Mione’s – Back To The Beach

I was really hoping to like Mione’s on my first visit, but that didn’t happen.  I was also hoping to write about another great pizza joint at the Eastern Shore, but that didn’t happen either.

I love Ocean City and there’s good pizza to be had, like I mentioned in a previous post.   But this was not it.

I’m all for trying something new, and going to places that may not be the most prominent of names is a part of that.

I hadn’t heard of Mione’s until driving through the resort town last year, and I had a couple of slices that day.  I recall they weren’t that memorable.   This go around took place on a busy weekend in July, and this visit was much worse.

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I don’t know how else to put it.  The pizza and service left so much to be desired.   I understand during the Summertime that slices and certain preferences can be unavailable at any time.  However, during my visit, no standard slices were available. There was no cheese, nor pepperoni, nor white.   The wait time on the former to come out, I was told, was nearly 30 minutes.  Not many people trying to get a slice, or most foods to go, would be willing to wait even half that time.

My negativity is not necessarily based on the lack of slices, but on what was available.

Thankfully, the chicken and vegetable pesto, white pizza was available.  And a white veggie which included eggplant was also one of the few slices ready to be heated and eaten within minutes.  Now I understand why.

Both slices were disappointing.   The dough and crust didn’t taste right.  It was crisp but not in a good way Pieces of crust were falling off and tasting like it was burnt toast.  Good pizza is good pizza, and it can withstand being heated and then reheated many times over.  I imagine the reheating process made both of these worse over time.

The chicken didn’t taste fresh and neither did the vegetables that  came with it.  The roasted red peppers didn’t have much flavor.   The silver lining was the pesto. Pesto is always good and even this wasn’t the best tasting pesto.

The vegetable slice was much worse  I’m glad I was forced to try a new slice with the eggplant but the results were abysmal.  The eggplant, red peppers, and I think those were mushrooms, did not make a good melange of anything.

Needless to say, I barely ate a third of either slice.  I don’t like wasting food but I didn’t feel good eating this and saw no point in forcing the issue.

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Despite my harshness, I will be willing to try some other slices.  There is much on the menu to choose from, in term of pizza, so next time I’m back, I’ll give ’em another shot.   And the fact that the staff was so friendly albeit stressed and seemed rush plays a factor in why I will go back, and also why the pizza was disappointing based upon this visit.

The pizza this time around wasn’t good, but they all can’t be winners.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

New Orleans Finest

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The pizza shown here is art.  That’s all I can say.

I have been waiting for the right time to talk about the first of several pizza places I visited in New Orleans. There is no right time, but I didn’t want to wait too long.  And the Summer is always ideal.   I have so much good to say about Reginelli’s that I’m freaking out on where and how to begin.   Well I believe I just did!

I need to write whatever I can to do this place justice. Plain and simple this is some of the best pizza I’ve ever had.  One in particular was such a stand out, I was genuinely getting goose bumps while I was having this pie.

About a month ago, I made my first ever visit to New Orleans, and of course I enjoyed as much as I can in the limited amount of time.  I did a lot of sight-seeing, a lot of eating, a lot of drinking, and a lot of living.

I had researched a few pizza places I wanted to visit, for this blog.  And I did get to a couple of those, but the best things in life tend to happen unplanned.  And this is what happened here.

After a day of exploring I found myself in the Central Business District just strolling along with no worries, no headaches, and no sense of direction.  That last part is not a negative.  It’s good to get lost in a place you’ve never been. These are the events that make you stronger and are so liberating.

As I’m walking along I see this charming storefront and I also see pizza!  Whatever fate had in mind for me, I was meant to eat here.  And eat here I did.  I also ended up staying for a couple of hours.  More on that shortly.

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The staff could not be more welcoming.  I had a nice view of downtown NOLA as I had a cup of coffee, yes coffee, and a glass of water before I was ready to order.  They told me take all the time I needed.  It wasn’t too busy in there but I appreciate the sentiment.  And they were sincere about it.  I felt so at home and like a regular.  Maybe in a previous life?

I love their setup, I love their menus, I love everything about this place.  The interior felt so cozy and so welcoming.  I didn’t want to go anywhere.  It’s like I belonged here and in this city.  It was my last day here and this experience will always resonate with me.  This was quite the way to go out.

After everything I just got overly sentimental about, how was the food?

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There was so much on the menu I wanted to devour, but I could only get one pie.   And a small, personal pie would most likely suffice.    The friendly server who waited on me, Danielle, was so kind and so helpful in her suggestions.   She said I could do a half-and-half pizza.  Funny, that months into writing about these pizza joints, I never thought to do that.  Well here we go.  As a first timer, I went with the Gumbo, which includes andouille sausage, spicy smoked tomato sauce, crystal marinated shrimp, roasted eggplant, holy trinity and pickled okra.  That’s a lot to digest I know.  No pun intended. The second half was the Saltimbocca, which has garlic herb sauce, fresh spinach, marinated chicken breast and prosciutto with fresh lemon juice.

