All The Love

RosasFreshFront

I tend to remark about how experiences, things, and places find me.  In this instance, I’m so grateful to have found Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, in the great city of Philadelphia.

My random walks here (or in any town) lead me to restaurants and pizza parlors that I didn’t know existed.  I do some advance research, but in most instances I love to stumble upon a gem.  This is one of those diamonds that I may not come close to discovering again. I want to savor this place and this experience. I will attempt to heap all the praise I can.

RosasFreshSign

What first drew me in was the $1 slices.  Who’s going to turn away upon seeing that sign?

Speaking of signs, you may notice a certain tv show the establishment was featured on. I’m intrigued and immediately think this place is noteworthy. Little did I know what an understatement that was.

Their concept is amazing, yet so simple.  The pizza and toppings include only the staples. You got pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, and that’s about it.   You won’t find any unorthodox toppings here. These are your essentials.

RosasFreshPair

I will make this pizza review short, as this is not the point of this post.  The crust is thin.  I mean it’s really thin.  On a warm Philadelphia day, this was perfect.   It’s not a world-class slice nor does it need to be. For how little I paid and the soul behind it, this is masterful. We had a perfect balance of cheese and sauce. And that pork pepperoni felt inventive and original. That’s enough about the food.

RosasFreshWelcome

Rosa’s concept is all about giving  back to the community.   For every dollar donated, a slice of pizza goes to a homeless person.  My heart warmed when I read that.  What a joy to be inside such a house of caring and love.

RosasFreshPostIt

I still didn’t get all the post-it notes that adorned the walls, until I read the messages.   Per our donation, we get to write a note of spiritual healing and hopefulness.   A homeless visitor can trade that note in for a slice. The simplicity and sincerity of this approach gives me chills.

How other companies have not followed suit, or created a similar model is astonishing. This is a trailblazing concept that could not only sweep the city, but maybe across the country, and beyond.

It’s been my personal choice to rarely mention names in a blog.  I like the experience and the food to tell its own story.  However, the owner, Mason Wartman deserves all the support and praise in the world.   Does it get any better than this?

After my visit, I did all the research I could about this splendid and exquisite pizzeria.  I didn’t realize that Mason was the man behind the counter making those yummy pies.   It was an honor to feel that energy.  I’m shaking as I write this and looking back fondly on my experience.  He had a smile on his face and seemed happy in this endeavor.

The simple details only add to the brilliance of this place.  Neo soul was playing over the speakers, the countertops were cozy, and the young lady taking my order was approachable and pleasant.  It’s a magnificent energy that transcends any of us.

There’s plenty of sweet merchandise on-hand to purchase as well.  It all goes to the cause.

RosasFreshGear

My intuition was right.  I had a warm feeling about this place before I even walked in.  But I had no idea I’d feel it ten-fold.  This is such remarkable thing to be able to support and contribute to.

RosasFreshSign2

I’m grateful Rosa’s is so close to me and I will know to make this a focal point of any visit to the city of brotherly love from this point forward.

If you’re a local or visiting the area, I cannot recommend this place anymore than I already have. I don’t think all the words and all the praise will do it justice.

There’s an option to order online but this is more than about the pizza.  This is a win-win for everyone involved.  The business is helping those in need, we do our part, and folks less fortunate enjoy something fresh.  What a simple model that could spearhead a movement, if it hasn’t already.

8500 slices were donated last year.  What does that tell you?  I could watch the video, featured on the main page, repeatedly.

I don’t know how to end this, other than to say go here.   When I look back at old posts of this blog, this might be the standard-bearer.  How do you top this?

This is first-class all the way.

Have A Great Holiday Weekend,

Ideen

These MODern Times

MOD.Pie3

I know that title is cheesy.  You don’t have to tell me.   And speaking of cheesy, that pie has pictured above has some pretty good looking mozzarella and asiago cheese on it.  I got the wittiness down to a science folks.

