Tag Archives: Pizza

Top 10 CNY Restaurants (2014 Edition)

Photo May 02, 6 22 55 PMAbout 18 months ago, I wrote a list of my top 10 CNY restaurants. These were not necessarily the restaurants that I thought were the best, but the one’s that I would go to if I had to build a permanent rotation of places to dine.

Since I posted that list, much has changed in the CNY food scene. One of the restaurants, Circa, has closed. Last week Gentile’s, loved my many in this area, shut its doors. A new version of The Krebs is open in Skaneateles at the end of August.

As we approach fall and begin our CNY hibernation (coming out only for food and SU basketball), I thought I would update the list. These are not necessarily the best restaurants in town or really even my 10 favorites. This list represents the permanent rotation of the area’s 10 best restaurants that I would go to exclusively (in no particular order):

  • Moro’s Table, Auburn [website]. The alpha and the omega. If money were no object…
  • Asti Caffe, Syracuse [website]. The best red sauce restaurant* in Syracuse.
  • Pastabilities, Syracuse [website]. Great for lunch. Good for dinner. The second best red sauce in town*.
  • Dinosaur Barbque, Syracuse [website]. Their bad days are a lot better than my good days. Remember, it’s not the 10 best, but the 10 that I would go to exclusively if forced to pick.
  • The Mission, Syracuse [website]
  • Otro Cinco, Syracuse [website]
  • Zabroso, Oneida [website]. The past three restaurants are distinctly different takes on Latin-American/Spanish food. The Mission is Mexican/Pan-American; Otro is a Spanish/Mexican hybrid; and Zabroso is Spanish. All three are wonderful.
  • Laci’s Tapas Bar, Syracuse [website]. Eclectic and fun. One of the area’s best dining experiences.
  • Ironwood, Manlius [website]. Good pizza. Good beer. Really, I’m easy to please.
  • The Restaurant at Elderberry Pond, Auburn [website]. An impossible car ride to get there, but farm-to-table begins and ends there.

*Angotti’s is not the best restaurant in town, nor is it the best red sauce restaurant in Syracuse. But it has long been a gathering spot for my family. It’s like my kitchen away from home. It doesn’t make this list because it transcends this list. And because I can almost always get a table.


Stromboli Sunday: Rappi Stromboli

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Two weeks in a row constitutes a streak, if you ask me. So, I think we can officially christen this feature Stromboli Sunday.

For this week’s episode, I tried a variation on something that was on my Pinterest wall for a while. Broccoli rappi has been a long-loved food by the Paventis and seems to be more popular downstate. It’s not unheard of to see nicer pizza shops use it as a topping or stuffing in calzones or rolls. I thought we would give it shot here on Sunday.

Continue reading Stromboli Sunday: Rappi Stromboli

Sunday Dinner: Ham and Salami Stromboli

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Stromboli Sunday? Maybe.

There was a chance that I would spend my Sunday at a local gin joint to watch football, swill beer and use foul language. So, as I was looking for a dinner option, I wanted something that could go to together quick and easy on the off-chance that I had been touched by the drink. My plans were postponed, which was just as well. The 90-minute nap I caught was equally as fulfilling as an afternoon at a bar.

Strombolis are essentially calzones with cured meats. I would assume that its name comes from the active volcano off the shore of Sicily, but that seems like a lot of research for me to do. Wikipedia doesn’t have the answer, so it’s probably lost to the food Gods. They are generally found at your local pizza shop next to the calzones. Rectangular pieces of dough loaded with ham, salami, peppers and cheese. Easy enough, right?

Continue reading Sunday Dinner: Ham and Salami Stromboli

Sunday Dinner: Grilled Pizza With Clams and Bacon

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My hypothesis was simple. A pizza shell would work better for grilling than dough because it would be less brittle or prone to tears.

I was incorrect.

The first thing the shell did when I put it on the grill was break nearly in half. The shell was rather thick and dried out much quicker than fresh dough. Worse, it pitched a tent, going convex on me and letting the toppings roll off onto the grill surface.

Continue reading Sunday Dinner: Grilled Pizza With Clams and Bacon

Ironwood, Manlius, N.Y.

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When the opportunity of an evening out sans child presents itself, you take it.

When it involves an overnight at Grandma and Papa’s house, you don’t rush.

