It Just Feels Real

ConstantinoPie

It’s not like I’ve been looking for the perfect time to write about DiPasquale’s, but this might be it anyways.

I love this place so much.  A lot of Highlandtown (and Baltimore in general) locals come here on a more-than-regular basis and still think they don’t go in enough.

The aura and energy is second-to-none.  I always love walking in here and checking out their wines, their market & deli, and just appreciating their history altogether.

100 years plus in they’re still going strong and are as popular as ever.   They know what they’re doing.  And the staff has always been so welcoming and approachable during every visit I’ve made.

Honestly, I don’t go enough.   I try to go at least once or twice a month and I don’t always succeed.  Folks such as myself live for their subs.  Some  for their pasta.  Now I and many others may be pining for their pizza.  I am in love.

DiPasqualesOven

For the longest time I didn’t even know they served Brick Oven Pizzas. How foolish of me.  I doubt doing a blog would have led me to find out. I’m sure I’ve known about their pies for over a year or have I?

The two pies I will present to you may have some similarities and a familiar look to them.  Tis’ the season, so by happenstance or not, the colors are apropos.

ConstantinoPie

Back in July of this year I ordered the Constantino. This is magical.   This pie was heated to perfection. Just look at the precision amount of burn on the dough.   The mozzarella cheese is some of the best I’ve ever had.   I love spinach and tomatoes so this is all just making my day.  And the fresh grilled chicken pieces thrown on top make this a sure-fire winner.

ConstantinoYum

ConstantinoSlice

Needless to say this pie never had a chance.  I devoured this in minutes.   I may sound like a fat pig but this was glorious, outstanding, and resonating. I’m salivating for one as I expound on this for you now. Notice the colors of shade of the pie?  Was this a little foreshadowing of the holidays.   Can I be that clever?  Maybe.

I only wish I took my time and savored it more.  Great pizza is meant to be eaten slow and appreciated.   I do appreciate this pie but I’ll be a bit more leisurely the next time.

DiPasqualesGiardino

And speaking of next time, my second purchase took place yesterday. I went with the Giardino.

Once again the dough and cheese were magnificent.   I was excited to know what vegetable would go on top, as the menu leaves it open-ended.

To my pleasant surprise, I got a Christmas looking pie. The red and greens looked so beautiful.  This was a visual I’m grateful to have captured.

The pizza was good but not like the aforementioned Constantino.

I love eggplant but maybe it didn’t fit my palate.  I love asparagus, red peppers, and spinach as well.   As individual veggies I loved pulling the pieces off and noshing on them on their own.  For me, as a pie the flavors may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

GiardinoSlice

And I had no problem finishing it but it wasn’t up to the level of the previous choice.  I know some people love it and will continue to.   Maybe my expectations were very high.

This only means I need to keep coming back and on a significantly regular basis.  I want more pizza pies!  I love this place and I love everything about it.  There’s a history and authenticity that you don’t get with the newer shops, the chains, and the box restaurants.  I’ll support local establishments like this as much as I can.  They deserve the business.

And speaking of supporting local, the timing of this post is no accident.

The Holidays In Highlandtown kick-off celebration takes place today.   I will be attending and hope to see you there.

It’s a neighborhood I’ve fallen in love with much more recently.  There’s so much character and so much soul that I can’t help but be drawn to it.

Look forward to seeing ya.

Happy Holiday Season!

Best,

Ideen

 

 

Highlandtown Strong

FilipposPie

This past Saturday, September 5th, 2005 was a day I made sure to mark down on my calendar.   I didn’t believe it ahead of time, but it was National Cheese Pizza Day.  Yes there is a day dedicated to one of the most enjoyable things to nosh on.

In honor of this historical fact I wanted to find a place that would be befitting of such a monumental day in history.  This also means there will be nothing artisanal, farm-to-table, or overly pretentious.

It’s about good old-fashioned cheese pizza that is no thrills but full of deliciousness!

Nearly a month prior I visited Filippo’s in the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore.

