The Iron Horse Hotel invited me down this week to try the eight new pizzas on offer at the hotel, including at Branded, in the lobby, outside in The Yard and in the property's rooms.
The pizzas are created by Chef Jason Gorman, who is an OnMilwaukee.com blogger, but were the brainchild of hotel owner Tim Dixon, who built a wood-fired oven out in The Yard specially for this purpose.
When Dixon broached the idea with Gorman, the latter recalls, the only caveat was "no tomato sauce."
So, Gorman drew on his Sicilian heritage and his earliest culinary experiences – cooking at an entirely-from-scratch trattoria – to create the eight pies that have been dubbed "Back Yard Pizzas."
One of the eight is called "Green Eggs and Ham" and another, "The Cheesemaster," features three master-cheesemaker-created Wisconsin cheeses.
The two I tried were the pesto pizza – Gorman's favorite, and mine – "The Midwestern," which features Wisconsin mascarpone, locally grown leeks, La Quercia pancetta from Iowa and potatoes from Idaho.
"Yes, I know Idaho is not in the Midwest," quipped Gorman with a chuckle when the pizza arrived.
Both were great, but had different feels. The Midwestern is hearty and feels like a meal in itself. The pesto pizza, laced with a touch of jalapeno for a little bite, was heavenly and could work as an appetizer or an entree.
I asked Jason if he did a lot of experimenting before settling on the final options. He said, "yes and no," noting that although he tinkered with ingredients, those were pretty well solid in his mind.
"Mostly is was to get to know the oven and how to best use it and also to experiment with different crusts," he said.
The pizzas I sampled had similar crusts of different thickness, a variation that Gorman said was not intentional, but rather a function of the differences that come from hand-rolling the dough. Although I didn't bring a tape measure, I'd estimate the pies at about 14 inches.
On the pesto pie, the dough was very thin and therefore crunchier, giving the dish a lightness that The Midwestern didn't have because its crust was thicker, but still pretty then.
Both were perfectly browned by the oven's flames.
The pizzas are available gluten-free and cost $14 each. I'll be back to enjoy them again. Hopefully on a day when a thermometer out in The Yard doesn't read 100 degrees.
Not even one with sauce? Sigh, why hating on the sauce?
olderwiser | July 21, 2011 at 11:52 a.m. (report)
I must try one of these. I love pizza minus the gloppy tomato sauce. That is how they were served to me when I visited Italy....fresh veggies, cheese, and only sliced tomatoes, no sauce. I thought I read this very carefully but perhaps missed it....what is the diameter of each pizza? 8, 10, 12 inches....individual sized or to share. Must get there soon, but will wait until I can enjoy the Yard in comfort. Nice review.
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published July 31, 2015
Last week, I got a message from Paul Walter, a co-facilitator at the Slinger Authors' Camp, a youth program that's part of the Fox Valley Writing Project (which is, in turn, affiliated with the National Writing Project). The 17 kids in the program are suburban spelunking in their town.
Published July 30, 2015
There's no need to massage the statistics: men are hitting spas across the country - and right here in Milwaukee - in bigger numbers than ever before.
Published July 28, 2015
Some details of the plan for the new development in the trio of National Ace Hardware buildings on 4th and McKinley have emerged, right as plans for a new arena and entertainment district across the street have taken steps forward.
Published July 25, 2015
One of the Milwaukee area's most interesting parks is a bit off the beaten path, but it's worth making tracks to Lizard Mound County Park in Farmington, just north of West Bend in Washington County. A wooded path twists and turns through 28 Native American effigy mounds, including the one shaped like a huge lizard which gives the park its name.
Published July 24, 2015
Green Lake is a place of superlatives. Here are eight of the many reasons to fall in love with Green Lake, which is an easy 90-minute drive from Milwaukee.
Published July 24, 2015
What a long strange trip it was. While theaters like the Downer and Oriental have venerable histories as long-running cinema houses, consider, if you will, the the more varied history of the now-dilapidated State Theater, 2616 W. State St. Originally a movie theater, the State has served a number of purposes - rock venue, prudish dance hall and strip club - in its nearly 100-year history.
Published July 22, 2015
There were about 500 people on hand to watch U2 at The Palms on April 15, 1981. The show was part of the Irish band's first U.S. tour. Here's a look back...
Published July 21, 2015
Come with me to see the progress on the restoration of The Pabst Mansion's third floor and also peek into the basement and attic, and experience the view from the roof of this Milwaukee landmark.
Published July 17, 2015
Milwaukee neighborhoods were once awash in movie theaters, as hard as that may be to imagine these days when you can count the number of non-googleplex cinemas in the city limits on one hand. While many are lost, a few remain. At 3804 W. Vliet St. is a former longtime carpet store that's been closed the past few years. But, originally, the building was home to The Lyric Theater, which operated from 1917 to 1952.
Published July 14, 2015
In 2012, I toured the surviving Alexander Eschweiler-designed Agricultural College buildings on the County Grounds, when their roofs gaped open to the stars - and the elements - and weeds encircled their exteriors. Despite talk of tearing them down, and an ongoing battle to save them from demolition, four of the buildings survive, even as six new apartment buildings are rising around them.