Self Awareness

DupontSupreme

After that monstrosity and travesty from last week, I headed next door to Dupont Pizza. And when I mean next door, literally.  This is a massive step up, with the understanding that this is a late night destination.

DupontStoreFront

As someone who is passionate about a good pie, I felt it was only right that I try whatever I can in plain sight, pun not intended.  I was only slightly full from picking apart the slices from its’ neighbor, that I had room for more.

DupontDuo

For only $9, I ordered the cheese and the supreme.  I had forgotten that you get these mega slices  So it’s the equivalent of four slices for under $10.  In Washington, DC that constitutes stealing.  That’s not a pun either.

If you just want serviceable pizza with a crust that’s not too thick and not extremely thin either, this is your place.

DupontCheese

The cheese and the toppings were solid. The meats and veggies seemed fresh enough for what you’re expecting.  Like I said, after some of the lackluster slices from earlier, this is going to taste like a five star meal, which it’s not.  I didn’t even need the slices reheated. They looked good as is and thankfully I was right.

The team member behind the counter was no-nonsense yet friendy.  And in DC, I won’t necessarily take that, as people would say.  But it’s better than what I expected.

DupontStack

I was able to get several meals out of this, since this was so hefty.   I feel like I won and won some more.

However, I would happy to eat this if I were passing through or after a late night out.  My later nights and partying in DC are few and far between, so it may be a while before I return.   No big deal.   There’s places like this in many major metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities.

That’s why I can appreciate when a not-so-welcoming and transient region like Washington, DC has a simplistic pizzeria as so. This is where the self awareness title comes from.  They know what they are and don’t need to be any more. That’s appreciated.

DupontStreetSign

I’m all for high end and upscale pizza places if they deliver (I don’t mean actual delivery), and the prices justify what’s being served.  I hope more times than not we can be so fortunate to get what we pay for.

With that being said, I’ve only begun to write about our nation’s capital.   There’s enough material that could last me till rapture.  Hopefully I can make it that far.

Here was my inaugural Washingtonian post.

In the meantime, if you’re in the area, and need a slice in mere minutes to go, this is as good as any.

Have a Happy Memorial Day.

Best,

Ideen

 

Busy City, Busy Pizza

ZucchiniSlice

I’ve had a lot of great pizza in my life and a lot of bad.  Even that bad can be edible.  Even the bad can be tolerable.  But sometimes the bad can’t be written about.  It would defeat the purpose of this thing if I wrote about dreadful pies with little subjectivity.  I’d be done within a couple paragraphs. If a pizzeria touts itself as one thing but doesn’t deliver, that’s worth writing about.

This brings me to this weeks post, Alberto’s Pizza in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC.

I’ll give a brief overview of my experiences in D.C.  I have done by share of bar-hopping and dining out in and around Dupont.  But I never noticed this pizzeria.  Was my one-track mind fixated on other things, other foods, other experiences?  Or was it easy to miss?  In the 15+ years its been open I’m reasonably certain I’ve never set foot in the place.

Our nation’s capital, like many cities, continues to grow exponentially with little end in sight.  The infrastructure and public transportation system is equipped to handle that. Well at least I think it is.

With an aggressively stuffy city, and the neighborhood within, I expect the food to be prepared and served with a similar energy.  That’s not necessarily a positive or an it is what it is declaration.  It’s more of what DC is and will continue to be, transient and immersed in its own universe.  That’s not my universe.

Enough of the monologue.  This pizza was disappointing.  I ordered 3 slices due to the uniqueness of the ingredients and toppings.  Unfortunately, each came out to $5+ a slice. I understand the location and high costs of running a business so the price isn’t that terrible.

But for the quality, I felt short-changed here.

I will attempt to find the positives with these selections.

ZucchiniSlice

Number one – the Zucchini, Parmesan, and Parsley.   For a place that touts itself as Chicago Style, I don’t know if this is that.   The thin crust on all three seemed flimsy and lifeless.   They all felt under cooked but this was the best of the three.  The zucchini and parsley were the saving graces.  The sauce tasted like strawberry jelly. It wasn’t even  jam like. The cheese was ok but when I get around to the next two, this seems feels even worse.

I’m hard pressed to find silver linings.

Mushroom&GoatCheese

Number two – the Goat Cheese and Mushroom.  Like the former, I had high hopes.   The goat cheese and mushroom were fine on their own but why was it on top of the mozzarella and that jelly sauce? Did I miss something or was this an accident?  This was an opportunity lost.

ChickenPestoSlice

Number three – the Chicken Pesto.  If there was chicken, I wouldn’t have known.  This was likely imitation pesto, if there is such a thing, drizzled over that same cheese slice.  I must have missed something.  I never thought I would have tasted bad pesto but this was it.  I’m heartbroken.

I write this with the understanding that they’re open late night on the weekends, so the expectations aren’t astronomical but the pizza should be decent.  And I went at lunch time. I should get my monies worth. This wasn’t even close.

For my friends that know the area, this may be a potential teaser for either next week or soon thereafter.  There’s a lot of action on that street, on that block, and even more micro than that.

PerfectLover

This sign is kind of funny even though it goes over my head, just like this pizza.

On to better,

Ideen

 

 

Mamma Knows Best

MammaLuciaBothI look back at some of the titles of these posts and see how cheesy and nerdy some are. Well what can you do?  You just got to be you.  

This is a throwback to a pizzeria I’ve been going to since as far as I can remember, or maybe just the early 2000’s, Mamma Lucia.   And for this review, I find myself at the first location I ever visited, Rockville Pike.

