NY pizza found in Arizona!!!

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azspots
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2006/06/21 18:12:38 (permalink)

NY pizza found in Arizona!!!

Hi All - I left NY 26 years ago to move to Arizona where the weather is heaven and the pizza, well, leaves LOTS to be desired.

I stumbled into every place that said "NY style pizza" over the years - they all lied. EXCEPT ONE.

Venezia's on the SE corner of Mill & Southern in Tempe, Arizona is maybe one sliver of oregano shy of "real" NY pizza.

So, any of you desert dwellers, or visitors from back east that are looking for "real" pizza - Venezia's is your place.

#1

14 Replies Related Threads

    UncleVic
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/21 22:54:05 (permalink)
    Nothing personal, but you've been gone toooo long from NY. Everyone knows it's in the water..
    #2
    azspots
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/22 12:08:05 (permalink)
    Well, then this little place must have water imported from NY

    It is excellent pizza, considering its on the other side of the country from the REAL deal :)
    #3
    Theedge
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/22 12:26:28 (permalink)
    quote:
    Everyone knows it's in the water..


    I’ve heard this comment before. What I’m wondering is what is going to happen when the water changes? I saw a program on how they’ve been working on a new water system beneath New York for years, a very interesting program. Certainly the make up of the water will change once water begins flowing through brand new pipes, filters etc. rather then through the current system that is I don’t recall how old.

    Will it be the end of true New York pizza?
    #4
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/22 12:34:25 (permalink)
    I think you should read the following entry on SliceNY

    http://www.sliceny.com/archives/countries/us/arizona/phoenix/

    Some pizza reviewers like Bianco's as much or better than any NY pizza joint
    #5
    azspots
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/22 14:18:38 (permalink)
    I've heard of bianco...but, it is the opposite direction from anything I do (work, home, etc.). Too bad it isn't open for lunch or I'd give it a try.

    I checked out the website and putting those poor defenseless pizzas into a roaring fire (yes, I know it's a wood fired oven) didn't look good to me.

    Thanks for the mention of Biancos....but, Venezias is still darned tasty.
    #6
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/22 14:26:15 (permalink)
    *shrug*

    I am all about how it tastes going into my mouth rather than how it looks going into an oven :-)

    Celebrated pizza\food writer Ed Levine calls it the best pizza in the world (yes, the world) in his recent book:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0789312050/sr=1-1/qid=1138656274/102-6284001-9501758

    I think it's worth a trip :-)
    #7
    boyardee65
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/22 14:34:12 (permalink)
    Personally I think that A wood fired pizza is the way to go. Thats how they do it in Old Napoli. Biancos is worth the trip if you live any where near the Phx. Metro area. Haven't been to Venezias yet but am looking forward to trying it because of the posts here. I havent been to N.Y.C. for over 15 years so I really miss the pizza. Best I had was in Brooklyn under the EL. Hope to get back soon.



    Good Pizza Hunting all!
    David O.
    #8
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/22 14:53:14 (permalink)
    TJ - thanks for throwing out Bianco's. I saw this thread yesterday while I was traveling and didn't have access to my notes, so I could not remember the place's name, but I knew that it was not Venezia's (which may still be good). If you have one meal to eat in Phoenix, and are thinking pizza, I would hit Bianco's first.
    #9
    caratzas
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/23 02:05:13 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by UncleVic

    Everyone knows it's in the water..


    WARNING: Serious NY Chauvinism follows:

    I think, honestly, that NYers just have a better sense of what good bread (and by extension, pizza crust) is than most of the rest of the country. I attribute it to the city's status as an international crossroads -- immigrants from all the great bread countries passed through Ellis Island.

    When I used to spend a lot of time down south I'd see ads for bread where they'd have innocent 5-year-old waifs talking about how SOFT and LIGHT the bread was and it would almost make me physically ill. In NY we have solid, manly loaves like Italian and French country breads, German pumpernickel and Jewish rye. Not to mention the REAL bagels and bialys here (not those steamed jokes they sell at donut stores.) These are breads that you can break a tooth on, that aggravate TMJ, and that when dropped imperil the phalanges of anybody not wearing OSHA-approved footwear. I'll gladly take my bread with those steel toes -- Mary Janes are for little girls.

    Many pizza makers outside the few bread oases on this continent seem to try to replicate the squishy abomination they know as bread in their crust. It is getting better as time goes on, but when many Americans prefer frozen pizza to store-bought, or at least think it's just as good, it's clear that some serious education is in order. And don't get me started on the sauce -- but I've had people from outside the NE describe Pasta Primavera as "spicy" and mean it...

    I am not doubting that it's possible the best pizza in the country might be found in Arizona. But I think it's very sad that that might be seen as remarkable.

    Okay -- I just read Venezia's web page and the Bianco's article and it turns out both places' founders are from NY. So obviously they have a good sense of crust.

    P.S.: Just to start another Holy War here, when I say "NY-style" crust, throw New Haven in there too (heck, that's where my favorite pizza is from.) There may be significant differences between individual pizzerias in each city, but the general types are much closer to each other than either is to, say, the prevalent style I used to see in Jacksonville FL, Columbia SC and other towns outside the "bread belt."
    #10
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/23 05:21:38 (permalink)
    Explain how a place that makes awesome bread and calzone can screw up a pizza so that it's nearly inedible? My fave local Italian place is just such a place.. I love their homemade breads and calzone (which I normally don't care for anywhere else).. so I thought, their pizza must be incredible.... wrong! Think Chuck E Cheese... tasteless, cardboard-like... what are they doing wrong?
    #11
    caratzas
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/23 09:10:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jennifer_4

    Explain how a place that makes awesome bread and calzone can screw up a pizza so that it's nearly inedible? My fave local Italian place is just such a place.. I love their homemade breads and calzone (which I normally don't care for anywhere else).. so I thought, their pizza must be incredible.... wrong! Think Chuck E Cheese... tasteless, cardboard-like... what are they doing wrong?


