Sunday, May 06, 2007

Best pizza in Syracuse!

There's a small pizzeria here in Syracuse where Daiku and I regularly go on dates. The people behind the counter sometimes recognize us, and if we skip more than a week or two, they ask us where we've been.

What is it that draws us back to the Italian Chef over and over again?

Two words: tomato pie.

I'm not sure words would do this wonder pizza justice: it's just a perfect, fresh, savory, crisp-chewy crust topped with the best chunky tomato sauce you can imagine. Heady with the scent of fruity green olive oil and oregano, this tomato sauce is thick, tangy, bold, and a perfect counterbalance for the thick crust. They usually top this pie with parmigiano reggiano, but I ask them to leave it off. For me, the perfect topping for this pizza is a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

We usually eat one slice each at the restaurant (it is more than filling!), but in case you want to carry out, a large tomato pie only sets you back $9. This is the only vegan pizza in the restaurant, so I can only review it, but Daiku and others assure me that their other pizzas, chock full of toppings, are excellent as well. They don't skimp with veggies such as broccoli, spinach, peppers, or onions. If you ever find yourself in Syracuse, do yourself a favor and stop in at the Italian Chef for a tomato pie. I'll meet you there!

* * *

Continuing the weekend of good food, here are the pancakes we had for breakfast this morning. Fortunately, we remembered that we were out of maple syrup before we started cooking and walked to the co-op to pick up some of it in bulk.

The recipe is really simple:

Mix together:

1 cup soymilk + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 TB Earth Balance margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
dash sugar

cook on a griddle 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Daiku dressed his pancakes with Earth Balance and maple syrup and a sprinkle of chocolate chips (above). I put cinnamon and bananas, plus maple syrup on mine. Yum-tastic.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Restaurant Information:

Italian Chef Pizza and Caterers
400 Butternut St
Syracuse, NY 13208
(315) 470-1111

p.s. today is World Laughter Day- go find someone to tickle right now! I'm a firm believer in the health benefits of a good belly laugh. =D



Mihl said...

Talking about visiting other countries...If I ever visit the United States, I will definitely come to Syracuse to have some of that pizza. I love tomatoes so much and this pie looks like tomato heaven. Have a nice weekend too!

Theresa said...

I love pancakes, I had some for breakfast this weekend too! Bananas and maple syrup is the best topping, I think. Those pancake photos are really cool, too.

Emmy said...

The pizza looks fantastic and so do the pancakes (thanks for the recipe). That's lucky you can walk to the co-op. I don't have a lot of good stores within walking distance here except Target (it's only a five minute walk).

Neva Vegan said...

I never thought of putting bananas on pancakes (only in them) but that's got to be good. I used to put margarine and syrup on mine, but decided to stop that and just use syrup. I bet the bananas add that desired creaminess!

I do like tomatoe pizza--I had it in Italy first actually and it is so good when right out of the oven.

Village Vegan said...

Those pancakes are making me hungry! (And I just finished eating a big breakfast.)

And you're lucky to have such a nice pizzeria near your house! There are only horrible chains that serve mushy-crusted pizza near me!

Kati said...

Pancakes have become one of my favorite foods over the past few months. It's kind of weird, but I never liked them that much growing up and only recently started making them regularly. Of course, we all know that pancakes are really just a vehicle for one of my favorite things...maple syrup! I do love all things maple...

That pizza looks fantastic! It looks Chicago-style. I'm impressed that it's vegan - here they tend to put cheese in the crust and sauce. Three cheers for vegan pizza!

Heather said...


I don't know if you'll see this, much less be able to answer in time, but my Persian class decide today of all days to have end of class party which is on Wednesday! I can make chocolate chip cookies but maybe it would make sense if I made some shirini irani to bring. If you have any ideas for veganizable stuff, let me know! :)



the veggie paparazzo said...

Ooh, that pizza looks deeeelicious. The pancakes, too, actually, and I don't even really love pancakes unless they are super-special ones.

Anonymous said...

How does that pizza taste? One of the places here makes the same type of pizza but I couldn't imagine what it would taste like with just sauce.

Your pancakes look so fluffy.

aTxVegn said...

The pizza looks like a handheld pasta meal. Your pancakes look even better. I'm not sure whose version I like best! I wish I had a food store within walking distance.

Kate said...

Oh wow, that pizza looks amazing. When I try to order pizza with just sauce they first laugh and ask (about three or four times), "did you say, no sauce?!". Then I get some undercooked dough circle with a thin layer of sauce. The pancakes look awesome too.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Bazu, I wish I could meet you for some tomato pie RIGHT NOW! Looks fabulous, and it's such a nice bonus when friendly people serve good food.
I also want to try a mango pickle!

bazu said...

Hi Heather,

Here are some quick, vegan or easily vegan ideas for Iranian sweets:

--chickpea cookies (shirini nokhodchi) a recipe can be found here

--rice flour cookies (shirini berenji)
recipe can be found here

(the recipe calls for 2 eggs, I'm guessing egg replacer would work well)

--baklava made with sugar/lemon syrup and/or agave nectar instead of honey?

--also, fellow blogger Amey has some recipes for Iranian sweets on her blog, which you should definitely check out Vegan Eats and Treats

Good luck and tell me how it goes!

Judy said...

Oh my, how good that pizza looks. I never would have thought to just put a nice chunky sauce on dough, but then again, maybe it's cuz I'm not vegan.

And pancakes. You're really trying to tempt me, aren't you? Pancakes are one of my favourite ways to ingest carbs. And smothered in real maple syrup? Even better.

Mikaela said...

That pizza looks great. The pancakes, too :)

You are so right on about what good a laugh can do!

scottishvegan said...

Oh yum...that pizza looks so delish! And your pancakes are absolutely perfect! What a shame I missed World Laughter Day…. On Sundays we usually watch Just For Laughs taped off BBC America (while eating pancakes!), but the season has ended…boohoo!! Still I am sure I laughed plenty… Wee G is a funny guy and I am easily amused!!

Anonymous said...

looks so good, especially those pancakes yum!!

laura jesser said...

I love pancakes... almost as much as hubby does.

Oh my but that pizza is drool-worthy!