Da Michele Opens in Rome

When you think about it, it’s hard to understand how one of Italy’s most storied pizzerias hadn’t opened a second location. And so it happened in November, the first offshoot of the Naples icon L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele opened its first location outside of Naples, in Rome.

The Local reported that the Rome location was a surprise. Apparently, the restaurant had already announced plans for a London branch (London!), but there was no word of expanding within Italy until it actually happened.

There’s some poetry (and irony) in the Rome location. If you start digging into the history of pizza, you find pretty quickly that it was a Neapolitan dish popularized by the poor — something that didn’t migrate north to cities like Rome because, well, it wasn’t regarded as worth the north’s attention. And yet here it is now.

Rarely even do the truest things stay pure, some say. Perhaps. And it’s easier to say this without having a financial stake in Da Micheles popping up in Rome, London, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Tokyo, Brooklyn and Los Angeles but there was something beautiful about Da Michele having one location.

Having not been to the Rome joint on Via Flaminia 80 (a short walk from the Piazza del Popolo) and not planning on visiting soon, I’d recommend anyone visiting Italy interested in pizza to visit the original.

Recalling my first experience at Da Michele nearly a decade ago, here’s a travel essay I wrote during a four-month food tour of Europe that details a visit: That Time I Spent $86 for Pizza and Learned the Sicilians Are “Masters of Food”

“Portafoglio” Pizza Lands In New York City (Again)

Not that you needed a food day to celebrate America’s favorite comfort food (is there even really any doubt that pizza wears that crown?), but today is National Pizza With Everything Day, and West Village Neapolitan upstart Rossopomodoro is making it the obligation of New Yorkers with good sense to pay respects. Rosso is slinging free pies out of the back of their kitchen on 118 Greenwich Avenue for two hours on Saturday afternoon between 4 pm and 6 pm. And not any old slices, but “portafoglio” pies, a style that has landed before in Gotham but never quite taken hold. That’s right, New York pizza-style hounds, if you haven’t had the Naples fold yet, here’s your chance.

“The literal meaning of ‘portafoglio’ is ‘wallet,” explained chef-owner Simon Falco. “It is the best you can get for your money. In Italy, pizzas are about the size of our small version and are eaten by one person. In Naples, portafoglio is their ‘fast food’ version of pizza in which an entire Neapolitan pizza folded in a particular way.”

Think Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever’s eating-a-slice-while-walking sequence but Naples style.

“We make the portafoglio a tad smaller, so you can eat it on the street and it is truly for one person,” Falco said.

The fold? A half-moon then a quarter-moon. According to Falco, it’s usually only made with Margherita pies because the double-fold doesn’t allow much room for toppings. That doesn’t quite jibe with the food holiday, but makes sense from a practical standpoint.

This isn’t the first time eating pizza “al portafoglio” has appeared in New York City. Not long after Kesté first opened on Bleecker Street, there were reports of it being served there (New York Magazine’s “Folding Manifesto” features a great diagram). But for all the new Neapolitan places, the folding method has never really seemed to have taken off. Falco thinks he knows why.

“Whenever portafoglios have popped up in New York City, the restaurants have tried to serve them at a sit-down table. But this pizza is meant to be eaten on the street and not at a seated meal. We will be able to showcase the dish in an authentic way by serving it through the back of our kitchen on the street.”

The restaurant will also be collecting signatures to advocate for the addition of Neapolitan pizza-making to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Falco hopes that could lead to more training of chefs in how to make pizza like a true Neapolitan pizzaioli.

New(er) Haven Pizza: Bru Room at Bar

When it comes to pizza in New Haven there are the classics and local favorites: Frank Pepe, Sally’s Apizza, and Modern Apizza. Not as well-known is the pizzeria across the street from the city’s other famed food institution, Louis’ Lunch. Bar’s Bru Room is much younger (since 1996) than New Haven’s storied pizzerias, but it’s another place to sample the city’s signature style. There are no less than 24 topping options. The most intriguing, the reason for a Bru Room visit, is mashed potatoes.

Before getting to the main event, there are a few requisite New Haven inspired pizza topping combinations to put up against renditions previously sampled at Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern: the clam pie, the clam and bacon, and a red pie with shrimp.

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2010 New York City Pizza Run

Ready, set, go! Er, no, wait, eat! No! Run!

There may have been some confused passers-by and homeless people at Tompkins Square Park on Sunday, but the 65 people who gathered there at 11 o’clock in the morning knew the score. Four laps around the park (2.25 miles), with stops after three for a slice of pizza. It was the first annual New York City Pizza Run, an event conceived by pizza blogger, Jason Feirman (I Dream of Pizza).

