the road | the food | a new direction

Category: Astoria

Rose & Joe’s Italian Bakery, Astoria NY


We both grew up in the suburbs of New York City during the 1960s and have fond memories of the breads turned out from the ovens of our local Italian bakeries. These brawny Italian loaves were destined to be split and layered with cold cuts or loaded with meatballs and Italian sausage for heroes, or sliced vertically every inch or so and spread with garlic butter, then wrapped in foil and baked for ’60s-style garlic bread. Sometimes we’d just eat hunks torn from the loaf and smeared with margarine (or, rarely, butter), leaving the table blanketed with crumbs from the shattering crust. Continue reading

Rizzo’s Fine Pizza, Astoria NY


What exactly is Sicilian pizza? When we were kids in NY, we used to eat it all the time. Its defining characteristic, to us, was the thick, bready crust, sturdy enough to support every topping in the house (except anchovies). So when we heard about the oxymoronic-sounding thin-crusted Sicilian, we became curious: how is it possible? A little investigation turned up the fact that Sicilian pizza as made in the US is not like pizza in Sicily; it’s an Italian-American invention. There’s no reason Sicilian has to have a thick crust. But there are unique Sicilian characteristics beyond the rectangular dimensions. Continue reading

Forno Siciliano, Astoria NY


Crust is a big part of the story at Forno Siciliano. The pizza dough is stretched out on a semolina-sprinkled board, resulting in a sandy-textured surface around the edge and underneath the pie. It’s baked in an impressive wood-burning oven, which you see to your left as you enter. These pizzas pick up a whiff of smoke from that oven, and the intense heat gives the crust a good crunch without drying it out. The baked crust has a faint yeastiness and well-developed flavor to go along with a chewy texture. There won’t be a pan of pizza crust edges left over on your table. Continue reading

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