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The Best Pizza in the Universe! (?!)
cap, captain miss america

So, I’ve decided that for the purposes of Nommable, I have to stop just writing gushing mentions of places I eat and start actually talking about them in detail. Last night, my mother and I decided to take a little trip for dinner. It was just too hot to eat in the barn, so we got in the car, pulled up some reviews on my mother’s trusty iPad, and ended up heading for a wood-fired pizza place about 30 minutes from the barn: Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza.  This was a last-minute selection because we started out by trying to visit a pub that was highly-recommended by locals, until we got there and discovered that Friday night is karaoke night.  And as much as I love karaoke, I don’t really equate karaoke with a nice dinner out.  At least not when they happen in the same venue.

When we got to the pizzeria, we were met with this sign:

So, okay, you know, I love this sign. But I also have to take it as a challenge, because this is kind of a big claim.

A bit of a digression:

What you might not know, unless you’ve had the misfortune of seeing one of my internet arguments about it is that I’m kind of a pizza snob. I grew up eating my mother’s pizza, which is like something out of a pizza fairy tale. I have been making pizzas since I was about six. For a brief period when I was seven, my mother had a catering business making pizzas for private parties. The first food review I ever wrote was of a new pizzeria down the block from the house where I grew up. I was impressed at eight years old because it was the first local pizzeria that actually offered a pizza bianca, and I grew up with an Italian mother for whom sauce was an option on pizza and not a forgone conclusion, and I’d never been to a restaurant that fell in line with that way of thinking before.

My standards for pizza perfection are Trattoria Dante in Florence, although I haven’t been there now since 2003, so I can’t speak to whether it’s as good as it used to be. But I have the fondest memories of a pizza they used to do with arugula, mascarpone and speck (no longer on the menu, though there’s a different arugula and speck one with scamorza) that I used to gorge myself on whenever I was in Florence. And I can summon the taste of it back any time I want, and it is glorious.

Back to last night. I saw this sign, and I was like, oh, pizza, oh, you and your wonderful audacity.

Then I walked in, and unfortunately, a lot of my photos came out kind of grainy because I was taking them on my mother’s phone.  I was honestly not intending to write about this place until I got there and saw that sign outside. Seriously! So I didn’t have a camera with me.  And then the sign happened, and I was all, GAME ON. but I walked in, and the first thing I see apart from the oven is totally two big blackboard menus, labeled:


Separate menus. So this is a plus. Then I started reading the separate menus, and discovered a few things:

1) flour imported from Italy
2) pizzas made with mostly-local ingredients including bacon from a smokehouse down the road.

Awesome? I think so.

Anyway, we ordered a couple of beers and look at the menu, which has a whole bunch of other stuff on it besides pizza. We ended up with a Pork Slap Pale Ale, which I’ve had before and quite liked, especially for a beer in a can – It’s a good malty beer- and City Steam Naughty Nurse Pale Ale, which was not bad but not particularly memorable, either. They had two beers on tap, UFO Hefeweizen, which I’m not a fan of– I find all the UFO beers to be a bit too light and watery for my taste– and Shipyard IPA, which I like a lot, so we split a pint of that once we finished our bottle and can. They had a pretty decent bottle selection, too.

We ordered a beet salad that had feta, edamame, sunflower seeds, and shaved marinated fennel. It was a pretty darn awesome salad and very large for the small-sized portion. We really liked the fennel on it best of all; it was shaved very thin and was tender, not crunchy.

We got two pizzas to split. One was the “Piggy Piggy,” which was a pizza with local bacon, caramelized onions, and cherry tomatoes. The other was the “Summer Lovin’,” which had a nice olive pesto on it, red onions, and then all the other toppings were put on after it came out of the oven– goat cheese, oregano, and cherry tomatoes. The oregano was really fresh, good, spicy oregano and I loved it.

