Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pizza Rock Stars

Last weekend was a huge weekend for pizza in NYC. Pizza fans from all over came to Manhattan to attend the sold out Serious Eats/Slice Piemans Craft Event hosted by Ed Levine, founder of and author of Pizza: A Slice of Heaven and Adam Kuban, founder of, A Hamburger Today and Managing Editor of Serious Eats. At the event Mathieu Palombino of Motorino; and Anthony Mangieri, of Una Pizza Napoletana fame made pizza side by side for the group and Ed Levine and Adam Kuban gave a talk on the state of pizza in the pizza state. The late luncheon also included samples of other "street pizza" from Totonno's (Manhattan) and Pizza Suprema.

For those of you unaware, Anthony Mangieri (left) of Una Pizza Napoletana recently sold the space (and the gorgeous 4,000 lb oven inside) to Motorino. Mangieri plans to open a new shop in San Francisco in 2010. I can't wait to see what he'll do with the new place and what beautiful behemoth oven he'll put inside. If what they say about the NYC Una Pizza Napoletana is true San Franciscans have a lot to look forward to. I'm also slightly relieved that he is opening a new place because I thought my chance to taste a UPN pie was gone.

The Motorino crew made a big change at the old UPN space. *gulp* They turned the oven black. I only saw this with my own eyes from a distance. But I saw pictures, pictures, I heard the scandal uttered amongst other pizza bloggers. Here is Mathieu Palombino (left) in front of the new black oven. As you can see the tile of St. Florian is gone and the tiny, white hexagonal tiles are gone now, replaced with little black squares. *Sniff. It looked like a black veil pulled over a mirror of the historic past of UPN. I suppose it is natural to want to make the space their own, but I was so looking forward to seeing those beautiful tiles that Mangieri laid himself even in Motorino. Still, I suppose the inside of the oven is what counts and the pizzaiolo working in even more so. Read more about he scandalous oven change and the event here and here.

So, lack of funding and bad timing kept me from attending this historic event, but I did show up outside like a total fan girl to get a glimpse behind the proverbial velvet ropes. It must be what groupies with out back stage passes feel like. You're there. You see the security guards, and just beyond them you can see the band partying with other hotties and important people. You try not to look desperate, but you really want to get back stage, so you stick it out and hope someone notices. ha ha.

Luckily it wasn't long before Ed Levine (left) came outside for a breath of fresh air and we chatted for a few minutes. He was tall and sort of serious. I told him the best place for a pizza in RVA (8 1/2) and he knew a little about Richmond food as well, citing the bakery at Sally Bell's Kitchen. Ed was super nice and even brought out a slice from Totonno's. It was beautiful cold slice with a crispy crust and chewy end crust, nice cheese and good cheese to sauce ratio. I was warned by several people that the Manhattan Totonno's is not as good as the OG Brooklyn location, but it was really nice to have a glimpse of what that might be like. Personally I love cold pizza. We talked about how a cold slice stand up to hot one. Ed said, "Cold pizza should just turn into good bread." Spot on.

Next out was pizza rock star Adam Kuban (left). Kuban was bearded and bespectacled as expected and also seemed a little quiet. he was really friendly though. It was also our first time meeting and he snapped pictures of me stuffing my face with the Totonno's slice and we talked pizza. He pointed out other pizza rock stars inside, Paulie Gee, Pizza Blogger, Anthony and Mathieu. Then out came Paulie Gee himself and it was over to his car (parked remarkably close) for a nip of homemade lemoncello. This is where I left the pizza rockers to enjoy their pies at the event. I went around the corner for a cheap slice from Hot and Crusty. It paled in comparison to the cold Totonno's slice.

But after the party was the after party.

To be continued.


Paulie Gee said...

You really shouldn't have gone around the corner PizzaChick. I had a slice of Mathieu's Sopressata Picante waiting for you. As far as those accolades go, you are too, too kind. Now that guy on the bike, that's a rock star.

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