Home Away From Home…

BozzellisMicMacPizza2

I don’t venture back out to the Washington, DC area enough.  I was born here, I grew up here, spent my youth here, and now find myself an outsider, but I’m really not.

As eras have ended, new ones can begin.  We can honor the past, but not live in it too much.  We can honor the present and still be nostalgic all at once.  I tend to that part a lot.  It must been something good is happening or about to happen.

Bozzellis

We skip the good because it’s more than great.  Bozelli’s (menu and story) came through recommendations from my friends who live near the Newington location (there’s 4 altogether in the DC area) and have been raving about it.  They’ve wanted me to come just to try this pizza.  Of course I’m all about seeing my friends, especially ones I don’t see too often, and enjoying great company with great food, pizza or otherwise.

The cozy atmosphere is just what I wanted on this particular day.  It’s small, yet big enough to accommodate any group or individual, and they will feel right at home.   For me, less is more, even though more can be just as great.  For this particular evening, a small group of pals was plenty.  And just right.

Suggestions were made and recommendations came.  But something about the Mic Mac felt right and felt oh so comforting on this particular night.  This is there Mac & Cheese Pizza and it’s incredible….

BozzellisMicMacPizza

Macaroni, mozzarella, cheddar, and peperoncini heated beyond words, with a crust that will make warm you all over.  This hit my heart, my soul, and everything in between.  The quaint and almost eerily quiet atmosphere added something to this.   This is my kind of Saturday night.

 

I can’t say enough about how this pizza was put together.  It’s like it was speaking to me and telling me you’re surrounded by good people, by a good energy, a home away from home, and that everything is going to be alright.   On this night everything was more than alright.

 

You get a few simple ingredients, a good energy behind the pizza creators, a perfect temperature to heat it, and you get this masterpiece.  I know how amazing it tasted, but writing about it in hindsight tells me just how brilliant this was.

After that, where do you go from here?   Well I had to do a reprise.   I stayed in the area, and the following day I went with one of the suggestions, to go of course, the Boom Boom Chicken.

 

I can’t say which pie was better.  It’s not a fair assessment.  I loved them both for different reasons.  This was to go, so the experience was different.  It’s not that I didn’t have time to savor it like the night before, it’s just that I didn’t have time to savor it.  Make sense?  I loved it though.  Chicken on a pizza is usually a safe bet.  But this wasn’t just a safe pizza, this was another work of art. The fire-braised chicken, red peppers, and the spicy mayo complement one another oh so well.

 

The mozzarella base is almost lost in the shuffle, but it shouldn’t be.  That’s the soul of the pizza.  Yes I say soul, because everything starts with cheese pizza.  Without that, the whole doesn’t equal the, well you know…

The prices for any size are reasonable, and nothing goes past $20 for the largest pizza. For Washington, that’s a good price.  It’s a great price anywhere, but food and experiences like this have no price tag.  They mean more than any dollar amount or any receipt.

Great experiences will last with you in this lifetime, into eternity, and every lifetime after.   This is one I will always regard with highest esteem because of not only the context, but for the magical moment in time.   This was so significant for so many reasons.  We all have those stories, you have those stories, where it wasn’t just about the food, and the food only played one part, yet an important one.

BozzellisPizzaBox

This was amazing, this was special, and this was important.

Until the next visit…

Peace Be With You…

Love,

Ideen

…Then It Must Be True…

MariosChickenPizzas

There was some exciting information featured in a prominent spot, as soon as you open the doors of Mario’s Original Pizza & Pasta.

MariosOriginal

I don’t need to go into specifics, but the front of their website (menu here) provides the link here.

MariosMenu

To say something is the best anything is all perspective.  Best in the universe, best in the world, and best in the state are all solely on opinion, conjecture, and all that stuff.  But there’s always something bigger than us.  That’s that universe talk.

I never thought of Mario’s as the best anything.  That’s not meant as an insult.  I just thought of it as a charming location adjacent to Belvedere Square that was convenient and affordable.  Most slices are $3 and under.  Fantastic.

I also think of it as great pizza.  I can’t say it’s been my favorite because there’s random days I can go here or anywhere, and some of the slices might be off.  Everyone has an off day.  You don’t want to judge a pizzeria or restaurant on one visit.   You also can be mislead if the food was larger than life.  But that’s the thought and feeling most of us would prefer to hold on to.  I mean right?

