Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bits & Morsels

The Acetaia at Palà

"Bits and Morsels" is an ongoing collection of information from the world of the foodies and foodblogs:

Slice and Palà are two pizzerias which stand out from the pack. Each establishment brings their own unique style to the classic New York slice. Palà, located at 198 Allen Street, has managed to create the feel of a Roman pizzeria in New York. Their pizza is unusually healthy due to a dough which is high in protein and lower in carbohydrates than most pizza doughs. Chef Gigio Palazzo uses a blend of nine flours and patiently allows the dough to rise naturally to achieve this effect. I love the texture of the crust in that it is thin but still has that chewyness that I look for in good pizza. Palà also offers salads, pasta and other appetizers, all fresh.

Fried risotto balls at Palà.
One of those appetizers which I love is the fried risotto balls. They are creamy with a cheesy center that oozes goodness. The fried artichokes are also tasty but they're deep fried, so they can be a bit too heavy if you have more than a few bites.

Palà (which means wooden pizza peel) uses quality ingredients to create some very exciting pizzas. If you are craving the classic toppings, I would go with the Arrabbiata, a spicy blend of cherry tomatoes, hot peppers and garlic. They place a bouquet of freshly dried herbs on each table, which are meant for sprinkling on your pizza. My personal favorite is the Acetaia, which is a pumpkin puree with mozzarella and parmesan drizzled with 40-year-old balsamic vinegar. The sweet and savory flavors of this pizza work so well together that it will set off fireworks in your mouth. [Palà]
Drizzling on the balsamic vinegar on each individual slice of Parmigiano for the Acetaia; Fried artichokes; Fried risotto balls before we inhaled them.
The Acetaia (parmigiano and mozzarella on pumpkin puree with balsamic vinegar on one half) and a spicy blend of cherry tomatoes, hot peppers and garlic (otherwise known as the Arrabbiata) on the other half.
Another health conscious pizzeria is Slice, located on Second Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets. Slice's charter is to transform pizza into health food without sacrificing any of the qualities that make pizza such a tasty snack. The pizza at Slice is definitely good, but it doesn’t really taste like pizza to these tastebuds. They use a honey whole-wheat crust, which just sounds healthy. And after eating at Slice, you definitely feel as if you've stuck to your diet regimen. I really do like their hummus slice which is topped with caramelized onions. It’s served at room temperature and is a perfect light snack. All of the slices are cut into mini triangles, which make them easier (and more fun) to eat. [Slice]
A mushroom slice and a slice with hummus with caramelized onions.
I am thrilled that Le Cirque received three stars this week from the New York Times. When it originally opened in the Bloomberg building, the reviews were less than stellar. After hiring a new chef and retooling the menu, the restaurant has really hit its stride. There are very few restaurants like Le Cirque where the food is just as fabulous as the scene. If it were up to me, I would have given Le Cirque four stars. [The New York Times]

This week Coca Cola announced that they were buying a large chunk of the Honest Tea brand. This will give Honest Tea much better distribution to colleges, restaurants and beyond. It amazes me how mainstream tea-based beverages and other health-conscious food items have become. I do hope that iced tea becomes just as common as coke. Since Honest Tea is a small and ethically run business, it will be interesting to see what changes they make as they grow into a large corporation like Coca Cola.

Due to the spread of Mexican and Thai
cuisines, people are going chili pepper mad. The Bhut Jolokia is the world’s hottest chili and it is in high demand. The pepper is so hot that when you eat it you feel like you're dying according to some. And wearing goggles is a widely (and wisely) practiced trade when working with them. Many people crave chilies because the feeling that comes from eating them is similar to the high you attain from exercise. Hence the demand for the pepper is expected to grow 500% this year. [The Wall Street Journal]

Till we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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