With Love,

AmericanFlatBreadIonianAwakeningPizzaReady2

You know so many folks throw out the word artisanal more than ever.  Well maybe it’s lost it’s cache if you will.  Me saying that is just one person’s opinion.  But that’s what I sadly sense.  If you throw out superlatives and overstate positives where they shouldn’t go, they tend to get lost in the shuffle.  And what’s actually great could sadly get lost in the shuffle or…

American Flatbread was speaking to me.  No, not literally, that would be goofy talk… But maybe it was.  I was searching my local supermarket’s frozen pizza aisle, and I was in the mood for anything but something that would be bloaty and stuffy.  The weather outside would deem suitable for comforts and getting full and happy, but that’s not what I’m usually looking for, now or ever.

I was reading the labels and their story, where it just kept striking a chord with me.  Maybe it’s the mood I was in, but the message of doing good, not just for others, but for ourselves brought a smile to my face.  The message of supporting charities, those in need, and still taking care of ourselves is important.  If we can’t help ourselves how can we be at our best at helping others.

As we approach Thanksgiving and the heart of the holiday season, these messages are going to be much more commonplace.  I do my best to support others throughout the year, while still trying to do right for me.

The importance of eating healthy, and by taking in the most natural ingredients has become indoctrinated in us more than ever.  It’s important, and we shouldn’t resist this.  I shouldn’t resist.  This to me is more artisanal than anyone claiming as much, with nothing to back it up.

They can back it up, and then some…

My two choices were the Tomato Sauce & Three Cheese, and the Ionian Awakening.

(Here is where to buy near you)

I will review them together and separately.  First, the crusts are 100% organically grown wheat, and I can feel it.  I can taste a difference.  You might trick yourself into thinking this, but it’s true.  There was something about this that didn’t upset my stomach or upset me in any way.  Ha that was funny.  But seriously, this flatter crust (well it is a flatbread) really made a difference, and made the cheese and sauce taste that much better.

This is an operation comprised of good people, good spirits, and good souls trying to make the best pizza they can.  This was incredible.  This is not your typical frozen pizza. There is a genuine feeling of good and health during and after eating.  The lower calorie content will tell you that as well.   And I can’t get forget those herbs.  You really get a good taste for them here.

AmericanFlatBreadIonianAwakeningPizzaReady2

I just like the name Ionian Awakening.  With a powerful name, you know it’s going to be good.  I never had a doubt. These are Mediterranean flavors at their best.  If you love feta cheese, red onions, and olives on your pizza (which I love off a pizza as well!), you’re going to adore this.  You’re going to savor every bite, and with the most brilliantly prepared crust to balance (not counterbalance, but balance) everything out, some may love this more than the traditional cheese.    I love them both, so I can’t really say what was better.  I can call it tie!

AmericanFlatBreadIonianAwakeningPizzaSlice

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness… This is pizza, this is true artisan style, and it deserved to be called that and so many other good things.   I also just love the good that American Flatbread represents.

I’m grateful I found this days before Thanksgiving.  I’m truly thankful and grateful that I was introduced to this pizza, and the timing couldn’t have been better.  There’s more pizzas to choose from, and I love what they represent.  So I hope to revisit this again and try to show them some of the love that they are projecting onto the world and the universe.

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

With Love,

Ideen

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

I Love Wegmans.

WegmansSicilianBuffaloChicken2

It’s one of those magical paces on earth.  I seriously believe that to be true.

I think I got it right this time.  Some time back, I wrote about Wegmans (past stories can be found here) and the slices and story I wrote about was a bit goofy.  It just didn’t click like I hoped. Maybe I was trying too hard.  And the anomaly was that their pizza was not up to par.  That’s going to happen.  That’s also not going to make me stop going here….

As a matter of fact I go to a Wegmans at least 5 days a week.  At least is the operative word, because sometimes it feels like I go there more than once a day.   That does happen.

For the sake of life, and things in general, I wanted to keep this as simple as possible. It’s November.  We’re already so busy to begin with.  The holidays are fast approaching.  What a trite thing to say, but it’s true.  For all the commotion that comes our way, there’s plenty of room to keep things as even keel and as comfortable as possible.

Pizza is at the top of that list.

Wegmans (more about their amazing story here) knows good pizza.  A visit to multiple locations verifies that.  They’ve been consistently great to amazing.  Maybe an understatement.

