The Corner Boys

CornerSliceDuo

I used to work in Bethesda.  I grew up in Montgomery County so there is a lot of familiarity.   Any sentimentality?  It depends on where I go.   With Bethesda, there is snt much.   It’s not the most welcoming energy I’ve  come across.

Yet, I did find myself in this fast-paced and what-do-you-do town for reasons that aren’t necessary to explain here  I’ll just call it an adventure.

No matter where you go you’re bound to find a grocery store, general store, coffee shop, and of course a pizzeria.

This brings us to Corner Slice.

CornerSliceFront

I can romanticize a multitude of things.  This I can’t.   This has nothing to do with the neighborhood.   I’ve just never loved their slices.  And I was eating here over 10 years ago.

It’s New York Style but it’s all about whether it tastes good or not.  This just doesn’t cut it. For a quick pick up it serves its audience and serves its purpose.   But there is no substance.   And for many that doesn’t matter.  It’s still pizza right?

I love dwelling on the positive.  Believe me,  I want everything I write about to be inspiring.  And I can find the good in just about every situation presented to me.   And I can find some here.

I recognize one and maybe even two people still running the shop from back in 2004 when I made my first visit.  Is that a testament to enjoying your gig, loyalty, work ethic, or it just is?  Either way, that’s pretty cool.

The interior is the same and most importantly, the two slices and a soda are still under $10.  I can’t argue with that, especially with the pricey food options surrounding it.

CornerSliceCheese

I ordered the cheese and then the white with spinach and artichoke.  I really like the simple creativity of the latter.

CornerSliceWhite

However, the crunchiness of both slices was worse than I remembered.    The toppings, the cheese, and the sauce all became afterthoughts.   It looks great I know.  But this was anything but that.

A good slice can come from anywhere.  And I mean anywhere.  It can be from an upscale restaurant, gas station, grocery store prepared food area, or from the freezer section.   This wasn’t near any of those.

I’ve become a fan of New York slices.  This wasn’t it.  There was no feel good moments of being here.  It’s just there.  And that’s how I’ve always looked at the area.  It’s not my style and neither was the pie.

Stay warm.

Best,

Ideen

 

 

County First, City Later

BirrotecaBianca

Birroteca is a favorite of many in Baltimore.  I’m overstating the obvious.  The location, that atmosphere, the vibration, the libations, and last but not the least, the food is highly regarded.  It’s to the point that you might get sick of hearing about it.  Yes, it’s one of those places.   I love it.  I couldn’t pretend to be different even if I wanted to.

With that teaser, unfortunately I won’t be writing about the city location.  This is for us folks who live in the county and more specifically Bel Air.  Don’t fret,  a recap of the happenings on the city location will be forthcoming.  But I want it to feel special and to feel appropriate.  I’ll know the sign when it comes to me.

It was a dear friends birthday and they didn’t want to dine in haha.  That’s understandable. The request was for something from the dinner menu, and of course that means a couple of pizzas for us to share as friends or pizza pals.   We adore pizza.

The birthday bud wanted a margherita (plain cheese with tomatoes). Second pie would be  the bianco, with four cheeses, candied walnut sage, and pine cone syrup.  Mamma Mia!

A special birthday feast also means a couple of appetizers, so we couldn’t decide between Arancini and meatballs, so we went with both.  That’s how you solve a problem.

Our carry-out order was effortless and the pick-up was just the same.  No issues.  That was my first time setting foot in this Birro.  It’s so much more cozier and quaint versus the one in the city.   This is not to say one is better than the other.  The Baltimore location intimidated me the first time.  It’s colossal.

BirrotecaMeatballs

We first had the apps.   Make sense in sequence right? Our meatballs were good.  The mess in the photo is entirely my fault.

BirrotecaArancini

And the arancini I could eat a plate of.   That was one of the highlights.  One just isn’t enough. Please can I have more.    You could have that as a meal all by its lonesome.

BirrotecaMarg

The margherita was really good and the very thin crust of theirs I’ve always been a huge fan of.  For even the folks who don’t like lots of bread, this works flawlessly.  The sauce and cheese worked perfectly in concert with one another.

BirrotecaBianca

But the bianco was something else.  The pine cone syrup I was able to taste right away. Incredible.  And walnuts on a pie is a sure-finer winner.  You’ve got to be see and eat to believe.  First time for me and I want a next time.

