Category Archives: Pizza

Another List, Another Honor for Frasca

Boulder restaurant scores again — and Sally’s may be sold.

Eater.com revealed its 2017 selections for “38 Essential Restaurants in America,” and not only was Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine on it, but having been listed for three consecutive years, it is now a Hall of Fame restaurant.

Other listees were less predictable. Bill Addison, who assembles the list, wrote, “I’ve also named a Restaurant of the Year, an of-the-moment union of breathtaking design and rooted, spectacular cooking in one of the country’s most timeless towns — Savannah.” The restaurant is The Grey, and the chef, Meshama Bailey, is an African-American woman. Addison wrote:

Everything that it takes to propel an ambitious restaurant to greatness — a coherent vision, a distaste for complacency, and singular leadership — Mashama Bailey accomplishes at the Grey in Savannah, Georgia. The restaurant synthesizes much of what’s relevant about this moment in American dining: an amalgamation of global and regional flavors; a big-city chef making a seismic impact in a smaller town; and an acute awareness of, and reckoning with, complex racial, economic, and cultural histories. The Grey doesn’t trade in tasting menu extravaganzas or modernist shenanigans. It’s an unabashed stunner of a space, staffed with kind-hearted souls. Beyond that, the cooking bursts with utter humanity. Bailey’s food — curried roast chicken, melting leeks with country ham and curls of grassy tomme, lamb shoulder braised with Senegalese spices — speaks to love of the region and devotion to the craft.

Another listee made my Connecticut-born heart beat with joy was finding Sally’s Appiza of New Haven on the list. This untrendy classic pizzeria has been turning out the same fabulous pies for nearly 80 years.  Addison wrote:

Salvatore Consiglio opened his restaurant in 1938, three decades after Lombardi’s in Manhattan first began serving pizzas in America — and 13 years after Consiglio’s uncle, Frank Pepe, started his namesake operation on the next block over in New Haven’s Italian district. Even so, Sally’s feels like the nation’s ur-pizzeria. It’s gritty, cramped, and chaotically busy; a certain imperviousness drifts in the air like coal dust. It is also, without question, the finest of the town’s legendary pie shops. The crust (a definitive nexus of bready and crackery), the sauce (pure tomato tang), and the cheese (spare, and yet somehow ample) fuse into utter glory. Devouring the signature tomato pie with garlic and pecorino Romano is a sacrament. Consiglio’s children may soon sell the business, so go now while the recipes remain in the family’s practiced hands.

Here’s hoping that even if the family sells the biz, someone who knows it and loves it will be the new owner.

Portland’s Farmers Market

Downtown market one of several each week.

My husband and I came to Portland, Oregon, a day early for the pre-convention trip we’d booked before the #SATWPortland convention. We are at the Paramount Hotel, and a block away in Shemanski Park is the Wednesday location of the #PortlandFarmersMarket. There couldn’t be a better welcome to town for us, since we got up at 5 a.m. back in Colorado. This is the last market this season. It starts up again in May.

Cooking veggies for Mexican dishes.
Heaps and heaps of fresh veggies from area farmers.
Pearl Bakery’s tempting selection of breads.
Missionary’s fabulous artisinal chocolates.
Tastebud brings its wood-burning pizza oven to the farmers’ market.
In addition to standard pizzas, Tastebud asembles some from “whatever the farmers bring us.” Here, a fresh eggs top pizza with sauce, caramelized onion sand roasted jalapenos.

@SATWPortland

New Pizza Spice Combos

One hot, one not — both blended in Colorado.

When I encounter food sampling stations, I always try a bite, and when a Colorado product is involved, I pay extra attention. So it was at Alfalfa’s on Sunday, where two guys were offering squares of pizza with two different seasoning options. The guys were Matt Lenore and  Mike Chen,  co-workers in the field of finance. They are also pizza lovers — and now seasoning entrepreneurs.

Matt and Mike sampling FlatIron pizza blends.

Eight months ago, they launched the FlatIron Spice Co., working out of a commercial kitchen in Arvada, where they now blend spices and herbs into a tastier, more complex alternative to plain old hot pepper flakes to sprinkle on pizza slices. The red, called Four Pepper Blend,  is hotter, with the heat coming on gradually. The green, called Hatch Valley Green, is quite mild.

The partners see commercially to pizza restaurants, online and now  to retail grocers, initially Alfalfa’s in Boulder and Louisville, C+P Provisions in Denver’s Highland ‘hood and Venice Olive Oil Company in Florida. Expect to pay about $5 per jar — and based on my first tastes, worth every penny.

Pizzeria Locale One of the Best ‘Small Chains’

Restaurant trade site likes Colorado chain.