I’ve shared pizza with good friends, with family, and myself.  Their a growing supermarket chain, but no matter how big they get, it keeps feeling like home.

Their pizza has a familiarity and a simplicity that feels familiar.  It takes me back to places, and then it only takes back to a recent place.  Yes, like the last time I visited. Not everything is that dramatic for me, I promise…

If you truly judge a place by their cheese alone, then Wegmans can do no wrong.  What a perfect recipe of the most simplest ingredients.  I think the most important ingredient however is soul, spirit, and enthusiasm.  Having a wonderful crust doesn’t hurt either.  A strong base and foundation culminate into an all around winner.

Their blanca is the same.  The seasonings, the olive oil, and the ricotta on such a perfectly heated crust is the stuff of beautiful.  I love white pizza and can sometimes be critical of how some places make it, but they nailed it.   My personal and humble opinion is that it’s the most difficult of pizzas to do right.   Yes they did.

What I love is that their Sicilian Style is self-serve. Try saying that a few times over.  And featured today was the Buffalo Chicken.  It may be heavy and thick for some, but that’s the beauty of choices.  I enjoyed it but know I could make at least two meals out of this.  You know the main ingredient in buffalo chicken, so I don’t need to repeat them.  I highly recommend.

I highly recommend Wegmans in general.  Pizza notwithstanding, they have a commitment to the best quality food and the best everything.   I’ve always had good experiences here from grocery shopping, their pharmacy, their cafe, the hot food bar, the sandwich shoppe, the cheese market, the deli, the seafood department, and everything in between.  Trust me, there’s a lot in between that it may take a bunch of visits, and then more to get it all in.

There’s no need to get it all in now.  The journey is the best part.  It’s one I intend to continue on and revisit many times over.

I love it and I’m willing to bet many of you who are fortunate to live by one or have visited, can say the same.

I love Wegmans and I’m so grateful for all the good it brings.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

A Truly Amazing Club…

CheddarBurgerDeepDishPizza2

A group of kind souls got together and signed me up for a Pizza of the Month Club.

For more on this and other Amazing Clubs, click here.

It was unexpected, an incredible gesture, and something I will always remember.  It’s something that makes me warm inside, and makes me feel so much gratitude.  It’s a validation that not only what I do means something to someone.  But I also have people that care for me in general.

It’s a hard thing to grasp.  I’m not good with compliments, I’m not good with people doing kind things for me, or to me.  I’m not good with anyone doing anything for me with no expectations in return.   I don’t want anything in return either.  Well maybe kindness, because I don’t think that’s asking too much.  So maybe in a way, how I’ve been to people has been reciprocated.

And a lot of the best parts of our life are based on reciprocity, doing good things for one another, with nothing expected in return.  Anything that’s attracted to us is a bonus, but it’s to be cherished, embraced, and loved.

That’s that attitude of gratitude you might have head about.

So when this package arrived at my doorstep I was blown away.  I mean I was literally blown away.  This was beautiful.

This is so beautiful.

I opened up the package to see not one, but THREE Chicago-style pizzas in the most charming and welcoming of sizes.

I wish I had people to share this with, but maybe for this installment, I was meant to share these over time, and alone.

The three for this month are the Artichoke & Plum Tomato, the Cheddarburger, and the BBQ Chicken!  The themes may have to do with the season, the summer, and the upcoming holiday.  Whatever the reason I’m just so thankful for this, and it’s a change of pace for this blog as well.

As a friend who spearheaded said that they hope this inspires a few blog posts.  Well you know at least two more are coming.  But first things first…

I loved each pie so much, and for various reasons.

ArtichokeTomato

The Artichoke & Plum Tomato might have been my favorite.  Maybe because it’s the most season and light to me.   I’ve also grown to prefer vegetables and different types of veggies over your standard toppings.   That’s what makes pizza so great.  You can add just about anything to it, within reason, and even for no reason, and it could turn out to be YOUR masterpiece.

Tomato&ArtichokeDeepDishPizza

I love the quality of the ingredients, and the golden brown crust just works fabulously here.  This is a unique taste on a white pizza, is one way to look at it.  Yet I can also just say it’s awesome.  Awesome!

Just so you know, the cheese complements the pizzas on all of these in first-class fashion.  I don’t need to go over every ingredient, there prominently displayed in the one picture earlier on in this story.

