Olympic Style Pizza Party

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Some time back a couple friends told me that Hudson Street Stackhouse does pizza well.   That’s oversimplifying things just a bit  But keeping it simple and down-to-earth is what most of us want from our pizza pies.  It’s just pizza after all.

And the simplistic nature of their pies is what’ll make me want to come back.

Last Sunday a couple of friends and I wanted somewhere to go to enjoy sports in peace. They wanted soccer and I wanted the Olympics.   To say where we walked into originally was a zoo was an understatement.   Overcrowded venues have never done anything for me. It brings out the worst in people.   So after two minutes of chaos, we took a walk and let fate dictate the rest.

Minutes later we landed at Hudson Street and we were fortunate enough to grab some bar stools, and the rest was history.

Many locals and folks into sports know this is a hockey bar.  I’ve been there when this place has been packed to the rafters. Just like the spot we were in minutes before.  And I’ve been a part of some of the busy crowds at this bar too.  So to see a more mellow environment where my friends and I can have a peaceful conversation and hear one another is always welcome.

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Speaking of welcoming, the bartender was just that.  And I’ve always liked their food here. But how I overlooked getting a pizza baffles me.

It’s been hot out (no complaints from me), so a thick crust is not going to sit well with many of us. Fortunately, their dough is a yummy flatbread that won’t fill you up too quickly.

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I went with their Mediterranean pie, per the bartender’s recommendation, and I’m glad I did.  It was the one I was leaning towards.

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They use diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, and what a call.  I didn’t even miss it.  If it wasn’t specified, I wouldn’t have noticed much of a difference.  Whether that’s an indictment of how mediocre some sauces are in places, or that the tomatoes were so amazing, I don’t know.  I’d say it’s a bit of both.

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This is a vegetable pie that I’m savoring as I reminisce about this experience.  I love garlic. And it heightens so many entrees, not just pizzas.  This was no exception.  And the onions and olives tasted authentic.  This whole pizza was authentic. It was a pleasure to share it among friends.

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Even the oval shape had an Olympic or sports look to it.  I might be reaching but that’s what I was feeling.  Well when the Olympics are over they’ll still be cranking out these pies, so I may have to come up with another analogy.

For such little dough, this packs so much power.  The melting of the cheese is pure eye candy.   There was a lot of soul and positive energy behind this pizza. The slightly burnt edges adds a little more character, and it didn’t need any more.  I’m a happy guy.

I’m coming back to write about another pie.  And the likelihood will be during that sports season I referenced before.

I’ve been hesitant to move on from Summer.  It moves too fast.  It all does.  But many of us share this same sentiment.  I’m loving this season, I’m loving the Sun, and as a bonus I’m loving the Olympics. Many of us are.   Enjoy that while you still can.  And there’s plenty of time too.

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Beautiful.

For our friends in Baltimore, if you haven’t been to Hudson Street, I highly recommend it. Here’s some more links (here and here) that’ll help you say yes.  And many people know their beer list is a huge draw.

People have asked me about the heavy hitters and sexy names, of pizzas, in the Baltimore area.  I would put this in that conversation.   I look forward to reviewing another pie of theirs in the coming months.

Best,

Ideen

Hi Cousin!

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New Jersey is an untapped resource for me.  I’ve done one previous pizzeria (click here) nearly a year ago to positive results.  I don’t come here enough.  After this encounter, this will hopefully change.

My friend and  I were on a small road trip and the amount of pizza places up and down this stretch of road were plentiful.  Keep in mind, we originally saw all these places driving up and I was given the green light to choose one on the way back.

To pick one felt much more agonizing than it needed to be. But this tends to be my personality.  For a while I made this more difficult and less fun. Pizza is supposed to be fun!    Whether I was being too trigger happy or a bit instinctive, I literally went with the first spot we saw upon our return.  And Cousin Mario’s was it.  At the time I felt like I choked, but relief set in and in hindsight I’m grateful with this decision.

Cousin Mario’s of Mays Landing had this welcoming aura that I assumed would set the tone for the meal itself.  Indeed I was right and the heavy breathing and panic subsided.

The restaurant is quaint and cozy.  A lot of families and couples represented the majority of the venue, and people seemed to be in good spirits.

We were starving so an appetizer and full pie were in order.  More could have been gobbled but no need to get carried away. There’s a lot to digest (ha) from this menu.  And they have entrees from one spectrum to the other.  That may raise a red flag in some places, but I suspect these guys know what they’re doing.   It was Taco Tuesday.  No tacos this time. I’d like a large pizza please!

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The mozzarella sticks were solid but that vodka sauce was the real winner here.  It was a different take on a standard appetizer.  This was refreshingly different.  If we had standard marinara sauce I would think this was any other fried cheese experience.  But this was welcome.

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We split our pizza right down the middle.  And I don’t mean the tab.  Half pepperoni and half meatball was the call.  And the latter was brilliant.

I was starving so my review may not be as formal as per usual.  It’s never been that serious anyways.  The crust was standard but sometimes that’s all you want.  I’ve had and we’ve all had crusts that would keep us coming back for more to the point of no return, but this is not that I was looking for here.  This takes me back to simpler forms of pie and for this day, this was perfection.

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I’ll get the pepperoni out of the way.  It was standard.  I wasn’t blown away by it.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it.  It was a decent slice and not one to write home about.

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Now onto the meatball.   This was done with a lot of care and precision.  I’ve had meatball before where literally it was full or half pieces of meat thrown onto a pie.  There’s nothing wrong with that but it can be daunting trying to eat.  These were cut down and had a visual that made this a winner.  And most importantly it was tasty.  It made the cheese better. And I liked the cheese to begin with.  It was one I wish I ate a little slower and got more of a chance to appreciate what was going on here.   I’ll gladly have it again.   It suggests that the more informal toppings might be the way to go at this ristorante.

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I wish I was in the area more.  I would gladly give this place another go.  It’s not hard to find.  This stretch of road connects us from NJ to the main interstates that lead us to Maryland. Taking the dramatics out it’s a little over an hour away.

I’m also alluding to the fact that there’s more pizza just an hour away.  More is coming. Cousin Mario’s is a hit. If you’re in the area, I recommend them highly.  And supporting local business is always paramount. The staff is friendly, parking seems to be abundant, and so are the great eats.

Happy First Day of the Olympics!

Best,

Ideen