Something New

This week’s post brings me back to Virginia, and specifically the Herndon area.

RubinosStoreFront

I had never heard of Rubino’s Pizzeria but this is what makes this gig fun. You can drive around any city, town, or neighborhood and you’re going to find a pizza place.   I feel like an explorer of sorts seeing where this journey will take me.  I have so many places like this stored away for future posts (hopefully) that now is as good a time as many to talk about one.

So this was a month ago and I found myself passing through the region, where I saw many a strip mall and shopping center.  With the power of technology and the Internet I was able to pinpoint a few places nearby.   But they weren’t as close to me as I had surmised.  So I said to myself I’ll let it come to me, and sure enough moments later I get to the Village Center at Dulles aka Clocktower & Village Center.

All the standard chains and box stores were visible but fortunately at the very end of one side of the strip you have Rubino’s.

This was during lunch rush so I am a little more objective as to the time, the crowd, the energy, and everything in between.

It was busy, the crowd was a lot of employees, government workers, tand corporate types.   So you’re going to get a lot of folks trying to expedite their visits and get out as soon as they can.

I ordered three (count ’em three) slices and my wait time was about 5-6 minutes and that was reasonable for the time frame.

In sequential order I will recap my carry-out order.

Rubino'sCheese

First, the cheese is very good.  The mozzarella, the sauce, and the crust mesh perfectly.   I forgot to mention that these are NY Style Slices, and they’re going to be thinner than what some of us might be used to.  But this worked here.

The picture above may look funny as  I literally opened it as soon as I got out of the restaurant, and you see that bubble or hole.  I attribute that to anything but the pizzeria itself.  This is a really good cheese that I’d be happy to have on-the-go or sitting down.  Nothing that bill blow you away but a strong slice for sure.

Now onto the bacon part of the discussion…

Rubino'sMeatLovers

The Meat Supreme with bacon, sausage, ham, and pepperoni was not my favorite.  The toppings were fine.  They may not have seemed as fresh a I would have liked but there was something else missing.   It seemed as if the flavors were too overpowering and I didn’t get to taste much of anything.   I picked pieces of them off and enjoyed them individually but it still wasn’t what I had hoped.   It wasn’t terrible but I didn’t find it very good either.  I ate about half and saved the rest for later.

Rubino'sBBQChicken

The Barbecue, Chicken. and Bacon I saved for last but this didn’t work.  I didn’t care for the bbq sauce and that really compromised the slice altogether.  The chicken was find but again it didn’t taste fresh.  And the bacon got lost in the shuffle.   I barely ate more than a few bites.

For all three the pizza crust itself was really good.

Rubino'sHangSign

In reading their story I do appreciate how it’s family run and that they now have three stores.  They’re three brothers that grew up in the area and went to school nearby.  I love finding out information like this and hope they expand and end up with more successes.

I am in Virginia quite a lot so if I pass through, I will give them another go again.

Rubino'sCoke&Slice

And $3.99 for a coke and a slice for this area is pretty unbeatable.

I hope you all are having a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend and I wish you all the joys of the holiday season.

Take good care.

Best,

Ideen

 

 

Hand Over Heart

WeThePizzaNola

The title make not sense at first, but the culinary joy sure does.

Over a month ago, I somehow find myself in the interesting locale known as Crystal City, VA.  The circumstances leading me here were a bit bizarre but that’s the joy of life.  You don’t always know how you end up at a certain places but at that very moment this is where you were supposed to be.

WeThePizzaRain

This brings me to We, The Pizza.   And I loved it.  With what was going on in the air that day and the gross weather, this was the comforting food that I needed.   You can tell in one of the photos that it was a gross and dreary day.

When it’s blah out I (or we) don’t always make the most rationale or educated of decisions.  Our axis might be a bit off.  I admit I was very off this day so what I chose to order might have seemed clumsy at first.  But I nailed it.  They nailed it.

