The Cheese Stands

AnthonysSlices

I wanted to love everything Anthony’s N.Y. Pizza & Pasta House.  It wasn’t quite everything I hoped it would be.  But after thinking about it I don’t know what I was hoping for exactly then and now.   I wanted good pizza and there was some of that.  But that little extra oomph wasn’t there.  And I really thought it would happen.

AnthonysStoreFront

The beautiful thing is pizza is everywhere and it will always be everywhere.  In every town, every city, and every neighborhood there’s going to be some semblance of a pizza parlor, pizzeria, or a restaurant.    It makes my day discover a new one in a town I don’t always frequent, Bowie, MD.

What I’ve found fascinating is in talking to close friends who live in proximity have never heard of this place.   In doing further research there is a similar sentiment.  Maybe the location isn’t ideal or noticeable immediately.  To me it’s perfect.

However, I wouldn’t say this is in the most folksy or most approachable part of town. Where that is in Bowie I don’t know, but when I see a pizza place, in particular, one with slices to go, the small town and romanticizing of a happy place and folksy folks (while a more-than-welcomed bonus) is not always going to be there.  And that’s ok.  I  think.

I had come to find out that owner of this and the Clarksville (I’ll get to that later) locations are from New York, which means the N.Y. Style is actually more authentic and since than many of these places that say N.Y. Style as a cliche and the slices are bland and taste worse because they portray themselves as something they’re not.

So expectations were set a little higher.   I didn’t expect this to be just like New York Pizza.  To be honest, I could barely count on two hands how many times I’ve had N.Y. Style and it’s different.  But you don’t have to be an expert to know the difference.  There is an aura about it.  There’s so many elements that make a pizza a pizza.  And for with New York like any city, there is an aura about it.

Just like any other food, it’s going to be best served in the city or country of origin.

It could be the water, the universe, or just being there in that moment that makes it what it is.

And just because the location is different means the pizza will be a cheap imitation.  It doesn’t necessarily have to match the authenticity of said location, but it can be great and it can even be a masterpiece.

AnthonysBuffChicken3

I wanted to love the three slices I ordered.  I don’t always feel like that about places.  But this one had something else going for it I can’t put into words.  That could be once again romanticizing the situation and only hoping for the best.    Luckily, one slice really stood above all else.  Maybe the title gave it away.  I’ll save that for that.

AnthonysChickenSpinach

First up was the Chicken and Spinach White with balsamic glaze.   I’ve said it before that certain pizzas have that whole doesn’t equal the sum of its parts situation.  This one also fits that bill.

AnthonysChickenSpinach3

This white pizza looked spectacular.  And you’re going to get a theme from this and the next slice.  It’s not a case of judging a book by its cover.  But in the reverse sense.  This had all the makings of an amazing pizza but something didn’t completely work.

I think there was too much going on.  I never got a taste of the balsamic.  And the cheese also seemed to vanish.  The spinach was great.  I enjoyed picking pieces of spinach off my slice and enjoyed them on their own.  But that chicken was phenomenal.  I would gladly eat pile of these blackened pieces of chicken on their own, or with a spinach salad.  I mean it.  The chicken was spectacular.  I think the main take from this was the pizza crust didn’t work here.  I think if the crust had more of that crunch you’d expect I might be telling a different story.   But it didn’t necessarily need to be NY Style.  Something was just off.  This was ordered right at lunch time so the pizza was fresh.  But something fell short.

AnthonysBuffChicken2

The same goes for the Buffalo Chicken.   It looked so beautiful.  The celery was fantastic as was the breaded buffalo chicken.   What went wrong for me was the blue cheese. It was bit too heavy for me.  And equally as rough was the buffalo sauce.   This is something that can easily be remedied.  I’ve personally made foods with buffalo sauce and sometimes add a little too much.  It happens.   I think others will love it but this wasn’t as good as I hoped.   Again that crust was the issue.

AnthonysBuffChicken

But…

AnthonysCheese

The cheese.  It may look like a standard cheese slice, which is everything right.   I don’t know if I planned it that way, but I did eat this one last.  And I’ll tell you, you can always judge a place by how good their cheese is.  This was fantastic.  This is not the best cheese slice I’ve ever hard.  And honestly, I don’t remember where that was.  But this was tremendous.  There is no special reason why this was.  And I wouldn’t say this because it’s authentic N.Y. Style.  I think there’s a bigger spirit and soulful element here.  What that is I don’t know.  And maybe I’m not supposed to.  Not yet at least.

