Day 5 – The best pizza in Lincoln

There were a lot of compromises when Stevie and I made the decision to leave New York. We left Stevie’s family, some of our best friends and most trusted mentors, and a whole lot of amazing food.

Every spot on the globe has something all its own when it comes to food–some signature dish or cuisine that is uniquely local and difficult to replicate. I think the one thing that differentiates New York is that the flavors of the world have quite literally migrated and established themselves in restaurants and bakeries and sidewalk stands and food trucks throughout the city. You could taste the world without ever leaving the five boroughs.

One of the things Stevie and I miss the most is the variety. After we started dating, we had a habit of hopping in the car and driving to Manhattan every Friday night for dinner. We had a favorite sushi restaurant, Yoko, in the West Village where we ate so often that we didn’t even need to order. The chefs knew our tastes and favorites, and would begin sending beautiful plates you couldn’t find on the menu over to our table as soon as we sat down. Other nights, we would just pick a flavor or type of cuisine, look up the name of some random restaurant that served it, and go.

We were never disappointed.

We haven’t been able to settle into quite the same routine since we left New York. Now that the kids are getting a little older (and Henry is finally entering the reasonable phase that follows the fit-throwing insanity of the two’s and early three’s), we’re hoping to get back to being adventurous. Sure, there aren’t nearly as many options here in Lincoln, but there is some really great food in this town and a lot of places we haven’t even had a chance to try yet.

The one food we have thoroughly tried here though (and have been thoroughly disappointed with) is the pizza.

Nobody does pizza like New York.

We tried every pizza place in Lincoln since moving here in 2011. Every. Single. One.

Lazzari’s was our frontrunner there for six months or so back in 2011-2012. Crust was almost true NY-style and the sauce was decent. Then one day the sauce started tasting a little too sweet. (Hear this now people, sauce should NEVER be sweet! You add pinches of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. That’s it. If it’s sweet AT ALL, you’re doing it wrong!) We tried again a few weeks later, sauce was still sweet and the crust was burned. One more try a few months after that and we had too-sweet sauce, overdone crust, and so much extra cheese piled on that the pizza slices were drooping in our hands even folded in half. Strike three. We’ve never gone back.

Yia Yia’s gets a pass because it’s unique, and they have some delicious flavor combinations. We dig it, but the ultra-thin cracker-like crust keeps us from classifying it as traditional pizza. It’s good, but we stick to small doses.

MoMo Pizzeria & Ristorante is the only place we will actually endorse. The pizzas you’ll find on the menu are Neopolitan style and wood-fired, and there are some really incredible flavors. Stevie has always been a fan of plain cheese pizza, but even he enjoyed sampling some of the unique toppings like Lobster & Shrimp Hollandaise and Prosciutto & Egg. One day, by chance, Stevie found that by asking the server if we could have just a plain cheese pizza for Cadence that he could get a smaller version of the closest to true NY-style pizza we’d found since leaving New York. Major props to MoMo (for both the pizza and for having hands down some of the finest food in Lincoln).

Still, because we just couldn’t seem to find any true NY-style pizza, I made it my mission to figure it out. And I did, back in 2015. You canĀ CLICK HERE to read all about it. Since then, we haven’t bothered to order to eat a pizza anywhere but in our own kitchen, and we don’t have a desire to.

Well…unless we hope a plane and head back to New York. In that case, we might have to make an exception.

Tonight, it was homemade pizza for dinner, and I couldn’t have been any prouder than the moment I looked across the table and saw my kids’ New York come out. Henry had a slice in each hand and was eating it almost as fast as I could make it, and Cadence was folding slices in half like a pro.

What can we say? We’ve taught them well.

All it takes

Sometimes, all it takes to make everything right with the world is a delicious meal, some good friends, and a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

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Feed Me, Seymour

That look Henry gives me when I try to take a bite of my dinner, momentarily delaying his next bite of sweet potatoes…

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Our Dog, the Creeper

So H-man has officially started solids. After hearing him holler at me every time I tried to eat something in front of him, and having him constantly grabbing at my food and putting EVERYTHING in his mouth, we decided it was time to get the little man started. With Cadence, we tried rice cereal exactly once. She made faces and gagged and absolutely hated it. I took a bite to see what all the fuss was about, and I gagged too. That shit was worse than Malt-o-Meal, and tasted like stale, sweetened styrofoam, so we promptly switched to fresh veggies (steamed and pureed) and Miss C was hooked.

