Tag Archives: pizza

Mission Pizza Napoletana

It’s easy to talk pizza when it’s your mission in life.

And yes, we’re talking pizza today. But we also wanted you to get to know our favorite “pizza geek” a little bit better. 

ps: you can find the YES! Weekly version of this story here

Mission Pizza Napoletana has been enjoying business in downtown Winston-Salem for almost five years.  Owner and pizza-maker-in-chief, Peyton Smith, fell in love with Neapolitan style pizza after a visit to Naples, Italy years ago.  When the economy was in a state of flux, Smith started out as a mobile pizza business, “My inspiration was to produce the exact kind of pizza you’ll find in Naples.” 

Peyton Smith, Mission Pizza Napoletana, outside pizzeria

And it made perfect sense at the time, since the pizza, which originated in Naples is actually a street food. “Napoletana pizza, or Neapolitan pizza, is the original pizza,” Smith explains.  Established circa 1800’s, Napoletana pizza is wood-fired at temperatures that reach 1000 degrees for about 90 seconds or less.  What you get is a light pizza, with a crispy cornicione (that’s crust to you and me).  Sounds pretty basic and simple, right? But to hear Smith describe it, it’s almost poetic to achieve the perfect Neapolitan style pizza. “It starts with high-quality flour, but the big thing for a finished product is the baking method.  A stone hearth or live fire, traditionally wood-fire, cooking at about 800-1000 degrees,” Smith says. “Because of the nature of the high heat and softer flour which gives you a pliable dough, the interior crumb is soft with an open cell structure. And it’s not crunchy, but the veneer has crispiness.” Smith adds, “It can be folded and that’s encouraged. The tell-tale sign is you can fold Neapolitan pizza and it doesn’t crack.” It also allows use to use your hands to eat it, which Smith encourages because it requires all the senses.

The poetry doesn’t stop there. Now Smith is on a roll. “The pizza should smell sweet and bready, with a little blistering, which are the small black or dark brown spots and it should have micro-bubbles.” Because it’s a softer product and baked at a high heat at minute to minute and a half, Smith says what goes on top is important. Or not.  “It should be topped with light ingredients. The dough is the fundamental starting point, but it should work in balance with the other toppings, like a fresh cheese, salumi, tomato, herbs.” And then, “Finally, it should be light on the stomach. You can crush that whole thing and feel satisfied and not heavy in the gut. If we can do all that right, we’ve produced something pretty special.” 

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It’s best consumed right out of the oven. My personal fave at Mission is the Billy Jowl with its ricotta cream, smoked mozzarella, guanciale, fennel pollen, black pepper, oregano. Yum…my mouth waters just thinking about it. Sorry no decent photo. Just trust me.  The Margherita is also incredible and it’s how the youngest learned that he loves basil. The Diavola is another with its fresh mozzarella, hot sopressata, chilis, honey, pecorino, basil (below). 

 

Smith says though ingredients are extremely important, like the flour and the tomatoes, he doesn’t import a lot and gets many ingredients locally. “I use an Italian ethos but I want to use as many local ingredients as possible. An our tools and technique are very important here.” One of the major tools is the huge pizza oven that takes center stage in the kitchen.  Built by Stefano Ferrara, a third-generation oven builder, it’s hand-made, brick-by-brick with a traditional low dome for the ultimate in wood-fired high-temperature retention. 

Although a self-proclaimed pizza geek, Smith conceives the menu as well as plating, and likes people to know that his mission is actually more than just pizza. The name Mission Pizza Napoletana should indicate that their pizza is not what you’re accustomed to.  He asserts, “We’re really an osteria, a small tavern with a limited full-service menu that happens to be pizza-centric. I love the non-pizza items we dish out like our salads, pastas and appetizers.” Few are the places where you can get freshly made pasta.  “On occasion we do sheeted pastas and cut into noodles, we make stuffed pasta. Right now we’re making a cavatelli for our bolognese. Our wood-fired oven is used to finish other dishes, like our cauliflower, which has a life of its own.  And on the weekend, we can do funky stuff like porchetta, lamb shank and the occasional whole fish.”

 

(photo cred: MPN)

Smith’s approach landed him an opportunity this summer to cook pizza alongside 25 of the top American pizza makers at the New York Pizza Festival. “These are makers who really are executing pizza at a high level.  It was a humbling experience to be invited. I got to hang out with my friends and make pizza all day.”  Smith also met Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We had a nice chat. He was really interested in our ingredients. We fed him our pizza and he wouldn’t put it down.”