Someone other than some experts must really like these slices, because at lunch time the whole area seemed decimated.   I’m grateful there was enough to get a fair perspective.  And no I didn’t eat this all at once.

MariosChickenPizzas2

Between the cheese, the pepperoni & sausage, the shredded buffalo chicken, and the chicken parmesan, you can’t go wrong with any.  That means right and yay, and all the superlatives you can throw at them.

MariosCheese&PepperoniSausagePizzaSlices

There’s no need to necessarily review slice by slice.   I will say if there is a weak link, it would be the pepperoni and sausage, and that’s strictly just by my opinion.  I have never loved the heavier red meats on a pizza.  It’s just a thing for me.  I will continue to try them and offer thoughts, without my bias.  But sometimes it’s hard.  I still thought it was really good, and once again enjoyed picking off the toppings and appreciating them on their own.

So that meant I had the equivalent of two cheese slices.  What can you say?  Cheese is cheese, and when a crust is heated and reheated just right, with where I thought I tasted some butter, along with a comforting dough, all is right with the world.  And that universe I keep speaking of.

MariosBuffaloChicken

The chicken based slices really do stand out.  As you can see the shredded buffalo chicken is different than how many pizzerias present buffalo chicken.  Sometimes you see it diced, sometimes you see strips. and sometimes you see it in it’s purest form, shredded and pulled style.   The visual makes it almost look too good to eat, but it’s stellar.

MariosChickenParmesan

The chicken parmesan is almost on that level, but I once again liked their strips actually on their own.  Yet all the complementing topping and seasonings were fine as a pizza by themselves.

So that’s kind of that.  This is a great pizzeria, that has plenty of seats and a pretty view of the outside world and the city streets.  I like that.  It’s a place that feels safe but there food is anything but.  It’s adventurous yet approachable, and affordable.  Those are the A’s that we like.

I like this place.

Peace Be With You.  Always.

Love,

Ideen

 

My Favorite Kind of Pizzeria…

CapriCheesePizza

…is the one that doesn’t need to be any more than what it knows it is.  It shouldn’t try too hard to be something it’s not. That applies to many facets of life as well.

We don’t all want the same kind of pizza.  We all don’t want the same kind of service, don’t all need to sit somewhere fancy, and we sometimes just want to get our food and go back home.   I like that last one a lot lately.

Well I wasn’t in my home, but I was welcomed into a home of friends I haven’t seen in some time, and they had prepared me for a stellar experience at Capri Pizza (here’s their menu and contact information) in Glen Burnie, MD.

This is the place for locals and local business to get pizza. Every town and every city has at least one.   And at least one is going to be good, if not great.  Maybe that sounds too idealistic, but that’s from seeing it first hand.

My friends built this up pretty significantly.  They get food from here on semi regular basis, so I trust their opinion.  I respect and trust any friend’s opinion even if it may not match mine later.  Our tastes are all unique while sometimes all the same at once.

That’s it for the cautious language because both pizzas were tremendous.  And for simplicity sake, we got a cheese and a white cheese.  The choices on this could not have been better, dare I say remarkable.

I’m not saying toppings would have made the pies any better or worse.  But to keep it simple, genuine, and down to earth in a lot of ways, this was perfection.  I haven’t written in bit, and a reset was needed.  So to have the two most straightforward, yet amazing pizzas after a break was serendipitous.

CapriCheese

So many things stand out, especially the crust.  The thin Neopolitan on both, especially the white could not have been heated any better.  The char and toast on these is immaculate.  There was something about the thin crust that stood out in contrast to so many I’ve had.   I can’t quite put my finger on it, nor do I need to just yet.

We got the right amount of cheese and sauce on these pies that everything complements the other.  I have everything good to say about these pizzas and some more…

CapriWhitePizza2

I don’t know if it was the olive oil or the butter, or something from beyond because this white pizza is one of the best I’ve ever had.  It was toasted just that much better than the cheese, if that’s even possible.  If this is how they do pizza, I’m coming back on a regular basis.

And I love the simplicity of their shoppe.  We have a few tables, a small space, and a family run business with everyone involved.  Everything about this place makes me happy.

