Danny Meyer’s Marta Serves Roman Pizza With a New York Touch

3 Slices
Martha Washington Hotel
29 East 29th Street
New York, N.Y. 10016

“We made a mess…” I said as the waitress cleared the table. Two pizzas and several crumbs later, Chris Bonanos my editor friend and I unapologetically brushed any leftover remains to the floor and continued talking smart advertising, faulty CMSs and Billy Joel’s greatest hits.

The Roman-style pizza was crispy and its cracker-crust nicely charred so you got a tasty mouthful of the wood-burning oven which ran a nice flavor contrast to the fresh toppings. We settled on a classic Margherita ($13) since we both happen to be in agreement that “less is more,” a time-tested pizza belief I subscribe to. It was not a mistake. The tomatoes burst with flavor, balanced by the perfect proportion of cheese. For the second pie we had the Salsiccia with pork sausage, cremini mushrooms and pecorino ($17). It was a bit salty as you might expect a sausage pie layered with pecorino to be, but that’s where the wine comes in. The flavor combo proved addictive and was a smart choice considering the thinness of the crust. (As The Times put it, “Marta’s crusts are even thinner than what we think of as thin.”) A more filling topping is almost necessary to fill you up and we effortlessly left not even one slice on our plates.

Shockingly though, despite the thinness of the crust, each slice proved as supportive as the next. Sausage and mushrooms aside, the crust held the test of several slow bites among conversation that could have caused the support to waver. An impressive thing when other pizza makers can’t strike the right balance between thin crust yet a strong enough base to hold even weightier, adventurous toppings like potatoes, guanciale and pecorino.

If you’re open to wandering into unfamiliar territory, this Roman-style pizza is certainly worth a try and there are plenty of salads and starters to turn your pizza venture into an even more sophisticated dinner. Pizza, in the Roman tradition, was meant to be a snack after all!

Meyer’s menu also includes heartier dishes like beef short rib, beer-brined half chicken or lamb chops, more reminiscent of his Shack Shake roots. The setting itself is far different from his burger joints though. Located in the Martha Washington Hotel, just off the lobby, it feels a bit impersonal and unimpressive until you spot the custom-built wood-burning grill which Meyer claims can cook an entire fish in two minutes. But it’s not about speed here; It’s about that crisp, supportive pizza crust.

It won’t crumble, but you can trust there will be crumbs.

— Jamie Miles

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Filed under N.Y. Pizza, New York

Pizza From Mars Is Out of This World (Cold Spring, N.Y.)

Angelina’s Pizza
43 Chestnut Street
Cold Spring, N.Y.

Being from a small town in Upstate New York, my idea of home is a tree-lined road winding up a hill, a local ice cream parlor where all the neighborhood gossip spreads, a U-shaped driveway perfect for making bike rounds and a central Market Street with local artisinal shops, nail salons, dive bars and my favorite local pizzeria.

Once I moved to Manhattan after college, I grew even more of an appreciation for the quiet, rural town of Corning I grew up in. It may be home to the renowned Glass Museum, but there’s not much else there. Despite that, after too much time in this city I start to crave a quiet escape to the serene corners of New York and last weekend I got just that.

For my birthday weekend, my boyfriend Harrison surprised me with Saturday plans which required waking up early and heading to Grand Central. If it weren’t for the coffee and croissant (#bestbfever) I wouldn’t have made it even that far. Without telling me where we were headed, we hopped on Metro North and luckily both donned some hiking gear to break the brisk, unseasonable chill (there was a high of 32 degrees)!

Finally, Harrison revealed to me where we were going: Cold Spring. “Magical, yet practical — like Brigadoon stuffed into your neighborhood deli,” as the NYTimes coined it. We were going to spend the afternoon doing exactly what the article says the small town is good for: “Nothing too constructive, and taking your sweet time doing it.”


As we stepped off the train and onto Main Street, a sense of nostalgia hit me. The town was reminiscent of what I was used to back home, only smaller and even more intimate. Cold Spring sits right on the Hudson and the further you walk up Main Street the prettier the view as the street slopes upward. We passed several antique shops, cute cafes and tiny storefronts and eventually made a right on Chestnut St. As we approached a small plaza next to a gas station and convenient store Harrison said, “This is it!”


Angelina’s Pizza didn’t look like much from the outside, which is how every fantastic pizzeria I’ve ever eaten at typically looks so you know it just has to be good. When you step inside though, the smell of fresh pizza instantly hits you and even if you weren’t hungry, you’re suddenly salivating.


“The Pizza from Mars is supposed to be great,” Harrison said. I’m not typically the adventurous type when it comes to toppings but this I had to try. The pizza (pictured at left, above) has mascarpone cheese, truffle oil (my favorite), spinach, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes. In all truth, the pizza should be renamed Pizza from Heaven because it’s just that.

