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Patsy's, East Longmeadow, MA, tasted on  July 18, 2004  Ultimately opinions about food are just that... opinions. Nobody is really an authority, nobody is an expert, and nobody is objective. And even more importantly, when someone's childhood memories come into play, it's almost impossible to weed out the judgments of the food vs. the feelings of comfort and happy memories. But in order to provide this service, we must wade into that quagmire. Of course, we're discussing one of the most difficult and contentious topics in the food world... The humaneness of foie gras? No. The fairness of the Michelin star allocations? No. The accuracy/shittness of Doug Psaltis' comments on Thomas Keller and his walk-in? No. We're talking of course about... pizza. At last - something truly important.

So much about food has to do with expectations. I would claim that while there are a wide variety of styles of pizza in the United States (and of course across the world), that there is still a leader in terms of the style of pizza that represents the iconic perfect pizza in the U.S. It's a crust with medium thickness, and a balanced and integrated combination of cheese and sauce. No one part distinguishes itself over the others. The key is balance. Personally my favorite pizza is a little closer to the Italian style where the ingredients are integrated but still have their own identities. Pizza where you can almost see the original shape of the slice of mozarella before it melted and oozed all into the sauce and on the crust.

Patsy's is a small family-run "pizzeria and restaurant" in western Massachusetts - East Longmeadow to be specific. Debbie grew up in nearby Springfield. First I'll let her wax rhapsodic. According to Debbie: "It's real New York style pizza. And it has the perfect balance of sauce cheese and crust. It's simple. The crust is crispy without being brittle. It's got the perfect singed (not charred), nice, floury, slightly burned aspect to it. The sauce is not too sweet which is the downfall of most pizzas. And there's a perfect amount of it. And the cheese is congealed enough so that you could take it all off in one fell swoop but its not too rubbery. It's just awesome."

It's clear she loves this pizza. For me I thought it was very good. In fact one of the best examples of a classic iconic American pizza that I have ever had. The sauce had excellent flavor (not overly herbed which is the biggest crime I usually notice). Either way, if you find yourself heading through western  Massachusetts for some crazy reason, you can't go wrong stopping at Patsy's for a slice, or better yet a whole pie. We got an entire pie.

On an unrelated but still delicious note, when not causing riots, Peyman and DebDu are eating their way through Paris one arrondissement at a time. Check out their latest yummy post. The diagrams are perfect!











Tastingmenu is focused on superlative restaurant experiences from two perspectives: behind the plate and behind the stove. Tastingmenu is written by Hillel (professional eater) and Dana (up-and-coming professional chef) in Seattle, Washington.

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  Garlic has long been credited with providing and prolonging physical strength and was fed to Egyptian slaves building the giant pyramids. Throughout the centuries, its medicinal claims have included cures for toothaches, consumption, open wounds and evil demons. A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The edible bulb or "head" grows beneath the ground. This bulb is made up of sections called cloves, each encased in its own parchmentlike membrane. Today's major garlic suppliers include the United States (mainly California, Texas and Louisiana), France, Spain, Italy and Mexico. There are three major types of garlic available in the United States: the white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic; the Mexican and Italian garlic, both of which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the Paul Bunyanesque, white-skinned elephant garlic (which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek), the most mildly flavored of the three. Depending on the variety, cloves of American, Mexican and Italian garlic can range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Elephant garlic (grown mainly in California) has bulbs the size of a small grapefruit, with huge cloves averaging 1 ounce each. It can be purchased through mail order and in some gourmet markets. Green garlic, available occasionally in specialty produce markets, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves. It resembles a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb, sometimes tinged with pink. The flavor of a baby plant is much softer than that of mature garlic. Fresh garlic is available year-round. Purchase firm, plump bulbs with dry skins. Avoid heads with soft or shriveled cloves, and those stored in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Store fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, unbroken bulbs can be kept up to 8 weeks, though they will begin to dry out toward the end of that time. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will keep from 3 to 10 days. Garlic is usually peeled before use in recipes. Among the exceptions are roasted garlic bulbs and the famous dish, "chicken with 40 cloves of garlic," in which unpeeled garlic cloves are baked with chicken in a broth until they become sweet and butter-soft. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a sharper, more assertive flavor than slicing or leaving it whole. Garlic is readily available in forms other than fresh. Dehydrated garlic flakes (sometimes referred to as instant garlic) are slices or bits of garlic that must be reconstituted before using (unless added to a liquid-based dish, such as soup or stew). When dehydrated garlic flakes are ground, the result is garlic powder. Garlic salt is garlic powder blended with salt and a moisture-absorbing agent. Garlic extract and garlic juice are derived from pressed garlic cloves. Though all of these products are convenient, they're a poor flavor substitute for the less expensive, readily available and easy-to-store fresh garlic. One unfortunate side effect of garlic is that, because its essential oils permeate the lung tissue, it remains with the body long after it's been consumed, affecting breath and even skin odor. Chewing chlorophyll tablets or fresh parsley is helpful but, unfortunately, modern-day science has yet to find the perfect antidote for residual garlic odor.  

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