Motorino's founder Mathieu Palombino was there making pizzas with UPN's Anthony Mangieri who has packed up and headed out to San Francisco since closing shop nearly three months ago. In other words, a perfect storm or Neapolitan pizzawesomeness.
There's Anthony and Mathieu, being put on the spot by Ed. Before any of the serious pies were served, we were given "street" slices delivered from two different locations in the city to serve as somewhat of a reference for NY-style pizza (how could I forget):
The first was from one of Totonno's Manhattan locations (I think I heard 26th & 2nd?). It was rather bland and the sauce non-descript. Nothing to write home about. Having been delivered, it wasn't exactly hot either. I can't wait to try Totonno's when the original location re-opens (next month?), but I sure hope it's better than this.
Hey, how'd that bite mark get there before I took a picture of it? It must have been served to me that way... This slice is from Pizza Suprema on 31st & 8th, and while it wasn't altogether terrible, the effects of having it delivered from halfway across the city had certainly set in by the time it was served. I felt like a dog shaking it's head with a chew toy trying to take a bite out of it. I'm sure it's better when ordered on location.
Then without further adieu, the 'rockstar pizzaiolos' went to work making pies for everyone. This gave everyone a chance to schmooze around and get to know each other. I was glad to finally meet Nick from Pizza Rules!, Gianluca from Pizza & Coffee, and a host of other great people hailing from everywhere between 86th st. and Portland, Oregan (!!!). That's dedication.
Hey look! There's Adam hanging out next to that badass oven like it's not even a big deal. It was interesting to see Anthony's famous oven completely re-tiled. What was once this:
(courtesy of NY Mag)
...is now this:
Both look so gnarly; it almost comes across as a battle between good and evil! Before I realized it, one of the best-looking Neapolitan Margherita's was sitting right in front of me:
Are you kidding me? This is pizza porn. Perfectly distributed ingredients, lightly-golden mozzarella di bufala, and LOOK AT THAT CORNICIONE!
Leopard spotting! I regret not taking a "cut away" style shot of the inside of that end crust, but man, it is to die for. With two chefs in the kitchen, it was hard to see where Mangieri stopped and Palombino started, but the pie was just as great as the one I got at the Brooklyn Motorino a few months back.
Perfect, in every sense of the word. They were also serving up Soppressata pies (tomato, fior di latte, soppressata, garlic and chili oil)
(Courtesy of Leslie Holland)
Definitely a Palombino creation considering Mangieri's limited menu. Nick and I are veggies, so next up was Mangieri's filetti-
Incredible. The filetti is a bianco (sauce-less cheese) pie topped with cherry tomatoes, and it was, as I said, incredible. The sauce doesn't weigh down on the center crust on this guy as it does on a Margherita or a marinara, leaving the center slightly fluffier than it's predecessor. The tomatoes were super fresh and full of flavor.
As everyone finished up savoring their pies, we were served ice cream, UPN shirts, and signed copies of Ed Levine's impressive book, A Slice of Heaven. What a great day. Until next year!