I’ll say this though, the location is not the most approachable.  The D.C. area does bring an energy at times that doesn’t encourage that.  But that by no means will cloud my judgement on this or any other area order.    I think I’ve beaten around the bush enough.

I surveyed their eclectic menu and after much deliberating  I went with the Cajun Chicken & Andouille as my first choice.  Second but no least was the Forest Shroomin’ Slice.

Aside from the cheese which is $3, every slice on their menu is $4.  And for the location and what I was eating this was a bargain.

I’m still missing New Orleans as previous posts here and here will indicate, so this was the perfect slice to take me back.

Off the bat, the crust was cooked on each immaculately.  I am reminiscing now about how great it was. It had a genuine taste to it.  Maybe it was the oven, maybe it was the perfect amount of charring and heating, or maybe it was the folks and the energy behind the cooking.   So good.

WeThePizzaSnug

The free-range chicken and chicken andouille sausage come together perfectly.  Neither one imposes on the other and the toppings complement one another well. This may have been the first time I had this type of sausage, but oh my goodness this was a winner. I could have multiple slices of these.   The cajun seasonings brought just enough of a kick and spice to make this a winner.  This is a great pie.

The forest shroomin’ was a random choice and luck was on my side again. This will sound like a dig at first but it tasted like a cream of mushroom pizza poured on top of a pizza.  And I loved every second of it.  The thyme may be what really makes this slice.   I love mushroom so this is something I would definitely get again.  This may not be a slice for everyone but that’s the fun in pizza adventures.  There’s so much to choose from.

Look how cozy these slices are next to each other? They’re akin to being best buds.

I would be foolish not to mention that entertaining pictures adorning the walls and the mens room.   I’ve said it before but any pizzeria that has their own to go box gets many brownie points.  I love that touch. And now for your viewing pleasure:

WeThePizzaBox

I will be back.  I just don’t know when.  I had a pleasurable time here and the patrons who seemed to be in a rush were in good spirits.  Either that or I tuned all the negativity out.   The staff was very cordial too. I enjoyed myself.

WeThePizzaDisplay

They have  a Washington, DC location I’d like to check out sometime too!

WeThePizzaSide

For more information about this great spot or contact info click here.  And I love seeing community involvement tabs, so even more brownie points!

All I needed to turn a strange start to a day around was focus on something positive.  I discovered a great new pizza place and the dominoes fell from there.

That’s where the hand over heart comes in.  I was in a place of tranquility, along with feeling full and happy.   That’s all I needed.

Thanks so much and Happy Thanksgiving in advance!

Best,

Ideen

I Love This Store

ItalianStoreSide

Last month I was passing through Arlington, VA and had stumbled upon the ever-so-charming Westover neighborhood.   I had no idea The Italian Store was here.  A couple of folks had mentioned how great their pizza was and that I should write about it when I got the chance.  Well fate, destiny, and all that other inspirational stuff has reared its beautiful head again.

While doing some research I realized that this was their second and just recently opened location.  And by recent I mean within the past five months.   If I didn’t inquire I would have never known.  The surrounding shops and streets look so authentic and historic that the store fits in perfectly.

As soon I walked in I knew I was visiting something special and that to fully appreciate it, I would need a lot of time.  And I will need to visit their original location.

Before I looked up information about these folks, I could tell that they were rich in history and had a very strong following.

ItalianStoreWinesItalianStoreMoreWines

ItalianStoreDeli

The energy inside was booming and permeating.  I had a great feeling walking around and checking out their wine selection, groceries, breads, pastries, delicatessen, and a whole slew of other provisions.   Most important of all, the staff seemed friendly and caring about what was going on.

I hadn’t even ordered my pizza slices and I realized I was in here for a good 30 minutes appreciating how massive this spot was.

I ordered three slices and I could have ordered more.   There were so many to choose from and a few out-of-the-ordinary. That only means I’ll be back and I was already coming back anyways.   Their personalized napkin holders sold me before anything else!

