Man, I hate slow news days.
Busy day, but it was planned around the blog. There were some phone calls to make, some furniture to move, some painting prep to do. All in all, I figured six or seven hours of real work
It’s not straight from Rome, but Louie’s Pizza is pretty good. Or so my hopelessly hillbilly taste buds inform me. The one on Vindicator/Rockrimmon is the one we go to. We think it’s fine.
I’m a man on a mission, you see.
You sound about as passionate about good pizza as I am.
On the off chance that you build the thing and get satisfactory results, would you mind posting the plans?
Wow, I didn’t know MBA’s HAD locker rooms.
Since when did business administration become a sport? With loose women groupies, no less?
I guess a conservatory education leaves a lot more out than I thought.
We in Australia were blessed with waves of Italian migrants in the aftermath of world war 2, so Australia is well stocked with genuine wood-fired pizza places.
My local guy has been doing it since 1967, but there is a place in Sydney that does ‘Take Off Your Shirt And Rave About It’ pizzas too; up in Pennett Hills way, if memory serves.
One of the few good things to see in Sydney I might add.
Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs, CO. A must-stop when I’m out that way on a ski trip.
Dear VodkaPundit and friends/fans,
I just moved to NYC and for the time being, before my job starts, am quite poor. Any suggestions on great but cheap Italian? I know there’s a million places in the city to get Italian, but i’m looking for the bargain basement.
(This is not intended to detract from the good comments thread going about Colorado Italian … but if there are any seasoned NY’ers out there it’d be quite appreciated.)
PS: Vodka, I love your blog. I think this is my first (selfish) comment ever, but you are a joy to read.
Ahhh, you whine for pizza. I can’t aim you any closer to your nirvana than mine. I dream of a local cafe where I can partake of Tafelspitz, Sauerbraten, Schlachtplatte, and of course, Schnitzel. Alas, the best I have found is in a resturant in the thriving metropolis of Huntsville Alabama. Sure miss the trips down there.
I live in the Springs, too, (moved here 2 years ago) and have also been unable to find what I’d consider really good pizza or Italian food. I grew up in Detroit (back when Detroit had lots of first and second generation Italians) and lived in Baltimore for many years where Little Italy was a frequent destination for lunch and dinner, so my standards are pretty high. My daughter moved here from Baltimore a year ago and she and her husband would kill for a decent cannoli. That said, I find that the offerings of Indian, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese food here are unexpectedly good. It’s such a great place to live that the lack of good Italian food is really a minor deal, but, being human, I still wish I could find some.
Karl Rove knows where to get the perfect pizza but he never leaks the actual name of the restaurant.
There. See how easy it is to stay topical?
You’re so right about St. Louis. Everday Italian, fancy Italian, take out Italian, one as good as the other. And one of the best Italian grocery stores anywhere which allows you to pick up ingredients to make good Italian at home.
There’s no good Italian in Seattle either. That’s one of a long list of reasons I moved back to Chicago.
When you think about it, there’s something good about a day where the news is so slow you end up blogging about pizza.
Since I live in Virginia, I can’t really help with the search for good Italian in Colorado, but if you find it let us know and I’ll pass it along to my brother-in-law in Denver.
I’ve been thinking about a brick oven in my new house, and poking around the web I thought this is a good site:
I’m not sure if they reference a specific wood for burning, but I can take a good guess: Oak. Oak has a lot of energy, so it burns hot and long, and is relatively smoke and oder free (thus why it’s best for woodstoves and fireplaces.) I would think though as long as you stay with hardwoods, and avoid smoky types, like Hickory or Birch, you’d be O.K.
I too suffer from a dearth of good German food here in the Springs, and have also eaten at that nirvana of schnitzel Ol’Heidelberg in Huntsville, the best Bavarian style I have had since my army time in Germany. as for brick ove pizza, Phantom Canyon does it ok, or at least last time I was there, up on the second floor.
Go high tech on the oven, Heat tiles of the sort they line the shuttle with and an electronic torch to heat, not much bigger than the size of the pizza.
For non-pizza Italian food, try Biaggi’s (they have a web page, Google it). A slightly different chain based on the concept that small cities have an aching need for high quality restaraunts. Best linguinni with clam sauce I’ve ever had (and I’m fron Jersey, shouting distance to The City).