CapriPizzaSlices

And the happiness continued by sharing the pizza with friends in a house I was invited and welcomed to with open arms.   It’s this kind of good energy that flows from one place to the next.  I’m grateful for what I knew what would be an enjoyable day.  You can’t ask for more than good times, good friends, and of course good pizza.   When you combine all those elements it’s an energy field of happiness.

I look forward to more experiences like this, but for now this is definitely one for the books, and one to savor…

Peace be with you.

Ideen

Golden Star

MarcosWhiteCheezy

When I was a kid, and even still as an adult at times, when I saw a new place or an unfamiliar place, I might be hesitant to try it out.   And there’s no basis for any of this.  Maybe sometime in my childhood the unfamiliar just didn’t appeal to me, for whatever reason.  But when you’re a kid, the new is what’s exciting.  Same goes for now.  Because everything that we know, like, find comfort in, and enjoy now was once well, strange and unfamiliar.

That comfort level may be too far for some as we settle in our routines, and may choose the path of least resistance.  Again that path of least resistance was once… Yep…

I love food and many of us do.  It’s a simple pleasure.  It bring us joy, brings us together, and brings us satisfaction.   Pizza in this case can never be strange.  I’m all for trying new foods, new pizzas, and new anything.  If there is some reservations in life, those should dissipate.  It’s too short, even though it feels long at times.  And for all the pizzerias in the world, there’s room for another, and there’s room for everybody.

What am I saying here?  Sometimes I don’t know.  Sometimes I should relax and take it easy with the questions.  Sometimes I should just relax and hang out. Ha.

MarcosPizza

A while back driving through Essex, MD (right outside Baltimore) I saw a sign for Marco’s Pizza (more about their story, their menu, and locations) and like with most discoveries pizza I welcome a new place, and can add it to the ongoing story that will hopefully go on forever…

I saw from the outside looking in their logo and the shopping center it was located in just a buzz and aura about it.  Sometimes it’s the energy we create and sometimes there’s just something there that feels right and tells you when you should come in, and when you should wait.  Both have that same feeling.

So after a few weeks of writing about and trying other foods, the time was right.  A new place to write about, in a town or city I’ve technically haven’t written about, is always refreshing.

I must have been in the mood for tomatoes because the new menu items that stood out to me were the White Cheezy and the Chicken Florentine.  And in this instance I didn’t even look at the ingredients or toppings.  I felt for some reason I didn’t need to.  It’s similar for when going to the movies, I don’t always read up on the plot.  It’s more exciting that way to me.

How funny is it that these two pizzas are so similar, yet just different enough. It’s all relative.

What else is relative is how great they are.  Look at that golden crust?  There’s an art to this.  And a certain amount of minutes, timing, and done with the right energy and spirit is going to make an entree that much better.  You could be in a bad mood and make the pizza the same exact way, and it won’t turn out like this.  This was magical.

MarcosWhiteCheezy2

I love how they pile on the cheese with this.  It’s cheese on top of cheese, and with that crust, I nearly took the toppings for granted.

The White Cheezy with the three cheese blend, feta cheese, and garlic parmesan sauce can compete with all the great pizzas.  And as a stand alone pie needs no toppings.  But to throw in bacon, onions, and the perfectly cooked tomatoes is a winner.  The irony is the bacon is what stood out the least to me.

MarcosChickenFlorentine

With the Grilled Chicken Florentine (which may be an exclusive to their Essex location) you’re essentially substituting the bacon for grilled chicken and spinach.  And those piece of chicken taste fresh, taste real, and just taste good.  Another recurring theme is that garlic parmesan sauce.  Maybe I was in the mood for the tomatoes without the sauce.  Maybe it doesn’t matter.  It was all great.

The folks behind the counter were busy but never looked panicked.  They were friendly and that is symbolic of how the pies turned out.  These pizzas are on the higher end of what you might pay.  My two small pizzas came out to just under $30.  But to pay a little extra for quality never hurt anyone.  And it’s a few extra dollars well spent.

I like this place a lot and I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more about them in the near future.  Based out of Toledo, OH, they’re expanding all over the nation.  For our pals in Baltimore, there’s locations in Essex and Pasadena, and a few in Northern Virginia.  So while it may be a little bit of a drive, it’s worth your time and a great change of pace.

