Goody’s Is Exactly That

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I promised after last week, that I would venture across the street.  And I did just that.

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Goody’s Pizza in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington has a strange, eerie, and yet familiar feeling about it.  And when I say eerie, I only mean it in a good way.  There’s just something going on here that reminds me of another place, another time, and maybe a past life.

This past life could be in this life, but it feels so homey, so approachable, and so inviting that it reminds me of places I used to go to in my childhood and I swear something beyond my existence on this planet.  I may be going on a limb but it felt like another dimension.

And once again, I say this all with love and the most sincerest of feelings.

And for all the times I’ve hung out in the neighborhood,  I never ate here. I’ve walked by how many number of times after a night or day out, and never set walked in.  Why?  I don’t know.  A place that looks so cozy from the outside is exactly what I want in my life.  I want more establishments, not just pizzerias, this genuine in my life.  They still exist.

I’m glad in this instance I didn’t have to look so hard.   Like I’ve said before, my first time was meant to be this time.   If not just for this blog, but for something I want to explain, but I can’t.  Maybe it will make sense later.

What does make sense is how tremendous these slices are.  I’m serious.  I’ve had New York Style in that said city, and even though we’re in Virginia, this is close to that.   I almost think they used the water from New York to make these pies.  It’s that great.  No these are not the best slices I’ve ever had nor did I expect them to be.   But just something hit me in a special place.

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The interior is so quaint  that I just wanted to sit there and appreciate the moment.  I did for a little bit.  And I did the same outside.

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My decision on what to order was made simple.  The slices on display were cheese and pepperoni.   I got one of each and was more than excited to try them.

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The amount of cheese on each may look like a lot to some, but it was just perfect. It was chewy, gooey, and everything else that makes a cheese slice magnificent and breathtaking.  Yes I said breathtaking.   The pepperoni’s made me feel like a kid again. Whether they were the freshest or most hearty pepperoni’s I don’t care.  Both slices made me so happy.

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But what made these pizzas so endearing was the dough.  It’s the epitome of comfort food.  And I got comfortable, full, and full of happiness.   That word artisanal gets thrown around too much to where it means nothing.  This to me is what you would call that overblown word I said two sentences ago.  If you had to call it something then you could also call it awesome.  The dough was soft in spots, crunch in others, and it made me so happy.

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This is my kind of style of pizza.  And sometimes it doesn’t need a city or a label to describe that style.  It’s just marvelous eating day or night.

I say day or night because they’re open for the late night crowd on the weekends as well. But I would put this pizza up against any of the greats in the area for a great daytime slice or pie.  I mean that.

It was so affordable too.   And for this area, affordable is always welcome.  I think I barely spent $6 on both.

Most important of all, the owners behind the counter could not have been nicer.  It wasn’t just what they said but it was how they carried themselves and how they said things.  They just seemed so sincere, so genuine, and so happy to be running a great business that looks like is doing well and is a bright spot in a sea of chain restaurants and bars that all start to look the same after a while.

Local business is what it’s always about and I’m honored to have supported this one.

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If you’re in the area I cannot talk about how great this place is.  Here is their menu,  here is more on the pizzeria itself, and contact information.

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Everything about this was beautiful.  I can’t wait to see where the pizza journey takes me next.

Thank you so much.

Ideen

 

 

Still Plenty of Good

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For those friends and other peoples that have lived or spent time in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, right outside of Washington, DC, you’ve seen change right before your very eyes.

Whether those changes are for the better is probably not even up for debate.  That may sound defeatist and helpless but in the past 10+ years this neighborhood is hardly recognizable compared to how it used to be.  This is an overly sentimental person viewpoint which is what I’ve always tended to have.   I’m not sure what the rush was but it’s happening all over and the best we can do is either embrace it; seek out the local, the character, and the older style businesses, or move somewhere else.

Well I never lived here, but I did hang out here quite a bit.  I never fully felt like I belonged here but I appreciated (and still do) my friends who live in and around the area.  And can still appreciate the gems that still exist, when I visit.  And there are gems. As I write this there’s more than I realize within in all the chains, the sameness of the bars and restaurants, and the box stores.