Looks can be deceiving.  This is a creation of our own doing from this weeks choice, MOD Pizza.   This is a chain that since it’s debut in 2008, has been rapidly growing and shows no signs of slowing down.

MOD.Front

In a way I’m happy my first discovery of this franchise was their Columbia, MD location, the mecca of chain restaurants and box stores.

I’ve always had a sentimental feeling towards Columbia, dating back to when I was a kid.  I was a stalwart (and in many ways I still am) of the mall located in the heart of town, which is there MOD is adjacent to in its newly created strategic location.

Maybe it was the safe feeling, the folksiness of the locals, or just a sense of peace and calm.  I can’t exactly put my finger on it but even to this day when I pass through I get the warm and fuzzies.

As I’ve gotten older, the pleasures change and many remain constant.  I like what it has to offer in terms of restaurants, shops, parks, and entertainment.  I just wish there were more independent and family owned businesses.  There’s a few, you might have to work to find those.

What does any of this have to do with pizza?   Well in a way, it’s a sign of the times.  We still want things safe but we’re also in a rush.  The fast-food and hyper drive way we want our meals, our stimulation, our instant gratification has exponentially grown.  We want quick results with as little work done as possible. Technology is a main reason these in-and-out pizza joints have become phenomenons within the past five years and change.

The menu has some funky names and I dig it.  I went with the Tristan, for the simple fact I saw pesto and a great complement of veggies to go with it.  For a twist, I requested grilled chicken to go with it.  But as you can see, they never piled that on top.

It was lunch hour and extremely busy.  I understand people make mistakes and forget.  I took this as a sign that this is how it was meant to be eaten.  The chicken wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

With that being said, the pie was ok.  It didn’t wow me in any fashion.  The dough was cooked fine and the mushrooms, peppers, and onions all tasted fresh. The pesto seemed like it was out of a can.  It just didn’t do anything inspiring. Nor did I expect it to.

I understand the type of place I’m at, so in a way I’m grading this on a curve.  It just tasted like a decent pie you could find anywhere.

Why did I not say anything about the missing topping on my pizza?  It may be passive-aggressive of me, but the staff was very friendly and overwhelmingly busy.  It just didn’t seem right.  They were working hard and the line was growing.  I had no problem waiting a few extra minutes for my pie.  In a way, I found that refreshing.

Refreshing because, pizza is meant to be heated at the right temperature.  A lot of time and care needs to be put into it.   I’m not sure how I feel about these blistering pace pizza joints.  But they’re here to stay.  And I frequent them from time-to-time, so I’m supporting the cause whether I care to admit it or not.

And one mediocre experience will not discourage me from coming back.   Because if I feel I’m in a rush too, I know I can get a pizza swiftly and at an accelerated pace.  But the rush I talk about is all my own doing.   It’s likely all our own doing.

For a similar experience I had, with uplifting results, click here.

To find a location near you, go here.

Taking a minute to breathe and relax is very necessary.  It will make everything better.  It will make the pizza better. And yes, pizza makes everything better.

Thank you kindly,

Ideen

 

Some Like It Warm

CasaDellaNonnaSlices

This is a different take on an old favorite.   I love pizza and I love writing about it.  My aim each week is to put a spiritual or atmospheric spin on something many of us love.  What makes this blog fun is I can talk about a place anywhere.   I can drive around from place to place knowing I can add to my experiences.    And that’s what I’ve been doing.

CasaDellaNonnaFront

Several months back I found myself in Severn, MD.   It’s a town I have no connections or attachments that I’m aware of.  But with a visit to Casa Della Nonna, that has changed.

I was all set to say what an obscure and hidden gem this place was.   It’s nothing of the sort.  It’s a staple for many in nearby neighborhoods and through various parts of Anne Arundel County.

My time was limited, so I was looking for slices to go.  It’s a fun adventure seeing if the pizzerias will have a myriad of slices on display.  If they don’t, and I’m on a short window of time, I’m out the door.  To my relief they had just what I was looking for.   My one-track mind avoided any perusing of the menu.

