Wednesday, June 17, 2009

After hours at Una Pizza

   Ever wonder what the chef and wait staff at your favorite restaurant eat? Mike and I were honored to join our friends, the staff of Una Pizza Napoletana, the best pizzeria in the world, for a spectacular after hours meal. Apparently they don't eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner like we imagined, although that would be perfectly acceptable because of how divine it is.
    Owner, pizzaiuolo and great friend Anthony Mangieri bought fresh produce, meat and cheese that day from the Union Square Farmer's Market and cooked most of the meal in his 900 degree custom built wood burning pizza oven.
    On any give night Una Pizza runs like a well-oiled machine, so we were laughing while watching Anthony and Greg having "meetings" each time they put a new dish in the oven. 
    They prepared amazing local asparagus and bok choy in the oven and two types of chorizo, a hot chorizo David brought and a chorizo from Flying Pigs Farm. That day I also bought some unbelievable bacon at Flying Pigs Farm in Union Square and after asking if they were nice to their pigs, they explained that the pigs are well-treated and spend their days outdoors, pastured in fields and in the woods. Nice.
    We enjoyed the freshest hard boiled eggs from the Queens County Farm Museum. After eating local farm fresh eggs, its really hard to enjoy store bought eggs. The yolks were so vibrantly orange, rich and delectable.
    David's girlfriend, who lives in Queens (I always have to point out anything Queens), prepared authentic Mexican tortillas. They were so good I didn't get a chance to photograph them before we ate them all, but he did bring them in a dedicated tortilla tupperware.
   And, I single handedly polished off the cheese plate, which included an amazing buffalo ricotta. 
     For dessert I brought this Mixed Berry Cobbler with a Short Bread Crust, which from the way it turned out, is not worth mentioning. I decided to go with this dessert because its made in a cast iron skillet and in line with  pizza oven theme. 
     Its not that it was that bad, but not as amazingly magical as the the original recipe that I modified that evening to make it less buttery. Paul Dean would strangle me if she heard! Its not because I didn't want it buttery, I just didn't have enough butter in the house (the recipe calls for 2 sticks!) so I used some earth balance. I also didn't have enough granulated sugar so I substituted some powdered sugar. And the flour I had was a weird "White Whole Wheat Flour" (I don't even know what that means?). The berries, spiked with Jim Beam were really tasty but the crust suffered a bit and bringing a bad crust to a place that specializes in making outstanding pizza crust is a mala figura. Next time I will walk the 1 block to the store to get the missing ingredients.
    The reason I mention the Berry Cobbler is because the recipe surfaced after we discovered a grove of wild blueberry bushes while hiking in Pennsylvania with Yui and Miguel. We collected all the berries we could carry and I looked up this Berry Cobbler recipe of Emeril's. It came out unbelievable. I can still remember how it tastes. I made it a second time, and it was even better. So I didn't think there would be a problem a third time.
    After warming it in the pizza oven and serving it with fresh vanilla ice cream, everyone seemed to enjoy it and there were second helpings involved so thats a good sign. And Anthony saved the leftovers for the little old Sicilian ladies who live upstairs. I have never met them but I know I love them. 
    What made this a truly remarkable and memorable meal aside from the outstanding quality, freshness and taste of all the local fare served family style right out of the pizza oven was the great company, our wonderful friends, whom we were relieved to sitting down and enjoying a great meal after a long night on their feet serving the best pizza in the world. Did I already say that? Well, its true!

1 comment:

Rocco Galatioto said...

Amore mio,
What I would have paie for the pleasure of being in that company.
Great photos as usual.
Se avessi venuto mi avrei potuto liccarmi le unghia.
On abraccio
YD, aka your father
I miss Charlie the catahoula.