Podcast #38: Pizzablogging the Munchmobile

Click here for a complete Hi-Res Slide Show!

Click Here to Listen to the Off The Broiler Pizzablogging Podcast

Kelly Heyboer’s Live Pizza Blog from the Munchmobile (NJ.com)

Munchmobile Hosts NJ Web Posters (Newark Star-Ledger)

Pete Genovese’s Munchmobile Blog (1) (2) (3)

My Observations of the Pizza Outing:

The Brothers (Red Bank)

I thought it was about average for a thin-crust bar pie. Stylistically I prefer what Kinchley’s in Ramsey or what Nellie’s Place in Waldwick offers. The crust had no flavor and I thought it was actually dried out. I didn’t like the canned mushrooms although the sausage redeemed the pie somewhat. The sauce was unremarkable and the cheese at least didn’t offend me.

Sciortino’s (South Amboy)

The pie had a few good things going for it — I liked the fact that the cheese and sauce integrated well in a nice homogeneous, bubbly mass, the sausage was nice and even the pepperoni, of which I am not usually a fan of, added something to the enjoyment of the pie. Salty and Spicy toppings would do well on this particular pizza because of the sweet sauce, which I think was just a bit too sweet and started to venture dangerously close into Domino’s territory. The slices themselves were somewhat goopy and tended to flop over, a fork and knife is definitely required with this one. There was some nice crust char on the edges of the crust although the underside of the pizza was basically a uniform whitish-beige. Nice bottled and on tap beer list, any place that carries Boddington’s on tap sits right with me. Definitely a tavern/bar with a pizza with character.

Pizzatown USA (Elmwood Park)

This is a case where inconsistency and hastiness among impatient eaters can ruin a potentially awesome pizza experience. The pie came out piping hot, with the oils still floating on the surface of the cheese layer and the Munchmobile gang didn’t give that pie the appropriate resting period in order for the cheese and oil elements to re-congeal. In my opinion Pizza Town produces an excellent straightforward Bari or Vulcan steel-deck gas fired pie if you give the place a chance, give that pie some time to cool, and also hopefully are there on a day with the planets in proper alignment. I also think the night crew doesn’t rush the pizzas out the oven as fast as the day crew, the one we sampled was somewhat underdone and this may have contributed to it’s goopiness and inablilty for the pie to maintain proper cohesion. And whatever you think about the pies, there’s no denying how friggin’ awesome the deep fried calzones are. Perry from Hoboken411 and I are in agreement if you don’t like this place, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

Cafe Capri (East Rutherford)

If this place just took a little bit more care, these would be exceptional pizzas. They’re using good fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and good canned DOP San Marzano tomatoes. The problem is they aren’t letting the pie cook through enough on their wood-burning oven and this results in a uncooked layer between the sauce and the crust. They also need to season the crust more, and a bit of extra virgin olive oil drizzled on the top of the pie at the end would definitely improve the experience. That being said, this place makes a great iced espresso coffee, they’re using nice Lavazza and Moka D’Oro beans. If you’re feeling all pizza’ed out on a late afternoon, this will definitely get you firing on all your cylinders again.

Santillo’s (Elizabeth)

What can I say Pete, you should have taken us to this place first. Ancient gas-converted anthracite coal brick oven made by an artisan who’s been playing with that apparatus since he was a five year old. Excellent tangy sauce, cheese and sauce integration is perfect, excellent crust char, crust cooked thoroughly and uniformly, nice seasoning with the dried oregano. While we didn’t sample a pie with toppings I can be fairly certain that they are superior because I can’t imagine a pizza jedi master like Al Santillo using bad ones. This place is a keeper. Who cares if you have to eat in an alleyway.

