Around the Globe, Around The Corner…

TraderJoesSpinachRicottaPizzaReady2

Across different universes (here and here), and this one, I’ve sung the praises of Trader Joe’s and for good reason.

I don’t recall many places that have resonated with me for so many reasons over these many years, but they have. and maybe you have a place or two that has given you those feelings, those butterflies, and everything else with the warm and fuzzies.

In the grand scheme of things, it still is just a store (to find a store near you go here), but it’s always had a a good energy.   Sometime it’s had the energy.  I can’t tell you how many locations I’ve been to, but with maybe one or two rare exceptions, I’ve always felt at peace, spiritually whole, and sometimes rejuvenated after a visit.

There’s no need to belabor this point.  Maybe I’m always in that place of abundance right before I walk in, and it manifests itself in ways that words won’t or can’t do justice.

After all this time, how I never got around to writing about their pizzas is one of those universal things.  Micro vs. macro, or what have you. It’s not that serious, let’s get to the pies.

For the summer, I hopefully found two of the better pizzas to discuss, and I’m proud to say that the Spinach Ricotta, and the Sicilian Style Red Pepper. Provolone, & Pearl Mozzarella were absolute works of art.

Maybe it was a moment of inspiration, but of all the pizzas (and they got too many, that another post is meant to happen, and soon), I grabbed these two, and they turned out perfectly.

The suggested heating time and temperature is shown to you, but I altered it a bit and placed both in the oven simultaneously.   That hasn’t always worked, but this go around just felt right.  I just knew it was going to be special before I even walked in the door, and then before I walked in the door.

Thin crust is ideal for warm weather, it’s ideal for any time, yet in July, in the heart of Summer, it’s ideal for right now.  Perfection.  And this crust, my goodness, everything about this is right.  It’s not quite comfort food, which can wait. This is a pizza to enjoy alone, or share with friends, and to appreciate with every bite.

Honestly, I did have one I liked a little more, but that’s besides the point.  They’re both tremendous.  The spinach and ricotta on top of a regular pie base had a charm and appeal that I didn’t realize until after it came out of the even.

The Sicilian Style would be fine with our without the peppers, but I wanted a cheese pizza, with just a little more.  The provolone and mozzarella definitely has a distinct taste.  Yet, within all this splendor, there was a packet of olive oil to drizzle on top.  I was only going to put on a little, but I went crazy. Looks good doesn’t it?  It’s the little things, but going crazy over olive oil is what makes me happy right now.  This pizza made me happy.

No I don’t have a favorite after all, it’s a two way tie and both are outstanding.  Did I already say that? Well let me reiterate, Trader Joe’s knows how to do pizza.  It’s more than just frozen food, it’s an experience.

And I’m grateful to have had this experience, and to share it with you.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

Lotsa To Love

lotsabianca

If I had only said only ‘Lotsa To Like’ that would imply that I really enjoyed it, but there was that little extra missing.  So I said I love it.  And indeed I do.  No embellishment of the truth is necessary.

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Lotsa (which now has several locations and growing) of Towson, MD is simple, effective, and to the point pizza.  It’s stone fried and even though it’s the equivalent of fast food, it tastes anything but.  This tastes like a real pizza.  Nothing about this is done halfway, even though the heating times ranges from three to five minutes.  And in those few minutes is where magic and wonder happens.

I know many folks are purists.  They wouldn’t even consider going into a pizza shoppe like this one.  I’m passionate about pizza but at the same time I like to give new places a chance.  And even though this is an expanding chain, it’s still the first time for me, and I’ve wanted to eat here since the Summer.

And to me pizza is pizza.  If it’s good than it’s good, no matter how it was created.  I respect the original forms but can appreciate what’s going on today.   I’m a traditionalist myself , but I would like to think there’s room for everyone.

Yes, I only heard about Lotsa going back to June, when it was on the verge of opening.  I had promised myself I would eat here before the year would be over.  I was cutting it close but I’m a man of my word.

I did no research on this place beforehand.  I wanted to go in with as little knowledge or biases as possible.  It’s good to know a few things ahead of time, such as the menu, and whether it’s casual or higher end dining, but unless absolutely necessary I’d like to have an unexpected and organic experience.   Calling it one or the other would be an understatement.

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I had avoided as much as I could to have any preconceived notions.  But the way friends talked about this place made it seem like it was a fancier dining establishment.   To my pleasant surprise, it wasn’t.   Everything I mentioned earlier, about how it was quick and seamless I only found out about upon walking in.  I find that so cool.  Expect the unexpected, and don’t expect anything at all  For me at least, it’s more enjoyable that way.

So this is a recap of two separate visits.