There’s still plenty of good in a place where the good seems to be vanishing.

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This brings me to Bronx Pizza & Subs that’s smacked right in the heart of everything, where heart might not always be in the right place.  With plenty of restaurants (many new, many have been entrenched before massive changes) in the vicinity, maybe you just want a slice, something quick to eat, and something you don’t have to think about.

Bronx Pizza would be your place.  I was in the area right after most people had lunch, so the wait time was even shorter and there was plenty of room to sit.  But I just wanted a couple of slices to go as I had some exploring and adventures to partake in throughout the day.  But this isn’t about me, it’s about the pizza. Well it’s about me too haha.

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I ordered a cheese (Bronx Pizza) and a chicken carbonara, which they call the Tremont Avenue Chicken Carbonara. Both slices and a soda came out to about $7.  For the location you can’t complain about that.

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But I was a bit surprised as the size of my slices.  I saw others on the counter for both pies that looked larger. Maybe that’s the luck of the draw and those are the breaks. However, quality is what’s paramount and I think something was off.

The cheese just tasted like a cheese pizza.  There was a spark, some inspiration, and a taste that was lacking,   I just didn’t feel anything from the cheese, the sauce, and the crust.  It was good enough to finish.  Actually no, I think I saved it for later and I don’t know what happened.

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Same goes for the chicken carbonara.  I just didn’t feel that wow I want to feel from a slice, or anything that I eat.  Maybe I was expecting too much.

There’s a couple things I find surprising to me.  I didn’t realize they’ve been open for almost a decade.  Have I been here before and not realized?   They’re open late night, which for the location is a pure money maker.  When the bars pour out I’m assuming many folks walk in for the their late night cravings.

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What this also says is I don’t hang out enough here, and I’m not sure what I’m missing if anything.   It also tells me that if I were to have their pizza again, I would once again want it to be during the day.  I’ve rarely written about late night eats because unless a pizzeria is known exclusively for their after hours slices, I don’t think that’s the correct judge of a places’ character.

Even though these slices were not my favorite, I would give it another go, because I’m all about supporting local business, and local is the way to go.

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For those in the area or are going to be, here is Bronx Pizza’s Menu, their story, and their contact information and hours.

Unless things change I think this adventure will continue footsteps away at another Arlington/Clarendon pizzeria.

Thanks so much and Happy 4th.

Ideen

Word To The Wiseguy Version 2.0

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This is one of those once-in-a-while posts where the pizza experience was so fascinating, that it had to be sliced into two parts. No puns whatsoever. Last week’s posr can be found here.

I’ll cut (oops) right to the chase.  Wiseguy NY Pizza has some of the best slices I’ve had some time.  I know we tend to heap praise and glamorize while in the moment, and after the dust settles and we’ve had a few minutes to process, we come back down to reality. It’s been a couple of weeks and I’m still thinking about these slices.

While last week at the DC location had one incredible slice, the visit to the Arlington had a one-two punch that is up there with the best of them.

We’ve all had those meals and those experiences that resonate with us.  We do tend to romanticize those events from the past as being much better than they were.  But then there’s those times you knew something was special and that over time, it was going to feel just as awesome (if not more) now than it did then.  Ah who am I kidding, it’s just pizza, or is it something more?

After that build-up this better be good right?

A drive through Arlington isn’t anything visually inspiring, unless you like big buildings, corporate entities, and people moving fast trying to look important.  But nestled in the heart of all this commotion, was my inaugural trip to Wiseguy.

I never have presumptions when it comes to food.  Several factors such as, price, location, atmosphere, my mood, and the universe dictate my feeling of the pizzeria and the pizza itself.  I don’t ask for much.

But to say certain biases don’t shine through when I’m near our nation’s capital would be a lie.  However, when you find a parking spot right in front of the place, you know it’s going to be a good day.

When I waked in I had no idea what I was going to get.  And fortunately I was in a short line (unlike visit two)  at lunch hour, so everything was available.

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And the first thing I saw was those squared shaped, Sicilian Style, cheese falling from the sides and some of it fried from the way it was heated in the oven.  I knew this was going to be remarkable.

