Tag Archives: thin crust

artisan pizza with roasted red peppers, goat cheese and olive tapenade

Denver Pizza Review: Osteria Marco

For our last dinner in Denver before heading home after a lovely vacation out West a few weeks ago, Mark and I dined al fresco on Larimer Square at Osteria Marco.

What I loved about this restaurant was the fact that although it is casual, the food reminded me a bit of my beloved Chinghale in Baltimore. Delicately plated salumi, and fresh and delicious-looking main courses. Different in that where Chinghale has interesting housemade pastas, Osteria Marco offers pizzas and paninis. No matter. It was the feel of the place that was warm and friendly and inviting.

After our appetizer of lace-y thin finochietta (fennel pork sausage) that I inhaled, I ordered the Artisan pizza with olive tapenade, goat cheese and roasted red peppers.

artisan pizza with roasted red peppers, goat cheese and olive tapenade
artisan pizza with roasted red peppers, goat cheese and olive tapenade

Um, yum. That is all I can say. I gobbled this down too and was feeling particularly pleased with my order. The chewy crust, salty olives and sweet peppers paired well with a healthy smattering of spicy crushed red pepper and a light white wine.

So if you’re in Denver, I would highly recommend checking this place out after a Rockies baseball game.

High Mountain Pies main entrance

Pizza Review: High Mountain Pies

As the name implies, this small pizza place is located in Colorado, outside of Denver, in historic Leadville. We found it on Yelp as we were passing through, as did many of our co-diners.

High Mountain Pies is situated in a cute little bright-blue house off of Leadville’s main street. They have picnic tables in a grassy field outback as well as under shaded umbrellas on the side patio (where we ate).

High Mountain Pies main entrance
High Mountain Pies main entrance

The owners were a couple of friendly hippies (obviously) who clearly created a pizza restaurant to fulfill their pizza-craving needs. (Mark and I noted how many Colorado restaurants seem to be designed to fulfill late-night cravings: for instance, on our way through town on the front end of the trip, we ate lunch at a pizzeria/taqueria, and last time we were in Denver, we ate at a pizza/biscuit restaurant. YUMMY!)

We ordered the pizza margherita, which was fine for what it was, but not really any sort of amazing pizza by general world standards. It was more of a doughy, salty, cheesy bread with sliced tomatoes. The fresh basil was a plus.

our pizza margherita
our pizza margherita

It was good, but I’d probably steer more towards a regular cheese pizza (or find a bar-b-que restaurant) next time. A+ for setting and friendly staff.

margherita pizza

NYC Pizza Review: Masseria Dei Vini

Mark and I had a fun Memorial Day Weekend with friends from our building (and from life, since I’ve known her since we were five): eating pizza, seeing a Broadway musical and getting midnight gelato.

We had dinner at an unsuspecting Italian restaurant on 9th Avenue: Masseria Dei Vini. You would never know from a street full of hole-in-the-wall quick-bite eateries that a large, bright, white-washed upscale Italian restaurant lies behind huge glass windows.

Complete with white tablecloths, mannered waitstaff and a restaurant-length (and height) wall of temperature-controlled, beautifully lit wine bottles, Masseria Dei Vini felt luxurious in an off-beat part of town. Like we had been transported away from anything grungy….maybe to the suburbs even?

 

Mark and I split a pasta as a our appetizer (even split it was a lot of food), and then I had the Margherita pizza as my main, of course.

magherita pizza
margherita pizza

The pizza was excellent and actually fairly large. I ate the whole thing. But I probably could’ve taken half home and still been full!

The crust was a puffy and charred. There was a perfect ratio of sauce to cheese (not too much sauce) and lots of basil leaves. I ate it with a knife and fork, but you definitely could’ve eaten it with hands too, which is to say, it wasn’t too soggy in the middle.

I would definitely return, although next time I would probably split the pizza, or force myself to stop eating and take the rest home!

half pepperoni half mushroom pizza with large slabs of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese

NYC Pizza Review: Bella Vita Again

Bella Vita has become our go-to New York style thin crust pizza spot. It’s got that chewy-soft foldable crust and enough grease but not to the point of dripping out the back of the fold onto the plate.

