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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Luigi's, Naples, NY

As I've mentioned before, one of my pastimes is hiking, and I do a lot of that in the counties to our south. One of my favorite places to go is High Tor, just east of Naples. (I'll post some hiking photos sometime on my Facebook page.)
There's one major thoroughfare in Naples - yes, it's Man Street, a/k/a Rt. 21 - so if you pass through Naples you will go through the main business district. And in doing so you will pass by Luigi's, which is Naples' hometown pizzeria. Every small town needs a pizzeria, and Luigi's fills that role for Naples.
I stopped in during a recent Saturday lunchtime for a couple of pepperoni slices that had just come out of the oven. The thin-to-medium crust was a mostly golden brown underneath, and had clearly been baked in a pan (note the indentation along the edge). It was more pliable than crisp, but it had some breadiness, which was more apparent along the slightly thicker edge. Nearer the edge, the crust had a pleasant aroma and flavor, with some chewiness from the rising of the dough, but it was not noticeably crisper than the rest of the crust.
The toppings were good, and well balanced. The middle-of-the-road tomato sauce provided enough liquid to balance out the crust, but not so much as to prevent the cheese from adhering to the crust. That cheese seemed to be straight mozzarella, which was baked just to the point of slight browning.  The pepperoni was thin sliced, and nearly but not quite crisp.
Luigi's is a basic pizza/wings/subs joint, although it has a kind of split personality, with the pizza joint on one side and a grill-type operation (literally called "Luigi's Other Side") on, well, the other side. There's not really much of a physical separation, it's mostly a way to distinguish between the two aspects of the business.
These weren't bad slices, and in some respects I genuinely liked them. The flavor was good, and they were well balanced. But the crust fell a little short. It was just too soft for my taste. Maybe thinner crusts just don't do so well in a pan. A thick crust can and should stay in the oven longer, which allows it to develop a crisp underside. This crust was soft, and not equal to the toppings, which were rather good. So averaging it out, I'll give this a C.

Luigi's, 101 N. Main St., Naples

I'll let them describe the two sides:

Luigi's pizza - Open 7 Days a week

Sun - Thurs: 11:30 am - 9:00 pm; Fri & Sat: 11:30 am - 10:00 pm

No matter the time of day or the day of the week, we offer the best pizza, wings, subs, calzones, pasta, salads and appetizers for eat in or carry out.

We also offer a full deli, with Italian salads, meat by the pound & fresh Italian bread baked daily.

Luigi's Other Side

Tues - Fri: 11:30 am - 8:00 pm

Offering an array of grilled options, from burgers to hots, garbage plates to ribs and fish, Luigi's Other Side is the perfect place for in-house dining or carry out "diner" food.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Joe's Brooklyn Pizza Review and Giveaway

Last week I had lunch at Joe's Brooklyn Pizza in Henrietta. As usual, I was torn by what to choose from among their wide array of slices.
I don't typically eat a whole lot of pizza at lunch, but I ended up with two very big slices. First, I couldn't resist Joe's Grandpa pizza, topped with tomat sauce, pepperoni, sausage, sweet peppers, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, shallots, basil, Pecorino Romano cheese, mozzarella, and Basil. It was a thick, pan-baked slice, as befit all those toppings, and it was very satisfying. I love a simple thin cheese slice, but this was something altogether different, and yet very good. Don't let anybody tell you that NY pizza means thin, because this is NY pizza. It's just a completely different approach, and the flavors and execution were right on. Crisp bottom, a harmonious medley of flavors, and despite everything going on, a well-balanced slice.
Photo: I don't do these kinds of things, but those of you who like food challenges might want to check out this one from Joe's Brooklyn Pizza.From there, I might've gone for the aforementioned cheese slice, but I was talked into trying a slice of the "Brooklyn Bomber," a stuffed pizza with tomato sauce, pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, bacon, Pecorino and mozzarella cheeses and spices. This is the subject of Joe's "Brooklyn Bomber Pizza Challenge," which gets you a a friend T-shirts and a picture on Joe's Wall of Fame if you can polish off an entire pie in an hour or less.
I couldn't even finish both these slices. Well, maybe I could have, but I ended up cutting them in half and taking the leftovers with me. But if you're a carnivore, the Brooklyn Bomber should make you more than happy. Despite all the meat, it wasn't at all greasy. It was just, well, meaty. And damn tasty, especially on Joe's always-good crust. But a slice of this is a meal in itself.
Why not see for yourself? I've got a $30 gift card to give away to some lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of this blog post and you'll be entered to win.
I'll pick a winner at random one week from today, Friday, April 25, in the afternoon. Leave your comment by noon on Friday to be guaranteed an entry. One entry per person, please.
If you win, I'll need your full mailing address. You can either email it to me now at, or wait to see if you've won. I will post the winner here, on facebook, and on Twitter.

Joe's Brooklyn Pizza
1100 Jefferson Rd.
Henrietta NY 14623

Mon & Tues 11 AM - 9 PM
Wed - Sat 11 AM - 10 PM
Sunday 12 PM - 8 PM

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Webster 99-cent slices: Martino's and Express Mart

I last reported on Martino's in Webster in April 2011.Prior to that I did a post on Martino's 99-cent slices offered on Monday and Tuesdays. I gave my 2011 pie a B and my 2009 slices an A-minus.
I returned recently for an update on those slices. But along the way I noticed that the Express Mart on Ridge Road was also offering 99-cent slices. Driven by hunger mixed with curiosity, I stopped in.
My pepperoni slice was, well, OK. The underside was pale but non-greasy, and showed that it had been baked on a perforated tray. It had a pleasantly bready aroma.
The crust was just a little crisp on the bottom surface, but otherwise soft. Not a bad crust, but not too good either. It brought to mind a soft breadstick, of the type you get at certain chain Italian restaurants.
The toppings were likewise not bad, but unremarkable. A thin but uniform layer of browned mozzarella, basic tomato sauce, thin-sliced pepperoni, and a sprinkling of dried herbs. 
OK, so on to Martino's.
Here I got two cheese slices. I was asked if I wanted them reheated, and I said yes. The minute or two in the oven yielded a crust that was not quite as crisp as what I'd gotten before, but it was still pretty good. The crust was on the thin side of medium, and had a very nice breadlike flavor and aroma. The medium-thick lip was satisfyingly crisp.
It was a well balanced slice as well. Perhaps a tad skimpy on the cheese, and I wondered if rising dairy prices were a factor. But with a thin slice, I don't like my pizza blanketed in a thick layer of cheese anyway, and for 99 cents a slice I couldn't complain.
The sauce was pretty middle-of-the-road, with a tomatoey flavor and a medium consistency. I detected some oregano, I think from a sprinkling of dried herbs.
Between the two of these, I'd say that Martino's emerged as the clear winner. These weren't world-class slices, but I had no major issues with them, and if price is a factor, you can't do much better for 99 cents. (The bottom photo, by the way, puts a Martino's slice and an Express Mart slice side by side.)
This time around, Martino's rates a B. Express Mart, a C.
Martino's Pizzeria
160 W Main St, Webster

Mon. - Thu. 11 am – 10 pm
Fri. & Sat. 11 am – 11 pm

Sun. noon  – 10 pm

Express Mart, 819 Ridge Rd., Webster

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