For Pizza, you have to come to Denver. Anthony’s ain’t bad if you remember to make them put the toppings on top of the cheese. But make time to search out Attivo’s ( around Sheridan and Jewell, hidden behind a bank building in a strip mall). Tony is a Gumba from brooklyn and his lovely wife Roseann is from Jersey (complete with accent only a native can love). This is not just a restaraunt, but a chapel of the church of the true pie.
As an asside to Will – I remember driving 75 mile each way to Beau Jo’s back in the day when Denver had NO pizza. Now that we are awash in decent places, I would make the 150 mile round trip to Attivo’s if I had to scratch that itch.
Slow news is good news
Last night I made a comment about the apparent slowness of yesterday’s news. As evidence, the local Fox station proclaimed, “find out Martha Stewart’s prison nickname tonight at ten!” (or something like that.)
Holy yawn Batm…
Ah, you did mention the option, Stephen, but I’ll gloat anyways; my garden contains eight roma plants that currently have about 80-100 tomatoes ripening on the vine. August and September will be sauce-making extravaganzas. Marinara, carbornara, ala vodka, the basic slow-cooked ragu, and others. Those amenable to freezing will patiently wait their turns to yield gastronomical excellence in the cold winter months.
Between the tomato plants of all varieties, the dozen or so herbs, and other produce, I suspect that within five years I’ll have no more grass to cut in my yard; every square foot will be devoted to the kitchen.
You’re a man with a mission, but do you have a serious mind?
Ahhh, guess it will be Imo’s for dinner tonight in honor of Kate and Stephen. Of course I’m more of a Joanie’s fan, so who knows.
Kate, there is something special about Imo’s. But it’s not just the crust – it’s also the cheese. It’s so creamy it leaves a film on the roof of your mouth. Now, that’s nothing special for a St Louis pizza, but it’s something I just haven’t found here.
The best toasted raviolis are still at Al’s down near the riverfront. They’re a St Louis speciality though, so you won’t find them the same in any city.
BTW, I went to Country Day, up until they kicked me out. Then I got shipped off to military school.
I have the same problem down here in Texas. Not a whole lot of good italian food. I haven’t tried Carabba’s (or whoever it’s spelled) which is supposed to be good – but it’s a chain. bah.
There is one decent little place by my work that is actually run by an Italian family, but that’s about it.
It was a lot easier to find good italian on the east coast.
Steve Green has an apt quote up regarding news and the ‘sphere: …it seems nicer somehow to not find anything to write about, rather than the usual blogging routine – which is to use global catastrophe for shameless self-promotion. Yeah,…
Amy — We have a Carabba’s in Wichita. I’ve talked to some people who love it, but it doesn’t do that much for me.
There are a few good independently owned places here: Angelo’s, Garozzo’s (which is one of 3 or 4 restaurants, all others are in Kansas City, so I don’t consider it a chain), and Sweet Basil (which is owned by an Asian guy; only in America).
Btw, Stephen, my husband and I found a terrific semi-upscale Italian place in Breckenridge. I know that’s not exactly close to you, but it’s nearer than St. Louis or London.
Carrabbas is good food but its like every other chain restaurant in that its busy and crowded most nights (at least around here).
I’d certainly recommend it over another chain like The Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill, but there’s no way it compares to a real Italian restaurant.
Thhis was forwaded by a friend – good for a slow news day.
Don’t close your blinds . . . . .
The other day, my nine year old son wanted to know why we were at war…My husband looked at our son and then looked at me. My husband and I were in the Army during the Gulf War and we would be honored to serve and defend our Country again today. I knew that my husband would give him a good explanation. My husband thought for a few minutes and then told my son to go stand in our front living room window.
He said “Son, stand there and tell me what you see?”
“I see trees and cars and our neighbor’s houses.” he replied.
“OK, now I want you to pretend that our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush.”
Our son giggled and said “OK.”
“Now son, I want you to look out the window and pretend that every house and yard on this block is a different country” my husband said.
“OK Dad, I’m pretending.”
“Now I want you to stand there and look out the window and pretend you see Saddam come out of his house with his wife, he has her by the hair and is hitting her. You see her bleeding and crying. He hits her in the face, he throws her on the ground, then he starts to kick her to death. Their children run out and are afraid to stop him, they are screaming and crying, they are watching this but do nothing because they are kids and they are afraid of their father. You see all of this, son….what do you do?”
“What do you do son?”
