Coal-Fired Pizza and Homemade Bombs

Hey ES-ers! I’m sure you have noticed (um…hopefully some of you have noticed) that your esteemed editor hasn’t been posting here much the past two weeks. I’ve been busy launching Narratively, a new digital publication devoted to original, in-depth non-fiction stories about New York City (and soon—other places, too!)

I’ll be back to ranting about bacon soon, I promise. For now: please check out today’s food-centric Narratively story, which stems from one writer’s obsession with a local pizzeria in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and follows the owner’s insane story, from West Virginia to Rikers.

Read: Who is Roger Fischer? From Berkeley Springs to Brooklyn, a tale of homemade bombs and coal-fired pizza.

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Artsy Photo Series of the Day

Sometimes when I have a baguette at home, I’m too lazy to grab a serrated knife and instead just tear a hunk of bread right off and shove it in my mouth. I used to think that made me a lazy slob, but then I went to Roberta’s Pizza and realized it just makes me adorably rustic! If the most acclaimed restaurant in Brooklyn serves bread that way, it must be classy, right?

More artsy photos from Roberta’s after the jump.

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Cocktails Gone Spherical

Now that “handcrafted” cocktails have become about as commonplace as craft beer, bartenders and bloggers are looking for new ways to impress. You might think molecular mixology is gimmicky, but you gotta admit that these 8 cocktail spheres look pretty amazing.

 1. Old Fashioned In the Rocks

At Grant Achatz’ Aviary in Chicago the old fashioned comes neat — very neat. Drinkers get to smash the sphere open and watch the drink explode out.

2. Spherical Pickleback

Just about every bar in Brooklyn now serves a pickleback (a shot of whiskey backed by a shot of pickle juice). Only Do or Dine—home of the foie gras donut—serves a molecular pickleback, whereby the back — the spherical ball of pickle juice — explodes inside your mouth.

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Super Snacks: Poutine Potato Skins

At Endless Simmer we’re a little obsessed with all thing poutine. We eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We haven’t figured out how to turn it into a dessert just yet (any ideas??) but breaking news…we now have poutine as a handheld appetizer.

The idea for poutine potato skins came when I saw that Mile End — the champion of our tour de poutine — was offering these as a take-out Super Bowl snack. I made my version for Super Sunday as well, but I’m pretty sure they make sense for March Madness, too. Or St. Patrick’s Day. Or Easter Sunday. Or a random Monday morning.

These aren’t actually so different from regular potato skins; you’ve just got to pair the spuds with gravy and cheese curds, the other two elements of the holy trinity that make up poutine. The biggest hurdle, of course, is finding fresh cheese curds. In New York, I tracked them down at Saxelby Cheesemongers. For the gravy, I decided to go a little more American than the dark gravy usually found on Montreal poutine, and went with a white bacon gravy. Since I had to cook up bacon strips to produce that gravy, in the end I crumbled them up and added that to the top of the skins as well, because…yeah, I don’t have to explain myself there.

Poutine Potato Skins

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Are You a Supertaster?

For serious foodies, there’s nothing more embarrassing than being exposed as having a poor palate. Recently, I had a quite horrifying experience at Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn. Everyone in the borough has raved about their “salted crack caramel,” a deep, savory ice cream rich with the intense notes of burnt sugar. But when I finally tried Ample Hill’s caramel, I absolutely, 100% hated it. At first I thought there was something wrong with my spoon; that’s how much I disliked the strong, bitter taste of it. Even as three friends next to me all practically had a collective oral orgasm while shoving the ice cream into their faces, I couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth quickly enough. I went home and literally washed my mouth out. Not kidding.

What had happened? Is my palate too weak to support the taste of this cracked-out ice cream? Or…am I just a SUPERTASTER? Many of you have likely already heard about this concept. If not, here’s a brief intro from

Supertasters experience taste with far greater intensity than the average person. About 25 percent of Americans are supertasters, a group with an unusually high number of taste buds. If you love food more than most, you may have inherited supertaster genes.

Evidence suggests that supertasters are more sensitive to bitter tastes and fattiness in food, and often show lower acceptance of foods that are high in these taste qualities. Supertasters tend to dislike strong, bitter foods like raw broccoli, grapefruit juice, coffee and dark chocolate.

A-ha! So maybe it wasn’t a palate failure, but just an instance of my true taste bud elitism coming out. Clearly, the ES team needed to investigate this further. Armed with a packet of tests from, we got to work.

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