Dogs = Love

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You know what makes most people happy besides pizza?

The comfort and companionship of our animal friends is invaluable.  There is no price the love and friendship that comes from a dog, a cat, or any of our other pals with paws brings. So when I find a place, not just a pizza place, but a place that supports helping and protecting our friends, I’m all aboard and then some.   More on this near the end.

I had been to Lost Dog Cafe one time but I didn’t order anything. My time was limited and was only looking for slices on that particular day.  The wait time was 15-20 minutes for food that I decided that day was not meant to be.   Why force the issue on some deliciousness when you know that there will be a place for this in time.

There’ll be a day where I can appreciate a pie where a little more time and craftsmanship than usual.  Man I’m setting myself up for a disappointment aren’t I?   Well when it comes to an individual sized pie (which is the smallest they have) I’m hoping for something that feels a little more, well personal.

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That day was yesterday.  Call it fate, call it destiny, call it I happened to be in Arlington, and a Lost Dog Cafe was mere minutes from me.   Here we go.

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South Arlington was the setting and upon walking up, I felt like I was on a set of a movie and everyone was on break.  It seemed eerily quiet.  It was lunch hour so I wonder where all the people went. But I should also appreciate the quiet time that has been presented to me, as I know it’ll be temporary.

Inside there’s nothing but pictures and murals of dogs in happy situations.  That makes me happy.  I took some but wanted to leave more to your imagination.  If you’ve been here, like many of my friends in Northern Virginia have, you know any of their locations have set ups like this.

If I lived here I’d be a regular of all five, in some way, shape, or form.  That form would be the love of pizza and pups.

So like I was saying, I’ve praised this place beyond the point of turning back.  Am I positioning myself for a letdown?  Absolutely not.

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Since this was officially my first time ordering, I did strain and agonize over what to get. The menu has more choices than a simple man knows what do to do with.  I mean this is life changing stuff.   This could make a break a persons day or life.  Wait did I just  say that? Priorities.

Then something hit me.  Breathe, relax, it’s not that serious.  It’s not.  I may always be this way but the pizza and ordering experience in general, but it’s supposed to be fun.  We have enough unnecessary stress, this should not be one of them.

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After that over-the-top dramatic build, I went with Pete’s Pie, which is one of their newer recipes.

I don’t know who Pete is but I want to say thank you.  Oh my and pizza party was this a pie. I was engrossed in this excitement I forgot the base of this was a white pie.  At $12, this was a deal and a steal.

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That crust is comfort food to the max.  I can only describe it as something that is perfect to pair with a soup or any many meal.  It feels like this dough matches the change in the weather.  Of course this would be enjoyed year round, but I felt like as a introduction, this is how it was always supposed to be.

Pete’s hot sauce along with not just red onion, but green onion, might sound fiery, but anyone can handle this.   And that shredded chicken, you’ve got to be kidding me. Chicken whether it’s in strips, cubed, or dice, is all wonderful.  But something about shredded gives you more flavor and more of a savory taste when eating.

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This pie never had a chance.  Well I did save some for later.  And it was just as awesome the second time around.

But what’s even more awesome is what they do for our animal friends.  For the past 15 years,  they’ve been helping displaced animals find homes.  Links are provided here and if you’re interested in reading more about them and donating, click here.

On that alone, I want to be a support of there’s for life.  Having phenomenal pizza is a bonus at this point.  It’s just a little gravy on a wonderful experience that brings positive energy to our pals with paws, and on that note, to our universe in general.

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I only wish I had  been here sooner, as in years ago.

Here’s their contact info, online ordering info, and their beer and wine list, which I haven’t even touched upon. Especially with the latter that just means I must come back. With the charisma this place exudes, this’ll be soon.  Hopefully their original location will be next.

I love it,

Ideen

 

 

 

Hailing From New Haven

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I’ve decided to go in a different direction this week.  Well not entirely.  I was all set to do another one from Philly.  That will happen at a later date.  I don’t have the entire word at my disposal yet.  But I do have significant parts of the northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

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This weeks brings be back to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.  And just when I had a place in DC lined up.  I changed my mind this week after an unplanned visit to Pete’s New Haven Style APizza.   And I was pleasantly surprised about so much.

The Village of Friendship Heights neighborhood where this Pete’s is located is right on the DC, Maryland line.  And this is one of the the more cozy parts of the city.  I like it.  In a town of transplants and what-do-you-do’s, this is one of the more folksy and approachable versions of DC you’re going to find.  Is this even real?  Maybe I’m being delusional but it’s fun to just believe.  Even if it’s a fallacy.  Well onto the pizza.

