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Top debunked NYC food myths


Fat Guy
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New York City bagels/pizza are unique and better because of the NYC water in them.

But...aren't they?

Does any other city know for either its bagels or its pizza have the same quality municipal water?

Montreal, at least on the bagels end of it. I'd say that the NYC water/bagels thing is definitely a myth.

Montreal bagels are, in my opinion, quite less than delicious.

But the bagel thing goes beyond water. It goes to the size of bagels now, and making bagels without boiling them.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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New York City bagels/pizza are unique and better because of the NYC water in them.

But...aren't they?

Does any other city know for either its bagels or its pizza have the same quality municipal water?

Montreal, at least on the bagels end of it. I'd say that the NYC water/bagels thing is definitely a myth.

Montreal bagels are, in my opinion, quite less than delicious.

But the bagel thing goes beyond water. It goes to the size of bagels now, and making bagels without boiling them.

SACRILEGE!

Well, at least the Monreal bagels being less than delish....

Although I do agree with the bagel thing being more than just the water used in the dough - size, lack of boil, all of these things have contributed to a declining standard of bagelness. Personally, I don't think they can be called "bagels" if they're not boiled - the word itself refers to this process, and it's essential in the bagelmaking process.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Although I do agree with the bagel thing being more than just the water used in the dough - size, lack of boil, all of these things have contributed to a declining standard of bagelness. Personally, I don't think they can be called "bagels" if they're not boiled - the word itself refers to this process, and it's essential in the bagelmaking process.

Sorry, but I don't think that's what it means.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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sorry. I 'made up' the NYC water thing for Pepe's Trying to tie in to the thread. Its a very unpretentious place. I can imagine the oven has a lot to do with it (patina) and simple imgredients.

Bagels now days seem to be made more for sandwiches than a simple shemeare (SP?) In The Day they were crusty and chewy and smaller.

Not now in anyplace Ive been to, maybe still in NYC somewhere?

(pls see new topic re Pepe's and deFara's)

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This may be pushing more into urban legend than 'myth' territory, but I know a fair number of people (one swears he knows this first-hand) who swear that organized crime controls the dough used in virtually every pizza place in NYC. I'm sceptical, since surely, the quality from one place to the next would be a much more consistent, and also... I don't know, somehow, running a pizza dough racket doesn't sound like it would pay well enough to be worth the trouble.

ETA, Damn. Sorry, that's not actually debunked, just somewhat implausible. I think?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I wouldn't want to go down the rabbit hole and make this a topic about pizza. Suffice it to say, the claim that New York pizza is somehow superior is not valid. There's great pizza all over. Just one example, and there are many: if you look at Richman's best-pizza list you'll find representation from all over with no correlation to water quality. In places with problematic water, they can just filter it. By the way I think New York City water is quite over-chlorinated at this point -- we have seen a lot of chlorine creep in my lifetime. Richman's list, for reference:

01. Great Lake (Chicago)

02. Lucali (Brooklyn, NYC)

03. Pizzeria Delfina (San Francisco)

04. Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix)

05. Bob & Timmy's (Providence, R.I.)

06. Sally's Apizza (New Haven, Conn.)

07. Tomato Pie (Los Angeles)

08. Co. Company (Manhattan, NYC)

09. Tacconelli's (Philadelphia)

10. Totonno's (Brooklyn, NYC)

11. Tarry Lodge (Port Chester, N.Y.)

12. Frank Pepe (New Haven, Conn.)

13. Luigi's "the Original" (Harrison Township, Mich.)

14. Gialina (San Francisco)

15. Buddy's (Detroit)

16. Antica Pizzeria (Marina Del Ray, Calif.)

17. A16 (San Francisco)

18. Al Forno (Providence, R.I.)

19. Galleria Umberto (Boston)

20. Famous Joe's (Manhattan, NYC)

21. Tomatoes Apizza (Farmington Hills, Mich.)

22. Osteria (Philadelphia)

23. Santarpio's (Boston)

24. Niki's (Detroit)

25. Una Pizza Napoletana (Manhattan, NYC)

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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this must be from here:

http://www.gq.com/food-travel/alan-richman/200905/pizza-american-pie-25-best?currentPage=5

clearly a guy that cant taste nor think clearly. :raz:

Sally's above Pepe's? :huh:

Sally's is very very good but its not Pepe's. I would know. :raz:

but Im glad you added this list. "Mighty fine Pizza is All Over, its just not Pepe's"

And full disclosure its the Fresh White Clam that does it with a SIde full pie Bacon. Bacon and shellfish go well together.