With Henry, we decided to just skip the disgusting rice cereal altogether and just get to the good stuff. His first foray into solids was a spoonful of pureed peas. The kid was immediately hooked. Since then, he’s gobbled up squash, had a few bites of pears (which he hasn’t quite decided if he likes yet), and seems to be developing a love/hate relationship with bananas (much like my own). But sweet potatoes…oh, sweet potatoes. H-man goes nuts for sweet potatoes. He scarfs them down about as fast as Electra eats a bowlful of kibble, and he moans “Mmmmm…mmmmm” the whole time he’s doing it. Stevie and Cadence and I laugh and little H-man just gives us a big gummy grin and then opens his mouth wide and demands another bite.

It didn’t take long for Electra to remember what having a baby in the house means…accessible food. Our dog is no dummy. She’s learned that Cadence is no easy target anymore. Cadence is at an age now where she finds our hound’s food-stealing downright offensive. And even worse for Electra, Cadence will fight back. She knows enough to yell and grab Electra’s collar to pull her down off the counter or the table. And she has even snatched pieces of food right out from under Electra’s nose when necessary.

Electra knows Cadence is no dummy, not anymore.

But now there’s another little human in the house, and he’s short and slow and messy and generally clueless, at least when it comes to Electra’s intentions.

And almost overnight, our dog has become a creeper again–watching, waiting, calculating Henry’s every move, just waiting for a chance to sneak in a lick of his face or his fingers. Electra knows, the only thing better than a puree covered baby is a food-dropping toddler, and well, my friends, those days are just around the corner.

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 21

At this point, it’s probably getting a little old talking about Electra’s food-whoring ways. But we’re either off our game lately (which is quite possible seeing as everyone in the Romano house has been living in a perpetual state of sleep-deprivation since Henry was born), or Electra is getting a whole lot smarter and more devious in her middle-age.

Lately, it seems she’s hell-bent on total food domination.

She cracked the code on her plastic food storage container a few months ago, figuring out that if she licked the door of it long enough, and nudged it with her nose in just the right places, she could get the door to pop open and reveal the veritable Pandora’s Box of irresistible kibble inside.

Two weeks ago, she managed to stretch herself long enough to reach up over the top of the kitchen counter and snag a bag of chocolate peanut butter cookies that Cadence brought home from her Kindergarten class bake sale.

Last week I caught her trying to nose a box of Dunkin Donuts off the kitchen table, and later crunching away at a piece of gold spray-painted bowtie pasta that she apparently wanted so badly that she found a way to pull Cadence’s preschool ornament down off the Christmas tree to get at it.

Who the hell wants a piece of gold spray-painted uncooked bowtie pasta?

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Electra, that’s who. Note the little ornament made with Fruit Loops all the way near the top of the tree (top left corner).

And just this weekend while I was upstairs feeding Henry and Stevie was down in the basement rotating the laundry, Cadence caught Electra munching away on a candy cane that Electra had stolen off the gift from Cadence’s Kindergarten teacher.

After a whole lot of yelling and a few tears, Cadence managed to wrestle the candy cane away from our hound, clean up the mess, and shoo Electra into the backyard before she came to find Stevie and I to report the crime.

So far, none of Electra’s scores have made her sick, but it’s clear that we need to step up our game if we’re going to keep our dog from eating her way into some serious trouble.

And Cosette and Leo must have felt sorry for Cadence after Electra stole her candy cane, because they showed up this morning bearing a whole bunch of candy cane gifts for Cadence to eat and help hang on the tree.

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Up high. Way high. Where even our persistent basset-bodied hound dog can’t reach them.

Damn dog. If she wasn’t so sweet, she might be in more trouble.

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 11

Everyone knows Electra is a food whore. And if they don’t know it, they figure it out pretty quick. Most of the time, people think we’re kidding when we tell them they have to keep an eye on their dinner plates when they come over. People think we’re crazy when we leave a long list of instructions for our dogsitters, giving them very specific details on the frequency and amount of Electra’s feedings and treats.

Yeah, they think we’re crazy, right up until Electra pulls a ninja move and steals an entire cheeseburger right off their plates, or they keep feeding her until she doesn’t act hungry anymore (which is right about the time she’s eaten 18-pounds of dog food and the lining of her stomach is stretched so thin it’s ready to burst).

Seems even the elves have figured out how crazy Electra is about her food, so they decided to tease her a bit, and dangle one of her dog treats just a few feet out of reach.

As you can tell, Electra was not amused.

Or maybe she was. She can be a tough one to read.

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