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Le Fooding’s “Any Way You Slice It”

Any Way You Slice It, it was a New York Neapolitan pizza-lovers’ ultimate dream, a Le Fooding preview at Co. that featured some of the City’s hottest pizza-makers.

Representing Manhattan: Pulino’s Nate Appleman; Jim Lahey of Co. (the evening’s host); and Heather Carlucci of Print. Representing Brooklyn: Mathieu Palombino of Motorino, and Mark Iacono of Lucali. Five pizzas were paired with Rhône Valley Wines introduced by Blue Hill at Stone Barns’ sommelier, Thomas Carter.

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Kesté’s Insalata “Pizza Sandwich”

Last June, when Grub Street reported on the pizza wallet at Kesté Pizza & Vino, aka “the portfolio,” we took note with excitement — the Neapolitan pie goes portable! But we measured the ‘Neapolitan’ equivalent of New York’s street slice against the original with mixed results.

While they tasted good, wallets made with regular Kesté pies (they wouldn’t make minis), with toppings and without, eaten crust or tip first, either burst open or devolved into a mess of bread and cheese. Whether you were sitting or walking, it was a fail. A new innovation at Kesté, the “pizza sandwich,” had more promise.

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New York’s Best Pizza Brunch Is At Roberta’s In Brooklyn

The concrete jungle sizzles in summer. Light twinkles off the glass condo windows through waves of heat. You get jostled by sweaty sidewalk-denizens. The city is too much. Too full, too busy, too— too much. It’s Saturday. Almost noon. Or maybe Sunday and already past two. You’re hungry. Need food. Brunch. Breakfast. But you don’t want French toast. Enough eggs Benedict. You laugh in the face of omelettes. You want something different, somewhere else. It’s time to flip this meal upside-down. You need to head to Brooklyn — to Roberta’s. You need pizza for brunch.

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Jumbo Slice Wars: DC Vs NYC

With Spike Mendelsohn’s We the Pizza slated to open in about six weeks, you’d think that would be the subject of conversation for DC’s pizzascenti. Much to the chagrin of some DC food-lovers, Travel Channel’s Food Wars recently shone the spotlight on jumbo slices with a face-off between the Chishti brothers’ dueling jumbo slice shops: “Pizza Mart,” and “Jumbo Slice.” As a Georgetown graduate, I can vouch for ruling in favor of Pizza Mart. But the resolution of one feud raises another question.

Locals have noted that DC is not a pizza town. Of New York’s iconic foods, pizza is king. Among slices, Koronet may not be the best, but it is one of the largest, and most visually memorable. So, how would Pizza Mart fare against New York’s jumbo slice?

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First Look: Paulie Gee’s Greenpoint Pizzeria

Brooklyn’s newest pizza drama is playing out in Greenpoint, just blocks from Metropolitan, in a space that was previously a restaurant of a former Top Chef contestant. The new chef is someone with considerably less airtime, a guy from Jersey named Paul Giannone — Paulie Gee.

Until weeks ago, Paulie’s pizza-making was mostly confined to the oven he built in his yard. Now pizza-lovers and aficionados are gathering to see if this former software quality assurance engineer can pull off dreams of joining the City’s elite pizzaiolos. It’s the kind of New York— er— Brooklyn story you can literally sink your teeth into. To learn more about his story, check out this interview.

Recently, we joined Slice’s managing editor, Adam Kuban, at Paulie Gee’s to sample some of this Brooklyn-born dreamer’s early efforts.

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First Look: Pulino’s Bar And Pizzeria On Bowery

Funny how things work. Frank Pepe opened its first New York location in Yonkers last November. Last week, Eddie’s of New Hyde Park announced it would soon make its first inroads into Manhattan since they opened in 1941. Now both styles of pizza have met on Bowery and Houston in Pulino’s Bar and Pizzeria, Keith McNally and Nate Appleman’s much-awaited pizzeria. The kicker? As Eater has well-documented with its first looks at the decor, the place looks like it has been there on the corner forever.

Of course, Neapolitan-style was a New York staple long before Frank Pepe left the confines of New Haven. But Pulino’s combines the crust texture and taste of Pepe with an even thinner pie, one that’s just about two-and-a-half times the thickness of what you’d expect from Eddie’s. Not to say it’s cracker-like — it’s not at all. But it is not a doughy pie. Do not think KestéCo., or Motorino. Nor are pizzas as charred as the ones pictured by Zagat. What we have here folks, as was the intention – is an idiosyncratic style of pizza. A standardized amoeba shape, a thin crust, and square cuts.

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