Pizza Walk With Me

Let's get hyped up over some pizza.

Pizza

Happy National Pizza Day, Please Hug a Pizza

Pizza EssayDan TallaricoComment
FullSizeRender.jpg

Pizza is humankind’s bestfriend. While we have created so many great industries, technologies and flavors, pizza is the one creation that loves us back.  

Think about eating a pizza. There’s no other experience like it.  

As each bite of pizza globs down your esophagus, strings of cheese latching onto anything it can grab and occasionally clogging the passage, it’s actually saying hello. It’s pizza’s way of saying, “Thanks for making us one and I promise that my sauce, oil, crust and whole being will help make you a better person.”

People and pizza go together like, uh, pizza and beer. Pizza is a simple food that we use as social currency and in return we are all the richer. The more you spend it the more there seems to be! When I’m interested in meeting up with someone we will obviously go and grab some pizza. Now, next time we meet we will either go to another pizza place or spend the whole time talking about how we bonded over pizza.

Pizza begets pizza begets pizza. 

Pizza has evolved alongside us. As we’ve settled across the country pizza has adapted to fit in with the local lifestyle. That’s how we have Detroit Style pizza and New York style. No matter what economic class you find yourself in pizza is one of the more accessible foods. Grab a slice on a street corner for a dollar or drop $25 a pie at a fancy brick oven place with a fancy awning outside their building.  

Pizza is there for us, waiting in the wings, never judging but always glowing its oily glow.

Happy National Pizza Day. Go hug a pizza and let it hug you back.

Here’s some pizza photos to celebrate.  

Slice Island’s signature rectangles.  

Slice Island’s signature rectangles.  

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Michigan & Trumbull

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Michigan & Trumbull

Sausage and pepper pizza from Della Terra

Sausage and pepper pizza from Della Terra

A lightly olived pizza from Piazza Talarico

A lightly olived pizza from Piazza Talarico

A Sicilian pizza I made for Christmas! 

A Sicilian pizza I made for Christmas! 

Tommy T doing his best Professor Pizza impression.  

Tommy T doing his best Professor Pizza impression.  

Badamo's Pizza Nestles into the North Side

Pizza NewsDan TallaricoComment
FullSizeRender.jpg

Uh oh folks. I think the holy trinity of food is finally complete on the North Side. On the corner of Federal and North Ave, there has always been a reliable stop for hotdogs and burritos. But pizza? Well, save for a Pizza Hut, that area has been a pizza desert. 

Badamo's Pizza is here to save the day.  

This is the second location for A'Pizza Badamo, their first being in Mt. Lebanon. The pizzeria is known for delicious, stylish pizzas and a "yes and" atmosphere. It's like if Michaelangelo opened a pizzeria. Both the Ninja Turtle and the Renaissance Man. But they opened the shop together. 

 Stay tuned for more updates as I walk by this work-in-progress on my lunch breaks.  

Slicing it Up with Dan! Episode 3: Mama Lucia's Pizza

Pizza Video, Pizza ReviewDan TallaricoComment

In this episode of Slicing it Up With Dan! I eat a slice from Mama Lucia's in Downtown Pittsburgh. Now, Mama Lucia's is an older pizzeria. If you walk a block in most directions of Mama Lucia's you'll stumble over the neapolitan and craft pizzas that litter downtown Pittsburgh.

Mama Lucia's is a bunker of nostalgia and authenticity. The pizza you begged to order every Friday night as a child is waiting for you in this pizzeria. They offer classic slices and Sicilian slices. I've been on the hunt for sicilian style slices of pizzas lately and couldn't resist chomping into one of mama Lucia's. 

The thicker crust was too bready and could have used more sauce. The chef may not have known that the thicker slice needed special attention. You can't treat it with the common-core of pizza education and expect it to come out as high quality of the thin crust. 

If you venture down the Sicilian path, pack a pepsi to wash down the dough. 

Mama Lucia's was a staple in my life growing up. My fondest memories are from visiting Mama Lucia's in the North Way Mall after seeing a $1 movie. I'd grab a greasy slice and dare myself to sprinkle as much parmesan cheese and red-pepper flakes as my body could digest. 

Here's a couple of slices from Mama Lucia's. 

Here's a couple of slices from Mama Lucia's. 

 

 

Dan TallaricoComment

This is a short film about my journey to Il Pizzaiolo in Mt.Lebanon, a suburb of Pittsburgh. This is one of the few places that serves DOC certified pizza in Pittsburgh, thus, a journey to this mecca was necessary sooner rather than later.

Pizza Review: Bella Notte in the Strip

Dan TallaricoComment

It was my first day at a brand new job. I was meeting new people, sharing details about my life, and planning some great stuff with an exciting new company. Within the first few hours I exhausted nearly all topics of conversation dealing with pizza. My coworkers knew I was obsessed with the combination of crust, sauce, and cheese. So, on my inaugural lunch outing the question wasn’t if we were going to eat pizza, but where.

I had to impress these people. I’d be working with close proximity with them and any irritation I caused now would come back to haunt me weeks later. By choosing the wrong pizza place, I would not only forfeit my chances of getting a ping-pong table in the office, but I would face a similar fate to the nazi soldier who chose the ornate chalice in the Steven Spielberg classic film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. 

Without hesitation I chose Bella Notte. Bella Notte sits in the middle of the strip and is surrounded by every ethnicity of food and the leading supplier of Italian goods. I had confidence that their ingredients would be fresh and the Italian expertise would have invaded their kitchen via osmosis. My pizza fantasy faded as we walked through the door greeted by “Top Forty” music that had as much business being in a pizza shop as a horse riding on an asteroid to Horseopolis. 