“I’d call the police, Dad.”
“OK. Pretend that the police are the United Nations. They take your call. They listen to what you know and saw but they refuse to help. What do you do then son?”
“Dad………. but the police are supposed to help!” My son starts to whine.
“They don’t want to son, because they say that it is not their place or your place to get involved and that you should stay out of it,” my husband says.
“But Dad…he killed her!!” my son exclaims.
“I know he did…but the police tell you to stay out of it. Now I want you to look out that window and pretend you see our neighbor who you’re pretending is Saddam turn around and do the same thing to his children.”
“Daddy…he kills them?”
“Yes son, he does. What do you do?”
“Well, if the police don’t want to help, I will go and ask my next door neighbor to help me stop him.” our son says.
“Son, our next door neighbor sees what is happening and refuses to get involved as well. He refuses to open the door and help you stop him,” my husband says.
“But Dad, I NEED help!!! I can’t stop him by myself!!”
“WHAT DO YOU DO SON?” Our son starts to cry.
“OK, no one wants to help you, the man across the street saw you ask for help and saw that no one would help you stop him. He stands taller and puffs out his chest. Guess what he does next son?”
“He walks across the street to the old ladies house and breaks down her door and drags her out, steals all her stuff and sets her house on fire and then…he kills her. He turns around and sees you standing in the window and laughs at you. WHAT DO YOU DO?”
“WHAT DO YOU DO?” Our son is crying and he looks down and he whispers,
“I’d close the blinds, Daddy.”
My husband looks at our son with tears in his eyes and asks him.
“Because Daddy…..the police are supposed to help people who needs them…and they won’t help…. You always say that neighbors are supposed to HELP neighbors, but they won’t help either…they won’t help me stop him…I’m afraid….I can’t do it by myself Daddy…..I can’t look out my window and just watch him do all these terrible things and…and…..do nothing…so….I’m just going to close the blinds…. so I can’t see what he’s doing……..and I’m going to pretend that it is not happening.”
I start to cry. My husband looks at our nine year old son standing in the window, looking pitiful and ashamed at his answers to my husband’s questions and he says…
“Open the blinds because that man…. he’s at your front door… “WHAT DO YOU DO?”
My son looks at his father, anger and defiance in his eyes. He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes, without hesitation he says: “I DEFEND MY FAMILY DAD!! I’M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER, DAD!!! I’M GONNA FIGHT HIM, DAD, I’M GONNA FIGHT HIM!!!!!”
I see a tear roll down my husband’s cheek and he grabs our son to his chest and hugs him tight, and says… “It’s too late to fight him, he’s too strong and he’s already at YOUR front door son…..you should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife, and his children and the old lady across the way.
You have to do what’s right, even if you have to do it alone, before its too late.” my husband whispers. THAT scenario I just gave you is WHY we are at war with Iraq. When good men stand by and let evil happen son, THAT is the greatest atrocities in the world won’t affect him. “YOU MUST NEVER BE AFRAID TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT! EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO DO IT ALONE!” BE PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! BE PROUD OF OUR TROOPS!! SUPPORT THEM!!! SUPPORT AMERICA SO THAT IN THE FUTURE OUR CHILDREN WILL NEVER HAVE TO CLOSE THEIR BLINDS…”
This should be printed in every newspaper and posted in every school in America. Of course that won’t happen so we’ll use the internet. If your blinds are closed do nothing with this email. If they are open I do not need to tell you what to do.
Steven R Chandler, CMSgt
332 ELRS/Vehicle Management Flight
Balad Air Base, Iraq
Dude- Parrivincini- 2800 W. Colorado- Dude, Mi oh my!!!
That would be “capisc’” not “capiche.” Anyway, it’s Sicilian dialect so the true Italian term would be “capisci.”
Pick up a copy of the book “American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza” by Peter Reinhart. Although he is unforgivably disdainful of Chicago-style pizza (being from Chicago, I must assume he got bought), he has a very good chapter on grilled pizza and recipes for the same.
Unless you go all out and build a wood oven, grilled pizza is about as close as you’ll get – and you can just crank up the old Weber to make it. A ripping hot fire, the right dough, fresh tomato sauce, keep the toppings light and you’ll thank yourself over and over again. (The current issue of Cook’s Illustrated also has a good article on grilled pizza.)