The drive to Manlius, one of Syracuse‘s higher-rent districts, was slow. Combine post-work traffic with roadwork and one of the busiest intersections in town (Lyndon Corners), and our drive took almost as long as dinner.

Located on the corner of East Seneca and Wesley Streets in the center of the village, the Ironwood occupies a storefront on the end of the block that includes the Manlius Art Cinema, a local landmark. While it lacks its own parking lot, on-street spots and a municipal lot across the street provide an assist. Continue reading Ironwood, Manlius, N.Y.

Sunday dinner: Grilled pizza II (pulled pork edition)

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The first grilled pizza had a problem. It was too thin and ended up with a char covering about 70 percent of the bottom. It stands to reason that more dough would provide a thicker base and absorb the heat better. Right? Right?

Well, sort of.

The first pizza was made on dough from Columbus Bakery and weighed in at 16 oz. Today, I went for the Wegmans dough that tips the scale at 28 oz. I thought about peeling some off and going for a 20 to 22 oz. pizza, but laziness and exhaustion from the chest cold combined with the unanswered question of what to do with the leftover dough got in my way. Continue reading Sunday dinner: Grilled pizza II (pulled pork edition)

Tuesday dinner: Grilled pizza napoletana

IMG_3349This was supposed to be dinner on Monday, but there was a cookout at the neighbor’s house and I wanted to see if it was possible for me to go two straight nights (and three out of the past four) without cooking. I was successful.

Today was the first foray into grilled pizza. I’ve heard about it and read a couple of pieces on the topic at Serious Eats by the genius J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. My primary concern was the dough sticking to the grill grates and I considered a pizza shell from a local bakery to avoid that problem. Unfortunately, or fortunately I suppose, the bakery near the house with shells was closed on Monday, leaving me to pick up a ball of dough at the highly vaunted and slightly overrated Columbus Bakery on Syracuse’s North side.

IMG_3337The prep here was two-fold. You really need a clean grilling surface so that way the char on the dough is burn and not leftovers from last week’s burgers. Regular scrubbing and a canola oil rubdown (for the grill, not me) took care of that. As for the dough, using enough flour while pressing it out is essential. I tried to stay in the area between copious and sufficient, because why do something right when you can overdo it?

Continue reading Tuesday dinner: Grilled pizza napoletana

Grocery list: May 5, 2013

photoAllow me to rain on the parade, poop on the party and kill the buzz. From Oscar Casares, author and creative writing instructor at the University of Texas, in a 2010 opinion piece for the Houston Chronicle (any bolding is mine):

The holiday, which has never really been much of one in Mexico, crossed over to this side of the border in the 1950s and 1960s, as civil rights activists were attempting to build harmony between the two countries and cultures. The date gained more attention in the 1980s when marketers, particularly beer companies, saw this as a perfect opportunity to capitalize on the celebratory nature of the holiday. This week Cinco de Mayo will be celebrated with festivals and parades in places like Raleigh, North Carolina; Midvale, Utah; Atlanta, Georgia; Omaha, Nebraska; some with large Mexican or Mexican-American populations but many without.

So, no, I’m doing nothing for Cinco de Mayo. If it makes you feel better, do it. Just stay off my lawn.

We had a remarkably ordinary dinner last night at Twin Trees in Solvay. If you are not from Syracuse, I’ll bring you up to speed. Twin Trees is a legendary family-owned enterprise in the Salt City that has been around for 50+ years. It is best known for its pizza, which comes on a crust that is slightly thinner than your average pan pizza and is cut into horizontal strips, as opposed to pie slices. Their wings are pretty stellar as well.

When The Wife and I were just married and living in the Northern Suburbs, we would get Twin Trees on Sunday night. We would intentionally order two pizzas so that there would be enough leftovers to last us the week. It’s that good.

There are about 100 Twin Tress locations around the county, two of which are within walking distance from one another on the west side. I prefer Twin Trees Too on Milton Ave. Last night we went to the original on Avery Ave. Now, I don’t have delusions of gourmet when I go to Twin Trees, but I expect the pizza to be good. Last night it was just to the good side of meh. I don’t know what it was, but the pizza was bland at best.

We’ll see how the leftovers go today. After all, the second day is true test of any pizza.