Now the Cheddarburger would go great for the nearing holiday, or whenever you want.  This is simple yet creative.  Ground beef and cheddar cheese in that deep-dish crust, well… you might know the rest.

BBQChicken

In the past I’ve said how I feel BBQ Chicken is one of the harder pizzas to master.  This was well done though.  And if you notice, I have goofed heating this one in the oven. There’s the burnt marks on the pie and on the crust, but it turns out it worked in my favor.  I heated these all just a few minutes under the suggested amount, and they all turned out differently, yet so well.  Lesson learned.

The quality of chicken and sauce on this is quite high end.  You just know.  And you just know there’s a soul and feeling behind this and the previously mentioned pies, that you’re a part of something special.

I’m grateful to be a part of something special. I’m grateful to my friends for being there in a rough patch of my life, maybe the roughest.  This means so much to me.  For future installments of this, I hope to share these pizzas with the folks directly involved in having them attracted into my life.

What an Amazing Club…

Peace Be With You…

Ideen

 

Seeing The Good…

GoodBurger&Pizza

This whole thing about neighborhoods, cities, and major metropolitan areas evolving is something that’s there.  It exists.  And we can look at it as, it is what it is and there’s nothing we can do about it; or it is what it is and we must adapt.  Can’t say either scenario is mutually exclusive if you see what I’m saying.

It is what…  Oh wait…

The Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore is going through those changes, whether it’s for the better or something else is all based on interpretation, how long one has lived or spent time there, and just making observations of what’s going on in the world.  It might be bittersweet, but hopefully can be embraced somewhat, and the historic parts can all preserved in spite of everything else.  Or in spite of, aha!

While I recently wrote about one amazing new pizza place in the area, I go in a similar, yet different direction with what I write about now.

GoodBurger&PizzaFront

Good Burger & Pizza has been around for a little while, and seems to inconspicuous in its presence and its aura.  Maybe that’s just my interpretation.   Here is their menu, and online ordering info.

If you recognize the location, then yes, it was the old Little Italy Pizzeria, which was a mainstay for so many years and a stop for folks in the neighborhood and visitors, to grab a slice, a pie, and many other standard carry out items, day or night.  Yes they stayed opened past last call.

While no longer staying that late, Good Burger & Pizza does stay open into midnight on the weekends.  It’s just one of those things that echoes a change in the neighborhood.  It may not be that big of a detail, but it’s something I sense.

GoodBurger&Pizza1

What I honestly didn’t sense is a pizza that would be so good and at such a reasonable price.

I was happy to see a large square pizza for only $11.  And what you get for that is the equivalent of 5-6 meals.  Seriously, it’s fantastic.  And I ordered a half cheese and half pepperoni to share with friends.

And shared with friends I did…

I brought this to a holiday gathering a few months ago, and it didn’t disappoint.   This is greasy goodness at its finest.   This is not going to win any championships or awards, but this is a grower and on the lines of pure comfort food.

GoodBurger&Pizza2

That crust is cooked perfectly and the amount of cheese and toppings placed from above is all most people want from a pizza.   When you’re not worried about details, or even if you are, this is a pie that’s going to sell you without having to sell anything.  It sells itself.

And I really think the square slices are a nice touch.  Yes I know that’s no an original concept, (this place may claim that title, read about it here), but it’s their take and they did a tremendous job.   I must admit, I didn’t have high expectations, and it’s not that they were low whatsoever, I went in with an open mind and I feel good about the results.

It feels like a carry out spot that belongs in the neighborhood and has the aura of a place that’s been around for a long time.  And that’s the good vibes you get from a local business.

So while many local businesses are closing its doors, changing hands, and just moving on; it’s good to see many others thriving.  This is so important to the integrity, backbone, and character of not just this neighborhood, but many.

Here is my ever growing pizza history of Fells Point.

I look forward to writing about many more small, independent, and local businesses to come.

Have a Happy Holiday Weekend!

Best,

Ideen

…Are The Best People

Piazza27Slices

I’m not sure what to make of this.   I took the title off of the window display of this weeks recap, Piazza 27.  Until three days ago I hadn’t heard a thing about it.  But you know how thing are, you hear about an entity once, you constantly hear about it as it gains momentum in your head, in your life, and within the universe and atmosphere around you.

Piazza27Side

But the things I’ve been hearing about Piazza 27 are on the level of life changing, astounding, and out of body, even more so out of this world.

