I recently posted a video to Instagram of me using an Ooni gas fired pizza oven when we were housesitting. I received a number of questions from you all basically asking the same thing: “Worth it?”
I wanted to give you some feedback and hopefully answer your question.
First I just wanted to say that I think the Ooni oven is a really well made product. It’s light, it’s relatively small (it can fit on a smaller table), it’s easy to hook up and get running and it’s very easy to clean up.
Notably, the interior pizza stone on the inside is removable and can be cleaned off if needed. Most of the time you can just do a “burn off” and flip the stone over to do this process. But you could use a grill brush after a burn off if needed.
That said- here’s my attempt to answer your question- “is it worth it?”
Yes and no.
Do you have outdoor space? Do you like to make multiple pizzas for one meal? Do you have a family and maybe each person wants their own pizza? Do you entertain frequently? If so, go for it.
Do you live in a small apartment with no outdoor space? Do you really only need to make one pizza to share for dinner? Then no, skip it. Get a baking steel.
The recommendations as an alternative idea for the “no”. When my friends bought their ovens (I have multiple friends with the Ooni), I received a birthday present called a Baking Steel. You may have seen them in use on Kenji Lopez-Alt’s videos. The Baking Steel is perfect for making pizzas on indoors in an oven. The version I have is also flippable and can sit on the stove as well. I used mine as a part-time griddle and also as a pizza steel.
It works in any oven, but excels in ovens where the broiler element is up top. Sadly, my broiler is one of those old-school drawer types that sits below the main oven compartment. But it’s still great.
I recommend the Baking Steel for anyone as it has multiple uses. You can even use it to make smash burgers (video below). That said- if I had outdoor space, I’d have an Ooni too.
Let me know if this helps or if you have any other questions.
Here are some pics from the Ooni and my Baking Steel. Some useful videos below as well. Both Andris from BS and Kenji have loads of videos. Kenji has a lot using the Ooni as well as his Steel.
preamble/disclaimer- I’ve seen some crappy posts on social media criticizing people for being “lazy” during ‘Rona, or people criticizing others about using food or their couch as a coping mechanism. That’s shitty. I’m not trying to do this or weight-shame anyone. My intention is to write this in the style of a Kedrosky Daily Graph
Like many others in SF, our company switched to WFH in March of 2020. We later made WFH a permanent thing (at least for us… for now).
Unrelated, I happen to track my weight. Sure, it may not be healthy psychologically, but at one point I was interested in the “quantified self“ and tracking weight (mostly the moving average as described in the Hacker’s Diet) was a part of that.
It’s February and we’re coming up on a year of COVID 19 (in the US). A year of life-altering changes, SIP (shelter-in-place), quarantine, pods, less socializing, work changes and stress. That’s only scratching the surface (I’m not going to touch the political third rail today)
In no order here are some random thoughts I have:
I miss my friends, but I haven’t minded being forced away from a lot of people. I miss seeing my family.
I used to hate working from home, but have gotten used to it. I need certain personal rules in place to follow to tolerate it though. I can’t stand being on Zoom all day (I have a customer facing role and like talking to the customers, but then have tons of internal meetings too).
I love cooking and still do. I haven’t really improved any of my skills though. Cooking almost all meals at home does make me want to reorganize my kitchen -or makes me want to move. Wanting to move will be a different post.
Health and exercise are a lot more important than I realized. Family even more so.
I’ve read other Mosley books, but not any of the Easy Rollins series. They were in my “to read” list after watching Luke Cage when it came out on Netflix and they dropped so many interesting titles in references on the show.
Some people have asked where I got the masks that they’ve seen me wear in my selfies from the bike. Most of those are Eliel Cycling Masks. These are great for my rides.
Quick notes on the Eliel: thin material, like jerseys. Great on rides and during runs. They come in 5 packs too.
The only downside that I can think of is that on my rides that are longer than 2 hours, they do tend to stretch a bit so when I’m on my way home on the bridge, the wind can sometimes blow the mask off my nose. This is likely my fault if I’m on a 2.5 hour+ ride because I pull the mask under my chin when I eat/drink more.
I also got two “Pandanas” recently from Pandana USA based in Boulder. I just got them so I’ve only worn one once on a ride but it worked really well.
I tried the Coolmax one on a 2 hour+ ride that was a mix of SF “summer” and real summer and I wound up keeping it on the whole time like I do with the Eliel masks. It was fine.
The ear hole things on the side helped too when I got back to the windy bridge, but I didn’t really need them.
I’ll try my non-coolmax one soon and report back. I highly recommend these so far.
FYI – We also have two from Rickshaw Bags in SF which we wear while doing less strenuous stuff.
Oh, and shout out to the Paceline Forum for the Pandana info. I found them via an older thread.
During the times of ‘Rona I’m not listening to podcasts as often as I was previously. I’m not commuting so I’m not listening to them with any regularity (or reading in the same way). But I do try to fire up something to listen to a few times during the week.
Here are some of what I’m listening to and have queued up. Below that are my old “regulars” that I still recommend and like (maybe with a note or two)
Queued up: Winds of Change. Recommended to me by multiple people, mostly because of novelty, but many because they know I’m from SA and SA has a special place for Scorpions trivia.
Bumping up in priority: Scene on the Radio (multiple recs, seems very timely with what’s going on right now).
I recently tried a route I’d been scared to do previously. I had no problems, I didn’t cramp up, I took it easy and had fun. I’m not sure why I had waited so long to do it, other than being scared.
My fears come down to: cramping, getting stuck, flatting somewhere remote, running out of water (see cramping), worries I’ll slow friends down, etc.
But when it comes down to it, the worst that could happen (other than a wreck) would be:
Getting a cramp and having to sit down for 10 minutes
My friends may need to ride on and I’d catch up with them at a cafe or another day (aka getting dropped) – not that I’m riding with anyone right now
getting stuck and Senol having to come get me with the car
But all of the routes I’m freaked out about unnecessarily, I’ve done most of them or big parts of them. I’m ready to knock more off my list.
Hawk Hill (yes, an oldie but I used to be freaked out by this long ago)
Muir Woods to 1 – and back to Mill Valley via 1
4C down 1 to Muir Woods back to 4C
17th St up to Clarendon to Twin Peaks
Up Clipper to Twin Peaks
(strikethrough means I’ve done those rides)
Mentally I think my desired routes involve Highway 1 and wanting to explore out that way. And I’m scared of not being able to get back up to Panoramic or up out of Muir back to Mill Valley. But like I said- I’ve done all of the big routes or routes that connect to most of the “1 rides”. I just need to get over it and try them.