The Double-Folded Slice – Travolta Style

Previously published in The Wave

How to eat pizza is a contentious subject among New Yorkers. There’s the right way — folding — and there is the semi-legitimate way eating it flat/open.  Among the horrifyingly uncouth methods, there is crust first, removing the cheese and eating the bread separate.  Then there is The Unspeakable: eating a slice with a knife and fork. With John Kasich, it was understandable. He’s from Ohio; what does he know about pizza?  In 2011 at La Famiglia in Times Square, President Donald Trump, a native New Yorker, used a plastic knife and fork. I’m shocked his cutlery wasn’t solid gold. Not shocked that he doesn’t know how to eat pizza. Sad. But Mayor de Blasio should’ve been impeached for this offense. Maybe we’ll let him slide if the ferry works out.

Anyway, the other night, I sat down with a nice Malbec from Ship To Shore, and my husband had Saturday Night Fever on. But what is this? In the opening scene, John Travolta is walking down the avenue eating a double-folded slice — two slices, one on top of the other held with one hand, Travolta chomping with abandon. I’d never seen this technique before! Is it a thing? Was it ever a thing?

I needed answers. The next day I headed to Elegante to consult with owners Frank and Tony Amato. Frank has been slinging pies since 1982; Tony since 1975. Together, these guys have been in the pizza mines for almost a century. If anyone has seen it, they have. So I put the question to them: have you ever witnessed the Travolta Technique in real life?

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“People have all kinds of [pizza-eating] habits,” Frank answered.  “I’ve even seen them take two slices, ask for cold cheese, and eat it like John Travolta. I’ve see it done both in Rockaway and Bushwick. You don’t see it all the time, but it happens.”  Frank also mentioned a variant that involves two slices uncut, like a pizza siamese twin. They take the extra large piece and fold that in half. Tony chimed in, “One time someone asked for mustard and ketchup on their pizza!” “That’s pizza defilement!! Worse than using a knife and fork,” I said.

But I needed to check it out for myself. I ordered two slices and in a few minutes they were ready. I folded them up Travolta-style and walked out the door. While it may appear gavone-ish, the method was actually quite practical. I found it surprisingly easy to eat and walk. The napkin helped with drips, although not completely. I had to adjust my bite to be smaller due to the layered dough.  It tasted great, like eating a pizza lasagna. There was a satisfying cheese/sauce/bread ratio in my bite with no loss of flavor. As Larry David would say, it was “pretty, pretty, pretty good.”

As an aside, Frank Amato mentioned that in Italy he ate pizza with a fork and knife, like the Mayor, but when he came to the US in 1972 he adopted the New York way of eating pizza, saying “We got used to it.”

tagged in pizza

Grams of the Week – Feb. 27

Here’s a recap of the best instagrams of last week. If you want the day to day follow me here!

spring-flowers

This weather right? I’ve been feeling spring-like, adding fresh cut flowers around the house.

kitchen-renovation-wolf-stove

Speaking of the house, I haven’t updated on the renovation in a while. My kitchen is so close to being complete and it looks gorgeous. I’ve seen the plans and the drawing but seeing the almost finished product.. I can’t even!

cooking-with-chicks-to-go

I cooked with Chicks to Go this Friday! I learned so much and had a wonderful time with owners Ximena and Leyla. I’ll be writing a full report in my Wave column soon.

stuffed-mushrooms

I made these last week when my family came over. I aways think stuffed mushrooms are just for holidays but they’re not. I need to make them more often, yum!

 

 

tagged in instagram

The Trifecta Moment

Previously published in The Wave

My Grandpa Ralph loved to gamble. One vivid memory I have of us, is when we’d go to OTB.  He used to take me to the one in Bellerose, back when they had brick and mortar locations in the city.  I was around 15 years old, and I would place bets for him. He couldn’t see the racetrack program very well  because his diabetes affected his vision. This was also a good way for me to learn. Grandpa Ralph was teaching me how to bet on the ponies. Most Sicilians love to gamble, and I had to learn at some point, right?  One day, as you would imagine, we got kicked out of OTB and threatened because I was a minor and what we were doing was illegal (oops)!

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Why am I bringing this up? When I attended the Ladies of Business Rockaway Beach fundraiser a few weeks ago, this memory of my Grandfather popped in my head. At the event, as you may have heard, there was an auction where you had an opportunity to bid on experiences: tasting and selecting wine with Rashida Jackson of Sayra’s for the spring menu, learning jewelry-making with Melissa Draugsvold of Draugsvold Jewelry or cooking with Leyla Yrala and Ximena Yrala Elias of Chicks to Go.  I realize that betting on horses is different than bidding at a fundraiser, but I was reminded of that same feeling I used to have at OTB – the rush of wanting to win! And I wanted to win the Chicks to Go cooking experience. Badly.

I was having a trifecta moment; It’s a hard bet to win, but the payout is high. Many people were bidding for the cooking class with Chicks to Go, so the odds were not in my favor. I stayed in the race though, and in the end, I won! Grandpa would’ve been proud.

I’m so excited to learn how to cook a traditional Peruvian meal with the ladies of Chicks to Go. Cooking is a passion of mine, and learning new techniques from different cultures is how I’ll grow as a chef. You can bet I will be writing about this cooking experience in the next few weeks… stay tuned!

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tagged in cooking, family, queens, rockaway

Grams of the week – Feb 13

Here’s a recap of the best instagrams of last week. If you want the day to day follow me here!

SolidGoldOK-flowers-Rockawa-Beach

Matt surprised me with this elegant arrangement by SOLIDGOLDOK. Ellie, the owner was selling her bouquets at Zingara Vintage‘s Valentine’s Day sale on Saturday. You’re going to hear a lot more about Ellie and her creations…

lasagna

My friend Melissa invited me over last Thursday for her delicious vegetarian lasagna. It was so good. One night this week I’m going to try and replicate it for dinner. Yum!

Mango-the-cat

I’m cat-sitting my housemates fur ball, Mango! She’s the sweetest little thing ever!  Mango has the loudest purr I’ve ever heard!

sockeye-salmon

Sunday night I cooked up this beautiful sockeye salmon. I seasoned it with a pesto spread. I didn’t have pignoli, so I used almonds. It came out great!

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