I often equate a pizza or pizzeria as something bigger than just that. If there’s a personal attachment or immediately nostalgia, the posts will be easier to right. Otherwise, it’s an even more intent of focus on the actual pizza itself, and nothing else. It makes the story all to simplistic and lacking much character. I do my best not to do that but some experiences can’t be helped. Not everything is going to be a winner. And even if the pie is good, that might be all a place or myself had to offer.
I’m grateful to say that my experience at Bella Italia of Arnold, MD was one I’ll remember, for the simplest of things.
I was the only one in there.
Well that’s the short story. After I get to the slices I’ll resume why this truly stands out.
And it’s not like the slices don’t stand out. In fact they do, and it’s because of the mood and the place I was in.
Summer is winding down and I always have mixed feelings about it. The weather is still stellar but there’s days where the warmth is not as profound. And we notice the the shortening the days with the sun setting a minute earlier (give or take) each day. The hints of fall tend to make me embrace the more folksy and community places. In actuality, I want local all the time, and during any season. I can’t articulate why. It’s what I’m drawn to. Local is my heart, and I would safely assume many would feel the same.
Over the past several days I found myself in the Annapolis area, which includes Edgewater, Pasadena, and Arnold, among many other charming towns. And while I had a list of pizzas and places I could talk about, nothing felt right for this week. The universe was giving me another sign. And like a magnet I was drawn to Bella.
Nestled and snuggled in a the cozy Arnold Station Shopping Center, that has a more authentic and old time feeling area than the newness of a lot of these strip malls, Bella Italia sits in the corner, unassuming, approachable, and inviting.
Ok so about these slices.
I got the cheese, white with spinach and mushroom, and the Mariposa which is a white pizza with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and the freshest of mozzarella. And it tasted fresh alright.
There’s a lot of good to focus on. The cheese was fantastic. I often think how we can compare the plain slice, or any slice for that matter, against all the pizza joints in the world. You can’t. Our tastes are unique, and all over the place. Some people may not care for this cheese. But this had a distinct taste that I can’t put my finger on. And for now, I don’t want to know. This is great but not the best slice I’ve ever had. And again, it’s all subjective. It was wonderful and in the upper crust (hehe) of the great plain slices I’ve enjoyed. The crust on all three of these was consistently awesome.
The white with spinach and mushroom is a step above the white slices I’ve had recently. It’s been a struggle to find a great one lately, and this is closer to what I prefer. It wasn’t as oily, greasy, or overly cheesy was other whites I’ve been down about. I’d put it in the decent category. It’s a little more than just there.
Which leads me to the Mariposo. This was a slice. Now I’ve had eggplants on pizza before and it’s been a disaster. This was great. I definitely enjoyed my veggies individually as I plucked away, and noticed so much layered below. The greens, the tomatoes, and the eggplants tasted just as fresh against other pizzerias that I’ve had something similar. And after a while, I forgot it was just a white at its base.
But the difference was the greens and olive oil flavor really merged to make this white pizza that much better. The lighter yet salad like taste made this a winner. This place is a winner.
And the people behind it are what make it a winner.
When I got there the entire staff was relaxing against the wall like they didn’t have a care in the world. It was after lunch and before dinner, so I felt like I was the only person on Earth (not true in the slightest but its fun to embellish) and the crew had some down time. And after I got my slices, they went back to their place of peace. The gentleman who served up my slices could not have been nicer.
I hope I don’t get anyone in trouble by giving that visual.
It’s this little detail that’s a big one. It’ll make me want to come back, and not only say thank you. But to try some other stand out pies. I’m not sure when that’ll be but the universe will give me another sign.
These are the places that make this blog worth doing. I’ll get to more of the Baltimore, DC, and major city stuff. But this felt a little more real and a little more necessary.
I look forward to more authentic, organic, and beautiful experiences such as this one.
Oh and did you notice that some of the toppings from the Mariposo spilled onto the other two? Just a cool little detail, that’s not so little.
Thanks so much.