What is New Haven Style exactly?  Well I’m glad you asked.  I just put added the link two sentences ago, and right here for your edification.

If you had asked me two years ago what I  thought about this style, I would say no thanks. I would say it’s not real pizza, it’s a cheap imitation of the real thing.  How ignorant was I?

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I had all the expectations of ordering a pie but when I walked in I was pleased to see a display of slices at the counter, and at affordable prices.  This is DC we’re talking about where things can be exorbitant.  I believe both slices totaled only $6.  Fantastic.

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For the sake of my first visit here it was only right to go with the New Haven and the plain cheese, which didn’t have an alluring name.   Here’s the menu with all the captivating titles.

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The New Haven is something that will need time to grow on me.  I love white pizza but clams is an acquired taste.  I love seafood and I love it on my pie.  And even though I’m a still a newbie to these kinds of pies, it was still a surprise when I got a double shot of crunch with from the thin crust and the clams themselves.  Again, to folks who are used to this kind of pie, this is the norm.  For folks used to traditional thicker crusts or New York Style this is an atypical apizza.  Ha I can be funny.    I was so deep into the clams that I hardly noticed the garlic, olive oil, or anything else.

Speaking of that crust, that has grown on me.  I like all kinds and for the many who want less carbs and less bloat, these slices will benefit a lot of us.

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With that being said the tomato sauce on the plain is still something I can’t completely get into.  I know folks that love it and many of my friends from the metro area love this place. I see why.  There is an appeal.  It’s non traditional for what many of us are used to.  I am being careful as you can see, how I approach what might be traditional may be out of the norm for others.

The positive energy I got from the shoppe make so much sense.  Their community based efforts can be found here.  And here’s a little more.

Locations and contact info can be found here.

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Speaking of locations, whether I’m back at Friendship Heights or another one will likely be at random.  There’s so many more slices and pies to try that this must be revisited.  I know I’ve said that before about other pizzerias.  I hope I can get back to this one at a reasonable time frame.

I had a good feeling before I even walked in and an even a better one after writing about it.

More to come,

Ideen

 

Pizza All Over The World

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Or maybe just in one of my favorite cities, Philadelphia.  This was going to be just like most pizza posts.   I was going to talk about the pizza, perhaps the area, the atmosphere, and maybe some awe-inspiring trivia fact about the the establishment itself.

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Well Pizza Brain out of Fishtown brings the inspiration right to you.  And it’s the first pizza museum in the history of the world.  This is a big deal.   And they set have a Guinness World Record for pizza-related memorabilia.  How cool is that?  I didn’t know this until after I already left.   I’ve honored and proud to say I set foot in there.  And that concludes this weeks post.  But seriously…

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How do you top that?  I did take some pictures and they’ll be spaced out over this record setting word-for-word blog post (yeah right) for your  viewing pleasure.

Most importantly, how was the pizza?  I like the fact that pizza is the only thing being served.  The menu in-house and online has an endearing and bohemian vibe to it.  At least that’s my interpretation of it.

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For my estimation the prices on a full pie are a bit on the pricier side.  Yet I envision you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck on this, since all three slices were really good.  And out of that, I thought two were tremendous.

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So yes I went with the three slices that we available for completist sake.  That and there was a credit card minimum.

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The Jane is what it name implies.  Grana Padano is the virtually the same as parmesan cheese.  Whether or not I could taste a difference doesn’t matter.  It may be so subtle that many of us won’t notice.  I thought it was just a great pizza.  The basil was fantastic.  It tasted fresh and  the made this pie anything but a plain Jane.   They had provolone!  Now that I could taste.  It added a bitter and our taste to this pie.   This also explains why the padano may have gotten lost or forgotten in all this. But man this was good.  Many of us like our cheese simple but this is was a great take on the cheese pie.

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The Henrietta Blanch is essentially the Jane but with sausage and peppers added to it. That sounds so Philly and Jersey doesn’t it?  The banana and roasted red peppers were great yet didn’t dominate this slice.  The fennel sausage was on another level.

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The Felix Huppert was not quite as good as the first two.  This isn’t a knock on it, even though by me saying that would make it feel like I am.  I love gruyere but maybe after having two parmesan based slices that I didn’t get to fully appreciate this as much.  I love garlic.  The more garlic on anything the better. And that worked here.   And with that I love thyme.  There can never be enough thyme. Yes I meant that in at least two ways.  Caramelized onion complete this other Philly special.