Pizzeria Locale, a casual spin-off of Boulder’s heralded Frasca Food and Wine, got a shout-out from RestaurantBusiness.com in a roundup of “20 Small Chains Poised to Break Out.” The first Locale next door to the mother ship is a table service spot, but the newer locations follow a fast-casual format with lower prices but still with the high food standards expected at a place that Frasca co-founder. chef Lachlan Mckinnon-Patterson, has set up and oversees. Pizzeria Locale is a joint venture with Colorado-based Chipotle. Here’s what the site wrote about Pizzeria Locale in a piece on small chains with fewer than 20 locations:

“The Denver-based build-your-own pizza concept made headlines three years ago when it got funding from Chipotle. It’s since expanded the brand—which cooks pizzas in two minutes in a 900-degree oven—into the Midwest, with restaurants in Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. The chain’s method of differentiating in the saturated pizza segment: a focus on southern Italy, from the ingredients used to the house creations.”

Unlikely Spot for Fine Pizza

Audrey Jane’s puts out terrific pies.

The east side of Boulder’s Community Plaza Shopping Center is an unlikely place for a pizzeria. It’s not the side with the Broadway and the parking lot. Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage is run by Audrey Sherman (San Francisco, New York, Italy and culinary school in her past). BTW, there’s no garage in sight in case you are wondering.

We went there on a warm summer evening, hankering for a pizza. The store had a typical pared-down, brightly lit pizzeria look. The patio was the more appealing option for us. We shared and half-and-half pizza, a satisfying East Coast-style pie. There’s no adult beverage license, but my desire for a tannic Italian red was satisfied when we went around to the Boulder Wine Merchant on the Community Plaza’s other side for a couple of bottles, and they happened to be holding a tasting of Italian wines. The pizza and wine were therefore sequential rather than consecutive.

Half veggie, half Spicy Pig on a thin crust with an undulating puffy edge that show a bit of char– just as it should be..

Price check: $14 for a 14-inch cheese pie to $26 for a 20-inch New York pie.

2675 Thirteenth Street, Boulder:  303-442-2032.

Honors for Emily’s Brooklyn Pizza

My cross-country, cross-generational connection with Brooklyn pizzeria.

DailyMeal-logoAs you might have noticed, I often post news of national honors or national recognition awarded to Colorado restaurants, chefs and wines. Brooklyn is not normally on my radar screen, but I was thrilled to see that Pizza Loves Emily, a Brooklyn pizzeria now with two locations, was cited as one of “The 25 Best Cheese Pizzas in America,” as selected by TheDailyMeal.com.

The namesake is Emily Hyland, who owns it with her husband Matt. I knew her as a pre-schooler named Emily Shaw. She was a Stevens Cooperative Nursery School classmate of my son, Andrew, in Hoboken, NJ. Emily’s parents Rex and Rona Shaw and I have stayed in holiday letter touch throughout the years, and we reconnected in person recently when they came to a wedding in Estes Park. They both told me that when we next are in New York, we have to go to Pizza Loves Emily. And we will.

I don’t know what has changed but I cannot seem to copy The Daily Meal’s post about Emily, so you’ll have to click on this link in order to read it.

Pizza Loves Emily Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cosmo’s on Best College Town Pizza List

Thrillist-logoThrillist’s selection of the “21 Best College Town Pizza Joints in America” naturally included the University of Colorado, which means best pizza in Boulder. The site selected , writing:

You will not find the best pizza slice of your life in Boulder. But if it’s 2am and you’re a 21-year-old CU student with a powerful hunger after a powerful night of drinking, Cosmo’s slices are National site singles out “spicy ranch” (also on pizzeria’s own website).hard to beat. While plenty of students eat (and work!) there, locals often swing by for a cheap, quick bite. Each slice runs about $3, and is about the size of former CU basketball star Chauncey Billups’ leg. Don’t forget the spicy ranch, which elevates every bite of pizza. There’s a reason Cosmo began bottling this stuff and selling it in local supermarkets: it’s got a heat that lingers without being overpowering, and it meshes beautifully with the NY-style thin crust. You can dip without judgment at Cosmo’s. In fact, it’s encouraged.

The national site singles out “spicy ranch,” which also on pizzeria’s own website’s home page. Coincidence? I think not .Both Boulder locations are near campus (one east, one west), and there’s one each in Denver and Fort Collins.

Meanwhile, Travel & Leisure assembled a list of the country’s 30 most beautiful college campuses. CU-Boulder  is one, but the magazine picked a particularly unlovely photograph — an empty mottled field in the foreground, a jumble of buildings behind and the rounded lump of Flagstaff Mountain behind those. No signature sandstone buildings that the write-up lauds, no Old Main, no tree-studded Nolin quad, no Flatirons in the background, now snowcapped peaks referred to.  Not much thinking on the part of T&L.