Sometimes too many choices that lead to indecision.  That’s more of a personal issue of note.  All they had was a cheese and a white veggie.   It’s just what the pizza doctor ordered.  Well in this case, that’s what I ordered.    Ha, I’m a funny guy.

There was something different in the air.  I felt it before I even walked in.  The young lady at the counter asked if I wanted it heated or wait till I got home.  Was it something in my body language?  She was insistent that it not be warmed up.  I was wondering what was up here.  She was funny and not in at bad way.  I found it entertaining.   She sold me.   Little did I know it was a blessing in disguise.

A friend pointed out to me that eating a pizza lukewarm can tell you how good it really is. After hours (and maybe even days) of sitting on the counter, reheating can cover up deficiencies that one would otherwise never notice.

My first response was I wonder how good these would be if put through the oven again. And did I miss out on something special?  But in hindsight this was perfect.  I was also starving so I devoured both slices in my car expeditiously.

I was looking for a moral here.  But I’m not sure there is one.  Well maybe one is to take something at face value, literally.  As I did here.  Both slices were enjoyable.  The dough was perfect, ever under what I presumed were mediocre conditions.  If you look close, you can tell neither slice reheated.

In the future, even when I’m not in a hurry, I may look to grab my slices and request not to have them cooked.  It would be a fun experiment.

The restaurant is more suited for just that.  It’s food is meant to be enjoyed in a relaxed atmosphere.  I hope to visit again in such a scenario.  I was grateful to visit a new restaurant in a town I don’t venture to that often.

A repeat visit will happen.  That’ll mean a repeat post.

Until then…

Best,

Ideen

 

Extreme Eating

ExtremeMidEastPie

I didn’t have a clever title nor did I come up with anything so terrible that it could end up being funny.   I made myself laugh just now.   I stuck with the alliteration.

ExtremeFront

My random travels brought me to Extreme Pizza.  I had only heard about them sparingly but never stumbled upon a location, until now.   Makes sense, since the only one remotely close to me was my stop in Pentagon City/Arlington.

This wasn’t the best first impression. But first impressions in life and in food can be deceiving.  Because of their elaborate menu, of not just pizza, I’ll be back.

Check out some of the eccentric names for these pies.  That’ll draw folks in on that alone.

This may come as a shock but I went with the Peace In The Middle East.  I badly wanted to like this.  It unfortunately didn’t happen.

I got the personal size to go and that was more than enough.   I know the picture at the top tells a different story.  That’s another misleading first impression.   Don’t judge a pizza by its cover.  I’m just full of cliches today.

The biggest problem was that feta and mozzarella were on the same pizza.  In some instances I could see that working. It didn’t happen with this choice. It’s such a dichotomy of cheeses that it didn’t materialize into a masterpiece.  It felt bland.  I love feta and I love mozzarella.  Not here though.  Feta is a sentimental thing for me per family gatherings and other reasons, so this made me distraught.  I’m projecting.

There were too many other moving parts.   I love hummus, tomatoes, olives, and pepperoncini but not all at once.   If you pick the pieces off they’re fine on their own.  I did that quite a bit.  The caramelized onions didn’t work here either.  They didn’t have a place here.   I’m sad to even write that as I adore onions.

While eating I wondered if I should have gotten the wheat or gluten free crust. Maybe that would have improved this pie?  Ironically, the crust was my favorite part.  So that wasn’t the problem.  I get the feeling this is an adventurous pizza that many will love.  But I didn’t.

I took many photos of the slices. It’s gorgeous on the surface but buyer beware.

However, there’s so many magnificent looking pies that I will be back.   Perhaps I’ll try a vegan selection.  That alone is a draw.  I’m all for expanding my horizons.

If you’re near a location, I would recommend a visit.  Maybe you’ll find a gem.  I suspect this chain is only going to grow.  They seem to love California.

If and when I’m back at Extreme Pizza, I’ll be happily writing about it and I believe it’ll be a stupendous pie.  I’m optimistic.

Best,

Ideen