hot plate

What to Eat, Read, and Shop for Right Now

Illustration: Tiago Majuelos

A seldom-seen Neapolitan pizza, David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum’s weighty tome, and Hungarian breakfast for lunch.

The “It” Pizza

Sample the obscure Neapolitan pie that predates the margherita.

Illustration: Tiago Majuelos

The cosacca pizza, invented in Naples in 1844 as a gift to the Russian czar, had seemed lost to time. But there have been recent sightings: in a video shot at Eataly Chicago; at fast-casual Simò in the Meatpacking District; at Naples’s own da Michele, where any addition to the landmark’s two-pie menu (marinara and margherita) constitutes major news. Then, in June, Una Pizza Napoletana’s Anthony Mangieri Instagrammed a zaftig cosacca, its scarlet surface dusted with grated cheese. The caption read: “Thinking about this pizza a lot lately. Maybe one of my very favorites … Just tomatoes, oil, basil, salt, and Pecorino-Romano cheese. This pizza really allows the dough to shine.” Find it at his flagship, reopening any minute now.

The Booze Bible

Delve into David Wondrich’s magnum opus.

Illustration: Tiago Majuelos

It took David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum nine years to knock out the four-pound, 834-page Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails (Oxford University Press). Considering they drink for a living, that seems about right. Not to presume they spent the majority of their working hours tippling in saloons rather than unearthing fresh and revelatory material in libraries. But still, to write authoritatively, you’ve got to know your title subjects intimately and firsthand. In any case, this book is a beast, a tour de force, and fun to read. A good way to do this, as Wondrich advises, is to follow the cross-references the way detectives follow clues, making connections and piecing together the larger story as you go. So for example, the entry on Kingsley Amis takes you to the one on Milk Punch, which catapults you to Syllabub. Case closed.

The Snack

Have Hungarian breakfast for lunch.

Illustration: Tiago Majuelos

Agi’s Counter, 818 Franklin Ave

The nosh plate at Agi’s Counter has two inspirations: traditional Hungarian breakfast foods and the ability of old-school grandmothers to present fortifying snacks at a moment’s notice. The lunch version served at this sunny new Hungarian café crowds a clutch of cheeses, pickles, and ham on an antique silver pedestal; giant spelt crackers stand upright, increasing the spectacle. They’re wedged between a silky mound of chicken liver laced with a touch of Philadelphia cream cheese; a riff on paprika-laden körözött, similar in spirit to pimento cheese; and a seven-minute egg topped with a daub of deviled-egg mousse. Chef-owner Jeremy Salamon is planning to introduce an afternoon “nosh hour,” with house-fizzed sodas and, eventually, wine and beer. “Until then, I hope the draw of noshing is strong enough to get people here without alcohol,” he says. —Emma Alpern

The Stocking Stuffer

Give a fancy-restaurant riff on a storied English candy.

Illustration: Tiago Majuelos

Hawksmoor, 109 E. 22nd St.

Just as it does at its London branches, the steakhouse Hawksmoor sells boxes of its signature Tributes, the salted caramels inspired by Rolos. Pastry chef Carla Henriques has added bourbon pecan and passion fruit to the mix, along with new seasonal flavors like eggnog and mint ($20 for eight). With their thin domed rather than flattopped chocolate shells and their loose, creamy centers, these bonbons bear only passing resemblance to their mass-produced muse. But the confectionery history intrigues: The Rolo (along with its revolutionary caramel-toffee-hybrid filling) was launched in 1937 by Mackintosh’s, the English company eventually gobbled up by Swiss multinational Nestlé. In the U.S., though, Hershey’s has the license.

The Stocking Stuffer, Part 2

Give a crunch with an extra punch.

Illustration: Tiago Majuelos

It’s true that chili crisp has become a bit of a holiday-gift-guide cliché, and no one ever needs to hear another time that, yes, by golly, this superfood is as good spattered over breakfast eggs as it is Jackson Pollocked over vanilla ice cream. But we’re lifting the house moratorium on mentioning the toothsome stuff because Momofuku’s new Black Truffle Chili Crunch is too good to keep quiet about. The key is that, unlike truffle-infused hot sauces, this condiment contains bountiful bits and pieces of black truffle that not only amp up the umami but pile on an extra layer of crunchy texture. Comes with a little wooden snuff spoon for scooping and splotching. $55 for three five-ounce jars at

What to Eat, Read, and Shop for Right Now