Saturday, October 27, 2012

One More Week....

Talk about going outside your comfort zone. This pizza oven has been one hell of an experience. As I alluded to before, posts here on the blog have been few and far in between due to inordinate amounts of free time being dedicated to pizza oven construction.

The bottom line is that this has been one big learning experience. Since I've never actually laid brick, formed concrete, built domes or arches, built with metal studs, laid out a roof, or put down shingles; I have been in one big zone of discomfort for the past two months.

Getting ready for the roof
Things are now getting easier. After getting all of the fire brick laid for the actual oven, things like the roof seem comparatively easier. Right now I'm just waiting for this rain to get up on out of here.

Before I can use the oven, I've got to burn a week long series of gradually larger fires in the oven so I can drive out any of the moisture that is left in the fire brick - this process is called curing. With my trip to the East Coast being cancelled this week thanks to the Perfect Storm that is brewing in the Mid-Atlantic I will be able to complete these fires before I have to go out of town again.

I'm excited. These are temperatures that are going to allow me to do a lot things I couldn't do before. We're talking about temperatures that are capable of going above 900 degrees. That is an absolutely insane temperature, people. The missus and I have been excitedly discussing the possibilities. I can take my Big Green Egg up to some high temps, but as soon as you pop open the lid...POOF!....there goes 200 hundred degrees. This oven is going to be a game changer.

The Inspector was a real stickler, but she approved

I'm looking forward to cooking in this oven. Hopefully this whole thing will be cured, roofed, and insulated by next Sunday. One last big business trip for the year and then I think I'll be getting back on the blogging horse. Who knows? Maybe once I get this whole process somewhat figured out I can have some of you over for some pizzas.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

NYC: Fornino

A project on Long Island (Nassau County) has made for the perfect jumping point for my full on assault of the Brooklyn portion of the Ed Levine/Rachel Rae Pizza 64 List.

Fornino was on the hit list tonight. Located surprisingly close to the highway, the DiFara-esqe trek through the Brooklyn side streets was a nice change for once.

I slipped into this popular pizzeria with one thing on my mind - a nice hot pizza. The day had been long and I needed to eat and get out while I was still awake enough drive. My waiter brought me a beer and sensed my urgency for sustenance.

The menu had a good variety of classics which they called First Generation, riffs on those classics Second Generation, and the more modernized meat and cheese-centric type pizzas called - wait for it - Third Generation. Since I was a Fornino virgin, I figured I might as well start things slow. Margherita please.

As I waited for my pie to come out a tartufo pizza was laid down at the table next to me. Smelled like absolute sex. Sure, a small will set you back 35 bones (a large 50), but can you really put a price on that? Maybe. I guess.

The crust on my pizza had a nice chew to the exterior while maintaining a softness inside that only comes from painstaking fermentation. The sauce was sweet and simple. The mozz and basil were as you would expect on such a classic rendition - pretty straightforward .
Pizza Margherita

There are no lines to worry about or hipster attitude to be had here. This small narrow pizzeria cranks out classic napolitana with friendly service at a price in line with others serving this level of pie. The dough here  reminded me a lot of Flour + Water in SF.

Does it belong on the list of 64? I certainly think they make a good case. New York's a tough one because there are so many good napolitana places. (not to mention NY slices and grandma style). I swear, next time I'm getting that tartufo, though.

187 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 384-6004

Fornino on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 8, 2012

Believe it or not, I AM alive

You're probably wondering what the deal is with Dine O Mite! I can honestly say that I've been traveling like a fiend. In fact, for the first time in six weeks I get to sleep in my bed for seven consecutive nights! (Might I say, it feels damn good to be home.)

More importantly, I've been slaving away at the wood fired pizza oven in my backyard. Progress has been slow because I haven't really been around long enough to really work on it. This is going to be the week that this thing really takes shape though. I doubt I'll be able to top out the dome before I have to leave on Sunday, but I've heard that once I get it past the arch things will fly.

Between work travel and the oven there hasn't been a lot of time for much else. I will say that the Pizza Page - one of the tabs at the top - has been updated. There is a complete list of pizzerias from the Ed Levine / Rachel Rae Pizza Challenge list from 2010. This is really THE list I use when I'm traveling around the country. There are a lot of posts left to do in that realm. By my calculations I've got pictures for over half of the places on the list.

It's an exciting time for us around here. Hopefully this will be the end of the long lulls for awhile. I'll keep you updated on my backyard progress!

Slow and Steady