The traditional New York-style pizza had a crisp, perfectly cooked crust. Nothing special on that front. But the toppings, OH, the toppings. What happened after I took a bite was actually magical. Yes, magical. The Times was right…


The mascarpone was creamy and savory. Think of the texture and taste of Artichoke Pizza only less greasy and less rich. The additional flavor of the spinach and mushroom made for a trippy, tantalizing experience. It was comforting in all the same ways that anything with cream and truffle oil can be while still being incredibly dynamic and not overpowering. Every bite tasted a bit different from the last, and each bite after made you want one more just to figure out what was in that bite that made is so mind-blowing. The toppings, shocking even to me, worked so well together that I can safely say that it’s my new favorite topping combo, though I don’t believe just any pizzeria could pull this off.


If you’re looking for a pizza that’s a bit out there, you’ve got to head to Cold Spring. Angelina’s Pizza is truly out of this world, yet something about it still feels reminiscent of home. At least for us Upstate New York types who get nostalgic for nature and a slice of comforting New York pizza.

Don’t worry, you can hike it off afterwards.

Jamie Miles

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This Is What It Looks Like When You Mix Running and Pizza…

Running two miles is a breeze. Running two miles while eating a slice of pizza after every lap? That’s not so easy. The 5th Annual NYC Pizza Run this past Saturday in Thompkins Square Park proved to be surprisingly challenging. Over 130 participants showed up to run a total of four laps around the park, grabbing a slice of Pizza by Certé post laps. The rules stipulate you can’t continue to run your next lap until the entire slice of pizza is in your mouth… although you can still be chewing it.

My boyfriend Harrison and I ran it together (what a supportive bf!) and we averaged 12:28 per mile. Typically we’d run closer to 8 or 9 minute miles, but you have to stop and eat the slice fully before moving forward which accounts for the delay. Plus, once you start running again, your stomach is also trying to process the carbs and the cheese which slows you down. Close to immediately after downing the first slice my body started cramping up, a lesson that you’re definitely not supposed to eat and exert at the same time! Everyone was in it together though and for some reason seeing other people struggle to down their 2nd and 3rd slices helped make it more bearable.

I first found out about the NYC Pizza Run last year when I saw a write up in Time Out announcing the event. I sadly didn’t sign up in time but I reached out to the founder Jason Feirman (of I Dream of Pizza) to find out more about the run and how he came up with the idea. Jason and I since have gone on multiple pizza ventures to spots like Di Fara and Roberta’s and he can now count me in as an annual participant in his run.

The NYC Pizza Run brings together a subset of people that love pizza enough that they’ll table a little indigestion for a chance to come out in their most proud pizza swag including pizza socks, pizza costumes and panda pizza tees. Now that’s certainly not something you get to see everyday. And when someone asks me “What did you do this weekend?” I’ll jump at the opportunity to share.

See below for outtakes from the event.


Jamie Miles

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D.C.’s ‘Jumbo Slice’ Pizza Proves Size Matters

There are less than a handful of times I can think of when size is a factor when considering what to eat:

1. When you’re in an office full of people and you need a birthday party treat for a staff member without spending tons of money. Universal answer: Mini cupcakes.

2. When you’re completely hungover on a weekday and need a massive bacon, egg and cheese sandwich (and Gatorade, natch).

3. When something is comically large (or small) and you need evidence you ate it — or at least a photo with it to prove its scale.

My foray into JUMBO slice pizza fits the latter category. Washington D.C. is known for its exceptionally large slices and I had seen photos and heard about how massive they were but I never heard a defining quality beyond size. Still, it was enough to feed my curiosity.


This past weekend when I headed to D.C. I was intent on trying a jumbo slice. And unlike the usual crowds of young people that gather on a weekend evening post the bars closing, my boyfriend Harrison and I went at an off hour. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, Pizza Mart, which claims to have the “FIRST jumbo slice” only had a few stray visitors, all balking at the size of the pizza and wisely taking boxes to go knowing they couldn’t polish it off.

We ordered one cheese ($5.50) and one pepperoni ($6.50) and did our best to finish one each. We failed. The pizza slices conquered us both. The pizza was heated up in an electric oven, certainly not terribly fresh, and had a greasy sheen finish. It was intimidatingly large, bigger than my head, and as for taste it wasn’t anything standout. I’d liken it to a $1 slice joint in NYC but three, if not three-and-a-half times, the size! The crust was nothing special and the sauce was almost unidentifiable under the upper layer of cheese, cheese and more cheese. On that note, don’t even think about asking for a calorie count.

