Considering that Adam took over 130 pictures of London restaurants we ate at, it was only natural that we start chronicling our thoughts and opinions about the food we eat. We've totally become accidental foodies. It all started out when Sheila started calling Adam "the human trash compactor"; since he eats almost anything. But somewhere along the way we started having discussions about food and seeking out culinary adventures when on travel. We bring a unique perspective to this arena as we're both vegetarians (no meat, poultry, or fish). I suspect we will both have varying opinions on the food, and hope to not only have a record for posterity, but provide some fun, useful if not amateur insight.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

keste's pizza nyc felt much like sf

Yes, I am a pizza snob. Let me re-phrase, I am a pizza monster. Wait, perhaps pizza obsessed. SF is a great city to live in for this craving - as you've picked up on from previous blogs. With recent trips to NYC, the opportunities to eat pizza have now increased! Backing up for a minute, I've noticed that SF prepares high-end (bordering on pretentious) pizzas made with the freshest of ingredients and cooked in wood burning showpiece ovens. NYC (also using fresh ingredients) prepares no frills, simple pizzas in a old-world Napoli and Roma kind of way. So how to compare? For me, it's about appreciating the differences - or so I thought.

This past May, Sheila and I hit up NYC and, of course, ate our way through Manhattan. On a Sunday afternoon, we ventured onto Bleecker St in the West Village for a meal at Keste, on the top 10 NYC pizza list of several publications. We were promptly seated by the hostess halfway down this narrow restaurant. The ambience was relaxed and the decor was modern Italian with old world Italian accents in the photos and accessories. The menu had a great selection of vegetarian salads, pizzas, and desserts. In the end we decided to share a meal since the days prior consisted of lots of heavy meals.

First up was the Toscana salad - spring mix, fresh pear, walnuts, lemon, and evoo. There were a burst of flavors from the pear and citrus infused evoo, but it was balanced by the nutty walnuts. The portion was large enough for us to share, but I suspect that must people would order it as a single portion. My only negative comment was that the pear ratio was rather low. By the time we were at the bottom, the only things left were greens and walnuts.

Next up was the Regina Margherita pizza - tomatoes,
buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil, and a sprinkle of evoo.
The cheese was melt in your mouth soft, the crust was crispy on edges and chewy on the inside, the cherry tomatoes added subtle sweetness. The drizzled evoo came through with each bite and provided a smooth finish. Just like everyone claims, included the cast of Entourage, the secret to the dough (and taste) is in the water. Suffice to say I could a have eaten the entire pizza by myself. My recommendation, go with a groups of friends and order several to share, oh and invite me!

Last up was the tiramisu - it's appearance was much more like espresso and rum whipped cream because we couldn't see the lady fingers. Taste-wise, the tiramisu was light and not overly sweet. In fact it was slightly bitter if you didn't combine it with the cream topping. No deep rum tones (a good thing), which can be the case with tiramisu gone wrong. I'd say order this if you're looking for an out of the ordinary tiramisu.

Final thoughts - Keste, in ambiance and pizza style, reminded me more of SF than of NYC. Alas, it will never to confused with Gramaldi's or Lombardi's. I did enjoy the simplicity of each dish and the perfectly cooked pizza (oh the amazing crust). However, next time we'll try a slice house to eat the way that New Yorkers enjoy - folded in half, eaten from below, hanging off a paper plate, standing on the sidewalk. I'm hungry, can't wait go back to NYC!

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