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

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

Fresh Market Pizza Party

freshmarketslice

And that party was for one, me.  As in most of my posts, my dining experience has mostly been done in solitude.  If there were group outings or with a friend or two, then I most likely made it clear that I had some good company.  And how that might change dynamic of the experience and pizza itself.

This is a different kind of experience than what I’ve usually written about.   When making a frozen pizza in the comfort of your own home, it takes on a whole new life.  Even though we most likely didn’t make the pizza ourselves from scratch, there is something personal about heating it in the oven and enjoying a pie by yourself or with close family and friends.

It’s the whole ritual of looking for a pizza, seeing which toppings would make you and your serving company happy to eat without anyone feeling left out.  But when it’s just you, like it was in that case, the options become unlimited and no need to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings except maybe your own.

freshmarket

Per a recommendation from a close friend, I was told to visit The Fresh Market to grab one of their personal frozen selections and give it a shot.

But first I’ll give you my own personal experience of this grocery shoppe.

A little over eight years ago I was on a drive just like any others and stumbled across a new shopping district a little bit of a ways from the Baltimore area.   When I see a new arrary of stores and places to explore I’m naturally curious and love to discover something fun.   What I was grateful to notice was my first visions of this Fresh Market.

You know anything from the first time you walk in is going to feel wholesome, genuine, and simpatico.   Well not necessarily always but I would like that to be the case more times often than not.  But this is what I felt here.

It felt like a market.  You had your standard grocery aisles and in the middle you had fresh made sandwiches to order (and pre-made to go), your fresh meats, prepared foods, baked goods, and so many other fun things.

But aside from that nut you have a great selection of natural foods (nuts, raisins, dried fruits, sweet treats etc.), coffee, tea, and so many other amazing things.

Now what I just listed reads like any old grocery store, and that might be true, but something about the aura and energy in here just feels right. Maybe it’s the dimmed lights.  Maybe I’m just seeing things.  But something just feels awe inspiring in here at times.

But I had yet to ever try their pizza.  If I did, I forgot.  And that’s on me.

freshmarketthepizzas

So after a little poking around earlier this week, in the freezer section and refrigerated aisle, I went with the Margherita.  I wanted to keep it light, simple, and a little more down-to-earth, so this felt correct in theory.

freshmarketbox

I’m immediately charmed by the packing.  It just looks so cool.  That’s a technical term by the way.  Any personal touch, even in the most simplest form, leaves a lasting impression and goes a long way.

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When I got ready to prep this at home a feeling of excitement came over me.  I don’t use my oven enough to begin with, so this was going to be a real treat.

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Upon opening my pie looked ready to be heated and served to a party of one.  Hey, that’s me!

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Details of all this are not necessary.  I just wanted to convey my enthusiasm over something so simple and heating a frozen pizza.

What was even more inspiring were the aromas I was getting through the oven while my pie was cooking.  Those Italian spices were just permeating my kitchen. It w as only a 10-12 minute heating process, so I was patient but I was getting eager to eat.

It wasn’t at the point of staring at the timer, but I just felt like a kid waiting to eat my pizza and periodically checking the oven to see if it was ready.  I’m sure many have been in these shoes before; as a kid, as a parent, or both.

freshmarketpizzaheated

How gorgeous does this look?  Those sights and smells were giving me goose bumps.  And that golden brown crust makes it look almost too good to eat.  But forget that.

But to my mild disappointment, the spices, cheese, and tomatoes didn’t translate from in the oven to actual meal time.

It felt like whatever I was enjoying with my nose never clicked when actually eating a slice.

When talking about a frozen pizza, it’s a different criterion versus your local pizzeria.  I’m not looking for world class and pizza of the year caliber pie.  But I do want it to taste good.

The crust was flaky , crusty, and falling apart, just how I like my frozen gems.  But as a whole, the pizza just tasted average.  I wanted more flavor and I didn’t get it.  I’m surprised but not deterred.

And it’s not to say I didn’t finish.  I ate the whole thing, because even though it wasn’t anywhere close to what I expected, it was good enough to eat.

I did get two meals out of it.  The second meal was a late night snack.  I knew it was at home waiting for me, wrapped in foil.  That’s a good feeling knowing a pizza you heated is ready for a second around.

