Gorgefest | Los Angeles Edition

A mad dash for LA's best food in one afternoon.

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We had four hours to eat in L.A., a period of time which all of us agreed wasn't long enough. While most people would have simply given up and spent the time driving around Hollywood or lounging on the beach, we plowed ahead, sure we could catch a plane and sample some of the best food in the city along way. So our afternoon in L.A. was spent cruising the endless sprawl of concrete and zig zag...

My Chicago: Cafe Spiaggia

Chicago's famed restaurant revamps their cafe

11th Aug 2010

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Spiaggia isn’t the sort of restaurant you waltz into on a whim--you have to wear a jacket to eat there, its gorgeous dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows, they have a cheese cave, and, oh, it’s really, really expensive. But the secret is that Spiaggia also has a cafe . It’s casual, intimate, and the food is superb. The attention to detail that is expected of a high-end restaurant...

How to Make a 3 Dollar Pizza Stone

Great pizza doesn't have to cost much.

12th Feb 2010

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If you're not down with pizza stones, it's time. Bread-bakers and home pizza afficionados praise them for their heat-retaining, moisture-wicking ability to imitate the floor of a brick oven. You put it in your oven and it not only provides a rustic surface to bake the bread on, but it also keeps the heat of the oven steady. Especially when it comes to pizza, that ever-important underside char...

Homemade Square Pizza

Focaccia becomes the base of this pizza.

4th Feb 2010

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Good pizza means good bread. For me, there's just no other way around it. Good bread is the soul of good pizza.

But baking has never been a subject I'm comfortable with. Give me a skillet, some pasta, and a well-stocked pantry and I can improvise countless meals. But if I'm supposed to bake something, I freeze. I immediately picture failure, a leaden cracker or a gummy mess. I hate the conf...

Idea Lab: Focaccia Pizza

Can great pizza be made at home quickly?

12th Jan 2010

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Idea Lab is where we explore topics before we head into the kitchen. We welcome your thoughts, opinions, and ideas, so please leave them in the comments!

Though I once praised the virtues of the broiling pizza on Serious Eats, I'm now over it. I'm tired of broiler antics and pre-heating cast iron pans to make approximations of Neopolitan-style pizza at home (I've already ruined one ba...

Deep-Dish Pizza: Round 2

Nick learns from his mistakes and makes a good deep-dish pie at home.

3rd Apr 2009

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I was determined not to fail this time.  My last attempt at deep-dish wasn't an absolute failure, but it was close.  It was too soggy and messy , and had none of the glorious qualities that my favorite Chicago pizzeria, Pequods , displayed.  I theorized about all kinds reasons for the failure, thinking it had something to do with the crust.  Then I just gave up and asked you all...

Digging into Deep-Dish

Nick struggles to perfect deep-dish pizza at home.

17th Mar 2009

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Or at least, that was my hunch.  I searched for a long time and finally settled on this recipe from pizzamaking.com.  Deep-dish dough is very different from its thin crust counterpart. The crust has a healthy dose of cornmeal, which gives it an interesting crunch and texture.  All the elements seemed to be here.  I tracked down some tomatoes, cheese, and even decided to add some spinach (a...

Top that Pie: Fresh Italian Sausage

Make the perfect topping for your pizza.

23rd Feb 2009

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For the sausage novices, nothing could be quite so easy as this recipe from Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie.  Because I was using it straight away I had no need to stuff it into casing only break them free a moment a latter.  I essentially just mixed everything together, ground it on the small die of my meat grinder, and cooked it.  It was about as time consuming as cutting up a bunch of vege...

Arriving in Rome, and the Search for Pizza Bianca

27th Oct 2008

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I've dreamed about going to Italy for a couple years now. But with New York rent to pay, only a handful of vacation days to draw from, and 7 hours of plane time all conspiring against me, I've never been able to go.  By a great margin Italian food is my favorite food to cook.  As my love of Italian food has grown, so has this vaguely imaginary place called Italy--into a glorious land of gran...

Fennel-Cured Salmon Part 2: Out From the Deep

4th Feb 2008

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It didn't look pretty.  After two days in the fridge, my fennel-cured salmon looked something like a disaster.  A lot of the liquid had somehow seeped out of my protective covering.  This worried me because that meant the brine didn't probably coat the fish during the cure.  It might not be done. How would I know if it worked?

Ruhlman said to give it a touch.  "The salmon should be fir...

A Night of Broiled Pizzas So Hot, Things Shattered

18th Jan 2008

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What's more fun than a make-your-own-pizza party?  Not much.  My friend Austin was in town from Providence, Rhode Island, where he teaches Spanish, Latin, and mythology.  Often when we get together it's an excuse to do a lot of cooking.  Throughout college he would make Nick and me ridiculously good brunches with fresh chorizo, eggs, and breakfast potatoes, and occasionally expose us to hi...

Gorgefest Saturday

Manhattan. 1 day. 9 Restaurants.

