Creating Art

PastaLaVistaPie4

It’s been 10 years since my first Artscape, and I’m in love with this event more than ever.  My reasons are the same for me as for many others.  There’s the first time we attended this event and it’s novelty, the art we witnessed, the performances, the food, the comradery, the energy, and everything in between.

For a while I felt the local flavor was deteriorating.   Apparently I wasn’t alone.  There was an outcry for more local food vendors and respective artists from the area.   And now for the last two years we’re seeing a renaissance.

My post last year was up the day (and weekend) of Artscape.  This time I chose to post something after the fact.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to come up with for this be all of festivals, but I sensed something was going to find me. Surely, one of the many great pizzerias and restaurants in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood would offer up some great write-ups.  Not yet at least.

As I was alluding to, the local flavor was in full bloom.  There were stands for all types of cuisines; whether you were looking for burgers, soul food, Caribbean, vegan, or maybe just a smoothie, it was there for you.  I indulged in a few of those eats as well, but this is a pizza discussion and I will stay the course.

PastaTruck

This brings me to Pasta La Vista Baby! Yes, with an exclamation point.  Now I had seen these guys in random parts of the city for years, and never brought myself to order anything from them.   I don’t know if the stars weren’t in alignment or what, but this was long overdue, as long as they had pizza.   After perusing the menu after the fact, I’m even more fortunate than I first realized.  There’s no pizza listed but lucky enough for the crowd, they had a white w/ spinach on the big board. That’s what I went with.

PastaLaVistaPie3

It’s different and cooked on a nice flat bread, almost pita style.  On a hot day like it was, this was necessary.  Thicker dough is not going to work in the heat. It’ll bloat you silly, or maybe that’s just me.

The staff working the truck were all smiles.   My lunch was during the earliest part of the event so it wasn’t too crowded and I imagine they weren’t overwhelmed.  This was a deliberate move on my part.  I wanted my food with little wait time.

PastaLaVistaPie2

This was a charmer.  For $8 it was a personal joy and a smidgen of a bargain. The only downside was the added ricotta to the side.  And ordinarily it wouldn’t be.  It was a bit rich for my taste but otherwise this is a great choice. The pizza on its own was enjoyable and pleasing to my sensibilities.  Wow did I just say that?

PastaLaVistaPie1

Even for its size, I was able to make two meals out of it.   I picked up a delicious burnt taste under the crustand,  and flipped it around to see just that.  The charred taste really does wonders. So my educated and over-analysis tells me this was grilled?  This is a winner.  The spinach complemented everything and was the perfect vegetable to go on top (and from within). I’m not sure anything else would.  This was well thought out.

PastaLaVistaFlipped

If they make other pizzas, I’d love to find them again.

Here is their contact info if you’d like to get well you know, get in contact.

Best of all, here is their story.  There’s some soul behind this operation.

For my pals in Baltimore and everywhere else, I’ll leave you with a few images from Artscape.  It was transforming.  At certain times I felt like I was in another world, yet knowing I was still close to home.  I’m not sure these brief pics depict that.   But what is telling is for my friends in the city, you may recognize someone in one of these photos.  This was not planned, and I had no idea until after I glanced at my pics earlier today. Life is funny like that.

Hope your Summer has been rocking!

Best,

Ideen

A Safe Bet

SafewayPizzaDone2

After last weeks hard-to-top post, it was meant to be that I take it down a couple of notches and shake things up a bit.  I mean this with all sincerity, last week is something special.  Read it if you get the chance.

I was at a crossroads on what to write for this week.   Not every post is going to be or meant to be profound.  It’s pizza we’re talking about.  It’s supposed to be fun, enjoyable, and maybe inspirational. There I go again.

SafewayPizzaBox

And this is no way meant to denigrate my review of Safeway’s Signature Select Spinach & Mushroom Pizza. That was a mouthful.  Speaking of which…

…But first a little intro.

I was turned away at a few places where their respective kitchens were about to close and no more orders were going to be taken.  A couple of these are some of the heavier hitters in Baltimore.  Ah well, the tease continues.  I’ll get to those when it’s meant to be.