And yes, I reviewed it here once before. But something disappointing happened this week that makes me need to review it again.

We ordered delivery per the usual: one cheese pizza and one half pep/half mush.

But when it came, they weren’t regular cheese pizzas. Instead of standard shredded mozzarella, it was melted fresh buffalo mozzarella. Hmmmmm.

half pepperoni half mushroom pizza with large slabs of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese
half pepperoni half mushroom pizza with large slabs of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese

Looking back, we didn’t order anything differently than we had in the past.

But look at this pizza from last time!! Totally different cheese:

Bella Vita cheese pizza
Bella Vita cheese pizza

It still tasted great. And if I had EXPECTED this, then it would’ve been fine. But since I was NOT expecting the difference in cheese, I was a little sad and mad.

Overreaction? Maybe. Okay, fine. Definitely. But I’m still scratching my head on this.

I guess next time, I’ll know to expect the unexpected.

Oh, and I mean, it’s not like there were any leftovers. 😉

Roman style pizza "al metro" - by the meter

NYC Pizza Review: Merilu in Hell’s Kitchen

As we make our way around the New York City neighborhood pizza joints, the next stop is Merilu Pizza Al Metro on 9th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen.

Merilu specializes in “Roman” style pizza (along with a classic New York thin crust), which has a crispy crust and is more often baked in long rectangles. Another discerning feature sometimes found in the Roman pizza, as in Merilu, is the “Al Metro” which basically means that you are purchasing it “by the meter.” So while the pizza I had delivered was some sort of regulation size, if I were in the restaurant, they would cut off a slab of pizza based on how many meters I wanted to eat. Or something like that….

Anyway, I tried the traditional “cheese” version of the Roman pizza, and Mark got a regular thin crust with jalapeños on top.

The traditional New York style pizza was 100% my preference between these two. My Roman style pizza was heavily sauced with kind of sweetish sauce for the lesser amount of cheese present. Now obviously I’m no expert on this style of pizza, so that could be totally typical and the ideal set up for this za. But it wasn’t really to my taste.

So there you have it: not for me, but doesn’t mean it’s not for someone else. And on to the next.

Bella Vita cheese pizza

NYC Pizza Review: Bella Vita

In my ongoing quest to try all the pizzas, we ordered delivery from Bella Vita Pizzeria on 58th Street last week. It was recommended to me by my Aunt Laurie, who had tasted it at a recent party. It is what one might consider traditionally classic New York pizza.

And it didn’t disappoint!

We ordered a standard large cheese pizza as that really is the best way to compare apples to apples across all the pizza places.

NYC-style thin crust cheese pizza
NYC-style thin crust cheese pizza

When it came, the light color on the cheese and crust had me worried that perhaps it was slightly undercooked. But indeed it was not.

It definitely hit the spot in terms of what I look for in that comforting thin crust za of growing up: HUGE slices (I still ate 4 – oops), chewy crust that is easily foldable (and doesn’t crack per my dad’s instruction), lots of cheese and sauce, and pre-spiced with oregano – although that doesn’t preclude adding my own “toppings” of oregano, garlic and crushed red pepper.

Bella Vita cheese pizza
Bella Vita cheese pizza

Thanks for the rec A.L., and look forward to ordering from here again 🙂

NYC Pizza Review: PizzArte

Pizza Reviews are back!!! 

First up: PizzArte in Midtown

You know I’m all about that standard New York thin crust pizza, and we’ll definitely get there, but you know I also enjoy thin, chewy and crispy (not mutually exclusive in a good pizza) Neapolitan style pies.

On New Year’s Day, we were in the mood for a light pizza, not a cheese-heavy/grease-heavy ordeal, so we got delivery from PizzArte.

Lucky for us that they deliver because we will 100% be making this a regular in the dinner rotation!