I’m going to cut the melodrama off at the head right now. Rockville is near where I grew up.  I have more than a handful of memories growing up here and eating pizza will always be a part of mine, and I suspect many folks’ childhoods and beyond.

But ominous things are happening.  The city continues to grow in congestion and traffic is deteriorating.  I’ve always had a hard time driving to the the strip where the pizzeria is located. Maybe that’s part of the charm for some.

But for me I just want to park, do my errands, grab some food, and go about my business.  I can find some solace in this, without rushing like the rest of the world.  And I’ve done my share of rushing to.

After that inspiring preamble, how was the pizza?

I walked in at the most apropos time, of around 11 am.  Many of the pies were yet to be cut and looked fresh right out of the oven, so I had my hopes up.

Your truly ordered a cheese and one I’ve never seen before, lasagna.  Yes I said lasagna. That’s the photo you see at the top right.  A visual masterpiece is one way of describing it. More on that in just a few sentences.

MammaLuciaCheese2

Their cheese slice has always been adequate. It never blew me away.  This time it was even crunchier, like a well-done piece of toast.  It didn’t wow me but I know many of my fellow pizza lovers love that bite.  It’s New York Style at its core,  but not for me. It’s good enough to eat, to finish, but not my favorite. The cheese and sauce were tasty but got lost in the mix of the crust somewhat.

MammaLuciaLasagna

Back to the lasagna. The sauce was added after the fact. I wish I had gotten a before photo. This was tremendous.  You could call this a pièce de résistance.

The same crust works masterfully.  The ground beef, ricotta cheese, and tomato sauce thrown on is a trio of emotion.

The crunch mirrors the effect of the lasagna noodles.  It’s an incredible substitute that seems to be intended. If not, it’s a stroke of genius nevertheless.

This was a random visit.  It was one of happenstance and coincidence, or maybe not.  I was reminded how stuffy and chaotic the area was.  The Rockville area has grown exponentially.  It’s not necessarily good nor bad.  It’s what it is now.

I love coming back.  I have plenty of family and friends in the area so any visit, planned or not, specific occasion or not, is fine with me.

With a half-dozen locations and presumably growing, this is only the beginning. A couple of pals have suggested in the past I expound on their restaurant.   The carry-out menu is only scratching the surface. A full-on lunch and/or dinner is coming.  I look forward to it and you’re more than welcome to join me.

Best,

Ideen

Charmed By Charred

CoalFireCheese

I’ve made this statement in previous postings, but this will one of my more enjoyable write-ups.

CoalFireSign

There’s a feeling of gratitude when friends want to hang out with you and actually say they will get a pizza or visit a pizzeria I can write about.   This happened with a visit last week to Coal Fire Pizza and even more specifically the Crofton location, which is located in Gambrills.  Try to make sense of that one.

CoalFireBack

My recent visit to see my pals was full of wonder, randomness, and adventure.   I tried to visualize and remember certain pizza joints in the area, this one seemed to have slipped my mind. I’m glad it slipped because I prefer spontaneity.  Life is usually great like that.

So after the area tour, my pals drove us to the Waugh Chapel shopping area, which in many ways looks like it was created overnight.  In many ways, it doesn’t seem that long ago and feels like it was effortless to develop.  It was at that moment I figured out where were headed.  And I’m so thankful we did.  I’m even more thankful it’s a spot I have yet to review or actually ever set foot in.  It’s a double bonus.  And there’s even more double bonuses to come.

CoalFireMenu

Since I was a newbie, my friends took the reigns on what the pies would be.   I was just along for the ride and trusted their judgement.   In the meantime,  I took as many photos as I was able to in the allotted time.  The pies were to go!

CoalFireCheese2

And without further adieu, the pizzas were the plain cheese, or there version of the margherita, but without the basil, and the Ricotta Infusion.   One (or maybe both) really stood out and made a long-lasting impression.

It feels good seeing the imprints of the cheese embedded into the dough.  That’s when you know the mozzarella is home-made and made with sincerity. There’s a genuine soul behind this operation.

That crust is incredible by the way.  The coal fire treatment gives the crust a different kind of burnt, or of course, charred taste that’s different than standard oven or the popular brick oven.  It’s a smoked bread savor that you don’t get every day.  That swirl of their sauce is another brilliant touch.   The dough has a comforting chewy bite as well.  Man this is a great pie.  The slices got decimated and in part because we were enjoying ourselves.

CoalFireRicottaInfusion

The ricotta infusion was even that much more phenomenal.   Ricotta is a cheese that is a gift from somewhere unexplained.  It’s divine yet familiar.  And not just because I have the cheese on a semi-regular basis.  This just floored me.   And the charring is just as inspiring.  I love how some of the slices had the cheese envelope the entire crust.  Whether that was planned or not does not matter.  I was thrilled with everything.

CoalFireSlices

My pals made the most correct of choices.

CoalFire&Wine

And nothing can be better with great pizza, then with great wine.  And for more on this particular bottle, click here.

I got a few snapshots of the inside and outside.  I hope you enjoy.  And I certainly enjoyed this experience.  I sincerely hope this isn’t the last.  There’s so much more I want to try.

CoalFireBox

Kudos to my friends for an iconic place and for living so close by.  That definitely helps.

I wish this local and expanding chain the best of success and I look forward to returning sooner rather than later.    For more information and their contact information, go here.

Spring is here and hopefully the great pies just keep on coming.

All The Best,

Ideen