Locals in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore (this is still one of my favorites) have been clamoring for a pizza place with simple New York Style slices to either eat in or carry out.  It’s one of those things that I’m proclaiming based on observation and based on the word-of-mouth momentum I alluded to in the previous paragraph.   I understand that.

Mt. Vernon is a neighborhood full of character, amazing architecture, great shops, bars, and restaurants of all nationalities and styles, but sometimes you just a simple slice of pizza with little wait time.   And this is what Piazza 27 is providing to locals, and students from nearby universities and institutions.

For that and among many other reasons is why I think people love this place so much.  It’s a hidden them that’s going to explode, whether it’s because of this blog or not, is another thing.  But I’m going to show my support because local business with a good energy, a good aura, and friendly people behind the counter (and they were friendly for sure) is always worthy of attention and admiration.  We don’t give enough of it.  We can never give enough.  It’s just the way it is.

But with that being said, how was the pizza?

I honestly felt influenced by the incredible reviews of this place on their Facebook page and other sites (they don’t have a website yet, which I actually find awesome) that is may have been hard to be practical in my own critiques.

I’ve been guilty in the past of buying into the dogma of a place, and going against my own genuine opinion, because so many other people have lauded the place to the point of annoyance.  And the counter to that would be I would find a place less than stellar in comparison to the reviews, because it was either out of spite or because I was sick of hearing about it.

The fact that I’ve already said all this would lend you to believe that my opinion might still not be own but headed towards a confirmation bias one way or another.

Well I’m going to do my best to say how I truly feel, but with the suggestion that you should try this place yourself if you live in and around Baltimore, Mt. Vernon, or plan on visiting.

Piazza27Slices2

I purchased 4 slices with the total being only about $13.   If you do the math, this is a deal, a bargain, and this will get you two lunches worth at least.  Yes I made this into multiple meals.  I can’t eat this all at once, that would be crazy,  or would it?  Hmmm…

The friendly face behind the counter was just that.  She could not have been more kind in explaining every slice to me.   That’s the stuff that’ll make people keep coming back, and they’ve been coming back alright, or so I heard.

For this final pizza post of 2017, the four slices I purchased were cheese, white with veggie, chicken bacon ranch, and chicken bacon pesto.  That last one, I know I know.. It’s different alright.

Piazza27Cheese

I want to be honest here.  All the slices were really good to great.  I completely understand why people are raving about this.  The crust, the dough, the sauce, and the way it was heated were great on some slices, and better on the others.

Piazza27WhiteVeggie

But I also want to understand where folks are coming from.  I think if the pizza quality was a tad lower, I sense a lot of people would still be thinking highly of this place. It’s just a thought.  There was a lack and this place filled it, but it filled it and then some.  The pizza is terrific.

Piazza27ChickenBaconRanch

Yet some are calling it the best pizza in Baltimore, the best New York pizza they’ve ever had outside of New York, and some have said it’s the best pizza every.   This isn’t hyperbole, reviews are here & here saying similar things.  There’s local community sites sharing that same sentiment.

Piazza27ChickenPesto

I can’t say it’s the best pizza,  but that’s not a fair thing to say anyways.  It’s great pizza.  The cheese and chicken bacon pesto were the two favorites of mine.  And you know you can tell what’s a good pizza place if their cheese slice is good, then it’s going to be the gateway to other tremendous pizzas.

I’ve always loved pesto but this is up there with the best of the best pesto.  And how it doesn’t clash with the the bacon is a pleasant surprise.

Piazza27Slices4

That’s not to say that the other two slices weren’t great.  They were delicious.  The white is one of the better whites I’ve had, and the veggies didn’t get in the way like some places might.  It complemented the white slice so well you could easily taste the ricotta, garlic, and olive oil.

I got a kick out of walking out of the place with this big to-go box in my hand.  Based on how I was feeling and the location, it only seemed fitting.

These slices also tasted like brand new a day later.  And that’s the best judge of a place.  I think these could last a few days and still taste great. Easy to say about any decent leftover pizza, but there is an aura about this place and these slices.

I’d say definitely go here.  There’s something going on alright.  Best pizza ever?  Not to me, but I’m just one opinion.  It’s great pizza at a great price, at what seems to be the ideal location.  A few businesses have been unsuccessful since I’ve been in the area, but I think that’s over now.  I know that’s over now.   We have liftoff.