Both pies look gorgeous a well.   These are eye-candy to the highest power.

Our smorgasbord included a great wine.  For more on this vino, you want to click right here.  And believe me, you want to!

The pies have endeared themselves to me even more over time and it’s been less than a week since our feast of friendship.   As a write this I’ve even more giddy with excitement. It feels good and I look forward to visits back to Bel Air and Baltimore in short order.

No more teasing.

Stay warm and stay inspired,

Ideen

I’m In A Philly Mood

LittleSicilyPair

It’s been a while since I expounded on about a pizzeria in the city of brotherly love.    That inaugural link can be found here.

LittleSicilyII

On Christopher Columbus Boulevard (or Delaware Avenue depending on who you talk to), within the vicinity of Penn’s Landing is a not-so-vibrant strip mall with a pizza place I stop into when I need something immediate and I gotta go lighting fast.

Little Sicily 2 has no polished website and that fits the mood and ambiance of the business itself.

There is no upscale dining or pretension.  I wasn’t looking for it.  Nor do I really ever.   And whenever I’m driving back from Philadelphia to Baltimore, I more times than not find myself passing by that I almost can’t no go inside.  I mean I can but this is more for dramatic purposes.

The slices themselves have never been the greatest nor should you expect them to be.   They’re comfort food after a late night out or like most folks, you just need something in your belly.   We don’t always have the time or the residuals for a dining experience.

I may be wrong but I swore they used to be open after the bars closed.    When I was in there late last Summer on an early Friday afternoon/evening, the cut-off time was midnight.

I’ve done the slow build long enough.  How was the pizza this time?   This was exactly like I was saying.

I ordered a cheese and a buffalo chicken.  In previous incarnations I suspect the pies were sitting out a lot longer than they have any reason to be.  I sensed more of the same here.

The slices were both chewy, soggy, and felt more like monkey bread than a regular ole’ slice.  And I’m not complaining.   This is exactly how their pizza is.

For the first time I actually sat down to enjoy my foods.  And trust me, I enjoyed it.   I also did some people watching.  Most folks seemed to be in a good mood.  I mean how could you not be?  It’s pizza, it’s greasy comfort food, and likely company you enjoy.  That’s what it’s always about.

Additionally, I noticed a few Indian folks working behind the counter and as patrons.  I did some crack research and found out there is a hidden Indian menu that you can order separately.  I feel foolish for being ignorant of this fact.  My goodness.  I want to indulge in some right now.

LittleSicilyWawa

The fact that a familiar friend, Wawa, is right next door is charming to me.  I wrote about their pizza too. Not this exact location but a corresponding one nonetheless.

By the way, is there a Little Siciliy I?  If there is I somehow think the mystique and allure of this place would crumble.  Does that make sense?  I know Little Siciliy and facsimiles are all over the place but I just want to believe there’s this II and Part 1 is some magical place far away.

My love and sentimentality with Philadelphia is an inexplicable thing.  Maybe I do know but I can’t expound on it just yet.  But it’s always brought the strong energy to me.   There’s something else though.  It might be too good for words.

I promise you the big guns of one of the most awesome cities are coming.  There are a lot of a good pizza jawns in town and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you guys.

With Love,

Ideen

Eastern Market Moves

7HPie

I don’t go to Washington, DC enough.   It has rapidly changed and I barely recognize certain neighborhoods.  The transformation in the last 15 years is something that a lot of major cities seem to be going through, but I never expected it be like this.

I used to go to Eastern Market with my family a lot when I was a kid.  The surrounding area may not have been the safest but that didn’t seem to bother anyone.

Now nothing could be further from the truth.  The area is flourishing with overpriced homes, nice shoppes, restaurants, businesses, and a plenty of places to sight see.

For reasons that never need to make sense or explain themselves, I found myself in DC and Eastern Market last week.

I had forgotten what the inside looked like and I was hoping, to no avail, to find a pizzeria inside to write about.

What’s fun is no matter where you are and there’s nearby places to eat, you will find pizza.  I found pizza.

Literally steps away is Seventh Hill.

7HillOutside

Nothing stood out about the place.   There were pizza peels adorning the walls and a small dining area and bar inside.   The outdoor area may actually seat more.  And on this late December day, it was still warm enough that the furniture was still out.

The menu is very creative which lists various neighborhoods, landmarks, and famous streets of our Nation’s Capital.