I saved plenty to eat for later.  The thin crust made these slices too.  If the crust were more doughy and standard, the pies and flavors would suffer.  There’s a lot of thought and care going on here.   And speaking of which I wish I had asked about their community based efforts.   Their contact info is here and may be able to shed some light on this.  I love the mystery.  I dig this place.

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I’m not done raving on this place.  I may be back soon.  And it looks like more is coming.

Spacing is limited inside, as the museum gallery and installations (ha I’ve been waiting to say that) justifiably take up a lot of room.  I wish I had stopped by the ice cream shoppe, which shares the space afterwards.  Summer means ice cream and ice cream means summer.  Next time.

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What’s been eating at me while preparing this post, and may haunt me till Christmas. But can anyone tell me where I can find this gem?

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Philadelphia brings it once again.  Here’s my growing collection of Philadelphia Pizza Posts!

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This may continue next week.

Love To You My Friends,

Ideen

 

 

Bake Shoppe Brilliance

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Yes!  They spell, ‘shoppe’, the way I like spelling ‘shoppe.’  This makes me so happy. Kermit’s Bake Shoppe out of South Philadelphia, is a happy and cozy place.  It makes me yearn for a place like this near me in Maryland.

Where else can you find a combination of a bakery and a pizza parlor, all in a tiny, yet efficient space.

I was immediately drawn the mural outside the building.  I felt this was going to be a massive and imposing location where I would lose myself in a world of baked goods.  Most of that space is for the staff and equipment to make all their foods and toasty treats.

Literally, when I walked in, what I saw was everything.  We had your ready-to-go cookies and cakes in what area, pre-made whole pies and cakes in another, and course the pizza by the register.

In addition I saw pastries done up in funny shapes.  I’m not sure if they were straight up pasties or calzones.  I was a bit mesmerized by it all, while still having a one track mind for some hopefully yummy pizza.

I didn’t need much of a menu as the pizza display area only had a few pies at the time.  It makes the decision that much easier.  Sometimes too many choices can drive you crazy. But I’m still for many options as possible.  That wasn’t meant to be as contradictory as it came off.

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The mood called for three slices.  Well that’s just my mood sometimes.  Another more sensible person may come in for one or two.  But the affordability of the slices lent itself to a little splurging.    My three slices came out to under $10.  That’s what I’m talking about.

There’s no tables, chairs, stools, or anywhere to sit.  I like that.  You get your food and you go on your merry way.  I dig this shoppe.

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Happy Belated National Cheese Pizza Day. I did go with the traditional cheese as my first slice.  The pleasant person behind the counter told me this one just came out of the oven and didn’t need to be reheated.  It’s a simple cheese.  I wasn’t blown away by it nor was I disappointed.  I had no expectations either way.  The flaky crust was a definite plus and that was the theme throughout these three slices. The cheese was decent and the tomato sauce was what you would expect.  I think I’ve gotten used to either none or higher end tomato sauce that my palate has moved in a different direction.

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Next up was the White Mushroom had some charm to it.  I love white pizza and this was really good.  I love mushrooms and the shrooms tasted fresh.  This was reheated in the oven but I almost think I’d enjoy it more lukewarm.    After reviewing the menu I forgot leeks and sea salt were two of the ingredients.  No wonder there was a little more to this than a usual mushroom or white pie.  And crucolo is not something I have everyday.  I may have to change that.

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Finally, it’s the the Kerminator.  Yes you read that right.  I asked what it was and the team member actually opened up a binder to explain the ingredients to me.  That was going above and beyond when not necessary.  I felt bad making her go that far.  What would be even worse is if I didn’t order it.  Of course I did. Choucroute, which is fancier name for sauerkraut is the major selling point here.  This was thick and rich for me, so I took my sweet time eating this.  And across the board, I saved some of all these slices.  I can’t eat all this at once.  The caramelized onions did it for me.   Gruyere, crème fraiche, and ham seem more like something I’d like more during the cooler months or during the holidays. Well that will happen soon enough.  But for now this was enjoyable and I’m all for different.  I think I would appreciate this more after a second try.

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Even though the place has only been open since 2013, I get the sense that the neighborhood loves it.  It’s a place for locals, as the surrounding area is very industrial and the food and drink options are a a bit scarce in the few block radius that I saw.

