washington, DC

Misinformation about styles of pizza is an unfortunate big deal. While some semantics aren't worth debating, in this case shuboyje makes an important point.

Terms like "neo-Neapolitan" exist for a reason, and would be appropriate in this case. Putting "Neapolitan" in the title suggests,.....Neapolitan.

Why on earth would this be a contentious issue? For those of us who really put our life's energy into making pizza of any style, it is a constant source of frustration to listen to criticism from people schooled from Mellow Mushroom, or CPK frozen pizza about what is correct.

The proper nomenclature is there, we should all use it.

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

The whole handling of the raw meat is unquestionably unsanitary. I recently had a sausage pie at Zuppardi's that was made this way and think it's a fairly common practice. They (along with a few other New Haven area places) are doing the same thing with raw clams.

The bake time is totally safe, but the protocols for cross contaminating everything else between the pizza station and the oven aren't there.

I wouldn't prepare it this way for others, but I've got to say I've never worried when consuming one.

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

That pizza just made me start thinking about a pilgrimage.

Dear Slice: Texas Pizza Summit II

What a tempting assortment of pizzas! I'd be blown away to get an invite to cook and eat with such a fantastic group of people.

My Pie Monday: Python Pizza, Beets, Pork Belly, and More!

@Dmcavanagh: We have a small Italian market, and a couple of other options, so my next step will be to get them to special order something. Armed with a new wish list from Jimmy G, I'll pursue some of these.

My Pie Monday: Python Pizza, Beets, Pork Belly, and More!

@Jimmy G: Ultimately I need to get to an area where there is a Trader Joe's or resort to mail order.

My Pie Monday: Python Pizza, Beets, Pork Belly, and More!

@ Jimmy G: Thanks so much! I have access to some cacio di Roma, which is fairly young. I didn't get the intensity I wanted, but was using it as a compliment to mozzarella. Using it on its own sounds like a step in the right direction. I don't have access to many other sheep's milk cheeses around here other than campo di montalban, which is a blend.

My Pie Monday: Python Pizza, Beets, Pork Belly, and More!

All were very fun pies!

@Jimmy G: I always feel driven to comment on your Rianata pies. I really identify with the style, and am a big fan of pecorino cheeses. Any chance you would be more specific on what young cheese you are using?

Pizza Obsessives: Jimmy Coponi

Quite a few people reading this seem to have inferred that Jimmy was looking down on their own personal methods. What I took away from the comments was that they were directed at other professionals. There are plenty of people who reach a certain level of proficiency that can be easily mass produced. There are plenty of them out there. On a business level it is very frustrating to bring something new and different to the marketplace, and be met with criticism because the public is accustomed to something else. From doing this professionally, I also have pet peeves that make my “blood boil”.

Mattivore brought up an interesting point about homemade pizzas. There are so many interesting things going on in home ovens, and many families carry on traditions from Italian American grandmas. Jimmy’s statements did not even address home pies. Even Anthony Mangieri has had nice things to say about grandma style pies. It seems like more is being read into this article than was intended.

Pizza Obsessives: Jimmy Coponi

@Scott123: Offhand, I can think of one person on the “nice” list who described his competition with something to the effect of “useless tasteless, cardboard”. Despite the harshness this type of comment is usually made by someone who’s intention is to bring something far superior to the table.

Anthony Mangeri may not ever be a poster child for being respectful of others. I still identify with many of his ideas. He disparages coal-fired pies in general for the harshness of the dry heat. Hell, last month I returned to two of my all time favorite coal-fired pizzerias(one twice), and was shocked. The consistency just isn’t there. These are places that I would have requested as a last meal. I can totally see how someone who has imprinted on a very different style at childhood would react to the experience.

It seems like this dialogue should be more about the method than the man. With regards to the two places that he trash talked in 09, I certainly like them both, but quite frankly I had tried them before ever setting foot in Naples, and was still not a convert to the Neapolitan style. That took a very eye opening trip overseas. My bar is set a bit higher than what I typically find in the U.S.

Pizza Obsessives: Jimmy Coponi

I’m backtracking a bit, but feel the need to put another thought out there for Jimmy.

“Arrogance” is a very familiar term in the culinary world. In the right doses it is a desirable trait for a chef or pizzaiolo. When chefs and restauranteurs look for this quality in others, they are looking for someone who thinks he can offer something more than the rest of the pack. It is just as important that an aspiring person really walk the walk. The concept of arrogance isn’t negative in and of itself.

A bit of arrogance is also not synonymous with having a general arrogant nature. Singling out just one guy on a list of “naughty and nice” is more than unfair. I’m sure many of them have a desirable amount of cocky superiority. The one pizza-maker who I know fairly well on the “nice” list certainly does have some feelings of superiority, and will confidently state why he believes his methods are superior. It doesn’t make him an arrogant individual.

Let's Get Drunk Watching: The Season Finale of Mad Men

@ Vinny Mannering: No problem. I can't imagine having to watch so many shows. I resist taking on anything new, especially if it isn't part of a Sunday routine. Most regular viewers that I know have a low opinion of Don as well.

Let's Get Drunk Watching: The Season Finale of Mad Men

The description about Pete Campbell is pretty spot on, but there is a factual error. His mother was left nearly penniless by his spendthrift father. Pete and his brother are likely footing the bill for her standard of living. The mom is too far gone to notice. He isn’t taking advantage, but just being rigid and cruel.

As far as Sally growing up too fast, they have been foreshadowing this angle since she was little. She has been smoking and drinking as well as some more disturbing behavior since the very beginning. Last season she witnessed a much more involved act with Roger and Megan’s mom.

High Temp Counter Top Ovens?

For the last few years, I have been lucky enough to cook in a very high temp Baker's Pride deck oven that I no longer have access to. As much as I enjoy making pizza, I am not looking forward to experimenting with the many hacks and solutions I see being discussed. I realize that many of them may work well, but am looking for a magic solution.

I have seen some high temp electric countertop ovens on the web. Links are below.

http://www.nemcofoodequip.com/Products/CounterTopEquip/CountertopPizzaOvens.aspx

http://www.pizzaovens.com/Manufacturer/Vollrath/Vollrath-40848-Pizza-Bake-Oven.html

Does anyone out there have any experience with, or knowledge about these? Many thanks.

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