This was wonderful, and I can’t wait to try their pizzas again.  Something unfamiliar is now a friend, and I’m grateful Marco’s Pizza is now a part of my pizza experience.  I found them, but in many ways it found me.

MarcosPizzaBox

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

Circle of Trust

CulinaryCircleGarlicChickenAlfredoHeated

This one is by request…

A random person had asked me to do a little digging, a little research, and to go on an adventure to write about a couple of pizzas from Culinary Circle.

Whether this person ever reads this post, or that it finds them well will be left to the universe.  I’ve always wanted to say that.  Nevertheless, I hope this finds all of you well…

Before I continue, here is more about them, their list of products, and where you can find Culinary Circle’s foods near you.

How do I analyze frozen pizzas?  I really don’t.  I just tell stories. This tends to go across the board with a lot of what I write and talk about.  Of course there’s opinions, critiques at times, and overall quality.  But I don’t always find fun in that.  I find fun in all the elements of the universe that brought this whole thing together.

There’s a reason I was directed by a force to find this.  I still don’t exactly know why.  Maybe it was for the fact that the crusts are thinner, and in hotter temperatures this would be ideal.  Maybe someone is telling me that lighter might be better, for right now at least.

Maybe someone is telling me to take it easy…

I would say it’s all above, and so much more that I don’t even know about.  I don’t need to just yet, it’ll be shown to me.

Am I even talking about the pizza anymore.  Ha.

The Garlic Chicken Alfredo and then the Margherita tells a tale of two different pies, yet crafted with lots of love, soul, spirit, and all the other good things.

We’ve all enjoyed so many pizzas at home, at restaurants, at pizzerias, and everywhere in the middle.  These culinary gems are just another in a long line of good food made by good hands.   It makes me feel good to eat good and then to feel good again.

A thin crust certainly helps.  Pictured above is how they look frozen.

CulinaryCircleGarlicChickenAlfredoHeated2

The former has so much flavor and rich that you could make a few meals of this, and of course share with friends.  Sharing is the best.

CulinaryCircleMargheritaHeated

And the latter, while so simple, brings the taste you’ve known to grow and love with a margherita pizza.  No it’s not the best I’ve ever had but that doesn’t matter.

Both are enjoyable and perfect for summer gatherings, lunch, dinner, heck even breakfast.  It doesn’t matter.  If you feel good, it’ll make you feel good, and that’s what’s most important.

Until yesterday I had never seen nor heard about Culinary Circle.

I’m glad it was then. I’m glad it was now.  First time for everything.   And I look forward to many more first, second, and many times.  This was fun.

Peace Be With You.

Love,

Ideen

Cauliflower Alley

GustoObeyTheClaw

For years, and even decades (oh boy…) I have spent time at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, MD, that it will always be a part of my childhood, a part of my youth, and a part of something that I don’t always think about when I’m in the vicinity.

However, earlier this week I was back again and the reasons don’t matter.  I was just there.  No, not that bad kind of there where you just exist and you’re mediocre, or average.  I’m talking about a place in time where everything felt ok.  I was one with the universe and the universe was on with me.  It’s one with you too.

Many shopping centers, malls, strip malls, and the like have gone through necessary renovations to keep up with the times and evolution.  It’s that progress and that sometimes gives the illusion of well, progress.  It’s that more things change, the more they stay constant and maybe even, just there.

Something told me to go to this place where I spent many times ‘hanging out’ (aka sitting around doing nothing) and being a kid.  I still feel like a kid at times.  And being a kid means…

That food court has evolved while everything else around it looked the same.  In a way, I like that.  It’s the old sentimental in me.  I’m good with change (sometimes, that’s my own issues at play) but I find such endearing charm in things looking like they will always be the same.  This is a mall I’m talking about mind you, yes I could be referring to anything, maybe I am.

I liked what the food court has become.  You have your staples, you have your local food operations, and you have some places I had never heard of.

Gusto

That brings us to Gusto (here are their locations, their story, and of course the food), which makes all their food with love, and the farm fresh ingredients that we’ve grown accustomed or at least are becoming more aware of.

