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Pizza in midtown and something to relish
Leoci's new Vidalia Onion relish is a great recipe accompaniment

Pub 29

It’s great to find a neighborhood pizza place that emphasizes quality over volume. Little Pub 29, tucked away off of Paulsen Street at 66th Street does just that — including whipping up a fresh batch of pizza dough and sauce every morning.

I stopped in to score an October lunch special — a one–topping pizza with a drink for five bucks. I splurged and added a couple of other toppings to the 10–inch personal pizza that arrived, hot, fresh and flavorful.

A friend ordered a salad topped with grilled chicken. It was big enough to share and gave her enough variety to be satisfying — while she watched me devour my pepperoni, roasted red pepper and onion pizza.

There are countless pizza choices and a great menu of hoagies and wraps. A large selection of salads and some interesting appetizers — like Frito pie, cheese bread and, judging by a neighboring table’s order, a tasty looking artichoke dip.

There’s great energy at Pub 29, fueled by pop and rock music tracks and the crack of bumper pool balls. There’s a full bar with splendid martini list and a great selection of craft and domestic beers.

It’s a long overdue hangout for Midtowners — and it doesn’t hurt that the food is exceptional.

Leoci in a jar

I skipped picturing pizza from Pub 29 — you’ve seen that before — and dipped into my own bag of kitchen tricks to prepare this dish with a jar of Leoci’s Vidalia Onion Relish.

Chef Roberto Leoci has earned praise for his authentic Italian menu and skillful use of his wood–fired brick oven. Now, the chef is launching a line of jarred goods to help make your kitchen experience even better.

Joining the Vidalia Onion Relish is Raspberry–Jalapeno Jam — great with roasted pork or just spread on crostini — and Sweet Baby Beets, a quick–pickled little beet to top the signature Leoci’s Arugula Salad. Each jar comes with a recipe, including how to make the arugula salad.

For my dish, I grilled a couple of chicken breasts  then added the chicken to a pan filled with Vidalia Onion Relish. When the sauce had reduced by half, I added a handful of sliced mushrooms, and equal amount of halved cherry tomatoes and about a half cup of thawed–from–frozen cut spinach.

A splash of white wine helped bring everything back together, I then covered and simmered the dish to finish the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. The chicken breast and sauce was served over a bed of fettuccine.

Currently, the products are available at the restaurant, 606 Abercorn St., or online at Several area retailers are queuing up to add the products to their shelves.

Bizarre indeed

As I write this in newspaper time, I am preparing for some camera time with Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. It has been a full few days of helping scout locations for the food crawl segment of the show. More details next week...