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Friday, April 25, 2014

The Winner Is ...

Laurie, who left a comment on April 18, 2014 at 4:48 PM, is the winner of a $30 gift card to Joe's Brooklyn Pizza!
Laurie, please send your mailing address to me at, and I'll get your card in the mail. Enjoy!
Thanks again to Joe's Brooklyn Pizza for this donation and thanks to everyone who entered. I'm working on an interview and giveaway for next week, with two chances to win. Stay tuned!

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

Friday, April 11, 2014

Winners!' Ron, Jennifer Popovich, Matthew Lynn and Jonathan Placito have each won a $14.99 gift certificate from Linda's New York Pizzeria! Please send me your mailing address and I will get them out to you. (I know, I know, I said I'd add a Facebook option to simplify this process, and I will. I just haven't had much time to devote to the blog this week.)
Email me at and I'll get your gift cards in the mail. Thanks for participating and look for an upcoming giveaway soon!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Linda's NY Pizza Interview and Giveaway

I try to keep up on local pizza news, including who's opening where, name changes, etc. So it caught my eye when I saw that the Cam's on Lyell Avenue had become Linda's New York Pizzeria.
I've had some slices there, since the change, and liked them, and I was interested to learn more, so I sat down recently to talk to Linda herself, to get some background.
Linda grew up in Orchard Park, and went to college in Penn Yan. At that point, owning a pizza shop was not even a blip on her radar screen, but life has a funny way of taking you places you don't expect to go.
In Penn Yan, Linda got a job at the local Cam's. It was there that she met her future husband. In the 1990s they moved to Rochester, where they took over the Lyell Avenue Cam's operation. In 1993, they became the owners.
Linda has since parted ways (amicably) with both her husband and Cam's. She re-opened the pizzeria as Linda's New York Pizzeria in 2012.
Linda admits to being "scared to death" at taking over a pizza business, but she's clearly got a handle on it. As part of her separation from Cam's, Linda made some modest changes to the dough recipe, but Linda's continues to turn out very good New York style pizza. I got a veggie slice on my visit, and was impressed, as I have consistently been, by the crisp but chewy crust and well balanced toppings.
To be frank, Lyell Avenue is not generally thought of as one of Rochester's premier addresses. But having lived on Monroe County's west side for some years, I've been up and down this street countless times, and stopped here for pizza often, and never had or even seen a problem.
And I've noticed that RPD officers frequent this spot during their lunch breaks. No, they don't get free pizza. They're here because they like the food. And cops, like truck drivers, probably know the best places to eat. Anyway, my point is, don't be put off by the address. This may be one of the safest locations in Rochester.
And if you are so inclined, you might want to stop in some morning, as Linda's has continued its predecessor's tradition of offering breakfast pizza. I'm not a breakfast pizza guy, but I generally don't do breakfast to begin with. I do know that this has long been a destination for breakfast pizza; I think it's one of the first, in fact.
What came through most during my conversation with Linda is that, like any good owner, she's committed to serving her customers. Our interview was interrupted by a customer warmly greeting her, and I was fine with that, because it showed me that this is an owner who gets to know people. She's been tough enough, and nice enough, to make this place work and to succeed. "We really try" here to be as good as can be, she told me, and I believe it.
In conjunction with this post, Linda has generously offered to give away four gift certificates for $14.99 each. Thank you, Linda.
What you need to do, to be eligible to win one, is leave a comment after this blog post. I'll pick two winners next Thursday, April 10, shortly after noon, and two more the following day. If you want to leave a comment but do not want to enter the giveaway, please say so, and I'll exclude you from the giveaway. All winners will be picked at random using
If you win, I will need your name and mailing address. I'm looking into simplifying this process, to make it easier to get hold of you, but for now you will either need to check back next week to see if you've won, or send me that information when you enter, at I will also announce the winners on Facebook and Twitter. If you win and I don't hear from you or don't have your address I will award your prize to someone else.

Linda's New York Pizzeria, 1219 Lyell Avenue, Rochester

Mon-Thu: 7:00am - 10:00pm
Friday: 7:00am - 11:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am - 11:00pm
Sunday: 2:00pm - 10:00pm

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pontillo's WInner

Pontillo's Pizzerias - Since 1947Justin Hilton, who left a comment here on March 21, 2014 at 5:43 PM, has won himself a gift certificate to Pontillo's in Penfield! Justin, please email me at with your mailing address and I'll get it in the mail to you.

Book Review: 300 best Stir-Fry recipes

(Note: the book that is the subject of this review was provided to me by the publisher for free. I received no other compensation for this review.)
I consider myself a pretty decent cook, and I like Chinese food, but I've never mastered the art of stir frying. I get the general idea, which is to cook one or more ingredients, put them off to the side, and then cook more, so that everything comes together at the right moment of doneness. I just have never had a great feel for which ingredients go in when, and I usually end up with everything cooking together at the bottom of the wok, which defeats the whole purpose of using a wok.
So this book, 300 best Stir-Fry recipes, is a welcome addition to my kitchen bookshelf.  It provides a good overview of stir-fry cooking, and a wealth of recipes.
This is more a recipe collection than a how-to guide. There is a brief but useful introduction with a glossary of ingredients and equipment, but most of the instruction is contained within the recipes themselves.
The recipes are well written and clear. And that's probably all that's needed, since the techniques of stir-frying aren't that difficult; it's mostly a matter of knowing what to add when.
The recipes are broken down into chapters based on the main ingredient:  chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and so on, with additional chapters on fried rice, noodles, and various sides. Many of the recipes are, of course, Asian, or Asian-inspired, like five-spice pork with bok choy and green onions, and Singapore-style noodles with vegetables in curry sauce. But there are a lot of other recipes that marry other cuisines with stir frying, like green beans and hominy with country-style sausage, and a leftover Thanksgiving turkey stir-fry that includes cranberry sauce. There are also quite a few meat-free recipes, with and without tofu (I'm not a fan of tofu, but the other vegetarian recipes look tempting).
Like other cookbooks from this publisher, the recipes are accompanied by useful tips on food preparation, ingredients, kitchen techniques, and so on. Two sections of full-color photographs are another plus.
Author Nancie McDermott's relationship with Thailand began with three years she spent there as a Peace Corps volunteer. Since then she has gone on to write several cookbooks and is a frequent contributor to prominent food-related publications. Her expertise comes through well here, as she provides concise, easy-to-follow directions. With the help of this book I hope to finally get some good use out of that wok on my shelf.
300 best Stir-Fry recipes
Nancie McDermott, author
352 pages
Robert Rose ©2007