Because of the location, fast is the name of the game, and I went with two pies and got  creative with the differences.

GustoObeyTheClaw2

First is their current season item, the Obey The Claw.

I’m not going to explain how I thought about everything on this pie, that would be too much.  There’s so much going on here, and I would be lying if I told you I could taste everything.  Yet, nothing is too in your face or crammed down your throat.

GustoObeyTheClawClose

The crab meat itself is tasty, and the various vegetables all look so beautiful, yet everything feels like they complement the other. It’s understated in a way that I didn’t expect.  Maybe that’s the point.  The thin whole grain crust is a a nice touch.  I really enjoyed this thing and took my time, never felt full, and felt good.

GustoWildShroom

You may have heard about cauliflower based pizza crusts becoming more predominant, as we continue to look for ways to eat right and more health conscious.   For the Wild Shroom pizza I went said crust and it was different, it was distinct, and at the same time it felt satisfying.

There’s an art to heating a crust, and there’s an art to a lot of things.  I’ve had cauliflower crusts before but in such small doses, that I can’t compare one to the other.  All I can say here is that it worked with the mushrooms, arugula, and goat cheese.  I don’t know if the crust could have been heated differently or this is how it was supposed to be.  But no need to quibble, I had fun.   For a couple extra dollars, this was a fun experience.

GustoMenu

At $9 a pie ($2 extra for cauliflower and gluten free) it may feel pricey, but I understand with the location and what we’re supporting.  I’m all for supporting it and I highly recommend a trip to Gusto if there’s one near you.

GustoPizzaToGo

You can just sense that more stores are coming and we’re going to be hearing and seeing a lot more from them.

Beautiful.

Peace Be With You

Ideen

Try the Caprese

MargheritasSlices2

Three years and change ago, I wrote about Margherita’s, and their Kingsville, MD location, knowing that more would be coming.  Another location would coming.

When I saw the signage and construction begin for their newest digs in Bel Air (menu can be found here) like a goofy kid, I was excited.  But in similar ways, I got distracted, and I got busy.  And I kept saying I would get around to it.  I would be in the vicinity and just not be in the mood for pizza (sacrilege I know) and keep saying there will be a next time.  There’s always next time

Enough rambling, how was the pizza this time?

MargheritasCaprese

Try the caprese, is all I can say.  This is phenomenal.  Even if the heavier Siclian Style is not your slice of pizza, I would say go for it, or just pick the toppings off and enjoy.  There’s a captain obvious in there somewhere, but yeah no…

What we have here is the freshest of ingredients, cheese, and the finest soul and spirit behind this slice.  You know when you walk into a place, and you know the pizza (or any food or anything is going to be good?  That’s what I sensed and have been sensing.

I’ll be honest, I go to Margherita’s a little more than I’ve let on, but never felt the story was there, or was inspired to do as such.  Maybe this is the first time I noticed the Caprese.  That’s inspiration enough.  In many ways, it’s a great choice for the summer and warmer temperatures.

MargheritasBuffaloChicken

The buffalo chicken and white veggie slices are just as delicious.  The thin crust on these are heated to perfection.  I would say I got there at the perfect time, as many of the pies had just come out of the oven and looked as fresh as a daisy, or a pizza.

MargheritasWhiteVegetable

Seriously, the crust was a New York Style and comforting bread you don’t get too often, from anywhere.

I adore the presentation of the buffalo chicken, as you can tell there’s thought and feeling behind it.   And the white veggies, well, the toppings are prolific but they won’t take away from the pie whatsoever.  This is well done.  These three slices were under $10, yes another reason to be grateful.

I feel like I’m writing this in a way like I did three years ago.

What else is there to say?  This was great, and the Bel Air location feels welcoming and feels quite neighborhood life.  Their Kingsville pizzeria has a small town feel with just a couple of tables, that it’s made for carry-out.  But that’s what makes both places distinct, approachable, and wonderful.

Just about every neighborhood in every town has their pizzeria, their grocery store, bank, bar, restaurant, and those other gems that make a town so charming and has that home like feel.  And the staff was friendly and personable, like any neighborhood spot would traditionally be.

MargheritasSlices1

Margherita’s fits right in like it’s been there forever.  And in many ways it has…

And by all means, try the Caprese.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen