October 8, 2006

New Feature: The Editors Blog Eats

So, I'm going to try something here. I love food. I love writing. I love reading what people write about food. But I've never done any food writing myself. And it's about time to try. I'm going to make a concerted effort to provide commentary about any food I consume or am exposed to, and any restaurants I visit, leaving out the truly mundane. Some posts will take the shape of reviews, others will be more about trends and my tastes within the context of a specific restaurant or meal. To start us off:Famous Famiglia pizza.Famiglia is a New York-based chain of pizza places at which I have consumed many a slice. I stumbled upon it in Washington Heights (upper West Side of Manhattan) while doing summer research at Columbia med school during high school. I've now been to a number of other Famiglia installments and they all have the same feel: New York thin-crust pizza, some pre-made specialty slices, the standard pizza accessories (garlic knots, et al), and a nice assortment of subs (veal/chicken/eggplant parm), pastas, and sauces. The walls are usually covered with autographed pictures of the guys behind the counter with various celebrities...somehow Bill Cosby has visited every Famous Famiglia pizza joint I have ever been to.My brilliant lady friend is a medical student at Cornell in Manhattan, and there is a Famiglia on her block, so I've been brought back into the world of great New York pizza after four years in Chicago (more on that later). Generally two to three slices is a good, quick dinner. I usually prefer mushroom slices, although an overload of mushrooms doesn't quite do it for me. I'm also a fan of their chicken and broccoli slices (yeah, totally not kosher, I know) and their white pizza, which has mozzarella cheese with dollops of tart ricotta. I've rediscovered white pizza lately. It is a great opportunity to show off high-quality dough, olive oil, and more exotic cheeses. Unless of course you are Mario Batali and your white pizza (at Otto) consists of ultra-thin crispy dough, a bunch of olive oil, and granule sea salt. No sauce. No cheese. It's amazing, it's just not pizza.As a New Yorker, pizza is near and dear to my heart, and I'll defend it until the day I die against the Chicago-style deep-dish. I actually enjoy Chicago "pizza," but again, it's just not pizza. Deep-dish is more of a calzone, and gives you the option of shoving in a lot of "toppings" (that don't go on top). Pizza, however, needs to be folded while eaten, and must always be sold by the slice.And now that I'm back in NY, it's great to revert to pizza slang and have people know exactly what I mean. When I walk into Famiglia or any other NY pizza spot and ask for "a slice," they know immediately that I want one slice of plain (cheese) pizza. Likewise, when I order "a pie," I don't get the awkward silences I used to get in Chicago ("ah...a pie?...we sell pizza here").