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With visit number one, it was lunchtime, but I went with their Breakfast Pizza.  In the two years plus of doing this blog, this would be my first breakfast pie, and what a way to start. I adore this thing.   I was afraid it was going to be too heavy with the sausage and bacon, but it was just right.  The cheddar jack is the perfect cheese for this type of pie.  The spices from everything all come together so nicely.

But the standout is this dough.  It’s that comfort food style crisp and chewy bread that fits perfectly with this time of year.   This is the kind of bread I want when it’s freezing cold and I want to indulge in some bread in the comfort of my own home, with friends of in solitude.  It represents winter weather perfectly.  That’s not to say you should only have it around this time of year.  But I can’t say enough good things about their dough.

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Second, is the Bianca.  And doesn’t this just look like Christmas?  Look at these colors.   And again that dough.  Oh my goodness this is so good.  It’s charred to masterpiece like levels.  And that stone fired oven is a thing of beauty.    This bread tasted as good, if not better for round two.  Additionally, the provolone cheese truly makes this pizza something special and one I would get again.

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Actually I would get either of these again.   The garlic, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and all the other cheese with the aforementioned provolone make this a hit.  And it serves an audience seeking something lighter than the breakfast pie.  Did I mention it looks so Christmasy?   Yay!  I love Christmas!

As I mentioned, there’s currently just a few locations.  Local to our friends in Maryland, would be Towson and Annapolis.  So if you’re in the area I highly recommend checking them out.  And at about $8 for a personal pie, you can’t go wrong.

Oh and they were playing nothing but 90’s pop music throughout both my visits.  If that doesn’t sell you than I don’t know what will.

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Here’s their menu and more about Lotsa itself.

And here’s my previous visits to Towson in the form of pizza.

There’s a lot of holidays left and I hope you’ve been enjoying them with the people you love and maybe eating some good za!

I love the holidays!

Ideen

 

 

Frenchman Street

DizzyPie

Did I fool anyone with that title? My mind is still somewhere else or maybe it’s over here.

Nevertheless, we had the most dynamite individual pie brought to us by my new friends at Dizzy Cow Pizzeria.

I say friends because I chatted with them and explained what I was doing.  They were very receptive as long I was being positive.  How do you turn that down?  When supporting local and anything with good intentions, finding the heart and the good is the way to go.  More on that shortly.

Speaking of heart, St. Francis Neighborhood Center does a lot of good for the city of Baltimore.  I’m grateful to know some of the folks behind the operation and helped them volunteer at their Resource Fair & Music Festival this past weekend.  Links can be found here.

When I heard there would be food trucks I got the sense there’d be pizza.  Now I’ve reviewed a few in the past (click here for  more , over here, and wait up I got one more!) so you’d think I’d run out.  This isn’t the case as food trucks are still a growing phenomenon. I figure there’s room for everybody as long as the food and service is quality.

I’m glad I got to try Dizzy Cow for the first time at this event.  My first sight of them was at the Downtown Monument Lighting way back in December of last year.   The event was a frenzy, and as I was about to order some pizza, and snap some photos, my phone died.  It wasn’t meant to be.  It was too hectic, so in hindsight this all worked out like it was supposed to.

DizzyCheese

A dear friend had ordered the cheese earlier, or as they charmingly title it, ‘Old faithful’, and it was a great starter.   My friend pointed out, you always start with cheese.  That’s a recurring sentiment.  I knew I was in or something special.

Josh, the owner and operator could not have been more friendly.   And his associate Matt, was just as helpful in suggesting the most amazing of pies on this most momentous of days.

DizzyMenu

I wanted something different from the menu.  I wasn’t in the mood for meats or standard vegetables. Matt said his go to, if he was in the same frame of mind, would be the Frenchman, their house speciality.  No hesitation on my part.  The idea of honey, figs, and brie on a pie sounded awe-inspiring on the surface.  And unique is always good.  There’s plenty of weeks for your traditional pies.

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It was so good that this had to be shared.  I believe three or four folks helped me finished it. When I say it like that you might think I didn’t want any more.  That wasn’t the case at all. This was tremendous.  Honey and fig are two of the essentials I need more of in my life. And that brie mixed in with the mozzarella, you’ve got to be kidding me.  Neither cheese got lost by the other.  But I could always use more brie.  Mozzarella isn’t going anywhere. I’m at the verge of drooling as I write this.  Where can I find some more?   And that soft yet slightly (done to perfection) crisp crust was perfect for this day.

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I didn’t miss the tomato sauce at all.

For my pizza pals in the Baltimore area, here is a list of where they’ll be on a weekly basis.

DizzyCowLogo

And finally here is their catering and contact information.   A user friendly and simple website speaks volumes by the way.  Their amazing pies do all the talking it needs to.  I can’t wait to try them again, whether by chance or some other universal alignment.

I’m hungry now.

Take good care,

Ideen