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I wonder if we can get a list of 10. I was thinking about 2 of them, and thought this topic would be worth starting:

1. Most of the famous places are using the same smoked salmon (Acme).

2. Most of the renowned sellers of fresh mozzarella are making it from purchased curds (from Polly-O).

Anything else along these lines?

How about:

3. H&H bagels are fantastic/best in NYC

and

4. NYC has fantastic water

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I personally have dined at Sally's and Pepe's a combined total of about a hundred times over a period of about 20 years, and I think overall Sally's is better. The Pepe's white-clam pie is one of the best pies in the universe, and that particular pie is much better than Sally's version of the same, but for all other pies I prefer Sally's. Better crust, cheese, sauce. In any event, I think there is no NYC pizzeria doing anything worthy in this style, though the Lombardi's white-clam pie is mighty fine (and in my opinion the only good thing there). Which doesn't mean all New Haven pizza is better than all New York pizza, but it does mean there are very fine examples of pizza there that, in their style, are better than any New York example. More to the point, when you look at all the pizzerias from all over that are celebrated independent of water quality, there's just no way the theory holds.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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We agree. If you are a shell-fish person, and can only manage two large pies (for yourself - no sharing) there would be no room left for other traditional (somewhat lesser) pies. If you then felt the need for a third pie, for yourself of course, you could waddle over to Sally's for you know those lesser pies: pepperoni, etc etc. Then there is that Third pie at Pepe's: the second White Clam!

:wub:

so ... If you do go to Pepe's, and are a shell-fish person, you are set for the finest pie 1/2 stomach can hold. Fresh White Clam. No Mozzarella, sorry. The Bacon is the chaser pie, with optional mozzarella. Make sure you go when they have fresh clams!

I never had a clam pie ever close, for some reason.

full disclosure: Ive only been to Pepe's about 20 times, over 30 years. I like to plan for three 'tastings' in a row when I have to be in New Haven. I had the White Clam with friends the first time ( about 4 assorted pizza's) and since stick with the WhiteClam/bacon chaser. crispy.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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A little Googling about the NY water claim yields nothing definitive. It seems there are two justifications for the claim: that the water is clean (which can be replicated by filtration), and that the water in NYC has a unique combination of dissolved minerals (which is harder to prove or disprove, in terms of culinary effect). There have been a few blind tests with results one way or the other, but they haven't been all that rigorous. To me, the whole issue seems bogus because most pizza and bagels in NYC suck and there are good examples of both elsewhere.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I agree the water in NYC might be good, but it would have to stack up to something where water was the key ingredient: The Perfect Cup of home roast? ( there used to be a shop in the lower 12 - 14th street called The Perfect Cup ... the first place i saw green coffee beans. a long time ago)

it would have to be some thing like that maybe Tea for those TeaTypes?

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There was some dopey food show on TV that did a blind testing of NY water and other waters used to make pizza dough a few years ago. NY won, but I don't remember if they knew why.

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Most of the serious coffee and tea people I know in NYC won't use water straight from the tap. They either filter it or use bottled.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I filter through a Brita for the calcium for my Alexia PID, so I dont have calcium issues later on. And, yes the Brita will take care of the calcium but for an odd reason than cant say so in there ads. I use Chem-stix to check when to change the cartridge.

for for drip my Natick water is great.

I wonder if filtering 'City Water' is a myth unless you are protecting your equipment.

Sooo maybe NYC water not so good? Home/Fresh roast drip?

Triple Blind some drip for coffee afficianos.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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I personally have dined at Sally's and Pepe's a combined total of about a hundred times over a period of about 20 years, and I think overall Sally's is better. The Pepe's white-clam pie is one of the best pies in the universe, and that particular pie is much better than Sally's version of the same, but for all other pies I prefer Sally's. Better crust, cheese, sauce. In any event, I think there is no NYC pizzeria doing anything worthy in this style, though the Lombardi's white-clam pie is mighty fine (and in my opinion the only good thing there). Which doesn't mean all New Haven pizza is better than all New York pizza, but it does mean there are very fine examples of pizza there that, in their style, are better than any New York example. More to the point, when you look at all the pizzerias from all over that are celebrated independent of water quality, there's just no way the theory holds.

I agree....my family and I did a back to back Sally's/Pepe's, and EXCEPT FOR CLAM PIE, Sally's wins...hands down.

Add Zuppardi's to the mix, and for clam, it's even better than Pepe's. They hand shuck the clams when you order. It's amazing. Other pies, Sally's still wins.

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I really need to know where the good pizza is in California.

Pizzeria Mozza (LA), Pizzeria Bruno, Caffe Calabria, Blue Ribbon Pizzeria (San Diego), Pizzeria Ortica (OC)

Urbano in LA city is mighty fine as well.

James.

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