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The pizza man and the mayor

Not too shabby for a chef with no formal culinary training, however Smith has worked in the restaurant business in nearly every capacity from bussing to serving.  “When I was resolute about opening a place, I worked with Chef Jim Noble and I gave him al that I had. I developed a passion for food 20 years ago and how it’s a vehicle for lubricating social celebrations.  I’ve taken a real interest in learning techniques and have curiosity about how things are done. The biggest thing for me and thinking about food and the plate. There’s no doubt about how I want it to taste and look.” Smith says he gets much inspiration from travel.  “I want to eat the best food I can, wherever I am. It gives a really excellent perspective of how things are executed at a high level. Back in my kitchen, whether someone likes what we do or not, we certainly know what we wanted to do.”

As for his place in the very communal Winston-Salem food scene, Smith, who grew up here, says he has enjoyed the support and he’s proud of how they’re executing at a high level. “I’m happy with what we do and I intend on making us better every day.”

Mission Pizza Napoletana is located at 707 Trade Street NW, Winston-Salem. Open Tues-Thurs 5pm-9pm; Friday & Saturday 11am-2pm and 5pm-10pm.  missionpizzanapoletana.com 

Just Announced! triadfoodies Chef’s Table with Mozzarella Fellas!

This time, we’re headed back to Winston-Salem for a delicious night of Italian cuisine.

Our Chef’s Table will feature the Mozzarella Fellas!

Wait until you meet these Fellas! The Mozzarella Fellas, Darrell Coltrane and Brian Ricciardi, are becoming Winston-Salem sensations with their freshly prepared and delicious Italian cuisine!

We’ve eaten there a number of times and have been so impressed by their food and service and you need to get to know them better and be delighted by a night of surprises.
The Fellas do almost all of it by hand. Mozzarella made fresh every day. The dough, also made fresh every day. And on and on. This isn’t just your average Italian eatery and it’s definitely not just a pizza joint.
It is so much more. We’ve been so impressed by the passion that Brian and Darrell have for bringing the freshest and best to you every day. Quality Italian that doesn’t break the bank. From appetizers and calzones to salads and pizza, entrees and now they serve brunch on Sunday. Maybe we’ll get some brunch tastes while we’re here. You never know, because at our Chef’s Table, we let the chefs surprise us! The Fellas have promised to really bring you a wonderful experience while showing their expertise. Brian tells us their creative juices are flowing! Brian learned everything he knows from his Italian grandmother. And Darrell learned his way through the kitchen since his childhood in Sicily. For more about them visitmozzarellafellas.com.


If you have a food sensitivity, they can make pizza happen for you! Gluten-free, vegetarian? These Fellas will rise to the challenge. And you’ll be so impressed with the Fellas’ care for bringing you excellent service. What a team!

We try to showcase a wide variety of our area’s talent and this is a great way to mix it up.


Here’s how it works. Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Monday, June 26. The whole restaurant is ours for the night! Even so, seating is limited.
A reminder of our pricing:Your ticket price of $27 INCLUDES your multi-course meal including dessert as well as tax and gratuity associated with the meal. Beverage (and gratuity for the purchase of beverages including wine and beer) are not included in the ticket price. Please take care of your server on any beverage service. We’ll see you on June 26!

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @MozzarellaFellas and #triadfoodiesChefsTable on Facebook and Instagram.
Please notify me at Kristi@triadfoodies.com if you have any food sensitivity or need the chefs to be aware of any concerns.

foodie b’eat: Why We Love (to eat in) Lindley Park

Last week, in YES! Weekly, we took you on a little wee sized food crawl through one of the most iconic and adorable neighborhoods in Greensboro that is oh #sogso!

READ HERE why we love Lindley Park. Especially eating there, because…well because of ALL of it.

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This is my idea of eating healthy at Emma Key’s. Stan’s Salad with Organic Greens, Two Cheddar Cheese Angus Steak Burgers, Tomatoes, Pimento Cheese, Grilled Onions, Tabasco Ketchup

 

foodie b’eat: WP Kitchen + Bar

Don’t you wish all restaurants that decided to change concepts could do so within 5 days time? That’s what happened with Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza Bar location in Friendly Center.

The pizza bar quietly closed earlier this week with the promise of an new concept right on its heels. And how! It’s open officially as the new WP Kitchen + Bar.