And yes, I was secretly hoping the seasonings and tomatoes would come alive on a second try.  It didn’t happen but doesn’t mean I won’t try another one of their pizzas.  They have a vast selection to choose from, and  I’m willing to bet will lead to better results.  And just because I wasn’t floored by it doesn’t mean you won’t.  Give it a try.  For $5.99, it’s a great investment into trying something new.

freshmarketthepizzas2

I don’t talk about frozen pizza much, but I would like this to be a regular thing.  I’ve had some amazing ones in my lifetime, and hope to cross paths with some of them, and share them with you.   Whether I continue this next week remains to be seen.  Maybe.

freshmarketfridge

To find the nearest Fresh Market in your area, click here.

In regards to that picture at the beginning of this post, my animal friends wanted to share in my personal experience, but no I didn’t give them any.  You don’t see me eating any of their pizza.  Oh wait…

For my previous foray into frozen pizza click here.

We also made pizzas once, to read more about that click here!

We’ll see what next week brings us.

Ideen

 

Flatbread Fridays

BistroWithWine

Over the course of these Summertime posts I’ve mentioned how I wanted to focus on lighter fare, as long as the focus remains on pizza.

Lets face it, the majority of us love pizza.  Nutrition value is out the window.  We want our comfort food any time of year.  It’s something that bonds us together.  There’s a multitude of ways a pie can be made.  That’s one of the many things that makes this thing so fun.   It doesn’t discriminate even if our tastes may.  And that’s another joy.  We all don’t love the same flavors.  If we did, that would be boring.

Thicker dough is not my friend.  I’m not sure whose friend it would be.  Bread is a tough one and while the weather is hot and bright, it’s easy for me to get bloated and full without hardly eating a thing.  The yummy pizza crust becomes a challenge in these months.  This isn’t a complaint.  I’d take this weather all year round.

This brings me to a surprise discovery.  And we’re back at BistroRx in the Patterson Park neighborhood of Baltimore, MD.

But is it really that much of a surprise?  Just because a place isn’t known for their pizza, or in this case flatbreads, doesn’t mean it can’t be discussed.  It just gives expanded options and I will be taking full advantage of such.

BistroPieWithWine

As we were enjoying our wine (for more on this bottle click here), a small plate was necessary.   I almost decided on a salad or random finger food, but the answer was right in front of me.   We went with the Margherita and what a superb choice.  If I went in another tangent or direction, this post doesn’t happen.  There’s a little dramatics for you.

BistroPie

I had no idea the shape would be just as immaculate as a regular pie.  But what is a regular pie?  It can be anything you want it to be.   Nevertheless, this crust was superb.  It was thin enough to enjoy in the heat.  And that pesto was dazzling.   It can make any pie a winner and this would win some titles if they were handing out belts, or trophies.   Hopefully this praise is on par with those rewards.

Besides the pesto and crust, the mozzarella and tomato sauce make this simple recipe on the level of some of the better za’s I’ve had recently.   This flatbread never had a chance.  If I was feeling unreasonable I’d have ordered another (and maybe another).  It was that stellar.

BistroWithWine2

I will be frequenting Bistro more.  I’ve had quite a few meals and this was on that level of pristine eats.  I’ve mentioned some of the other diamonds I’ve had, and you can read more about that here.

The energy and the vibe certainly helped.  Outdoor seating didn’t hurt either.

I’ve made friends in the neighborhood, some who just moved in and some were here temporarily, they have praised Bistro’s food above most, if not all, of Baltimore.  I can understand why.  It’s top flight and I want more.  I’m pining for another meal from there as I near the end of this post.  They’re closed now as of this writing.  Maybe some other time.

Yes I know this experience didn’t take a place on a Friday but it makes for a great, albeit cheesy title.  I’m fun and funny.

Until next time,

Ideen

 

Something on the Somewhere

TavernChickenPizza2

When I first started writing this blog, my primary focus was in and around the Baltimore area.  It was suggested to me that I expand where I could.   Even if it’s just a suburb, a different town will add a different element to my posts.   Since then, I’ve expanded to other parts of the northeast and sometimes elsewhere.  I don’t know where this is going, but global domination would be nice.  Or at least an expansion.    But this week I take it back to the city  I first wrote about.