ItalianStoreNapkinsItalianStoreNapkin2

I know I was very generous in the praise of the shoppe (and it’s justified) and all the good vibes that came from it, but this did not entirely translate into the pizza.

ItalianStoreSlices

I ordered a cheese, pepperoni, and a vegetable.   I wanted to keep it simple today.

I’ll go in the order that I just listed above.

ItalianStoreCheese

The cheese was my least favorite.  It was good but it was missing some pop.  I can’t explain it but maybe I was expecting more from such an establishment.   The crust was good and it was easy to eat.   But it just didn’t wow me.  I don’t know if it had been sitting out too long and might have been reheated one too many times.  That was my first reaction when eating it.

ItalianStorePepp

The pepperoni was a little better and seemed to have more cheese than the aforementioned slice above.  This seemed thicker and the pepperoni itself tasted authentic.  I’ve stated before that I’m not a huge fan of red meat on my pie but this was pretty good.  But again, it wasn’t incredible.  Did I set my expectations too high?  Did I allow the heavy praise from a few of my pals lead to a bit of a letdown?  It’s possible.

ItalianStoreVeggie

The vegetable slice was the big winner.  It was loaded and loaded with all kinds of fresh toppings.  I think the picture speaks for itself.  I’m salivating at the thought of it as I write another one.  The cheese, crust, and vegetables really comes together on this one.  This was a great slice and tells me that they’re capable of so much more than the previous two.

The outdoor dining area was very cozy and peaceful.  I enjoyed myself.

I deliberately wrote about the veggie last to end this on a high note.  The Italian Store has such a liveliness that I know translated into wonderful eats.  The next time I will write about them will be from their original location.  And I can’t wait.

ItalianStoreFrontItalianStoreSignage

ItalianStoreFloor

These photos have only begun to scratch the surface.

Best,

Ideen

To Serve, with Love

UncleMaddios

I recently took a nice drive down to Dulles, VA and the great things always find you when you aren’t looking. Well, maybe I looked a little.  While I was here, I investigated any nearby places in the area and to my pleasure, I found a gift from the universe.

UncleMaddiosCollage

Everything about Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint is done right.   The food, the staff, the images on the walls, and the overall energy of this place, make this a can’t miss.  I can’t say enough good things about the overall presentation.

But most importantly, how is the pizza?  Well what I ordered will go down as one of my favorites.

The set up here is of the assembly line variety.  You can order a custom pizza or create your own!   The concept is simple, but for a pizza, could be hit or miss. This is a certifiable hit.

UncleMaddiosMenu

With their plethora of menu options, I opted for the Portobello Pesto.  And I’m so happy I did.  This is a masterpiece.   I ordered this with the Whole Wheat Dough, and that was a call I’m grateful for.  What a wonderful tasting pita style flat bread. It really complemented the pizza well.

UncleMaddiosPie

Maybe there’s a bias, but this pie is a culmination of some of my favorite toppings.  The pesto, feta, portabella and white mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil all come together for something so simple, yet so wonderful.  I was happy to read that their dough is made in-house and that their vegetables are local and delivered every morning.  No wonder everything tasted so fresh! And the energy and love behind the making of this was obvious.

UncleMaddiosZa

I say love, because that’s what’s promoted throughout the shoppe.  Since I was a newbie, that staff was happy to help with suggestions and explain how the whole process works.  They were patient and never seemed in a rush, as on this day, there was a bit of a line.  But they kept it moving, while all the while grateful to help every customer the same.

Sometimes the pizza is enhanced by how great the customer service was.  And this is near the top, on both levels.  The positive vibrations put it over the top. The theme is love and love is a good thing.

I’d never heard of this place until last week.  I see it’s a chain that is growing in popularity.  If you’re every in the Dulles area, I strongly recommend eating here!

I wish them all the success and I can’t wait to try another inspiring item!

UncleMaddiosLotsOfLove

UncleMaddiosLove

All The Best,

Ideen