After looking through the menu my coworkers decided it would be best to venture in our separate directions, like officers of the law searching for an escaped convict, and order individual slices. The slices cost more than you’d bargain for in Pittsburgh, but you’re actually purchasing an “investment slice” (that’s what I call a slice of pizza so large that it keeps your stomach occupied until dinner).

The special that day was the margarita and who was I to turn down a pizza that claimed it was made with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella? When the pizza arrived I was confused as to why the basil looked so wilted and forlorn. Whatever basil flavor once inhabited the leaf had evaporated in the ovens. Why they cooked the basil in the oven is beyond me. Shame on these people for treeing such a delicate herb with reckless abandon. I was then stuck with a pizza coated with thick mozzarella that was topped with weeds that my grandmother would be embarrassed to have in her yard. 

Supporting the cheese and sauce was a sturdy crust that crumbled with a single bite. The brittle and charred flavored of the crust wasn’t advertised, but certainly played a large role in the pizza. It was hard to taste the elements of the pizza while my tastebuds were dealing with the blackened debris that could just as easily exploded out of a volcano. 

My one partner, Justin, who ordered a slice of pepperoni, could not finish his. I’m not sure if it’s because of the stick of pepperoni they shredded atop his slice, or he wasn’t mentally prepared for the colossal triangle on his plate. 

I applaud their effort to provide Pittsburgh with “investment slices,” but the pizza fundamentals can use a bit of work. As far as the Strip goes, this may be the best in the area, but it’s not worth traveling away from Bloomfield or Squirrel Hill for a slice.

Three pizzas out of five.

This is Why I've Started a Brick Collection: Brick Oven Pizza

Dan TallaricoComment

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your bricks. I come to create pizzas, then bury them in my stomach. ” Mark Antony in Julius Caesar after discovering the magic of Brick Oven Pizzas.

If you’re wondering if you want a brick oven in your backyard, just ask yourself this question: Do you want a magical portal that can deliver you perfectly cooked food that will ignite your tastebuds and renew your vigor for life?  

Christa, my pizza partner, has a father who had a brick oven built in his backyard. If I wasn’t the luckiest person in the world before, I certainly am now. A few weeks ago we went over to break in the oven by filling it with delicious dough, cheese, and sauce. And hey, I documented it!

Here’s the peel, or the pizza docking station as astronauts refer to it. Once the dough was nice and stretched out, it was placed onto the peel, which was sprinkled with cornmeal. Then we put on tomato sauce, a few pieces of fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Now to blast off that peel into the brick oven orbit!

Here we are offering up our meager combination of dough, cheese, sauce, and basil to the pizza gods. The few logs in the oven summoned flames to heat the space a mere 900 degrees fahrenheit. The 8-inch disc of dough begins to bubble as it entered the brick atmosphere. 

You’d think this would be the time to drink a few Peroni’s and toss some Bocci balls, but no, not for a vigilant pizza maker. The pizza needs to be rotated on a regular basis so that every side of the pizza meets to flames face-to-face. A failure to rotate evenly results in a pizza that resembles a yin-yang.

After a few minutes in the oven, what do you get?

Pizza as if it grew from the soils of Italy itself. A perfectly balanced pizza that has a crunchy exoskeleton and a comfortable interior.  

The genius of this pizza is the simplicity. Biting into a pizza without having to compete with a bevy of flavors bouncing from tastebud to tastebud like a pollinating bee creates a pizza that excels in a few great flavors instead of being merely adequate. 

With the winter season approaching, I’m not sure how often I’ll get to interact with this brick oven pizza. In the mean time, I’ll spend my down time (time not eating pizza) collecting bricks and building a brick oven in my home. 

Many thanks to Mr.Cardone for providing me with an outstanding pizza experience!

GUESS WHO'S GETTING FREE PIZZA FOR LUNCH TOMORROW PAID BY THE SCHOOL!

Dan TallaricoComment

Free Pizza. Those magic words summon a vigor and excitement in my blood that propels me to succeed better than any muse Zeus could offer me. Is Zeus in charge of muses? Does Zeus even like pizza? 

Below, someone arms their post with a number of Gifs that show a number of actors reacting to the offer of free pizza. Not really, but that’s what I want to believe.

radicalnessisinmyblood:

I love being on the School Council!

 

This is seriously how excited I am!

I mean c’mon. Everybody loves Pizza.

How many reasons do we need to dislike Herman Cain?

Dan TallaricoComment

Oh boy is this upcoming election going to be a tricky one. Herman Cain is riding the coat tails of pizza right to the pizza ballot box. Will it work out for him? I’m not sure. On one hand, literally 99% of America loves pizza (that’s what Occupy Wall Street is about, right?). On the other hand, this guy has nothing else going for him except for pizza. We have a lot in common, him and I, but I’m not using my love for pizza as a political soap box. 

His choice of song and lyrics is polarizing; he manages to lift pizza to a godly pedestal while putting down other delicious meals such as tacos. Come on Herman, how can you unite America when you’re putting down other foods? 

Thanks to Kristin Ross for the submission!

What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?

Dan TallaricoComment

One of my favorite jokes is, “What do you want on your tombstone?” In the joke’s case, by tombstone it means the cardboard-based Tombstone pizza. So, you know, instead of saying, “Here lies a wily old corpse” you’re suppose to say, “Pepperoni and four kinds of cheeses.” I think that if you don’t get the joke a bandit shoots you. Personally, in lieu of a tombstone I’m going to have a pizza oven erected atop of my corpse. 

Submission by the pizza hound James Foreman!