I avoided the obvious and didn’t get the Eastern Market.  I went with the top of the choices and ordered the Pennsylvania Avenue.

7HPie

I regret that decision now.

7HSlice

It’s not that the pizza was horrific.  It just felt bland.   The wood-fired crust was fine.  I just didn’t sense any inspiration behind it, even with one of my favorites, pesto.

However, the pecorino cheese was a nice complement to the mozzarella but I just wanted a little something more.  The olives and spinach tasted fresh.  And I didn’t mind if pieces of either fell off and I could enjoy them individually.   It just didn’t blow me away.

It’s a safe pie that wouldn’t offend anyone and most would like.   I can imagine a lot of their other pies would have more to offer.  Maybe I’m irritated I went with a safer route.   At least the pie named after it’s location has goat  cheese.  And that would be different.   Like I’ve reiterated before, all this means is that I will give it another go.

In the meantime, I posted some pictures of the market and the architecture outside. This brings back a few memories but at the same time I don’t remember this place.   It’s a bit numbing in a way.   I feel so detached.

And that’s what many parts of the D.C. area have become.  It’s just so divergent and conflicting in so many ways.   But I will be doing more DC area, and within the city proper itself.

More to come.

All The Best,

Ideen

 

Small Town Fun

AmalfiTrio

I love randomness.  It’s what makes life what it is, and it’s usually awesome if you allow it.   I embrace it.  I want more.  Speaking of which…

I look a long drive passed the Maryland State Line into the underrated and sometimes unappreciated state of Delaware.  I cross into Newark for no specific reason at all, and find myself doing a few errands and crossing a few things off my list that were nagging and needed to be taken care of.

While I’m here I got the itch and the inspired thought to track down a pizza place.   I’m so grateful for this one.  I was literally in the shopping center where one of the better pizza experiences I’ve had took place.

AmalfiFront

Amalfi Pizza brings some creative pies.  And that’s an understatement.   The top of this post shows two very distinct and stand out pies.   I will get to those shortly. And to counterbalance I also got a a cheese slice. More on that too momentarily.

AmalfiMenu

The lady working the counter charmed the heck out of me.  I wish I had gotten her name but she sold me on the menu without selling me.  She was kind and I could have found myself ordering every slice in plain sight.  But no, for the purposes of this discussion, I narrowed to the three I referenced.

They’re near the University of Delaware campus so that may explain the cheaper price, but by no means cheaper quality.  Nothing could be more contrary. This was a great time.  The energy inside the ristorante was vibrant, exuberant, and some other big words.   And most important of all, tax free!  Woohoo!

While in there, there were a few students but mostly locals who all seemed to know each other and it felt down-to-earth and humble.  I loved it.

Altogether I think I only paid $10 for all those slices you see.  Seriously. That’s only going to make this taste better.  Here we go.

AmalfiCheese

I’ll start with the cheese.  This was a basic yet solid slice.  I find it fascinating how no plain slice has ever tasted exactly the same to me.  In all the pizza sampling I’ve done, it just doesn’t happen.  I find that sound so fascinating.  And a lot of the ingredients are the same.  It could be the supplier, whether or not it’s homemade, oven temperature, cooking implements, and most important of all, the person behind it.

I can tell there was a good soul behind this and the other slices.  It may not have been my favorite cheese, but still very good.  And if you look close, they gave me an extra slice for free.  I didn’t ask for it, but they did.  World class treatment right there and it was something so simple.

AmalfiChickenCaesar

Next is the chicken caesar salad.  The crust is thicker to allow for the salad to exist and be presentable.  It was a bit too doughy for me but I loved the salad.  I picked the pieces off and had a grande old time.  The chicken tasted fresh and better than the generic stuff you might find elsewhere. These were genuine chunks of lean protein.   I think a lot of people are going to do adore this one and their crust.

AmalfiBuff

Finally, it’s the buffalo calamari.  This was ambitious and truly something special.  Again, the crust had to be big enough to make room for all this.   And I say this might be the first time I’ve had this in buffalo form period. This was quite the random indoctrination process.  I could eat about a hundred of these but then I may not live to write about it.   It was grilled so it was a tad healthier than fried.  Or maybe I just tell myself that to make myself feel better.

I will be back here.  They have so many out-of-this-world pies that  break the mold of your usual possibilities.  Alternatives are good and I’m so thankful to have discovered a gem in this small town.

Take good care,

Ideen