So I haven’t been to the actual restaurant, but apparently it’s also an art gallery for modern artwork. Maybe I shouldn’t go for fear of coming home with more than just a pizza.

Mark got the Diavola with spicy salame and I got the Pesto with pine nuts and cherry tomatoes.

Both were delicious and as you can see there were crunchy burnt bits, as well as perfectly chewy crust to be had. Olive oil, mozzarella and sauce were all perfectly portioned. My only qualm was that the cherry tomatoes kept rolling off ~ perhaps they could be chopped up more finely to stick to the cheese better?

pizza
pesto and diavola pizza

Next I’m certainly going to have to try the Margherita or perhaps a calzone. I’m so happy to have found this place early on in our New York lives. It might be my all-around favorite pizza place now!

Overall Rating: Outstanding!

Ann Arbor Pizza Review: Anthony’s Gourmet Pizza

Sunday seems to be our go-to pizza night.  I’m especially fond of a super thin crust specialty pizza, a glass of wine and The Amazing Race.  But even when The Amazing Race isn’t in season, like now, pizza is still always a viable Sunday night option (or Thursday night…or really any night, but particularly Sundays and Thursdays).

Coming home after a long drive from “Up North” the last thing we wanted to do was get in the car again to go pick up food, so we took the opportunity to try another Ann Arbor pizza spot.  This time, we went for Anthony’s Gourmet Pizza.  It had some good Yelp reviews, so I guess it was about time for us to try it.

Going into the order, we knew that deep dish was their thing.  Not all the Yelp reviews were specific as to what was ordered, but generally good reviews could span all dishes (one would hope unless otherwise noted by said reviewer).

They do have all sorts of crusts.  And by all sorts, I mean one “New York style” and a million thick crust styles.  Again, I was unaware that 1. Chicago style stuffed pizza, 2. Deep Dish, 3. Sicilian Deep Dish, 4. “Round pizza” (which says is “traditional” but sure looked thick to me on their website) were all different.  I’m pretty sure I thought those were all the same.

I just wanted a normal cheese pizza so I got the New York style.  Mark wanted to try a pan pizza (is that an even different style? I will have to investigate, but for now I’m using that as a synonym), so he ordered a Chicago style.  The guy taking the order asked if this was our first time ordering from them, and when Mark said “Yes,” he said, “I thought so” and encouraged us to scrap the Chicago style in favor of the Deep Dish which is their “signature dish” (pun intended).

I’m typically not a fan of deep dish pizza, and I completely concur with Jon Stewart’s assessment that “it’s not pizza…it’s a…casserole.”  And I was highly amused by the comparison of deep dish pizza to “tomato soup in a bread bowl.”  But the guy at Anthony’s was correct in suggesting we try their signature pizza.

anthonys4 anthonys5

While it did indeed have a crust as thick as a two-by-four, the pizza was flavorful and satisfying.  Two tiny pieces were plenty.  It was definitely greasy, and you absolutely had to eat it with a knife and fork like a quiche or something, but I would eat it again if I had guests over who preferred deep dish.  The crust was meh, but that’s probably just because I don’t like how there was so much of it.  The texture was kind of like focaccia bread and I actually really would have enjoyed it with rosemary and sea salt.  Maybe they should offer that as an option!

So on to the thin crust.  Here was the real disaster: greasy, yet somehow dry at the same time, with zero flavor.  Zero.  It’s been days – DAYS – and there is still 75% of a pizza sitting in the fridge.  That’s unheard of.  It looked delicious from afar, but upon closer inspection, it kind of looked like the pizza you would get at the snack stand at the pool (i.e. literal cardboard crust)…although that pizza is kind of delicious after a long day of swimming.

anthonys2 anthonys3

 

anthonys6

I guess the thin crust is really and truly NOT their signature dish.  Lesson learned: always trust that restaurants know what they do best and just order that.

Should we have been tipped off by the fact that the boxes were plain white?  What pizza delivery place has plain white boxes?  Weird.

anthonys1

Verdict: good at what they say they’re good at, just not my jam.

