Feb 23, 2021
The best pizza in NYC cant be bought — heres how to get it
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With a crust that leavens for 96 hours, flour imported from Italy and a distinctive rectangular shape, this pizza is a cut above what’s available at your local slice joint.
But you can’t get a reservation to try it — or even order a pie for takeout.
NYC’s most exclusive, sought-after pies are only available via barter. Hopefuls trying to score a small-batch pie have to sign up online, and if they’re chosen, trade their own offering of food or drink.
Gabriele Lamonaca, 30, gets five to 10 requests for his Roman-style pies every day through his site, UnregularPizza.com, but only has enough capacity in his Harlem apartment’s kitchen to turn out three or four per week.
“It’s heartbreaking not to be able to provide as many pizzas as people want,” he told The Post. “I put a lot of effort into each pizza, and I never repeat [the flavor combinations].”NYC’s most exclusive, sought-after pies from Gabriele Lamonaca are only available via barter.Brian Zak/NY Post
He meets customers who find him through his Instagram account in the streets to trade his creations for their own signature dishes or bottles of wine.
The Rome native came to New York in 2008 to study chemistry at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights and learn English, but says he was always drawn to restaurants and had the goal of opening his own place. In 2017, he took a job managing the line at a Brooklyn Chipotle. “I really wanted to understand how Americans use their lunch hour,” he said. Since then, he’s worked for Cacio e Vino in the West Village, various Italian food distributors and Filaga, a pizza shop in Chelsea Market.
Lamonaca — who’s hoping to open his own restaurant this coming spring — started experimenting with recipes in earnest when COVID-19 hit and work in the restaurant industry dried up.View this post on Instagram
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He brings his science chops to his kitchen in Harlem, which he shares with his filmmaker girlfriend, turning out pizza with dough that leavens for three days. “The longer it’s leavened, the lighter the dough and the crunchier the crust,” said Lamonaca, who then tops his pies with favorites such as burrata cheese, zucchini, anchovies, cold cuts and, for a Super Bowl pie, fried chicken.
His flour is imported from Italy, and he buys local, organic produce, often from Union Square Market. He estimates that each pie costs $25 to produce.
Friends began requesting pies for themselves, jealous of the mouthwatering pics Lamonaca posts. Not wanting to take cash from them, he devised a different type of transaction. “I really wanted them to try it, and I figured everyone was cooking in their homes, so I told them to give me whatever they were making in return.”Gabriele Lamonaca’s flour is imported from Italy, and he buys local, organic produce, often from Union Square Market.Courtesy of Gabriele Lamonaca
He says there’s some historical precedent for bartering. During leaner times in post-World War II Italy, “My grandmother would bake bread and press olives into oil, and trade it to neighbors for eggs,” he said.
In modern-day NYC, trades include everything from chocolate cake to chicken Milanese to the fermented tea called kombucha.
“I brew my own, so I bartered half a gallon for a pizza,” Christina Nee, 23, of Prospect Heights, told The Post of her December barter. She passed off a bottle of her DIY drink to Lamonaca in Union Square Park, then scarfed down his pesto pizza on a nearby bench with her boyfriend.Trades with Gabriele Lamonaca include everything from chocolate cake to chicken Milanese to kombucha. Courtesy of Gabriele Lamonaca
“It was the best pizza I have ever had,” she said. “I went to Italy last year, and the pesto was so good. This tasted exactly like it.”
Thirty-five-year-old Kiari de Paola, who is Italian herself, was also chasing that genuine flavor when she connected with Lamonaca through social media. For her barter, she whipped up a heart-shaped Italian dessert known as a crostata for Valentine’s Day. The pair met in the Meatpacking District for the trade, where she scored a burrata pie with sliced zucchini and a red-cabbage sauce that she said reminded her of home.
“I will definitely want to try more of his pizza,” said the Astoria resident and food blogger, who leads local tours through her travel agency New York City 4 All. “Not only because it was delicious, but because it’s authentic Italian.”
Lamonaca says the trades are “exciting,” and added, “You never know what you’re going to get in the barter.” But fans are hoping for the day where they won’t have to whip up a dish of their own to get a taste of his pizza.
“When Gabriele opens his shop, we’ll be there on opening night,” said Nee.Filed under Food , food trends , pizza , restaurants , 2/23/21
News Source: New York Post
Russell Wilson to Bears rumors heat up: Heres what a trade could look like
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Russell Wilson surprised the NFL world when he listed the Chicago Bears as a preferred destination if the Seahawks were to trade him. Apparently, the interest is very much mutual.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the Bears “have prioritized making a run” at Wilson as they attempt to complete a decades-long search for a franchise quarterback.
The report noted that the other teams Wilson listed as preferred landing spots – the Cowboys, Saints and Raiders – all have circumstances that would make a trade difficult. The Cowboys are expected to re-sign Dak Prescott, and the Raiders have publicly supported Derek Carr. The Saints may be in the market for a quarterback, but are currently projected to be about $50 million over the cap (though they have maneuvered the cap effortlessly in years past).
The question would be what the Bears would have to offer. After making the playoffs at 8-8 in 2020, they ended up with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s not exactly a premier pick, though they could package it together with future first-rounders, or keep the 2021 pick and simply offer future picks if Seattle wants to bet on Chicago having a worse record in future years.
Seattle would also need a quarterback to replace Wilson, another area in which the Bears lag behind his other destinations. The Cowboys could tag-and-trade Dak Prescott, while the Saints could do the same for Jameis Winston. The Raiders have Carr and Marcus Mariota under contract.As the Bears chase Russell Wilson, could they be interested in dealing Khalil Mack?Getty Images
Chicago does have Nick Foles, who could be at least a backup for the Seahawks, who are committed to being a run-first team. That said, Chicago averaged 2.8 yards per carry with Foles under center.
The trump card the Bears may have is the number of quality defensive players they have under contract. With Seattle’s stated desire to run the ball, they may look to improve a defense that finished 16th in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) in 2020.see also
Seattle announced on Thursday that it is releasing Carlos Dunlap, whom the team traded for in 2020 and logged five sacks with the team. The move saves them $14 million in cap space, which would leave them with cap flexibility to make a run at Khalil Mack, arguably the league’s best edge rusher.
Chicago also has a number of other stars under contract, including Kyle Fuller, Akiem Hicks and Eddie Jackson. Linebacker Roquan Smith turned in an All-Pro season in 2020 and could replace K.J. Wright, should he not return to the team in free agency. Rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson also turned in a promising season. Both are under a rookie contract.
If the Bears do trade for Wilson, they’ll likely have to dangle a combination of first-round picks, mid-round picks and defensive players. But if reports are correct, Seattle will be willing to listen.Filed under chicago bears , nfl , russell wilson , seattle seahawks , 3/8/21