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Italian Food
Tuesday, April 24, 2007 | posted by Mike

Mrs. TVFF is in Rome right now. Unfortunately, I'm sitting on my couch, trying to figure out why my WiFi doesn't work and writing TVFF posts. No offense to the intelligent and good-looking readers of TVFF, but...

Anyway, I figured that it would be fitting to enjoy a little Italian food of my own. And -- what do you know -- it has a food TV tie-in! (I love when that happens!)

Last night was a pasta and broccoli in a garlic olive oil/butter sauce that was recreated by memory from one of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. I couldn't be bothered to pull out the book, but I'm confident that my rendition was close enough.

But the more adventurous part of this story comes from the fact that I was in New York on business today. No, I wasn't skulking around Chelsea trying to "accidentally" bump into a Food Network personality. It was for a conference.

However, I never like to waste a trip into the city on just business, so I decided to make a run down to Bleecker Street Pizza, which was one of the spots that Hungry Detective Chris Cognac profiled in his New York episode. It was a straight shot downtown on the F train, and it was well worth it.

There is a sign in the window proudly proclaiming it to be the "best in New York" according to the Food Network and Cognac. Now, even if you ate pizza for dinner every night, you would probably never be able to try every pizza joint in New York, especially if you consider new openings and ownership turnover. So I'm not sure that anyone can ever say definitively what the best is. But I wouldn't argue against Bleecker Street. It was fantastic.

New York pizza is just a different animal than the kind you can get anywhere else. Bleecker's featured a perfect blend of cheese and sauce, and the cheese had a very fresh and rich flavor. But the crust is what distinguishes the great from the good. It was almost uniformly crispy, with the exception of the trademark floppy end that signifies a New York style slice. I'm not an expert on cooking pizza (despite my summer spent making pizza and dancing in a giant rodent suit for a certain chain restaurant), but I really think that the key to the crust might be the fact that you're getting slices that are being warmed up a second time. Hear me out.

What does biscotti mean? That's right: twice baked. The process of cooking them twice gets rid of the moisture and makes them extra crispy. If done correctly, I'm thinking the same thing happens with the pizza crust. Of course, you can end up with overcooked, but Bleecker's was right where it needed to be.

As for ambiance...there is none. But it's the kind of place that you can grab two slices and a Coke and sit there by yourself. There was also what looked like a grandfather and grandson sitting across from me. For what it's worth, the kid looked like he was enjoying it. Of course, you could put ketchup on a piece of cardboard and call it "pizza" and a kid will like it.

But those of us that know better know that great pizza can be a wonderful thing, and finding a place that does it well is like finding a good stock broker. If I could only get Bleecker Street to deliver to TVFF HQ...

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