Non Cheese

The highlight of a long walk today was a large pizza that we got from VACE on Connecticut Ave in DC. When we had our restaurant, every New Years Eve we would order a stack of pies from VACE, just to get everyone working through a long grueling night. Today it was just the three of us and a tomato sauce, tomato, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and onion Pizza Pie. We had no cheese–We order non cheese pizzas all the time. Sometimes from places that offer specific non cheese “Marinara Pizzas” and other times we request a non cheese pizza and get varying reactions.

As it turns out the original Sicilian Pie was that of just tomatoes and crust. One of the best pizzas that follows this tradition is Totonno’s originally in Coney Island. Unfortunately their Coney Island shop burned down, however they do have three other shops in Manhattan.

Totonno’s calls their non cheese pizza a Neapolitan. Two Amy’s here in DC calls theirs a Marinara (and is D.O.C.). Similar to heirloom tomatoes it is fascinating to see these pizzas turn up–not as dietary or faddish nutrition marketing techniques but a part of the mining of the history of tomato pies. They shouldn’t be considered ‘less’ anything…

Nothing against a good slice of buffalo mozzarella but to add cheese to pizza CAN hide a multitude of sins. And lets face it the crust is what makes a pizza and a good crust does not need anything. So to offer a pizza without cheese takes a fair amount of confidence, And to let one leave your kitchen when someone orders no-cheese and you don’t offer a no-cheese is even more gutsy (if you care about what you are doing…). Pizza is not an easy thing to do and hats off to anyone accommodating our special requests!

Pizza is also like religion for some–checkout this NY Times article on Difara’s. John has eaten their pie many times and would not dare ask for a non cheese…

Today, VACE sent us an amazing pie that had just the right amount of snap in the crust. Just the right amount of yeasty beer flavor in the crust and a level of sauce that just moisten the top of the crust enough so that we never thought about cheese. It made us wonder why VACE didn’t offer a Marinara or Straight Tomato pie…

Our Three favorite Pies that happen to not have cheese are Franny’s in Brooklyn , Vace in Cleveland Park or Bethesda and Two Amy’s in Cleveland Park…

Beware when ordering a pizza not intended to be without cheese that there will be less salt…. for a pie intended to have cheese will take into consideration the saltiness of cheese and will compensate–at VACE we buy pitted Kalamata olives and add ourselves…

This entry was published on August 6, 2009 at 4:26 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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