Reinhart’s perfect pizza ends up being Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, AZ. Wood-fired, individual pizzas all made while you wait by the owner, Brooklyn-expat Chris Bianco. I went there on a family trip and ended up heartily agreeing with his assessment – it’s fantastic!
Oh, and you’re right about the toasted ravioli on The Hill – it’s so much better than anywhere else. Along with Ted Drewes custard (sigh), one of the things I miss about the city.
I never could quite steel myself for St. Louis’ other culinary claim to fame (the fried brain sandwich).
And finally, St. Louis pizza has that creamy mouth feel because it uses Provel cheese – it’s sort of a Provolone-inspired Velveeta (provolone, swiss and cheddar, blended altogether – swap the provolone for colby and you’ve got Velveeta).
You have questions on food and your first move isn’t contacting Pursuit, proprieter of The Pursuit of Happiness? It is a sad, sad day.
I won’t hold that against you though, so here is what I know:
I just did a post on my pursuit for ribs over the weekend, where I talked about the best wood burning oven pizza I had in long time. Found it in Sheboygan WI of all places. If you’re ever near there go to Stefano’s Bistro (super Italian, really) and then head to their pizza place across the street.
For your oven needs, don’t build it unless you know what your doing. Heat retention and heat balance is critical. I would by it, you may have to save up, from these guys:
Understanding that it may take a while to save the dough (pun intended) I recommend you do what I do. Pizza on the grill. It is terrific, fun to do as a family or group, and super easy. Here is a good dough:
1 envelope of active dry yeast
1C warm water
1/2 t of sugar
21/4 t of kosher salt
3T whole wheat flour
1T virgin olive oil
21/2 to 31/2 C unbleached flour (final amt. depends on humidity)
1. Disolve the yeast with sugar
2. After 5 min stir in the salt, cornmeal, wheat flour, oil
3. Gradually add flour until dough forms
4. knead dough for 8 minutes, add only enough flour to keep it from sticking
5. Transfer to a bowl, coat dough in small amout of olive oil and let rise for 1.5 to 2 hours.
6. Punch down, knead, let rise again for 45 minutes.
When your good to go, separate into 4 balls.
get coals going on grill. Only use 8 to 10, hardwood is best and keep half grill as a non-coal side
Roll out each ball into a flat 12 inch irregular shape.
Brush one side with oil, and then put it, oil side down on the grill. It should cook in one to two minutes.
Pull off heat. On cool side, coat noncooked side with oil, flip, brush with oil, add toppings – not too much, less is more here – slide back over to heat and cook 1 -2 minutes. You may want to put the cover on during this stage.
Remove from grill. Serve. Silently thank your buddy Pursuit.
Ed and Timmah,
There is no better German food than at the Berghoff in downtown Chicago. They’ve been serving the Windy City for about a hundred years now. And of course they brew their own beer. Awesome. Just be prepared for a wait — they can seat about 200 people at a time but the place fills up fast.
And since no one else has said it, I will:
Better half-assed Vodkapundit blogging than none at all.
I think the volume of comments on this pizza topic is testament to that.
I’ll take a German food thread for better or wurst…
With your kitchen, your talent, and your love of cooking, your perfect pizza pie is available whenever you want it.
Of course, you’re too busy writing S Q U A T.
Thin crust, bleh.
Nancy’s deep dish.
I’m going w/the KitchenAid 2-drawer dishwasher in the new house. We’re a small family. But mebbe I should bring a couple of big pots to insert before making the final decision.
Berghoff, get there about 5 pm, should be fine. Good weinerschnitzel.
Sausage? Bobak’s (Polish), they might even ship it.
The Patio and they do ship.
Try Protos over on 15th & Platte near the Denver REI flagship store. The best I have found in Denver.
Have you tried Wazee Supper Club? It doesn’t sound quite what you’re looking for, but I love their pizza.
Now I know why your writting is such a good read – you grew up on the Hill. Ever since first finding out about it some 15 years ago, I make at least one stop somewhere on the Hill every time I am in S/L. My favorite stop is Viviano & Sons on Shaw.
My friend Steve, who grew up in NYC, says the Whole Foods market makes a remarkably good pepperoni pizza. Apparently you can call them ahead of time and just go pick it up. There used to be a great pizzeria on the NE corner of N. Carefree and Academy, but the owner sold it a few years ago.
Enjoyable blog, BTW.
You’re gonna hafta grow yer own tomatos . . .
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