While there’s still pizza to enjoy and a pretty great bar too, the new WP Kitchen + Bar features a more rounded global menu featuring Free Range Chicken Wings with Chili Glaze, Steamed PEI Mussels in a garlic, wine and tomato sauce, spaghetti with meatballs, and true to their mission of sourcing locally, North Carolina trout with cilantro mint relish and fresh lemon. We love our local restaurants here. And this is one of the few “chain” restaurants that get a hat tip from us, mainly because WP restaurants act like a local place because they have a strong list of local producers and purveyors. Plus Greensboro native, Joe Essa, is President of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide and one of the main reasons WP Kitchen + Bar found a home in the Gate City. 

WP Kitchen &+ Bar is located at 607 Green Valley Road in Greensboro. Here’s the official press release. 

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Chef and Restaurateur Wolfgang Puck Opens Newest Concept WP Kitchen + Bar in Greensboro, North Carolina

 Greensboro, N.C., January 8, 2016 – Today chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck introduces his newest restaurant concept, WP Kitchen + Bar to the city of Greensboro. This is the second domestic location of the concept behind Palm Desert, C.A., and is situated in the former Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar location.

 “We are excited to introduce our newest restaurant concept WP Kitchen + Bar to the city of Greensboro,” said Wolfgang Puck. “We’ve kept several favorites on the menu and added a number of seasonal and healthy options, all of which can be shared with the entire table or enjoyed on their own.  I hope you enjoy!”

 THE MENU:

Drawing inspiration from how the acclaimed chef and restaurateur entertains at home with family and friends, WP Kitchen + Bar boasts Wolfgang’s globally-influenced cuisine in an approachable, family-style format. Wolfgang has appointed Robert Morrison as the Chef de Cuisine of the restaurant. Morrison began his tenure with the Wolfgang Puck family in 2014 when he joined the team at Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has been with the family ever since.

 For lunch and dinner guests can enjoy a seasonal selection of soups, salads and share plates such as the Free Range Chicken Wings with a chili glaze; a Kale and Spinach Salad with goat cheese and a citrus vinaigrette, and Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels with fresh garlic, white wine, spicy tomato and grilled sourdough. Larger entrees include a range of house-made pizzas, pastas and proteins. Some highlights include Wolfgang’s classic Margarita Pizza with San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil; Handmade Spaghetti with a tomato-basil-garlic sauce and fresh parmesan, and a grilled North Carolina Rainbow Trout with cilantro mint relish and grilled lemon. Larger proteins such as the Brick Chicken “Calabrese” with charred shishito peppers, cipollini onion and cherry tomato and the Grilled Flat Iron “steak frites” with garlic herb butter and house-made steak sauce, can all be enjoyed on their own or shared family-style with the table.

 Together, Wolfgang and Corporate Pastry Chef Kamel Guechida developed a dessert menu for Greensboro that illustrates their combined expertise in French technique, and love for a classic end to any meal. Highlights include the Salted Caramel Pudding with crème fraiche whipped cream and brown sugar; a Molten Chocolate Cake with chocolate ice cream, and a rotating selection of seasonal ice creams.

 Complementing the menu is an eclectic offering of wines by the glass and full bottle, local craft beers and handcrafted cocktails. Signature cocktails include the Gate City Sour with bourbon, maple syrup, sage and lemon and the Kashmir with gin, black peppercorn and grapefruit.  Those looking for a hydrating, non-alcoholic option can chose from a rotating selection of “mocktails” such as the Cherry Sunrise with cherry juice, pineapple and lemon or the Ginger-Lime Iced Tea with house made ginger syrup and lime.

 WP Kitchen + Bar is located at 607 Green Valley Road in Greensboro. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from 11AM-9PM Sunday-Monday, 11AM – 10PM Tuesday – Thursday, 11AM – 11PM Friday & Saturday. For additional details please contact the restaurant at 336.854.0303, or visit www.wolfgangpuck.com.

foodie b’eat: Quanto Basta and Raffaldini Vineyards and Pizzette is sexy!

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Last week, as part of the Salute! NC Wine Celebration festivities, mr. foodie and I were busy representing Food and Wine University.  In case you didn’t know, we manage the food/chef events for the festival including helping pair up the wine dinners and tastings throughout the week. A fun, challenging and rewarding task, to be sure. We had the privilege of joining Chef Tim Grandinetti at his new restaurant, Quanto Basta: Italian Eatery & Wine Bar for an “Italian Gathering” which celebrated his new collaboration with Raffaldini Vineyards, the NC Wine Region’s only true Italian vineyard.

