I hate the Yankees (baseball, that is), but I love their city. Great restaurants are everywhere. However, I have yet find an online guide that gets me to the good restaurants without having to weed through the crap. It seems like most of them (Zagats, ChowHound, etc.) have crappy chain restaurants mixed in with the great ones. And the reviews - fugetaboutit! You get mixed reviews from a bunch of idiots like you and me.
I think the NY Times Dining Guide online is about as close as you get. The problem is filtering out the junk, in order to find a good restaurant in the vicinity of your hotel, that is native to NY, and has been reviewed by the Times. It sounds simple enough, but if you ever try it, you'll see what I mean. I managed to find a good restaurant near my hotel, but primarly by paying attention to the awning signs as I took taxi rides around town, then looking them up in the NY Times Dining Guide online. I can't stand their political bias, but the Times has excellent food critics, and have reviewed an amazing number of restaurants in NYC. Especially considering the fact that restaurants in NYC have a short life span (something like 3 years on average).
Anyway, I ate at Le Bernardin, which was a pre-meditated pick, and at a place called Pampano. Pampano is listed as a Mexican restaurant, and the NY Times gave it two stars. For the Times, two stars means Very Good. And it was. I've never been to Mexico, and have only experienced Mexican food at the local Vallarta's (which isn't very authentic), and at a few places in New Mexico (which is completely different). I'll write more about both of these in the coming days.
The primary reason for this post is to follow-up on JW's pizza dough recipe. I know - what does this have to do with JW's pizza dough? Well, I'm getting there. At the end of my NYC trip last week, I met up with a college buddy that lives in Cranford, New Jersey. After college (back in the early 90's - or "back in the day"), he lived in a place called Rahway, New Jersey and had taken me to Rahway Pizza. More recently, he had been making the short drive from Cranford to Rahway just for the pizza, and bragging about how good it remains to this day. So we went there last Thursday nite. I didn't remember much about the place from my previous visits, but this time, it made an impact - primarily because I knew how difficult a thin crust was to achieve, based on JW's many experiments. The crust at Rahway Pizza was the thinnest I had EVER seen. You could practically see through it (after it was cooked). The three of us (forty-something guys) each ate a whole large pizza, had a pitcher of beer (each), and still didn't feel full, just satisfied. I haven't done that since my college days. We had garlic and sausage, garlic and onion, and just cheese. Garlic was emanating from my pores for two days, but it was excellent.
JW - your pizza is a winner. If you want to try for an even thinner crust, go visit Rahway Pizza. You won't be disappointed, and maybe they'll give you the recipe.