While I’d never recommend a jumbo slice to someone looking for quality pizza, it’s certainly good for an experience that leaves you with a shocking photo and bragging rights all around. Maybe you’ll even end up on the Instagram account You Did Not Eat That

But guess what?! I DID (…okay, not ALL of it).


Jamie Miles

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211 First Avenue
New York, NY 10003

When people ask me for my favorite pizza in all of New York there are two places that I always mention: Di Fara and Luzzo’s. But don’t misunderstand. They could not be more different. Di Fara is unique for many reasons and is an example of true New York pizza. Dominic DeMarco is a testament to that. But Luzzo’s… Luzzo’s is truly authentic Neapolitan pizza. So much so that I didn’t even know about it until my dad returned home from Italy.

My first question to him: Did you make it to Naples? And, for several reasons including a few of which the New York Times hit on weeks ago, he did not. But he did come back with was a recommendation from Italian locals to check out a place in New York City that matched the style of pizza found in Naples. He was given a business card for Luzzo’s and this past October we went there for the first time and I’ve already gone back two times since! Once with my boyfriend on a quest to get him to agree it’s the “best ever” and once again this past weekend with my dad and step mom who love it so much we had to return. Take a look and you’ll see why…


Upon walking into the unassuming restaurant off First Avenue this past Sunday, we were greeted by a server originally from Naples and an older Italian gentleman who’s been seated in the first booth to the left every time I’ve returned as if he’s a mainstay. Even the television had an Italian soap opera playing with subtitles for the American patrons — a smart staging strategy to feign authenticity, but the food was the true mark of the restaurant’s Italian ownership.

It’s the pizza you come here for and it’s the pizza that keeps you coming back. We ordered two large 16” pizzas to share among the three of us: one tartufata with tomato sauce, mozzarella, truffle pate and basil and one bufala with tomato sauce, mozzarella di bufala and basil. The pies tasted of the freshest ingredients, which are imported from Italy, and just looking at them made you salivate. The truffle pizza is especially notable and a must to order. While I’ve had many pizzas with truffle oil (I’m looking at you, Toby’s), this one masters the act of balancing the richness of the truffle pate with fresh tomato sauce and a charred yet chewy thin crust that leaves a perfect finish in your mouth. It’s like a fine wine that has a flavorful palette and a smooth finish that encourages another sip, or wait, maybe that was the Montepulciano we paired it with… the perfect partner.

By the end of the meal, nothing but compliments escaped our lips. “This is delicious,” my dad said mid-bite. “It feels good to chew it,” my step mom said of the crust. “It’s perfectly charred,” I couldn’t help but offer up. Even in the absence of words you could tell we were all in a euphoric state of satisfaction. Our eyes did the talking as we strategically placed a target on our next slice.

The executive pizzaiolo Michele Luliano deserves full credit for the perfect pies being churned out at Luzzo’s. Luliano emigrated from Italy to New York in 2000 and brought with him the techniques and recipes of his Italian heritage with the goal of transforming the city’s food scene with true-to-form Neapolitan dishes. Since opening Luzzo’s, he’s since opened a few other authentic Italian restaurants Da Mikele, Ovest Pizzoteca, Luzzo’s BK and Bar Trenta. Luzzo’s was the first to open though and their 100-year-old coal oven makes Luzzo’s stand out among other New York pizzerias where $1 slices are reheated in electric ovens or wood-burning ovens are winning out.

Luzzo’s pizza is truly heavenly. And the best part? You don’t have to travel beyond the East Village to get a slice of Naples.

Jamie Miles

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Filed under New York, N.Y. Pizza


261 Moore St.
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11206

Well, I have to say, the timing was right on this one. Jason Feirman (Remember him?) and I ventured to Bushwick last night to experience the culinary joys of Roberta’s, another of Brooklyn’s reputable pizza joints. Funny enough, the New York Times ran a piece that same day sharing the secrets behind making great pizza dough at home and their recipe of choice came straight from Roberta’s which dining editor Sam Sifton claims is “superlative dough: thin and pliant, tender and chewy, with excellent flavor.”

He’s quite right, and he makes a good point when he says that:

Very little pizza is made at home, from scratch.

I am here to say: You can make pizza at home. You can make pizza at home that will be the equal of some of the best pizzas available on the planet. With a minimal amount of planning and practice, you can get good at it, even if you are a relatively novice cook.

Sure, you can make pizza at home. Not just that, but if you’re well practiced you may even become pretty great at it. However, what you won’t get is the communal experience, the grunge atmosphere and the old school hip hop vibes which, in the case of Roberta’s, are a large part of the appeal. Roberta’s doesn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, it looks more so like a graffitied garage where band mates practice after-hours without receiving complaints from pissed off neighbors.


As you enter the front room, you immediately feel the comforts equivalent to middle school days when you went to hang out after classes finished in your friend’s basement. Picnic tables host laid back patrons and the staff, along with the fresh tomato sauce aromas, are particularly welcoming.


