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What’s the best pizza town in the United States? ‘Modernist’ authors have a surprise

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(CNN) – It’s not for you to decide after all, New York. And Chicago – the wind has been removed from your deep flat sails.

The honor of the best pizza town in the United States does not belong to these traditional pizza flag bearers, but rather to this innovative newcomer to the west coast of Portland, Oregon.

In three volumes and nearly 1,700 pages, it includes the history of pizza, over 1,000 recipes, pizza-making techniques and tools, and tips on where to get the best pie – in. exquisite details and with stunning photos.

Myhrvold – who was CTO at Microsoft from 1996 to 2000 before leaving to pursue his other passions – told CNN Travel in a video interview that this labor of love took almost four years.

He said they managed to wrap up their pizza rounds, which included visiting 250 pizza restaurants, before the Covid-19 pandemic brought matters to a halt.

How did Portland get to the top?

Innovation is a key ingredient in the Portland pizza scene.

Shutterstock

Myhrvold said he had no idea at the start of the pizza ‘n’ sampling that Portland would take the gold.

“We knew Portland had experienced some sort of gastronomic renaissance over the past 20 years. But I didn’t particularly think the pizza there would be as good as many. [other] places.”

The Modernist team traveled to major cities and towns across the United States, some of them with long associations as primo pizza havens, to make comparisons. They were:

Chicago
Detroit
Los Angeles
New York Tri-State, New Jersey and Connecticut Region
Old Forge, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia cream
Phoenix
Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois
San Francisco
Seattle
Saint Louis

What made Portland the star? Myhrvold said innovation and passion are needed to deliver the best.

Myhrvold gives credit to two artisan places – Apizza Scholls and Ken’s Artisan Pizza – as the starting point of the quality pizza scene. “If you have a really good model, that helps, compared to other places where pizza is terrible. ”

He thought Scholls and Ken’s would be perfect for Portland, “but it wasn’t that at all. There’s just a huge, vibrant community of people who make great pizza.”

He said there isn’t a single style that defines Portland pizza except for the commonalities of creativity, the emphasis on quality ingredients and “people who want to make good. job”.

“Usually where you find good food, you find an obsessed person who does their best to prepare their food the best they can.”

Portland Favorites

Portland's pizza scene is hot.  See the list below for some of the top picks.

Portland’s pizza scene is hot. See the list below for some of the top picks.

Courtesy of Cooking Lab LLC

These are some of the pizzerias that have received nods and special comments in “Modernist Pizza” in case you want to try them out for yourself. In addition to checking out the menus, be sure to check the days and hours of operation and your dining, take-out and delivery options:

– Lovely’s Fifty Fifty: Myhrvold says this is arguably one of the top two pizza places in the country (the other being Razza in Jersey City, New Jersey). Another specialty of Lovely is ice cream. 4039 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97217.

Others who receive special praise, in alphabetical order:

Nostrana: 1401 SE Morrison St. Ste. 101, Portland, OR 97214
– Sizzling tart: 926 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97205 and other locations.

Where did New York go?

The pizza scene in New York City leans too much on old reputations, Myhrvold said.

The pizza scene in New York City leans too much on old reputations, Myhrvold said.

Arturo Holmes / Getty Images

This Portland proclamation is sure to stir up emotions and cries of outrage across America, especially in New York City.

Myhrvold has tough assessments of the current pizza scene as a whole, particularly in Manhattan. Dollar pizzas and inexpensive pizzerias dominate there, he said. It wasn’t a compliment.

In his opinion, New York City relies too much on tradition and lives off its reputation instead of trying to present the best pies possible today.

“Most old New York pizzerias aren’t that good, which is also part of our general conclusion around the world: Famous old pizzerias don’t live up to their reputation. So if you go somewhere in New York, and they say, “We’ve been doing this for 50 years” – UH-OH! “

If you want good pizza in New York City, Myhrvold said you have a better chance of finding a good restaurant in the boroughs or “burbs”.

“I like the Razza better than the pizzerias in New York, certainly Manhattan. It’s a bit surprising for New Yorkers.”

Pizzas around the world

Nathan Myhrvold has traveled the world for the best pizza, including big cities in South America and small towns in Italy.

Nathan Myhrvold has traveled the world for the best pizza, including big cities in South America and small towns in Italy.

Courtesy of Cooking Lab LLC

Pizza is not just an Italian invention and an American obsession. People love it all over the world and add their own twists to it.

Not to say that there is no good pizza in the founding country.

“In Italy there are fantastic pizzas. I have had good pizza in Naples and in a small town outside of Naples called Caiazzo.”

Myhrvold said two cities that caught his pizza eye and taste buds are Sao Paulo, Brazil, and steak powerhouse Buenos Aires, Argentina. These two South American cities had a significant number of Italian immigrants in the 19th century, especially from Naples, he said.

Myhrvold doesn’t really like creativity on its own.

He and his team traveled to Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo. “And there are some really good pizzas out there. But there are also a lot of pizzas that have, to my taste, weird stuff on a pizza. The squid tentacles and the sweet potato cubes are just one. strange combination. “

Why three books on pizza in particular?

This is where the magic happens: the Modernist Cuisine test kitchen.

This is where the magic happens: the Modernist Cuisine test kitchen.

Courtesy of Cooking Lab LLC

“Pizza is arguably the most important dish in the world,” Myhrvold said. “It is the most important imported cuisine.”

He was also drawn to the versatility of pizza and even the controversy.

There are “so many arguments about what makes a good pizza. … If you look at a steak, a steak is pretty much a steak in the world. … This is not true with pizza. The different forms of pizza are all over the world. map, literally. And that causes people to have violent disagreements and so on. “

How did the authors of “Modernist Pizza” find nearly 1700 pages on the subject? “We had to stop somewhere.”

He admitted that judging the size of his books is bad. “I still think it will be smaller than it actually is.”

“Modernist Pizza” is aimed at people “passionate about and curious about food”.

He said you don’t have to be an accomplished cook to pull something out of volumes. “In the meantime, if you cook a lot, but you’re not curious, and just want to follow a recipe, boom, boom, boom, well, there are a lot of little books you could buy.”

As for the modernist team’s next project, get ready for pastries and desserts.

The top image of an America Shaped Pizza is courtesy of The Cooking Lab LLC.


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