A note on the menu indicates that the pizzas are all 12 inches. A "Plain-Cheese" pizza is just $1.15 and every topping is twenty cents more. The most expensive pie is the "Twin Trees Delux," ringing in at a whopping $1.65 for sausage, mushrooms, onions, peppers and anchovies. Pepperoni is an option, but a letter from the owner tells me it wasn't on the menu when he started making pizzas in 1962. My favorite detail is the spelling of "muzzarella," which hints at the Rescignano family's pronunciation.
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The development of the pizza wheel is much more schizophrenic than its larger counterpart, but its principle is identical. The wheel uses the same perpendicular impact method to puncture its prey but does so with a circular blade rather than the more cumbersome long blade of the mezzaluna. As previously mentioned, there was no need to quickly dice up a pizza into even units until slice culture rolled around in the middle of the 20th century. At that time, simple table knives were used to divide pies (ie Delorenzo's Tomato Pies in Trenton) but powerful alternatives lurked within unrelated industries. In the case of the pizza wheel, it all starts with wallpaper.
My first delivery didn't go very well. I forgot the credit card receipt and a 2 liter bottle of soda. I had no option other than to run back to the Big D for the missing goods and get back on the road. If the "30 minutes or it's free" guarantee hadn't been nixed due to several major auto accidents in the 1990s, I would have been in deep doo-doo.
Most of us who read Slice are interested in the glorious craft of pizza making, but the truth is it wouldn't exist if it wasn't a gigantic industry. The latest stats tag the American pizza industry's value at $39 billion. Any industry this large has multiple trade shows, but there's only one place where pizza professionals can see all the latest in pizza products / technology: The International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. I just returned from it last week.
There is common misconception that coal ovens are on the endangered species list in New York City. The truth is, there are more than than you'd think. Here's a quick rundown of five dormant coal-burning ovens in New York.
Fried pizza is real and New York is currently experiencing its first real dose in the deep fryer. It's soft with a thin crisp on the outside, deceivingly light and airy, and unbelievably addictive, but what exactly is it and where does it come from?
Have you ever noticed the creepy guy hanging out in Neapolitan pizzerias? No, not Adam Kuban. I'm talking about Pulcinella. He's always wearing a puffy white getup, matching white hat, and a black mask with a long, pointy nose. Maybe you haven't noticed him, but Pulcinella is usually within ten feet of most wood-fired ovens in the form of paintings and figurines. Who is this guy and why is he associated with pizza? We'll have to go back a few centuries to find out.
There is no such thing as Italian pizza. We're seeing a LOT of Neapolitan representation these days, but if New York is any indication, I'd say it's time to brush up on your Julius Caesar and prepare for a visit from the Roman pizza army.
It's very likely that other pizzerias used the name Ray before Ralph Cuomo (I found evidence of at least two), but none lasted long enough to be affiliated with the current situation. The pizzeria at 27 Prince Street truly is Patient Zero for the Ray's epidemic. Plenty has already been written about the confusing ownership of the various Ray's locations, so I'm going to give as quick a summary as possible by tracing the lineage through a collection of business licenses and phone books I have collected over the years.
A cloud of mystery surrounds the San Marzano tomato, with plenty of myths and legends to make even the simplest of ingredients sound intriguing. Let's scrape away the hearsay and take a look at the facts behind pizza's most popular pomodoro.
The once-necessary-then-obsolete-now-re-popularized coal oven has an interesting past that traces the story of pizza development in the Northeastern USA. Those who have experienced the goodness of a coal-fired oven may take for granted the resulting pizza's crisp yet chewy texture, but how did these chunks of black rock get into our ovens?
Most Slice'rs probably agree that pizza is best served directly from the oven, but over 1 billion pizzas are delivered each year and every single one of them is transported to its destination in a simple cardboard box. The contemporary pizza box remains as anonymous as it is simple, as few of its users know anything about the cardboard coffin's humble origins. Let's dig a little deeper into the history of the pizza box to provide some context for an item most of us view as a necessary evil in the life of a pizza eater.
The contemporary pizza consumer is pretty well-versed in the language of Neapolitan pizza. We know what a wood-fired brick oven looks like, we appreciate San Marzano tomatoes and we've tasted mozzarella di bufala. We even know where to go in Naples for the most historic pizzerias on the planet. But what about other pizza styles that bare Italian pedigrees?