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I didn’t even know there was Feta immersed in this gem until I perused the menu again. Feta on a white pizza, feta when done right is perfection.  It’s one of those cheeses I’ve appreciated since I was a kid, thanks in part to my parents and my background.  I don’t have it enough or maybe I have it just enough to appreciate it and look forward to it more.   And of course you have your appropriate cheeses, fresh motz and mozzarella, and fontinella, to make one of the best slices I’ve had in a long while.  This is bordering on five stars.  The roasted garlic makes it five stars. Garlic and feta on a white pizza, who knew? Yum!  And even for a thicker style dough, I loved every minute of this.  I’m crazing a slie now.  Just as I’m craving…

…When I thought it couldn’t any better, I up and get the Mushroom Truffle.  You would think that eating two slices like this in concert with each other, that the flavors would overpower from one pizza to the other.  I took my time, I ate them separately, and I savored every bite I could.  The mushrooms tasted fresh out of the garden, and the inclusion of truffle, goat cheese, and basil makes this pure insanity.  How is this slice even possible?

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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the crust.  This was one of the best thin slices I’ve had in a while.  Something about the soul and character behind this slice is second-to-none.  That and I love mushroom.

For my pals in the area, you can also order online.  And for pals in Arlington there’s the Door Dash option.

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I think I painted the right picture of my two experiences at Wiseguy.  If not, I think the paintings, I mean pictured above tell the story.  This is a nice segue into November. What that means I don’t know but I’m looking forward to continuing this ride.

Stay warm,

Ideen

 

Word To The Wiseguy

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I had never heard of Wiseguy NY Pizza until just a few weeks ago.

My first experience at the Arlington location was magical and I didn’t know until after I left.  I’ll save that for the end.  I had all the intention of getting around to recapping this experience by the end of November, but as all things nothing goes as planned nor should it. Especially when blogging and having fun.   A chance visit to the Washington, DC location within the past few days brought about a second helping of some dynamite slices. And the experience was something else.  It was something different. It’s DC. I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Speaking of which,  I’ll start backwards like they do in some cinemas.

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It was lunchtime and the line was 20 people deep.  It moved fast and fortunately I wasn’t in any rush, nor should I truly ever be.  But I’ve been the guy who’s paced back and forth and obsessively stared at their phone, hoping I still had time to get my food and rush back to work, without management being upset.  That’s the sense I got from most of the folks around me.  It wasn’t laid back but would you expect anything less?   The guy behind me especially seemed very programmed that if I hadn’t ordered my slices right away, he may have interjected and started that sighing and whining you see in the cinemas.   See I knew I mentioned cinemas earlier for a reason.

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That’s the end of the negative.  I ordered the Backyard Veggie and a Chicken Ranch.

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I said that was the end of the negative but I’ll quickly state the veggie was the one slice I had a hard time eating.  Of course I did but it was a bit too spicy for me.  Ingredients for all slices are shown above. The chili peppers were incredibly aggressive.  And I’m not one to complain about spices. In general I’d like it hot.But it didn’t work here.  And I feel the tomato sauce does not complement any of these vegetables.  It felt like too much and everything got lost.  The olives were good though.  I picked those off.  This is also where the crust seemed not to matter.  And the NY Style thin crust was wonderful on the next three (wait, hold that thought) slices across the board.

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The Chicken Ranch Melt was divine.  It more than made up for the previous slice. The crispy chicken slices and that house made ranch sauce were perfect to eat enough by their lonesome but wait, there’s more.  Throw that on top of a white pizza, and we have a winner.  But the true standout is the parsley. It added something that is too good for words.  If you love parsley you know what I’m talking about. But seriously, this made the slice when it was already made.

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I wish I could end the post here and split this into two parts.

Actually that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  Arlington, next week.  Trust me, it’ll be well worth it.

Here is more about this less-than-five year old pizzeria, their menu, and online ordering for those local.

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More next week,

Ideen

 

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

 

 

 

Hand Over Heart

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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These photos have only begun to scratch the surface.

Best,

Ideen