Don’t you just love how I post a photo and then not get around to discussing it, until the second paragraph?   When you think of good pizza in Charm City I doubt Tavern on the Square makes many peoples’ top 10 or even 20 lists.   Should I even go higher?  This is not an indictment of them.   I actually found some of their pizza enjoyable, if not just flat-out scrumptious.  But there’s more to this place.  It’s become a frequent happy hour spot for dear friends of mine.  I’ve been grateful to be a part of many of these convocations.

TavernFront

But if you know the location, you know this bar has seen many transformations.  It’s been at least four different establishments since I’ve been frequenting this area.  Did I mention that this is nestled in the sometimes chaotic Canton Square?  However, this is one of the more subdued and refreshing locations, depending on what time of day you’re there.  And even at night it’s a little more reserved than some of the other more fraternized locales. Pun not intended.

For many, it’s like any other bar.  For me, I wonder what the identity is.  I over-analyze and ask sometimes reaching questions.  Maybe the fact that it has no niche is just what their niche is .  There I go being deep again.

Like I always ask, how was the za?

This is going to be a recap of several pies over multiple visits and in sequential order.  And in general, the pals I mentioned earlier were around for all of them.  I’ll try to simplify this so as to not overlap.

It wasn’t until I saw a good friend eating a gargantuan meatball pizza, that I even knew it was on the menu.  The meatball on this day was heated to perfection.  Look at that immaculately heated crust.  And the burnt cheese on the side is always a nice touch.  You can tell the flatbread crust was heated with soul and the chef was enjoying himself.  The meatball tasted great as well.  I’m thankful my friend gave me a couple of slices to try.

The blackened chicken was at the top of the standings.  This was over a second visit a couple of months later.  The chicken just had a taste to it that worked.  And the accompanying vegetables complemented the protein.  Once again, that crust was heated in stellar fashion.  As you can see, this pie got decimated quickly.  I was happy to share with my friends as that’s what life is all about.

For the next visit, we all ordered a bunch of pies.  This is also where things fell apart.

I ordered the buffalo chicken.  This was the dichotomy of the first two pizzas. It wasn’t heated well.  And you can tell by the pictures.  The golden brown was missing.   The buffalo sauce was too spicy and the blue cheese tasted goofy. Yes I said goofy.  I don’t know what went wrong.  It was good enough to meat but their was nothing behind this.  It didn’t feel like the happy pie I’ve grown accustomed too. And that made me sad.

Some friends ordered the margherita. It just tasted like it was there.  The presentation was so-so, and this tasted like there was nothing behind it.  This looked and tasted undercooked.

TavernMeatballSliceDay2

Finally, a friend ordered the meatball and I just had to try again.  It was nowhere near the level of what I enthusiastically described earlier.  The meatball itself didn’t seem cooked and again the crust seemed boring.   Again, enough to eat, but nothing more.

So what happened?   I have my educated guesses and information. maybe it was an off night.  I was happy to share and swap slices with friend for the third visit.  I just wish the enjoyment level was on par with the first meatball and blackened chicken pizzas.

With that being said, that’s how I’ll remember the visits and the eats.  That blackened chicken was tremendous.  I would strongly recommend if you get the chance.  I look forward to getting another visit in and hoping for a repeat.

Nevertheless,  the positive experiences with good friends is most paramount.  And I’m thankful to have had many here, as either a happy hour, starting point, or ending point. And with that, to Tavern, one final thing needs to be said. Thank you.

All the best,

Ideen

County First, City Later

BirrotecaBianca

Birroteca is a favorite of many in Baltimore.  I’m overstating the obvious.  The location, that atmosphere, the vibration, the libations, and last but not the least, the food is highly regarded.  It’s to the point that you might get sick of hearing about it.  Yes, it’s one of those places.   I love it.  I couldn’t pretend to be different even if I wanted to.

With that teaser, unfortunately I won’t be writing about the city location.  This is for us folks who live in the county and more specifically Bel Air.  Don’t fret,  a recap of the happenings on the city location will be forthcoming.  But I want it to feel special and to feel appropriate.  I’ll know the sign when it comes to me.

It was a dear friends birthday and they didn’t want to dine in haha.  That’s understandable. The request was for something from the dinner menu, and of course that means a couple of pizzas for us to share as friends or pizza pals.   We adore pizza.