I don’t often do repeats.  And if I do it may be a different location.  It makes it exciting to do a compare and contrast.

I’m sentimental to the small town of Clarksville, MD and had no idea there was a second location there.   Small business is a beautiful thing and I’m happy to support it.   So when I get a chance to visit this will be revisited again.

AnthonysFloor

And I look forward to sharing it with you.

Have a happy holiday weekend.

Ideen

 

Four For The Fourth

VitosAllFour

It’s already July and that makes me sad.    Some people view the upcoming 4th of July Holiday as the halfway point.  Halfway point of what?   Ah I don’t even want to say it.

The intrigue continues as I’m literally going to review four slices that I (sort of) purchased earlier tonight.  How quickly I forget how apropos this was going to be.  I’ve expounded on different ways but I’ve never been one to believe in coincidence.

VitosFront

I found myself at a familiar place, Vito’s Pizza in Baltimore.  For my friends in Baltimore, you might be asking which Vito’s exactly?  There’s too many to count.  Or maybe I just don’t feel like counting.  No, I just don’t care.  This is my Vito’s today and their website offers no help and that’s fine with me.

Sometimes we just want pies without all the other bells and whistles.  Even though a multitude of businesses have some form of a social media presence, some like to live in the past.  I’m ok with the past and the simplistic way of going about things.

To be specific, the neighborhood is called Cedarcroft.  This is the first time I’m hearing this.  I’m not sure what to make of it.  I find the whole thing hilarious, but it’s really not that funny.  Haha.

I went to a university not far away so Ii’ like to consider it Towson/Baltimore border.  I don’t know if this place existed when I was a student, but nevertheless now the place is infiltrated with them.  Students.

The vibe in the area is something I subconsciously (wait what?) paid attention to, but never put my finger on why I was drawn to this place.   But I figured it out on this night. There tends to be a sense of community and togetherness in the plethora of neighborhoods behind the strip mall where this pizzeria stands.  Whether it’s genuine, artificial, transparent, or hollow, it’s there and I can’t escape it nor do I want to.

Enough of the metaphysics, how was the pizza?

VitosCheese&Veggie

I’ve always loved the cheese and veggie here.  That continues on this visit.  Keeping it simple is the theme of this post.  The cheese is essentially an extra cheese with delicious pizza sauce and that crust is masterful.  Throw on some onions, peppers, and other various vegetables and you got the latter slice, which also was stellar.

VitosChickenDuo

The breaded buffalo chicken was good but as great as it’s been in the past.  My only thought is the lack of buffalo sauce.  Otherwise this was good.  The barbecue chicken was not edible for me.  I’ve never liked that combination on a pizza but this was disappointing here.  3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

But why did I get 4?  Well I came in late enough that the owner was trying to get rid of as many slices as he could.  He messed up my order and basically gave me that barbecue chicken for free.  But I think he would have done so anyways.  He almost gave me the equivalent of a large pie to go but I wasn’t feeling greedy.  Hopefully those slices didn’t go in the trash as they tend do to at close of business hours.  And no, I’ve only had tiny portions of my slices, I may be able to get a total of four meals out of them.

The owner is funny.  He seems like a real Italian.  At least I want to believe that.  He isn’t friendly or standoffish.  But he has the look of a guy who works hard or maybe just carries himself like he does.  I wouldn’t expect him to recognize me but he always has this same snarky and dry sense of humor with me and his other customers.   Hopefully that’s his way of showing appreciation.  Otherwise I could see my people would be turned off.

Speaking of which, he did double charge me on my meal, so look at your bank statements after the fact.  This shouldn’t dissuade you from trying a slice.

Neither should the lack of atmosphere on the inside.  I’m all for ambiance but this is just a pizza after all.  Those beautiful distractions are eye-candy but the pizza has got to be yummy.  That’s a technical foodie term by the way.

If you like solid pies that are bigger than usual and a throwback to what an authentic no-nonsense pizzeria might feel like, this is right up your alley.  If you’re looking for something inspiring, you might get it outside, or maybe that’s just me.

Happy 4th,

Ideen