Can you guess which one really hit a nerve?

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Ironically it was the latter piece.   The Gumbo was very good but there was a lot of moving parts that it felt too much to eat all at once.  And this is meant as high praise  It was scrumptious.  The toppings, the sauce, the cheese, and the crust were cooked to perfection.   It just seemed a bit rich and hearty for me.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t eat again.

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But, I need to talk about the Saltimbocca.  I could dedicate an entire thesis on this one.  This is how a pie is done.  All you need a is few ingredients, the right temperature, and the right soul behind it, and you have a winner.   The lemon juice really put it over-the-top.  I would have never thought to put that or have that added to my meal, ever.  It’s such a simple and healthy that I no longer want to take for granted.

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The presentation was also out-of-this-world, I wish I could throw up a hundred pictures.  The display is sometimes just as important as the pie.  I mean you’ve got to be kidding me?  This is incredible.

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And speaking of not taking anything for granted, I want to thank Danielle for being so kind in allowing me to take pictures and getting her blessing to do a write-up on this place.  I think this is the first time I felt so comfortable talking about my blog to the actual spot I was writing about.

In addition, they accidentally gave me a large but charged me for the price of a small.  It’s the little details that I wanted to mention as well.   They didn’t have to do that.  But it’s the sense of family and community I got in there that makes me want to come back.

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Maybe I just felt at home, maybe its being on vacation, maybe New Orleans just hit me on a very spiritual level.

I can’t wait to go back.  I miss this city so much.

Best,

Ideen

Buon Appétit

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I have wanted to write about Buontempo Brothers Restaurant, since I began this blog.  And I organically hoped to be in downtown Bel Air, MD to be able to try enjoy some unique slices.  And this week I was fortunate enough to do so.   Oh and you better believe, they have some creative ideas for pies.

Just as important, they have a friendly staff that has always greeted me and as far as I’ve seen, all of their patrons with a friendly hello and some pleasantries.   I have only lived in the area for over 6 years, but I always get the feeling, that there is a strong sense of community and it’s frequented by a lot of regulars, that have been coming for years.  There’s a lot of love going around.   It just feels like what a pizza place/Italian restaurant should be.

And that love translates into their cooking.

Simply put, I love their pizza.  And you see how aggressive their menu is.   You see some selections that are atypical of many pizza parlors.  And ever since, the first time, I visited them in 2008, it’s been nothing short of fantastic quality.

My indoctrination came from their Tuesday special.   A purchase of any large pizza, would get me a second large cheese for just $2.00.   Worth it’s weight in gold, and za!

My favorite slice of theirs, is the Chicken Pesto, and I’ve continuously raved many times on how much I love pesto.    I will review this slice in time, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone again.

First off, I ordered the Mediterranean and as you can see below, I barely made it to the party.

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I will say, that their crust has always stood out to me.  I can’t put my finger on it.  I don’t know if it’s something in the water but, oh my goodness, it’s divine.  I sense there might be some parmesan or butter embedded in the crust, or I could be tricking my into thinking as such,  But it’s top notch.  I could’t resist the pesto anyways, as we’re drawn to each other like magnets.   But this is a damn fine slice.   With the aforementioned pesto, eggplant, feta, tomato, and spinach piled on top of a traditional cheese slice, this is a certified winner.  I was so happy to try this and will be seeking it out again.   I know, many of us, myself included, can’t help but devour a pizza very quickly.  In this instance, I tried to savor this.  The flavors and the soul behind this slice, coming together, was pure ecstasy.

My second order, the Stuffed Spinach, almost didn’t have a chance.   I’m glad I got it though, and for folks that love bread, this is amazing.   But it’s too filling for me.   But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try another stuffed pie again.  It’s all a matter of taste.  I was pretty full after the first choice.

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I could hardly eat the crust but, the spinach, ricotta, and mozzarella inside was a real winner.  Toasted to perfection.   On a thin crust, it’d be even more magical.  The marinara sauce, on the side, added some more flavor, that was already bringing some good ones.  Still a solid slice, just not something I would go for, on a regular basis.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s cool, they reheated both and to my pleasure, the slices, ended up being stuck together.  Now some people might find that annoying.  I find that cool.  And the theme of this blog has been about soul, joy, and fun.  And how can you not get a kick out of this :

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I had to break the two pies apart, and perhaps that’s a source of good luck or just great food.

If you’re in the Bel Air vicinity, I suggest going here.  There’s a vibrant energy that keeps many of us coming back.   One review of this place will not do it justice.  More to come.

Best,

Ideen