    Putting aside my mostly-in-jest overblown NY bigotry for the moment, may I propose two possibilties:

    1) The pizzeria's clientele for the most part LIKE the pizza that way (Eternal believer in the essential goodness of Man that I am, I want to believe that it's because they don't know any better.)

    2) The place is using very similar, if not identical recipes for the bread and pizza dough (I've seen this before.) I'm far from an expert on the principles of baking but it's my understanding that pizza dough benefits from a more glutinous flour than many folks prefer for their bread. Also my college roommate was a NY pizza maker and he insisted that one of the keys to good dough was to let the dough "blow out" by letting it rest overnight. I suspect if you did that with bread it would lead to a product most folks would be less than happy with.

    The fact that you like your local place's calzones when you don't like them at most other places suggests to me that maybe number 2 is what's going on. The calzones I grew up with (and I know there are different ways to make them) are essentially made with pizza dough and then baked. If they're using the same (or similar) recipes for all their doughs, then their calzones would be "breadier" -- softer most likely, with a less firm crust -- is this what you like about them?

    Throughout I've been assuming your place's bread is closer to the soft variety you find outside my favorite bread cities than the more rustic Italian bread we get in NY. If that isn't the case then I'm totally full of cr*p and I don't have a clue -- but trust me, it won't be the first time THAT'S happened...
    #12
    azspots
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/23 14:10:50 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by caratzas

    quote:
    Originally posted by UncleVic

    Everyone knows it's in the water..


    WARNING: Serious NY Chauvinism follows:

    I think, honestly, that NYers just have a better sense of what good bread (and by extension, pizza crust) is than most of the rest of the country. I attribute it to the city's status as an international crossroads -- immigrants from all the great bread countries passed through Ellis Island.

    When I used to spend a lot of time down south I'd see ads for bread where they'd have innocent 5-year-old waifs talking about how SOFT and LIGHT the bread was and it would almost make me physically ill. In NY we have solid, manly loaves like Italian and French country breads, German pumpernickel and Jewish rye. Not to mention the REAL bagels and bialys here (not those steamed jokes they sell at donut stores.) These are breads that you can break a tooth on, that aggravate TMJ, and that when dropped imperil the phalanges of anybody not wearing OSHA-approved footwear. I'll gladly take my bread with those steel toes -- Mary Janes are for little girls.

    Many pizza makers outside the few bread oases on this continent seem to try to replicate the squishy abomination they know as bread in their crust. It is getting better as time goes on, but when many Americans prefer frozen pizza to store-bought, or at least think it's just as good, it's clear that some serious education is in order. And don't get me started on the sauce -- but I've had people from outside the NE describe Pasta Primavera as "spicy" and mean it...

    I am not doubting that it's possible the best pizza in the country might be found in Arizona. But I think it's very sad that that might be seen as remarkable.

    Okay -- I just read Venezia's web page and the Bianco's article and it turns out both places' founders are from NY. So obviously they have a good sense of crust.

    P.S.: Just to start another Holy War here, when I say "NY-style" crust, throw New Haven in there too (heck, that's where my favorite pizza is from.) There may be significant differences between individual pizzerias in each city, but the general types are much closer to each other than either is to, say, the prevalent style I used to see in Jacksonville FL, Columbia SC and other towns outside the "bread belt."


    There is NO DOUBT in my mind, whatsoever, that the finest food in this country, or alot of it, is in NYC, or one of the boroughs. But, as someone who grew up liking "real" bread (not that fluff/sponge stuff), real New York Pizza and grew up in NY....when I relocated to AZ. 15 + years ago....I couldn't find decent pizza to save myself. Venezias has the slices that, if not folded and held w/2 hands...the point will droop and you'll have the goop in your lap. It has olive oil, most of the chains don't use this...or if they do, it's with an eye dropper. The best pizza in the country is in New York....BUT, for those of us ex-back east-ers, Venezias brought back some very fond memories. Venezias is basically "mom & pop"...has people hours (such as I can eat lunch there and not stand in a 2 hour freakin line for pizza...no thanks). I'm sure Bianco's is good, but, Venezias is NY pizza and I'm thankful to have found it so close to work
    #13
    caratzas
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/23 15:02:31 (permalink)
    azspots,

    Not sure if you quoted me because you think I came across as doubting there is good pizza to be found outside NY but in the interest of World Peace I just wanted to say that if it isn't clear from my post I feel just the opposite -- to me there's no reason to doubt that you can find excellent pizza (or anything else) in the most unlikely corners of the globe. I guess I was just trying to say in my long-winded way that it's too bad that most people outside the "old neighborhood" don't know what they're missing. Thankfully there are places like you mention down your way that can expose the locals to the great potential of the pizza artform.

    And if I'm being oversensitive here (qui, moi?) blame it on the fact that I've got to leave for the gym in 15 minutes and I really, really don't feel like working out today (hut one, hut two, hut argh!)
    #14
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: NY pizza found in Arizona!!! 2006/06/23 15:41:07 (permalink)
    I can find passable pizza down here in FL, too, but it still doesn't compare to what can be found at even some of the third or fourth tier places in NYC (and up in CT, too). We have a place that can effect the same "style" of slice -- the one you describe, where the pointy end nearly falls out -- but, they just can't seem to duplicate the crust.



    I suppose someone can do it...somewhere....but, I have yet to see authentic NY pizza duplicated outside of the metropolitan area.
    #15
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