Read what other NJ bloggers had to say about our Munchmobile Trip:

Baristanet (Liz George did some live blogging from the road, complete with photos)

GoOutJersey (Ali and Donna text-messaged their blog posts from the road)

Hoboken411 (Perry, guru of all things Hoboken wrote about his Munchmobile experience)

redbankgreen (John Ward was busy taking notes all day for his post on redbankgreen, observing the obsessiveness and frenetic energy of the other bloggers.)

8 Responses to Podcast #38: Pizzablogging the Munchmobile

  1. Robyn says:

    Damn, insane pizza-ness! Glad to hear your recap of the day. I can’t imagine blogging about what I eat WHILE eating it…that’s dedication. And kind of intense.

  2. I can’t imagine how the others live-blogged the outing. It takes way too much concentration and frankly if I had to use a laptop wirelessly in the van while we were traveling between locations while being full of pizza I would probably have thrown up all over the computer.

  3. Anthony A says:

    I think Santillo’s produces a real nice pie. My only criticism is that he goes a little heavy on the oregano at times in terms of seasoning, which can mask the brightness of the tomato sauce that he makes. The second time I returned he accomodated my wishes and did not finish the pie with extra oregano and I thought the pie was well balanced. I am happy that he is going to get some more recognition. Excellent post!

  4. Hoboken411 says:

    Great writeup Jason!

    Amen with the Pizzatown synopsis. And I also agree with your commenter Anthony A, about the over-seasoning of the Santillo’s pie. While it was an extremely fabulous creation, in retrospect (if taste buds have a good memory), I can now say it was a bit TOO flavorful.. knocking on the door of “confusing and possibly overwhelming”. I also found it to be a smidge on the heavy side (for the crust thickness) and a tad too oily. Sure, I may be yearning for perfection.

    On the contrary, I have to continue giving props to the “sweet” Sciortino’s pie. Work with me for a minute. Have you ever experienced something your whole life that you “didn’t really like”.. whether it be a taste, a kind of food, or drink or whatever? I think many of us can agree that a “sweet” sauce like a domino’s or pizza hut can taint our perspective of pizza. This is where I kind of “saw the light”…

    In a particularly rare instance such as this, the combination of ingredients just won me over. For starters, many people complained it was “flaccid” or “floppy”… guess what, you had half a slice! Almost impossible to “fold”… how many slices can you just hold out without it flopping over? See my point?

    A full slice of this would have been quite sturdy. And sure, the pie may have been a slight bit (and I mean very slight) doughy on the mid-section, but the way the thin and charred crust married the sweet (not domino’s sweet) sauce created a new kind of infusion for me.

    I most often put condiments on the slices (either hot peppers or garlic powder).. I think those two specifically would have augmented the taste of the pie even more.

    I recommend giving them a shot again. Another reason is because it had incredible re-heating characteristics. Retained most of it’s moisture, and even gained strength in the stability category. That is rare for a pizza to improve with multiple heatings…

    Thanks for reading!

    Onward with good food!

  5. Jim In Holland says:

    When we were kids, our family would drive up to see my Mom’s family for the Holidays, often stopping at PizzaTown USA to grab a few large pepperoni pizzas and those bite-sized fried italian breads, zeppole. Damn, I can still taste it decades later – pity it’s all 5000 miles away now. Almost worth a trip back to New Jersey! (Almost, if you add a trip to White Castle)

  6. […] search for the best pizza in New Jersey never ends. Recently I received two separate recommendations to try the Sicilian-style pies at Lodi […]

  7. […] for that matter. Sure, in Jersey, we have some really good Italian-American places like Lodi Pizza, Pizza Town USA in Clifton, Santillo’s in Elizabeth, Reservoir Tavern in Parsippany, Star Tavern in Orange, or the legendary DeLorenzo’s Tomato […]

  8. […] … we have some really good Italian-American places like Lodi Pizza, pizza Town USA in Clifton, …https://offthebroiler.wordpress.com/2007/07/21/podcast-38-pizzablogging-the-munchmobile/Best Pizza in The East U.S.ContinuedBest pizza in the Eastern United States […]

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