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The Slice Pizza Party
at Nomad Pizza

Nomad sign
photo by Jason www.idreamofpizza.com

The Pizzerati meet to eat!

Adam Kuban of Slice invited us to a gathering of bloggers, foodies, and general pizza fanatics at Nomad Pizza in the lovely, bucolic town of Hopewell, NJ on October 17th.

It was a swell pizza party.

Background: Paulie Gee, who has a beautiful backyard oven (the pics are on Flickr) and makes pizza at home (we're told his pizzas are delicious and we're hoping for an invite), discovered Nomad and wrote to Slice about it. Another Slice reader saw his 'tweet' and tried the place too, seconding the positive review. Almost immediately, a meetup discussion began, a date was selected and plans were made. Famdoc and Paulie made the arrangements.

On the way to Hopewell, we made a stop in Brooklyn to pick up three passengers: the aforementioned Slice-meister Adam, Brownie (of blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com) and her husband Lawman (we had imagined a 19th-Century sheriff, but he's actually an attorney).

The day was damp and cloudy, but we enjoyed the ride as we listened to our passengers' stories about food-blogs-and-those-who-comment-on- them.

No trip to central Jersey would be complete without missing an exit on the Turnpike, so we did (and our passengers were gracious about it). Still, we arrived precisely on time at Nomad.

Before entering, we went out back to have a look at the item that gives Nomad its name - a reconditioned 1949 REO Speedwagon truck which features a full wood-burning pizza oven, commercial refrigerator, sinks, plenty of storage (we saw a couple of shelves stocked with extra wood and cans of San Marzano tomatoes).

Nomad's pizza truck
photo by Adam Kuban www.sliceny.com


Nomad began as a mobile pizza catering business, making pizzas at parties and public events. Their work became so popular that co-owners Stalin Bedon and Tom Grim opened the brick-and-mortar Nomad we were about to experience.

The first two things we saw upon entering the pizza party were the big blue domed oven (with NOMAD spelled out in tile), and Paulie Gee hoisting a bottle of his homemade Limoncello (delicious!). Then we started bumping into people, none of whom we'd ever met in person, but with whom we shared the bond of pizza passion.

Some of the pizzerati we met included Pennsylvania photographer Philip Given (
who took some great shots of the event), Scott Wiener of Scott's Pizza Tours, Jason from I Dream Of Pizza who also has some fine pizza pics, Famdoc and his wife... there were 26 people in all.

The wonderful oven at Nomad

The oven: it's a beautiful thing. The big blue dome was imported from Naples and makes some dynamite pizza. The fire dancing inside the oven was hypnotic, but not so much that we forgot what we came for!

Look at that char!
pizza photos by Philip Given, http://www.susquehannaphoto.com


Here's a list of the great Neapolitan-style pies that came out of that oven (we hope its in order, but things get blurry in the throes of a pizza feast): Pizza Marinara (which was Lillian's favorite of the evening), Pepperoni, Pizza Margherita di bufala (Cary couldn't choose a favorite between this and the Marinara), Spicy Sausage pizza,
White Pizza with Shiitake Mushrooms & Onions (excellent, but only one of us likes mushrooms), and Margherita with Arugula and Prosciutto.  Some of these pizzas arrived more than once.  Hungry yet?

Our favorite moment was when that first Marinara came to the tables, and a dozen or so pizza-philes whipped out cameras at the same moment, like some crazed pizza paparazzi!

Sean Taylor and Adam Kuban
Sean Taylor www.31daysofpizza.com and Adam Kuban www.sliceny.com

Great moments in pizza conversation:
Famdoc telling the NYC attendees that "there is a world out here".

Cary: I really need to work on my dough.
Paulie Gee: What do you mean, work? Just get a 1,000-degree oven! (we don't know if he meant it - but it's a funny line anyway, and he does have a very hot wood-fired oven...)

After the meal, most of us went across the street where we had a chance to chat with Mary Ann Gee (Paulie's wife) and Scott Wiener of Scott's Pizza Tours.

Scott showed us some of the background material for his tours, including the schematic for the Bari gas-fired pizza oven - the oven that made the pizzas a lot of New Yorkers grew up on.

We hadn't really considered taking a pizza tour, but we found him so personable and knowledgeable that we're thinking about signing up soon.

The pizzas, the place, the pizza party and the people: all first-rate! And here's Sean Taylor's video of the event:



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