This “gathering” wasn’t like your typical wine dinner. There were tasting stations throughout the loggia with some meat, cheese, olives, veggies, pasta, breadsticks at will. For more info on what was served, keep reading :D.

As you can tell, Chef Tim loves to have fun and loves to entertain a crowd.

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mr. foodie, Chef Tim and blogger/caterer Heidi Billotto of Heidi Cooks

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We paused our noshing to join chef in the kitchen as one of his sous chefs for a pizza demonstration. Here we learned how in Italy, pizza—or pizzette at QB, is considered street food and that no two are alike, which Chef Tim says makes it a very sexy snack, to enjoy with your hands and with wine and with friends. He made a couple for us…the seafood pizzette is amazing. All the pizzettes are amazing.

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The event celebrated the heritage of two Italian Americans who are so extremely proud of their heritage and who’ve made their mark here locally to celebrate it and bring it to us for enjoyment.

So what does this announcement mean to you, foodies? Raffaldini has been chosen to make QB’s house wines!

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Photo: Courtesy QB

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Here’s the official QB statement….

Raffaldini Vineyards is located in both the Yadkin Valley and Swan Creek American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Owner Jay Raffaldini comes from an Italian family, and the winery specializes in national award-winning Italian varietals. Raffaldini has been a frequent guest and supporter of Spring House Kitchen, Restaurant & Bar, the first Winston-Salem partnership between Grandinetti and Lynette Matthews-Murphy. When Raffaldini and Grandinetti met about three years ago, they instantly bonded over their Italian family heritage.

“When we told Jay we were going to do an Italian restaurant, he was immediately supportive,” Grandinetti says. “With the quality of his wines, it was a natural fit for him to make our house wines.”

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Winemaker Jay Raffaldini and Chef Tim Grandinetti

Grandinetti worked with Raffaldini to select two wines, a white and a red, for Quanto Basta’s house labels. The white is a Vermentino Riserva, and the red is a Sangiovese Riserva. The white sells for $35 a bottle and $7 a glass, and the red for $45 a bottle and $9 a glass.

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Raffaldini Vineyards is the only Italian vineyard in North Carolina. The area’s soil and climate remind Jay Raffaldini of Italy, where his family started making wine in 1348. Once Raffaldini and his staff harvest the grapes, they dry a portion of them to concentrate the flavors before pressing and blending. This process is known as appassimento in Italian.

“We’re intensifying all of the wonderful bits,” Raffaldini says. The Raffaldini wines are ideal for food pairings because they complement the food instead of overpowering it.

About 60 guests joined Grandinetti, Matthews-Murphy and Raffaldini during a wine dinner leading up to Saturday’s Salute! NC Wine Celebration in downtown Winston-Salem. The Italian gathering included a chef’s culinary demonstration of barbera-infused handcrafted pasta. Tasting stations reflected the restaurant’s rustic Italian menu with such offerings as salumi and cheese, pizzette, shrimp arrabiata (one of the restaurant’s most-popular dishes) and eggplant Parmesan. Dessert included tiramisu and butterscotch budino paired with Le Dolce Vita, a Moscato d’Asti-style wine from Raffaldini Vineyards.

Quanto Basta means “as much as you like; as much as you need” in Italian. Since opening in March, the eatery has experienced an overwhelming response with a consistently full dining room and growing reputation for authentic Italian food in a casual setting. The Raffaldini house wine collaboration furthers Quanto Basta’s mission of celebrating the art of food and the joyful voice of the Italian culture.

Quanto Basta features Italian favorites and fresh pastas topped with rustic sauces; pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven imported from Italy. The current wine list includes 60 labels and will eventually grow to include more than 200. The restaurant is located at 680 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem, NC; (336) 893-6144. Hours: Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight, and Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-late night. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. No reservations. www.facebook.com/quantobastaNC

Raffaldini Vineyards was named one of Wine Business Monthly’s Top Ten Hot Small Brands in North America. Known as “Chianti in the Carolinas,” the vineyard produces Central and Southern Italian varietals, such as vermentino, pinot grigio, sangiovese and montepulciano. The winery tasting room is open daily (except for Tuesdays) at 450 Groce Road, Ronda, NC; (336) 835-9463; www.raffaldini.com.

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Eat local, foodies!