I’m fascinated with pizza. (hence this somewhat narcissistic blog)..
I find it incredibly interesting how the simple pizza can be created in so many different ways.
So many different pizza styles, so many different oven types, different pizzaioli, different pizzerias…
All producing what is called PIZZA.
Sometimes these differences are associated with a location. Think “NY-Style”, or “Chicago Deep Dish”, or “Trenton Tomato Pie”.
Sometimes a pizza style is associated with the particular oven type. Gas-deck ovens usually equal “NY-Style” , while wood fired ovens usually equal a “Neapolitan” pie.
Sometimes its a combo of the two, location and oven, that define the pie, like New Haven’s coal fired pizza.
You may not care for some of these pizza adaptations, but they’re all still PIZZA.
(I have another post bubbling-away that will address my view on the “definition” of pizza)
I find these many faces of pizza to be fascinating.
What if there were a place where you could try many different versions of the pizza?
Where you could try different styles of pie, made in different oven types, by different types of pizzaioli, in different types of establishment?
All within walking distance..
Wouldn’t that be grand?
When I started my Troy-Pizza-Tour ’17 (TPT-’17) I had simple objectives and limited expectations.
I would visit what I considered to be the four establishments that represent Troy-Pizza.
I Love Pizza of Troy
I had eaten most of those pies before. I wasn’t expecting to discover much.
A few things happened.
Some old sparks of joy were rekindled, some old doubts and assumptions were confirmed, and I was unexpectedly thrilled.
It wasn’t until I reflected on the entire experience did I come to appreciate the variety of pizza in our little Hudson River city.
All in downtown Troy, we’ve got TWO wood fired ovens, cranking out distinctively different pies.
A few interchangeable commodity pies, an old school red-sauce joint putting out pan-style pies, and a promising new-comer – who, by-the-way, isn’t even a pizzeria.
I tried them all.
I don’t love them all.
Some I don’t even like.
But I do love that we have such variety in one place.
I started with DeFazio’s.
The “king” of Troy pizza, well known in Troy and the 518.
DeFazio’s has a lot going for them.
They have a great wood-fired oven, and a pretty good dough recipe (although some days I find it too “bready” , a little heavy on the semolina).
Their tiny store has a great old-school vibe.
It’s difficult to compare their pies to another style. The combination of wood oven, and that “bready/semolina” recipe give the DeFazio pie a unique taste and style
But more important than their tools and recipe, the DeFazios really care about their product and their customers.
That attitude really shines into their food, and your overall DeFazio experience.
Next was Bacchus.
Hidden in a basement across from the Troy Music Hall, you’ll find Bacchus, and a fantastic wood fired oven.
Bacchus is doing their rendition of the Neapolitan pie.
The restaurant is part wood-fired pizzeria, and part tavern, all in a pretty interesting space.
I really enjoyed the Bacchus dough, I think there’s real potential for a great pie.
Then there’s that oven. That oven deserves to be putting out killer pies.
But sadly, they just don’t get there for me.
I know it’s cliche, but I don’t feel the passion. I don’t think they LOVE making pizza.
I remain hopeful for Bacchus, for that great dough, and that fantastic anthropomorphic oven.
Next on my tour was The Red Front Restaurant.
The Red Front’s been around awhile, a favorite “red-sauce joint” for the locals.
The Red Front is known for their square COB pie (Cheese on Bottom).
I didn’t get back into their kitchen but I’m assuming their using gas deck ovens (Baker’s Pride or similar).
Their square, and their round pies are baked in pans, using the same dough.
I don’t care for the sauce on Red Front pies, It’s way too sweet.
The restaurant itself is kinda run down.
I get the feeling they might not care that much about their pizza, their restaurant, or your experience.
Somewhere along the way I stopped at I Love Pizza of Troy.
Of course it was late at night, when else would you go to a place like this.
I Love Pizza of Troy is a wonderful “commodity pie” (a fungible commodity, but that too is another post).
I Love.. is a slice-pie, and a take-out pie.
It’s a late night, I drank too much and I need some greasy, cheesy, doughy pizza, kinda place.
They make a pretty darn good pie at I Love Pizza of Troy.
On a weekend evening you’ll find a big selection of slice-pies, ready for a quick reheat.
Slouch over one of their standing counters and enjoy your slices, as you watch Troy’s late-night antics.
You may not remember much about the slice but you’ll remember to go back.
I concluded my TPT-’17 with a serendipitous discovery.
Not expecting much at all, I found myself with a square pie at Little Pecks.
That was a great pie.
I’m a fan of a good pan-baked pie, with the crispy fried under-bits, and soft dough.
This thing had it all.
Clark House Hospitality knows how to take care of their guests.
Great atmosphere, and great food.
Looking back, the TPT-’17 was a great experience.
I ate a few different styles of pizza, saw some different ovens.
Found different attitudes towards pizza, and the customer.
I saw pizza that was made out of tradition, passion, or simply a need to feed.
I didn’t love everything I ate, I didn’t enjoy every experience.
But through it all I learned more about what I enjoy about pizza, and the pizza experience.
And I l found some things that make me smile.
That’s what this silly blog is all about.
Get out there and eat some pizza, find what makes YOU smile..