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Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby Petro » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:28 pm

fennel wrote:Hooray for the do-it-better/do-it-yourself heads-up! I don't know about the oven thing, though. I suppose there may be a few enterprising folks who could modify a good non-commercial-quality oven to accommodate high-temperature pizza-making, but I expect it will take more than a few refractory bricks.



Funny you should mention it.

I was just reading this article about how an old pizza fanatic made his own 900F+ oven for less than three bills in his spare time.

Of course, when I went to find that article, I found this one too - about some guy that made his own wood-fired oven for $200.

I wish I had a yard.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby TAsunder » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:22 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:It's a different breed of culinarian that pooh-poohs San Marzano tomatoes. Certainly not toeing the line, for better or worse.


San Marzano tomatoes are decent. I use them for sauces in the off-seasons myself sometimes, and prefer them to other canned varieties. I won't quite take the stance that Cook's Illustrated does - they claim they are flat out not worth the price difference and that most of their tasters preferred generic supermarket stuff - but I do think that they are a bit overrated. They may be the best variety of canned tomato you can get (at least, at supermarkets), but they aren't so tasty that I'd consider serving them just with a bit of salt.

The point, really, was that Brutta has an actual sauce - i.e. more than just canned tomato + salt - and CPA doesn't (because they CAN'T if they want to be certified by the napoletana institute or whatever), and I find the result at CPA to be bland.

I don't think tomato + salt alone will work as a base for me unless the tomato is fresh and of high quality.

I don't know how often depinmad goes to CPA, but if it's more than once a week for a family of four or more, he could likely afford just about any manner of crazy pizza oven at home after abstaining for a year. Neither CPA nor Brutta are cheap.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby depinmad » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:28 pm

i go to CPA no more than once a month, and Brutta once every few months at most. I have no interest in making my own pizza. and i stand by my opinion that the CPA tomato sauce is better than Brutta's.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:42 pm

depinmad wrote:i go to CPA no more than once a month, and Brutta once every few months at most. I have no interest in making my own pizza. and i stand by my opinion that the CPA tomato sauce is better than Brutta's.

That's interesting because, unless I miss my guess they're using the same tomatoes. At least, Brutta claims on their website that their tomatoes are "grown in the volcanic soils of Mt. Vesuvio," which would at least mean they're coming from the same region.

Granted, despite what 'sunder says, there's more to any sauce than tomatoes (though he's correct in saying it's a relatively simple preparation).
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby TAsunder » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:33 am

What I said was directly from the napoletana specifications. For a margherita pizza, they say to place pressed tomatoes in the center of the pizza and then distributed with a spoon. Top with salt and the sauce is done.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:06 am

TAsunder wrote:What I said was directly from the napoletana specifications. For a margherita pizza, they say to place pressed tomatoes in the center of the pizza and then distributed with a spoon. Top with salt and the sauce is done.

What exactly in my post disputes this?
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby TAsunder » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:15 am

My bad. I figured "despite what 'sunder said" and "more to any sauce than tomatoes" implied that CPA did more than tomato + salt. Apparently you were making some as-yet unclear point which may or may not have agreed with my statements, which were related only to the fact that CPA's "sauce" is bland and incredibly simplistic.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:44 am

My point is this: with Neapolitan pizza, you are effectively preparing the sauce atop the crust. I guess we can split hairs here, but by the time it's out of the oven, the tomatoes, salt, olive oil (and sometimes oregano) have combined to create the base (or pizza sauce, if you will, as opposed to the juice that accompanies the crushed tomatoes which, to my mind at least, technically isn't sauce -- but again, maybe I'm splitting hairs).

I'm with depinmad, I think it's delicious in its simplicity. You seem to be suggesting that any sauce "worth its weight" should have more going on than that, which simply means you don't like Neapolitan pizza. No foul there, but let's at least admit that "bland" is subjective, as are taste buds.

By the way, I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure there's nothing extra going into the tomatoes at Brutta. They may process them differently (to my shame I've never been to Porta Alba), but I'm pretty sure it's all just what's come out of the can.

Having just whipped up a metric shitload of tomato sauce, I'm curious as to the definition of "pressed." Does a food mill count? I suspect so, in which case it shouldn't matter whether your tomato base is chunky or pureed. Fortunately, I'm not flying any labels, so I'm not at risk of running afoul of the Neapolitan pizza goon squad.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby TAsunder » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:14 am

I like the same pizza at Brutta that I find bland at CPA. It's not a problem with the overall style - though perhaps with how closely the place conforms to the specification. I suspect Brutta does not just put tomato + salt into their Margherita base. If they do, either they have some really good salt or some really good tomato cans. You should try them both one day (CPA's and Brutta's) and let us know your thoughts.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:52 pm

Had lunch at Brutta just this afternoon. Same as it ever was ... outstanding.

But be forewarned: The menu has changed a bit since my last visit. Still the same ingredients, but he's simplified a couple of the offerings and lowered their price. For instance, you can still get the Bianca (my personal fave) but you have to add the sopressata to make it the same as it used to be. There were at least two new items as well.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:23 pm

Uncle_Leaver wrote:But be forewarned: The menu has changed a bit since my last visit. Still the same ingredients, but he's simplified a couple of the offerings and lowered their price. For instance, you can still get the Bianca (my personal fave) but you have to add the sopressata to make it the same as it used to be.


My one and only complaint about Brutta is their menu. Not what's on it, mind you, but that there isn't a simple "build your own" option. Of course, you can build your own, but doing so never fails to confuse the cashier and take several minutes for them to ring it up. This is ridiculous -- it's a pizza joint. I should be able to walk right in, tell them I want an olive oil pizza with salami, arugula, and goat cheese, and not have that be in any way confusing or extra time-consuming. They usually find the nearest equivalent pizza on their menu and then add and subtract items until it matches what I desire, but why should the process be that complicated? Choose a size, a base, and toppings. What could be simpler? (BTW, I have the same complaint at most sub shops.)

Once the pizza arrives, of course, it's sublime and always worth the hassle, but it still bugs me.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby jjoyce » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:16 pm

I'm generally opposed to Foron gatherings, but if a decent occasion should ever arise, I vote we pick a place that the doofuses hate, so they stay out of our hair.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby jman111 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:37 pm

on topic?
huffy snark?

you be da judge
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby greeneyedlady » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:05 am

Back on topic, I had dinner there the other night and it was all very good. I think I prefer it to CPA. They each have their charms, but I like more basil on my margherita and I like a little burn on my crust.
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Re: Pizza Brutta going downhill, or just a bad lunch?

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:02 pm

jman111 wrote:on topic?
huffy snark?

you be da judge

You need to stop fucking whining. Seriously, you're better than that. You wanna exorcise snark from the DPF, you'll have to go through me first. And given your recent diaper shitting around here, I seriously doubt you have the skin for that.

Take this as constructive criticism. My former foronic persona would not be so forgiving.

Back on topic: Wagstaff, I suspect the revised menu may have been put together specifically to address your concerns, as there are more "base options" (as it were) listed now. Of course, I didn't exactly make my own -- in general, I think the pre-configured 'zas are well thought out and there are a few I generally rotate through -- so this is just conjecture.
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