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One of the friendly staff working there told me they were going through a transition. Everything seemed fine to me, but I’m sure whatever they have in mind is going to be spectacular.

When I’m back in the area I would love to try more than just their pizza.  This place has much to offer and I’ll be happy to  take them up on said offer.

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And a ye old bake shoppe just tugs at my heartstrings on the premise alone.

Here are my past posts from the City of Brotherly Love and Za!

More pizza shoppe reviews to come.

 

Ideen

Vesta Is Besta

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Sometimes the  cheesiest and dopiest of titles just come to me.  You can write this stuff ladies and gentleman.   But this pizza is up there with the best of ’em.    But don’t take my word for it.  Vesta Wood Fired Pizza & Bar out of East Rutherford (or is it in Carlstdat),  NJ was voted best pizza in the state by NJ.com.

If you look at the list, it’s written very simply, similar to my posts. I dig it. So what makes a pizza number 1? It’s really all so subjective and based on opinion.  Could be based on anything else?  Are we talking word-of-mouth, sphere of influence, or confirmation bias?  None of those three possibilities are necessarily mutually exclusive by the way.

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Nevertheless, I was in town recently for a concert and maybe some other sight seeing.  The latter never really came to fruition but I did have time for some good pizza.  Thank goodness because I almost didn’t walk in.  I drove by a couple of times before and thought the outside look a bit intimidating.  The nearby neighborhood of Carlstadt (or is it East Rutherford haha) looks more down-to-earth and has the feeling of a tight knit community.  Never judge a book by its over as Vesta for all it’s gloriousness outside, had the most endearing and approachable charm inside.

Before I go on a bizzare tangent, Vesta is snugged in between both towns, literally.  I took pictures of both since they were literally yards from each other.

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I went at a quieter time of day, which I tend to do, to get the most personable experience as possible.  Jennifer, who I promised to mention by name, was working behind the bar. She could not have been more helpful in suggesting the right pizza pie.

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I was leaning towards the Pear & Gorgonzola, when I had initially wanted a simple Margherita pie. What on earth was I originally thinking?  This is before I learned about Vesta’s high praise.  I went with the organic choice of the unique pie but not without a further suggestion.  She had recommended throwing some sausage onto my pizza to give it more of a breakfast feel.  If I had only listened to her.

The pear is the stand out here.  These pieces of fruit were custom made for the Summer season.  But you can enjoy this year round.  The gorgonzola and walnuts added some pop to an already intriguing choice.   My minor complaints in hindight were that the walnuts were not as sweet as I hoped.  Maybe that’s where the pear comes in.  Otherwise I have no issue with the walnuts. It’s always fun to see your not-so-typical food items place on top of a pizza.  And that olive oil, mmm..  The ligher and thinner crust, was heated to near perfection.  The fact that it was thin made this all that much more appetizing. This is a pie I would definitely get again.  But only if…

…If I taken Jennifer’s recommendation to heart, and added sausage, I can only envision how much better this pizza would have been.  And I’m thinking earth shattering and off-the-charts levels.   It’s only pizza but when I’m a little bit away from my area, and looking to branch into unfamiliar directions, all advice should be taken under consideration.  I’ve been known to be indecisive when picking the right pizza, but that doesn’t mean I can’t land upon the right one.

She mentioned their #1 ranking to me, way before I did any research.  I wonder if this had any influence on my pizza.  The bad guy in me would make me be deliberately contrarian. But power of suggestion aside, this is a pizza I’ll think about often.

And nothing like some vino to go with my za.

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I took the rest of my pizza to go, and it tasted just as stellar the next day.  That’s another true test of a pizza, or most foods for that matter.  If they have a sustainable shelf life after original feasting, you may have a winner on your hands.  But man, I only wonder what could have been if I added the suggested protein.

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As I’ve said before when I visit a joyous place, it only means I will want to come back.  And for being a littler over two hours away, and just outside New York City, a return is not as far away as it sounds.   This was a fun way to cap off the Summer, even though it’ technically still going for a few more weeks.

There’s a lot of soul and passion behind their pizza and the whole operation.   If I lived nearby, they would absolutely see my business once or twice a week.  What a great addition to a community I know nothing about, but I sense there’s only good.

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Here’s a link to their lunch and dinner menus, along with contact information.

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Damn this pizza was good.  I can’t wait to do it again. If you’re in the area, or planning on visiting, definitely stop by.

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Until the next one.

Best,

Ideen