26th Nov 2007

saturday gorgefest 01

I hadn’t been to New York since my exodus in July and I returned with a plan.  I wasn’t going to waste any moment visiting attractions, or seeing a Broadway play.  I lived there for two years, so it felt right to walk back in and get to what I spent most of my time doing: eating.  And with the Paupered Chefs reunited for the first time in half a year, it really wasn't that hard for ou...

Pizza Hack Revisited: Broiling Your Pies

11th Nov 2007

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Earlier this year, Blake and I stumbled upon an astonishing pizza making technique - one that allowed us to create restaurant-worthy pies at home using nothing but a cast iron skillet and an oven.  The cast iron skillet was warmed over high heat on top of a stove, while the broiler was preheating.  Then the skillet was turn upside down, the pizza put on top, and then stuck underneath a p...

What Is This Mysterious Pizza Called?

1st Oct 2007

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Perhaps spurred on by Blake’s admittedly tasty-looking pickle butter , I finally caved in and decided to write about one of my favorite snacks.  Though a tad less refined, and even a bit shameful, it’s something I absolutely adore.  I wish it were more interesting.  But it’s simply a thin crust pizza with a fried egg on top.  Not exactly a revelation, but it’s quick and surprisin...

Some Say New Haven Has America''s Best Pizza

13th Sep 2007

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Ever since writing about New York pizza and our travels from borough to borough on an insistent quest for the best possible pie, a steady minority of nagging naysayers have quietly made their case in a different direction.   No matter how many subways, buses, or ferries one takes, they say, you'll never find the best pizza in New York.  That's because it's in New Hav...

A Paupered Week in Flatiron Day 5: Real Pizza

6th Feb 2007

_ Check out Day 1 to figure out why Nick is spending so much time on lunch spots in Manhattan . _

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Of all the foods I could nosh on in NYC for a quick, cheap lunch, nothing was as obvious as pizza.  The capital of that tasty dish, New York should have had interesting pizza places pouring out of its alleyways, with enough springy crusts, milky cheeses, and bright sauces to keep me filled...

Lucali''s: The Mysterious Pizzeria in Carroll Gardens

12th Nov 2006

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Mark Iacono, chef and owner of Lucali's, began making pizza publicly 4 weeks ago.  "I didn't even tell my family that I was opening this place," he claims.  When he pulled the brown paper down off the windows on Day 1, he was hoping a few neighbors might be curious, and he'd have a few weeks of experimenting and tinkering with the pizza formula before he officially opened.

Literally 30 minu...

Nick''s Pizza

11th May 2006

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Eating Nick’s we decided that our favorite pizzas don’t have a uniform cheese layer--as you take bites they change, from sauce and fresh basil to an all-mozzarella mouthful, and the flavors really develop in your mouth.

But we’ve gotten to the point where food can make or break the entire evening.  We’d been having slice after pie after slice after pie, and they’d all been so abo...

Denino''s Pizza

10th May 2006

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After the transcendence of Di Fara’s, we knew our search would have some kind of lull.  After that fateful Sunday our quest changed directions, conceptually and literally.  We called up our friend Paul who grew up on Staten Island, the place nobody from Manhattan goes--maybe for the free ferry ride by the Statue of Liberty, then right back again to Manhattan.

Like any local New Yorker...

Louie and Ernie''s

9th Mar 2006

1300 Crosby, Bronx, NY

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We awoke promptly at 9.  We decided this time to eat some breakfast before we left, slumped down into the plastic bench, and buried our head in books, our ears stuffed with headphones.  The subway didn’t emerge from the ground until halfway through our ride into the Bronx, and we couldn’t see any traces of the large skyscrapers that grounded us to home.

Much like o...

Di Fara''s

8th Mar 2006

1424 Avenue J, Midwood, Brooklyn

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Unfolding the MTA New York City transit map to reveal the uncharted Brooklyn belly beyond Prospect Park, we spotted a subway stop adjacent to our destination in Midwood, Brooklyn, New York.  We’d read about a small Italian man who, year after year, wins awards for his pizza--sometimes including declarations that it’s the best to be found in New York. ...

Patsy''s Pizzeria

7th Mar 2006

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Patsy’s lays buried in the middle of Spanish Harlem, a place we sane folk only venture through to get somewhere else--not because we're particularly scared--but because there is not much there.  This is not a hanging-out neighborhood.  Its name is not sexy.  Well, not yet.

Patsy's was founded by Pasquale Lancieri, student of Mr. Lombardi, in 1933 when this stretch east of Harlem was a still...

Welcome to Pizza Week!

6th Mar 2006

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Even the U.S. Government admits that pizza may be the perfect food.  It is a balanced food pyramid and a near-faultless symmetry of tastes: fresh but robust, light yet filling, sweet and tangy...

Lombardi''s

6th Mar 2006

32 Spring St., between Mulberry and Mott Streets

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Lombardi's.  The torch-bearer of New York, and even American, Pizza.  The ambassador, and the original.  Any right quest to find the best New York pizza must start here.

We are not too interested in lore, but here you go: the original was created in 1905.  Though there are claims that many Italian breadmakers were creating pizza pies with...