The birthday bud wanted a margherita (plain cheese with tomatoes). Second pie would be  the bianco, with four cheeses, candied walnut sage, and pine cone syrup.  Mamma Mia!

A special birthday feast also means a couple of appetizers, so we couldn’t decide between Arancini and meatballs, so we went with both.  That’s how you solve a problem.

Our carry-out order was effortless and the pick-up was just the same.  No issues.  That was my first time setting foot in this Birro.  It’s so much more cozier and quaint versus the one in the city.   This is not to say one is better than the other.  The Baltimore location intimidated me the first time.  It’s colossal.

BirrotecaMeatballs

We first had the apps.   Make sense in sequence right? Our meatballs were good.  The mess in the photo is entirely my fault.

BirrotecaArancini

And the arancini I could eat a plate of.   That was one of the highlights.  One just isn’t enough. Please can I have more.    You could have that as a meal all by its lonesome.

BirrotecaMarg

The margherita was really good and the very thin crust of theirs I’ve always been a huge fan of.  For even the folks who don’t like lots of bread, this works flawlessly.  The sauce and cheese worked perfectly in concert with one another.

BirrotecaBianca

But the bianco was something else.  The pine cone syrup I was able to taste right away. Incredible.  And walnuts on a pie is a sure-finer winner.  You’ve got to be see and eat to believe.  First time for me and I want a next time.

Both pies look gorgeous a well.   These are eye-candy to the highest power.

Our smorgasbord included a great wine.  For more on this vino, you want to click right here.  And believe me, you want to!

The pies have endeared themselves to me even more over time and it’s been less than a week since our feast of friendship.   As a write this I’ve even more giddy with excitement. It feels good and I look forward to visits back to Bel Air and Baltimore in short order.

No more teasing.

Stay warm and stay inspired,

Ideen

A Hidden Gem

Margherita There’s a place to get a slice or a whole pie almost anywhere you look.  I like to change up where I go, so I don’t overdo the same spot and even neighborhood.  There’s an unlimited amount of places to go.  Variety is the spice of life, and pizza!

It’s not just about the big city locales.   The heavy hitters in Baltimore (and in other metropolitan areas) are coming.  As a matter of fact, I wrote about an amazing place last week.   However, l would be doing a disservice if I only talked about those.   There’s treasure in the county.   I posted about one recently.

Today, I will be talking about Margherita’s of Kingsville, MD. And it’s damn good. Honestly, I didn’t know Kingsville was even a town, until a few weeks ago.  And that’s my clumsiness.  I assumed this part of Belair Rd. was an extension of Bel Air.   If you drive past the tiny strip mall, where this pizzeria is located, you will easily miss it. I’ve done it countless times.

Fortunately, one day driving back home from errands, I stopped in and I’m glad I did.  Their nestled in a convenient segue between Baltimore and Harford County.

They do pizza by the slice.  I recall,  during my first visit, getting one cheese and a veggie, and both were wonderful.

For this particular visit, I ordered two whole pies, for me and my friends!  MargheritaPies!

First up, it’s namesake, the Margherita is a very simple, yet delicious offering.   Their homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil tasted just something out of your family’s kitchen. And that’s a good thing.

Next, their White Pie, happily titled ‘Our White Pizza’, was a joy to eat.  This is a six ingredient bundle of joy. The mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan cheeses merging with oregano, olive oil, and garlic, make this a hit.   This could have not have come out any better. Amazing stuff. Every flavor was detected and got superior after each bite. MagheritaPies

For more information, on the wine in the photo above, you can click here.

I noticed on their carry out box, of a location in Bel Air. I thought it was a misprint or a former establishment.  But, they’re coming soon.  And I was able to snag some pictures, that can be seen below. APizzaBoxPreviewsNewOne

If you’re ever near the area or are feeling adventurous, I highly recommend Margherita’s.  I have yet to stop by Pasta Blitz, which is their sister store, but can only imagine it’s equal in quality.

And there’s the fun with writing about food or anything you might love.  The choices are abundant and the sky’s the limit. With pizza, we eat it year round, so there will always be something to talk about. As the weather gets warmer, and more people are going out, the posts will reflect that.

In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and enjoy some yummy pizza!

And Happy Spring!

Best,

Ideen