SafewayPizzaPreHeat

But instead, good old reliable, 24 hour Safeway was footsteps away.   My fellow pizza pals have suggested I write about a frozen pizza here and there.   It’s good to change it up and either by hook or a last ditch effort, this is what we’re getting this week.

Let me be honest.  For $5 it’s hard to complain about anything, unless it’s an absolute disgrace.  This was nowhere near that.   The alfredo sauce really adds some zip to an otherwise standard pie.

And even though I’ve grown up from the little kid, who loved frozen pies when I was young, I secretly hoped the spinach and mushrooms would look like how they do on the front of the box.   Once again, not this time.  Maybe one time it’ll work out for me.  Insert sad face here.

SafewayPizzaDone1

The dough rose nicely post heating.  And that golden brown tint along the crust is always a treat.  I can’t say this stacks up to certain pizzerias creations or other frozen pies, since there’s nothing for me to compare it too.  Not yet at least.   But the dough and crust was a mix of soft and crunchy in parts.  That could be the way the oven heated it, the way the dough was made/frozen, or universal elements that are inexplicable.  I dug it though.

For a night out after the bars or on a random day where the pickings are slim, this pizza does the job.  Scratch that, this pizza works whenever you want it.

I was full after just a couple of slices, so this can last you a few meals if dining alone, or it’s perfect to share among 2-3 people.  And for only $5, you’re almost making money on this pizza!  And money is cool.

I’ve been a fan of Safeway’s Signature items, and the za only continues to reinforce my belief.

Supermarkets across the globe have frozen pizzas from all over the place.  So this may just be the beginning.  I may have opened up pandora’s pizza box, or this may not be revisited again for months.  Time will tell.

To locate the nearest Safeway by you, click here.

Back to our regularly scheduled pizzeria journey next week.

Best,

Ideen

All Fired Up

JZ'sDuo

A serendipitous moment took place at a wine festival I attended and volunteered at took place.  While sampling various vinos a little chow is not only going to be necessary, it’s going to be inevitable.

JZ'sTruck

From generic food stands to flavored nuts to seafood to pasta, and everything in between. I’m only glossing over what I saw or what I choose to see, but once I saw JZ’s Brick Oven Pizza, it only felt right and this was destined to be.

JZ'sSign

As you can see they had a limited menu for the festival which is only right.  You only need just a few slices to please everyone.  Luckily, they pleased me and it seems like most of the attendees would concur.

I went with the cheese and since I’ve seldom had it anywhere, the Greek.

What immediately stood out is how cheap all these slices were.   Everything, including the aforementioned slices, the pepperoni and buffalo chicken were only $3.00.  For any type party, festival, or facsimile that is a bargain.  And I may be understating that.  I’ve seen similar food trucks charge more than double what they’re asking for.  That’s automatic brownie (or cheesy, man I’m cheesy) points in my book.

JZ'sWoods

These slices would be worth double that.  I mean that sincerely.  These were highly enjoyable.  No it’s not going to win best pizza in the world nor that does scenario really apply here.   These tiny guys were delectable.  I really got the brick oven feel and taste that I haven’t always gotten from places that proclaim the same.  Maybe it’s the people and brains behind the operation, but the folks behind these slices seemed to be enjoying themselves.  And the charring looks artistic.

JZ'sCheese

In spite of the growing lines, my pizza came out swiftly and efficiently.  The cheese tasted exactly how I had hoped, nothing more, nothing less.  Maybe it was the festival vibe and atmosphere, but this was comfort food and it’s finest.  And this was a source of comfort.

JZ'sGreek

The Greek was the stand-out of the two.  I could have devoured a whole pie of these.  The garlic, feta, olives, spinach and tomatoes blended  together to make a champion.

Maybe the stroke of genius is these slimmer slices only left you wanting more.   I did notice familiar faces going back more seconds, and maybe thirds (even more?) and that’s the sign of a winner.

