Last night I served the genuine New York pizza and got my reviews from a genuine Brooklyn born and raised Jewish woman and genuine heart throb of my friend, Larry.
First, I served up as an appetizer, one BBQ oven baked Margherita Marinara as a starter. Light and thin, not too filling and cooks before your eyes in about 2 minutes at a high temperature. Garnish it with a few fresh basil leaves and serve hot but in small portions. Next, after we devour that one, the salad is served while we wait for the main course or the pizza that put New York on the map. Since they are first timers to my pizza I explain to them what they are about to eat. Then I moved back into the house to cook at only 475º on a pizza screen, without a stone, the NY pizza as specified by Francesco Brunaldo. Timing is always critical. So that they can see the pizza before I slide it into the oven, I like to give them a glimpse of what is about to take place. Maybe that's the showman in me but after watching enough of those food channel shows I find it of interest to see what it is supposed to look like before, as well as after it's cooked. This one will cook in about 9-10 minutes so there's time to pour another round of wine and visit a little. I'm nervous that I might blow it and not get a second chance at this. I remove it from the oven and bring it out to the patio hot and steaming with a whiff of baked bread aroma and melted cheese emanating from it. I can tell it's going to be good. My confidence level rises. You can feel it when it's right. Anxiously awaiting her expressions and evaluation I hear her say things that were off the charts. She used words like incredible, amazing, just right and, "It brings back memories of that little place in Manhattan where they served pizza by the slice and we ate their all the time." "Did it hit the mark?" I ask. One by one she dissected it. The crust was soft and chewy and doesn't taste like anything they serve in California. The sauce didn't do a lot for her, right amount and kept simple without a lot of flavors going on and almost lost under the layers of cheeses. That's OK, sauces are not supposed to dominate. For the cheeses, I used Mozzarella and Provolone then some sprinkled blend of Parmesan with Asiago and Romano. Her only suggestion their was maybe more of the hard cheese to accent it. "What's that other salty hard cheese?" she asks. "Prosecco" I say nervously, "No, that's a wine." You're right, Pecorino?""Yes, Pecorino." Like good Jewish friends they thoroughly enjoyed the NY-Italian pork sausage that went in next to the Italian salami and pepperoni. However in my own defense, I did ask ahead of time before serving them any pork products though. "So, what would be your over all evaluation? I don't want gushy I want honesty". She says, "Best pizza in California since I moved here." I ask,"when was that, 3 months ago?" (Sarcasm on my part) She said, "No, 31 years ago." Really? I'm flabbergasted. I guess this guy Francesco Brunaldo knows what he is talking about. I am more impressed though with the pizza than I am at myself for following his instructions. I think I will keep this pie on my repertoir and she goes on my Christmas Card list. Does it matter if she is Jewish? No, I think they appreciate the thought. I think she has earned a spot at my table.