If you had been going here before late last Summer, you saw the old Filippo’s.  It had a feeling of a very old and sketchy neighborhood bar and restaurant.  The times I had visited then felt so disorganized and disheveled that I actually found it refreshing to some of the more pretentious joints popping up all over the place.  Nevertheless, it still felt uneasy being in there that I never felt good about my purchases.  And they weren’t always up to par, food or drink.

Filippo'sStore

Transformation is a wonderful thing.  Nearly a year ago the restaurant and bar has been refurbished to the point of being unrecognizable.  And that’s meant as the highest compliment.   It’s a place locals and visitors from farther away can be proud to say they’ve frequented.

The pizza up until a year ago was mediocre-to-decent at best.  Again, what a little hard work, belief, and rejuvenation can do!

Of course a large cheese pizza was on the menu and that’s what was purchased.  I believe we got the 16″ for the price of $13.99, and it was well worth what the asking price was.

FilipposSlice

What a vision of beauty that is!  When I think of a very good pie that doesn’t try to be something it isn’t, this would be a strong example of that.

The crust was the right mix of crispy with just a little softness to make a perfect balance per slice.  The cheese tasted like a great mozzarella would.  And there’s always room to mention how awesome the cheese looks baked into the crust.  It’s done with precision. And the sauce was just right.  This makes this one of those quintessential pies that is worth seeking out for.

It’s not going to win any awards but maybe that isn’t their intent.  It’s just a delicious pie, in a thriving neighborhood, that deserves praise.

FilipposWithWine

I enjoyed my slice with a glass of wine and drizzled some parmesan cheese in for good measure.

For a pizza pie to commemorate on National Cheese Pizza Day, this is one I’m grateful to have tried.

I will add that the vibe and energy inside has increased ten-fold since they’ve redone the place. The bartenders have always been friendly and the outdoor seating has a cozy small-town feel going for it.

If there is a complaint, the pie took a while to come to us and it wasn’t too busy of a night.

They do have plenty of specials on drinks as well, more can be found here.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a review of a spot in Baltimore.  More is coming and some are going to be very familiar with the locals…

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

Matthew’s – Making Moves?

Matthews

One of the staples and favorites, of the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore, is Matthew’s.

Before I ever ate here, the amount of times I was suggested to go here was aplenty.   Even though I have heard mainly positive reviews, the negative opinions were also frequent.  I didn’t hear much of a grey area on this.  Perhaps people are sick of hearing about where they should go, because everyone else loves it.  Or because all your friends are going, maybe I should go to.  It’s easy to get caught up in the dogma.  I have been guilty of it myself.

With that being said, the first time I ate here I thought it was pretty good.  It was a few years ago.  I can’t quite remember what I had, but knowing me, it was probably a White pizza.

The last time I went, which was over a year ago, I had the Margherita, and I loved it.   The combination of basil, extra virgin olive oil, and the tomatoes I love so much, was the perfect medley.    I felt good eating it and enjoyed every moment.

This go around, I ordered the Spinach, with some garlic added.   I really wanted to like it, but something felt off.  It was but the mozzarella cheese didn’t taste as good as I remembered.   The crust is really good.  It’s thicker than what you will find elsewhere, but it just didn’t mesh well with the cheese.  But the dough is a winner. The spinach and garlic were great.  But the whole wasn’t as great as the sum of it’s parts, if you will.

I do like the basic way it’s packaged, when ordering to go.   I like the old school packaging paper, taped up, protecting the pizza served on a paper plate.

ToGoMoves

Like I was saying, I really wanted to like my pie, but it didn’t work out tonight.  The way it came out, didn’t look all that appealing either :

Spinach

But we all have our preferences and opinions.   One isn’t better than the other.  I will gladly be back at Matthew’s again, expecting the great tasting pizza we all hear about in Baltimore.  On this visit, it just wasn’t the case.

It’s good to hear the here the opinions and suggestions of others, while still formulating your own.

Take good care.

Best,

Ideen