JZ'sOven

I do believe this would work in a multitude of settings.  The atmosphere of this event lent itself to foods and wines maybe tasting better than they normally would in a regular environment.   Most people aren’t too picky, they just want good food with a good vibe.  This was the best of both.

And I would love to have this again.

The website is easy to navigate.  The menu, contact information, and other particulars can be found all on the same page.   Everything about JZ’s would point to be being on the same page.

For more on the wine festival I added, you can go here or here.

I’d like to make mention that I had the good fortune of meeting someone, while volunteering, connected to this group but misplaced their contact information. She said her family is the ones behind this and have now opened up a new restaurant in the Towson, MD area.  I had promised to do an honest write-up and wanted to give them credit as well.  If you happen to read this I just wanted to make mention and say thanks so much.

Here’s to a great Summer and festival season,

Ideen

Viva La Rosa

LaRosaTheSlices

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven through the streets of Philadelphia, and found myself on the gritty and more genuine feeling of Broad Street.

For the past 8 years I’ve been going to many a show, concert, and sporting event at the nearby South Philadelphia Sports Complex.   I know, what an imposing, yet inspirational name for it.  Well, maybe not inspirational, maybe just there.

My point is, I love Philadelphia, and I’m happy to now be embracing the pies that encompass this beautiful city.

Once again, I don’t know how many times I’ve gone past certain locales and thought nothing of them.  And now, over a year into this blog I actively look for pizzerias of all shapes and sizes.  One of those places is…

…a few blocks up the street from this sports and entertainment venue is La Rosa.

LaRosaFront

I wish I had come here sooner.  This is at about as palpable and authentic as it gets.

I had no idea what to expect when I walked in.  The outside may look imposing.  But here, as in life, never judge a book (or a pizzeria) by its cover.

I’m grateful that I did.  The lady behind the counter was randomly bringing slices out of the oven and placing them on trays.  It felt like cafeteria style.  And that could imply grade-school but I’m not making fun.  I found it refreshing.  There were no seats and the hallways were as narrow as a studio apartment or efficiency.  Oh I love Philadelphia.

The lady working could not have been nicer.   She was quick to explain what slices were which.  Did I mention that these were square-shaped?  I love ’em this way and it’s a pleasant deviation from the norm.

The slices looked buttery, thick, but not intimidating.  This isn’t a deep-dish or gargantuan concoction. This is a happy-medium that I think everyone, whether you’re a local or an outsider, is going to be appreciate.

There is a one source of frustration I will get to, after I go over the three slices I purchased.

I got the mushroom, the sausage, and the white spinach.  Can you guess the winner?

LaRosaMushroom

The mushroom was nothing spectacular.  I think they came from a can, which is alright.  But it didn’t really work here.  We know how bona fide mushrooms taste, and this wasn’t it.

The sausage was eons better than the former.  I was told that it actually comes from the city itself. I’m all for local and it shows.  It added a strong dimension to the slice.  It had the perfect blend of cheese, sauce, and the beef.

LaRosaWhiteSpinach

But the prize is the white spinach.   I could eat a hundred of these. Actually that’s a lot. How about just one for now?  This tasted like real spinach and the white cheese is on par with any of the best blanca slices I’ve had in some time.  May I have another?

The slight charring, mixed with the buttery and slightly crisp crust really won me over.

And the three slices didn’t even total $10.  That sounds like another win.

So why am I frustrated?   Before a planned visit to a place, I’ll do a little research. Sometimes I go in blind.  I prefer the latter but I wish this time I did a little preparation.

I found out later that their potato pie is their centerpiece and their big draw.  I wish I knew that ahead of time.   I don’t like to do repeat places too often but in this case I may make an exception.  I heard the sausage and potato pairing is what to go for.   Ah this is eating at me.  Oh wait…

I’ll have to come back.  Any excuse to return to Philadelphia is alright with me.

LaRosaBox

For my previous Philadelphia posts (alliteration is my addiction) you have your choice of here, there, and this one.  And here’s another.

Take care,

Ideen

 

Eastern Market Moves

7HPie

I don’t go to Washington, DC enough.   It has rapidly changed and I barely recognize certain neighborhoods.  The transformation in the last 15 years is something that a lot of major cities seem to be going through, but I never expected it be like this.