As Jason and I waited not more than 20 minutes at the back bar (usually it’s closer to an hour plus), we ordered a few beers poured in none other than mason jars, a nod to hipsterdom. Once seated, we reviewed the menu and struggled to narrow it down to just two pies. We finally settled on the Famous Original with tomato, mozzarella, caciocavallo, oregano and chile and the Axl Rosenberg with tomato, mozzarella, sopressata, garlic, jalapeños and mushrooms. No two pies were even close to the same though and Jason informed me the menu is forever shifting based on seasonality. In fact, the reason for the change in menu is thanks to the restaurant’s locally sourced herbs and produce grown as close as their own backyard. The fresh tomatoes and basil don’t go unnoticed and both pies we chose had a bit of a kick to them thanks to the chile and jalapeños I also suspect were grown out back, or in the rooftop garden.


The crust had a charred wood-flavor and each pie had a fiery finish. The Axl Rosenberg in particular suited my taste as I’m always one to reach for the hot sauce. The spice provided the perfect warmth on an otherwise damp night, similar to tasting whiskey and feeling the slow burning sensation. (The best kind!)


Jason, who’s quite the at-home pizzaiola himself, said this is a place he often takes out-of-towners thanks to the unique atmosphere and of course the quality pies. And while some of us may be able to pull off a close to perfect replica of the dough, you’d be missing the experience of sitting on a picnic bench in the heart of Brooklyn enjoying “fine hipster Italian dining”.


Oh, and the t-shirts? They’re great too! Especially one your table mate finds on the chair next to you and kindly asks if its yours. That’s the kind of Brooklyn camaraderie worth leaving your apartment for. You can’t find that at home for simply the cost of ingredients.


Jamie Miles

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Filed under New York, N.Y. Pizza

Oscars 2014: The Biggest Pizza Party on Television

With 43 million people watching, the owner of Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria Edgar Martirosyan served the most famous celebrities in Hollywood at the Oscar’s last night. The craziest thing of all? Apparently he had no idea he would appear on a live broadcast of the most watched award show in history let alone serve celebs like Martin Scorsese, Julia Roberts, and Brad Pitt. He was simply told he would be delivering pizza to writers then suddenly found himself on stage with host Ellen DeGeneres passing out greasy slices to glammed up celebs.

“This is the real American dream,” Edgar told Piers Morgan on tonight’s show. Obviously this sort of publicity for any business owner would be an absolute game changer (not to mention the $1,000 tip couldn’t hurt his monthly budget) but excuse me for calling this pizza party stunt out for being in poor taste.

After the slices were passed around (“Harrison, you want some pizza?” Ellen asked), the show cut to commercial then Ellen passed around Pharrell’s hat collecting hundred dollar bills that people like Harvey Weinstein threw around carelessly. Now forgive my sensitivity, but in a room of Prada-clad women and suited up male stars, looking at some of the richest people in the world have an impromptu pizza party where they think of $200 as pocket change for a pizza delivery boy is to me somewhat repulsive.

My greatest source of disappointment however comes from the the pizzeria of choice (Sorry, Edgar!). While I love the spontaneity and the casual concept at a black tie event, the producers could have at least done their research on who to employ. Why give a subpar pizzeria the level of recognition a company would pay over 5 million dollars for if we compare it to a minute and 30-second ad slot? Granted the pizza offerings in L.A. are scarce, but after talking with a few Californians (“Yeah, that’s the joint across the street from Grauman’s. Tourist street trash.”), scanning photos and reading several reviews, I’m convinced that Big Mama’s and Papa’s is far from the best L.A. has to offer.

To be fair, this place is known for its size (maxing out at 36 inches for a pie), and perhaps quality isn’t a focal point, but if it’s anything like one reviewer Adrian Robert said: “Easily one of the most painful and grotesque experiences of my life. Would happily hang myself before ingesting this bile again, no exaggeration at all. Absolutely disgusting!” I’d likely pass just like Leonardo.

A simple search for crowd-sourced reviews on TripAdvisor and write ups in regional city mags pointed me towards at least a handful of better rated pizzas: Pizzeria Mozza, 800 Degrees, Olio, Vito’s, Sotto …Westcoast friends chime in here!

But while the pizza from last night’s show doesn’t look the tastiest (just take a look at their uncensored slices on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean), the visual of spiffy celebs passing slices down the rows of Dolby Theatre made for great TV. Incase you missed it…









This only leaves me contemplating: Who would I invite to my dream pizza dinner party and what pizza would I serve? Well… that part’s obvious.

Jamie Miles

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Filed under Picture Perfect Pizza Moment, Pizza Propaganda, Pizza, U.S.A.