We have a winner here in Piazza 27, and once they gain even more momentum, all bets are off.

Piazza27Menu

They’ve only been open a month (menu can be found here) but the cat’s been long out of the bag.

Piazza27Front

I’m going to have to come back here and do a sequel.  Something magical is going on here, and I’m even getting a better energy and feeling as I write about it.

Happy New Year, Peace Be With You, and I’ve got to come back here.  And soon.

Ideen

 

 

 

Plenty of Christmas Spirit…

PizzaBlitzSlices

Nine years ago I discovered this magical place called Quarry Lake, and what looked to be in its infant stages.  Nestled in the affluent Pikesville suburb of Baltimore, this neighborhood always seems safe, approachable, and inviting enough that while it’s not going to be groundbreaking in any way, yet it’s a place of a peace and harmony.

QuarryLake

I think those many years ago I looked at things with wider eyes, a little more idealism, and the happiness in discovering something new, which always brings about rejuvenation, a rebirth, and an all around feeling good.

This was also right around the holidays, so I recall that day with such detail that I’m getting a bit emotional thinking about it.  And I have no particular reason to feel emotional.  Well maybe I do.  I did some impromptu shopping that day, and discovered some new stores that I otherwise wouldn’t have known, at least not for a while.  It may or may not have been my first visit to that great grocery store, Fresh Market, which I wrote about some time ago, that post can be found here.

FreshMarket

Where is this post going?  Aside from more over sentimentality about the holidays, and everything else feeling larger than life?

PizzaBlitz

This brings us to Pizza Blitz, which is across the way in this ever-growing strip of stores, office building, and houses galore.

Now I’ve been here too many times to count, so I obviously think the pizza is good enough to eat and keep coming back too.  Or maybe it’s something else?  Nah it’s not really much of anything other than convenient, and I just find myself at peace for some reason when I’m here.  I have no explanation why.

Sometimes things don’t need an explanation.

PizzaBlitzSlices2

But about the pizza, it’s quite affordable.  Most slices are $3 or less, and you can’t complain about that.  It’s bring your own beer and wine, which is another major plus.

Yet I don’t find anything spectacular about the pizza.  But this is how it goes sometimes.  I’ve always found the appearance of all those slices on those pizza trays so charming.  It’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this blog.   There’s always places with plenty of food on display ready to be ordered and heated and then served, but something about all those pizza slices on display warms my heart.

PizzaBlitzSlices3

And something about Pizza Blitz’ display is especially welcoming.  Maybe it’s the energy of the place, maybe it’s the friendly staff, or maybe it’s the fact that it’s a local business, and local makes me feel good.  It’s all of the above, and then it all depends on the mood and place I’m in, any customer is in, and all those other details that once again, can’t be explained.

I love making pizza or anything into an existential and metaphysical conversation.  It doesn’t have to be like that, and not every visit I make gives me that feeling.

Something about this place gives me that feeling.

And I don’t need to go into detail about the five slices you see in this post.  The pizza is good but I’ve had a lot of great pizza this year that I wouldn’t know where to even put this.  It wouldn’t be high on my list, and that’s just fine.  Not every pizza is going to be the best pizza I or you have ever had.

In reading reviews, many folks seems to think highly of this place, and I love that.   When it comes to the pizza, I will temper my reactions to a couple notches below great.  The crust is safe and easy to eat, and while this is their version of New York Style, I’ve had much better.

PizzaBlitzSlices5

The white slices in particular weren’t my favorite, but the plain cheese and buffalo chicken are solid.   And for many people that’s all they need.

There’s a strong local presence among the clientele, and I’ve seen it with every visit.  You have your families, your students, and business people.  People from all walks of life just looking to grab a slice, enjoy some food, and enjoy present company embodies Pizza Blitz, and I imagine many of the businesses nearby have similar scenarios and sentiments.

Or I could just be overreaching and this could all just be me a bit emotional during the holidays.  I’m fine with that.

And I’m fine with Pizza Blitz.  Again, this pizza isn’t anything great to me, but it’s great to so many others, and that’s what matters.  I’m one person with an opinion and it’s easy to find the positives here.  All in all, this place is loaded with Christmas Spirit.

For more on Pizza Blitz, here is their menu, their story, and contact info.

I likely have only one more post for the year, and I have no idea where it’ll be from.  I just hope to end the year on a high note.

I wish you and yours a happy holiday, and peace be with you.

Ideen