How Volunteering Led Me To Some Good Pizza

In order to start meeting new people in my new town of Ann Arbor and schedule some activities for myself, I decided to volunteer as an advisor at the University of Michigan chapter of the sorority I joined at University of Maryland in undergrad.  I emailed the chapter advisor out of the blue after finding her contact information on the chapter’s website, and we met one evening at Panera for coffee and to discuss opportunities.  She has been leading this chapter for about 14 years, has a great depth chart of other advisors, and was super enthusiastic about getting me involved right away, which was very welcoming of her.

After getting current on my alumnae dues (oops), I attended my first Monday evening chapter meeting the following week, where I met the president and some of the other advisors.  I’m going to be helping the vice president of campus activities, which is a newish position that we didn’t have when I was in school or when I was the chapter advisor at Towson University back in Maryland, so it will be a learning experience in duties and responsibilities, as well as getting to know a whole new (very large) group of collegians.

Right away I was energized to start sharing ideas and asking questions about how this chapter operates differently than the others with which I have been involved.  There are over 200 members, and the new member classes are almost as big as the entire sorority at Towson.  Clearly, things operate differently here.  For instance, whereas initiation ceremony was mandatory for all sisters at Towson, it logistically cannot be mandatory at UMich because the whole sisterhood can’t even fit in the chapter room together at one time!

I learned some interesting tidbits that first evening, both about the sorority and Ann Arbor, not least of which was that I should definitely try Pizza House.  The sisters and the advisors all agreed that Pizza House was delicious, and I was told that professors often place orders here when they are having lunch meetings for large groups.  Interesting.  Especially because their website lists their specialty as Chicago deep dish (not my fav).  Reading the menu further, I saw that they also make thin and super thin crust pizza; they also have an enormous selection of pretty much all other food you could ever want: salads, sandwiches, burgers, Italian favorites, Chipatis (which I’ve heard are just an Ann Arbor thing…a pita pocket filled with salad), wings, desserts, and on and on.

Willing to take a chance, I placed a dinner delivery order of a thin crust pepperoni pizza and a super thin crust chicken pesto pizza.  They said it would take 30 minutes, so I was shocked when 15 minutes later the doorbell rang, catching me completely off guard (also because they came to the garage door and not the front door…I’ve never known a garage door to have a doorbell before).

The pizza was delicious!! Yay!!  “Delicious” is so overused, but it really was.  The thin crust was good thin crust; like your standard pizza: not too bready on the bottom and a regular thickness to the outside crust.  Could have been a little chewier crust, like that good yeasty NYC crust, but okay, that’s just hard to find in general.

The super thin crust was excellent.  I loved the chicken pesto flavors: chunks of chicken, basil pesto sauce, red onion, diced tomato and gooey mozzarella.  Of course, you always love what you know and what you grew up with, and you’re not likely to love something new more than something old that’s held on a pedestal and to which you are comparing the new thing, but I gotta say that this measured up pretty close to my beloved Bagby chicken pesto pizza back home.  The crust was perfectly salty, not overdone or buttery, just like a nicely salted cracker.  Which isn’t to say that the crust was cracker-like, because it wasn’t that hard and crunchy.  It was soft underneath the toppings (maybe I would ask for a little less cheese next time to avoid a bit of sog….I know, I know, less cheese = blasphemy, but sog is unappealing) and crispy at the edges.  I also liked how the toppings came pretty close to the edges.

I apologize for not having a picture.  Worst blogger ever.  I get too excited about eating and then forget to take a picture until it’s all gone! Not to worry though; we will definitely order from Pizza House again, and I will be sure (to try to) remember to take a pic next time around 🙂

Next up: Pizza Bob’s.  I got a recommendation from a friend who went to grad school in AA.  Although she said she’s never had the pizza, she said the milk-free shakes and chipatis were yummy, so I’m hoping that carries over to the pizza too.

As for getting back into sorority volunteerism, I’m enthusiastic about dedicating some time to an organization that promotes women leadership, teamwork and friendship.