I used to go to Eastern Market with my family a lot when I was a kid.  The surrounding area may not have been the safest but that didn’t seem to bother anyone.

Now nothing could be further from the truth.  The area is flourishing with overpriced homes, nice shoppes, restaurants, businesses, and a plenty of places to sight see.

For reasons that never need to make sense or explain themselves, I found myself in DC and Eastern Market last week.

I had forgotten what the inside looked like and I was hoping, to no avail, to find a pizzeria inside to write about.

What’s fun is no matter where you are and there’s nearby places to eat, you will find pizza.  I found pizza.

Literally steps away is Seventh Hill.

7HillOutside

Nothing stood out about the place.   There were pizza peels adorning the walls and a small dining area and bar inside.   The outdoor area may actually seat more.  And on this late December day, it was still warm enough that the furniture was still out.

The menu is very creative which lists various neighborhoods, landmarks, and famous streets of our Nation’s Capital.

I avoided the obvious and didn’t get the Eastern Market.  I went with the top of the choices and ordered the Pennsylvania Avenue.

7HPie

I regret that decision now.

7HSlice

It’s not that the pizza was horrific.  It just felt bland.   The wood-fired crust was fine.  I just didn’t sense any inspiration behind it, even with one of my favorites, pesto.

However, the pecorino cheese was a nice complement to the mozzarella but I just wanted a little something more.  The olives and spinach tasted fresh.  And I didn’t mind if pieces of either fell off and I could enjoy them individually.   It just didn’t blow me away.

It’s a safe pie that wouldn’t offend anyone and most would like.   I can imagine a lot of their other pies would have more to offer.  Maybe I’m irritated I went with a safer route.   At least the pie named after it’s location has goat  cheese.  And that would be different.   Like I’ve reiterated before, all this means is that I will give it another go.

In the meantime, I posted some pictures of the market and the architecture outside. This brings back a few memories but at the same time I don’t remember this place.   It’s a bit numbing in a way.   I feel so detached.

And that’s what many parts of the D.C. area have become.  It’s just so divergent and conflicting in so many ways.   But I will be doing more DC area, and within the city proper itself.

More to come.

All The Best,

Ideen

 

A Very Special…

wawaveggiepie

I love today.  I’m also sad the holidays are winding down.  Christmas means so much to so many.  It’s about the friends, the family, and the love.

Oh and there’s all that food!

I wish there was a feeling of love all the time.   But as several wise folks have said, it all starts with me.   Maybe the holidays wouldn’t feel so special if it were to occur throughout the year.   So it’s up to me, you, or whoever to spread cheer and positivity as much as possible.  I adore the sentimentality.

And speaking of such joy…

wawalogo

Wawa is sentimentality at its height.   Ever since my first visit in 2000, I’ve been captivated ever since.

When I discover a new Wawa store driving on a highway or a random stretch of road I’m compelled to go in, even if all I get is a coffee or tea. It’s the energy of the store.  It’s an attachment to the good that it represents.  I can never have enough.

In here it always feels like Christmas.

So to my pleasure it was great to discover that they serve Focaccia Pizzas. This is a fairly new discovery.  I think they were introduced back in the fall of 2014.  That’s the first time I saw them.

wawapizzas

I’ve had all 5 pies listed, and they’re not going to be the best pizza you’ve ever had.  And you shouldn’t expect them to be.  But they’re enjoyable on the soft and squishy focaccia bread provided.

If you’re expecting world class pizza, you will be disappointed.   I do find the bread to be heavy and prefer to share the individual pie with someone else.  It’s ambitious to finish this on my own.

Over the course of recent history, I’ve had the buffalo chicken and the vegetable.   I found them both enjoyable within the expectations set forth by myself and within Wawa’s food quality.

The buffalo chicken sauce is really in-your-face and might be a bit arduous for some, but I took my time eating this.   The cream cheese was a bit dense and a substantial amount was thrown on there too.   The chicken and provolone were great.  They really made this pie.  It was the simple stuff that was the best.  I’ve seen this pattern before.