So…best pizza in the universe? Here’s my take:

The toppings were all really amazing, really fresh, and yummy. They clearly timed when they put which toppings on, rather than throwing everything on at once, which is a nice detail and one I appreciate, because it means the ingredients are being used in their best state. Especially with the tomatoes, because I prefer raw tomatoes to cooked on pretty much every occasion. The crust didn’t do it for me, though. I was impressed with their whole attention-to-flour thing, but the flour didn’t work for the kind of crust they were doing, which was a much more American-style crust with a poufy edge, although the middle was relatively thin. It did have just the right amount of char on the bottom, and the wood stove made it really nice and smokey, but the texture was off for the style of crust they were doing; it was too stiff  and chewy and didn’t have quite enough flavor. I do suspect though that the crust would be better with a red sauce on it, and my mom and I have already made plans to go back and try the meatball pie.

So, no, Dante is still my number 1, probably followed closely by Otto in New York. But this was some pretty good pizza and our salad was excellent and I will probably be going back there soon!

Mirrored from Nommable!.

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friendsfrieds surfed, saw pizza, saw 203 area code.

What is you opinion of Pepe's in New Haven?
(not trying to start a fight)


To be completely honest, I've only been to Pepe's a couple of times and not in ten or fifteen years, so I am ill-qualified to remark on it. I do remember liking their clam pie. They recently opened a store in Danbury, which is closer to me, and I keep meaning to get there, but it's also constantly packed on weekends, which is the only time I have any proximity to it. This is actually woefully shameful of me especially as my best friend is a Pepe (not one of THE Pepes, but a distant cousin), but I live in New York and am only in Connecticut on the weekends, and it's rare that we eat out and don't cook.

Hey, I could have asked about Pepe's vs Sally's vs Brooklyn style.

I have never been to Sally's and Brooklyn Style pizza doesn't exist and is left over from a bad Domino's marketing ploy. There is no such thing, the pizzerias in Brooklyn make Napoletano style, same as Pepe's. :-P

And hey, Somerville! I lived right near you for a while, I was off the Porter Square stop for a year.

See, and, while I admit I'm generalizing, all I hear from NYC transplants to Boston is "you can't get real pizza here, you need to go to Brooklyn and get a big foldable slice" ... which style i have always found to be the exxon valdez of pizzas, in terms of oil slicks.

Growing up (in DC) I had a great chain that consistently did a crispy thin crust, with a flavourful sauce. Alas, Shakey's is no more.

I have not yet found a great pizza place in Boston, though I have found good ones. I am told that I must try Santarpio's in East Boston, when I return from Afghanistan.

But I'm always willing to wait in line for the stuff from either Pepe's or Sally's, especially when they have fresh tomatoes.

And, so far, no good pizza in Somerville, but I like Bertucci's, for a chain.

Edited at 2011-07-24 05:40 pm (UTC)

I suspect there's some miscommunication between them and you, either in re: they're talking about not being able to get good slice shop pie in Boston, or you're not going to the place they're talking about, because Brooklyn Pizza = places like Totonno's or Grimaldi's, which are both coal-fired Napoletano, and no one from New York would ever compare slice shop pie to real pizza. Try one of those two then next time you are in Brooklyn!

Super yum! I just wish they wouldn't make such chewy crust.

If the purpose of this post was to make me hungry, then by golly you have succeeded!

The best pizza I have ever had EVER was in Augsburg, Germany. No idea of the name of the place, just "the Italian restaurant around the corner from Josefine's flat". The second best is cheating because it was totally the pizza pancake I had in Amsterdam!

I love finding great food in places you do not expect it to be.

Pizza pancake?! Like a breakfast pancake or like a crepe? This sounds intriguing!

Okay I have no idea what a breakfast pancake or a crepe would be! It was an enormous, plate-sized Dutch pancake, very thin with crispy edges, and had on it tomato, cheese, speck and onion and it was amazing!

Oh, I totally forgot about Dutch pancakes. Holy crap those things are good.

So good we went back the next morning for breakfast because we'd had no room for dessert the night before! My "breakfast" had cherries, cherry liqueur and ice-cream... washed down with cider... good MORNING!!


Actually, I have cherries and cherry liqueur.

I also have homemade cherry ice cream.

YES YOU DO. Hot damn.
I have... broccoli cheese!

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