I dig the packaging too.  That can be seen above and below.

The vegetable one I had this week.  Doesn’t it look and feel like Christmas?  Ah those colors are magical. How are the flavors?   The spinach, tomatoes, and onions are magnificent.  I’ve enjoyed them on my subs and I enjoy them here.   This almost looks too pretty to eat. But I ate it.  And I picked the cheese and vegetables off at times when the bread was too much to eat.   But I will gladly get this one again.

A gentleman noted how amazing it looked when I grabbed my pie.   It tells me that he and many others may still not realize pizza is on the menu.

For folks who have been there, you know what you’re going to get. And it’s usually good.  This is not going to be the greatest pizza you’ll have and I doubt you would expect it to be.  But you will likely find joy, peace, and comfort here.  This isn’t just during the holidays but all year round.

For more on this fun store, you can go here and here.

I go to a store at least five times and will be headed there later today.  Yes they’re open on Christmas! Yes!

I will conclude with that.  I want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and anything else you celebrate.  This is a special time of year that I wish was perpetual.   But once again, it’s up to me.  It’s up to you.  It’s up to all of us.

All the best,

Ideen

I Love Annapolis

I wanted to wish congratulations to the Class of 2015. Many Universities are having ceremonies this week and that includes the Naval Academy.

BellaItalia

I actually helped with the set up and break down of the stage and seating, for their ceremony one year ago.  In honor of graduation day, Memorial Day, and my sentimentality for our capital, I will be reviewing Bella Italia.  Which is walking distance from campus.

As you can see, there isn’t much to the website.  I basically posted all that can be seen.   I’m not sure if it’s still a work in progress or it’s going to be left alone.

But most importantly, how is the pizza?   This is a recap over two visits in the past month.  Which happen to be my first and second visits ever respectively.  Two slices and two visits!  Hehe.  Let’s get to it.

BellaItalia1

For round one, I got my order to go.  My first slice was a White with spinach and mushroom.  There really wasn’t much to it.  It was a decent slice. The vegetables tasted fresh.  The white didn’t taste as good as other ones I’ve had.  The dough and crust were good. It just didn’t wow me.  It was decent at best.

And number two was the Meat Lovers deep-dish style pizza.  This was fantastic.  It blew up me though.  I’m glad I tried this, as I don’t always see the Chicago-style slices available to patrons.   I took my time eating this. It was the perfect amount of crust.   I would be lying if I said I finished this right away.   It tasted just as good as a leftover meal the next day.  The meat and cheese really blended together into the pie.   And you can see it’s loaded with pepperoni, ham, sausage, and bacon. And they didn’t skim on the toppings!

BellaItalia2

And for my second visit,  I dined in.   The interior is very quaint and doesn’t feel contemporary.  It does give a hole in the wall vibe and I can appreciate that. The staff was very friendly both times.

For my first slice, I ordered the cheese.  This wasn’t good at all.  It might have been in the oven too long and tasted too crunchy for my liking.  There was a little burnt taste in my mouth as well.  This wasn’t the worst cheese I’ve had.  But this was disappointing.

I wanted to end my post on a high note and I will do just that.  The other purchase shown above is the white with pesto, grilled chicken, and penne!  This was wonderful.  The chicken and pasta tasted fresh, and pesto is one of the marvels of this universe. And I always smile when I see toppings buried under the cheese.  It’s similar to finding hidden treasure!  The simple things and metaphors is what life’s all about. This is one of the better slices I’ve had since doing this blog. I was happy I ordered this and went out of my comfort zone to try something a little different and unique.

So there’s some great slices and some not so up to par, in my humble opinion.  I’m in the area a lot.  And I’ll be definitely giving this spot a look again.  For a recap of a previous Naptown pizza place, click here.

I wish you all a Happy Memorial Day Weekend.  Stay happy, healthy, and have fun!

Best,

Ideen

Road Trip To Annapolis

Mangias

I love Annapolis.  As the weather gets warmer, there will be more visits to this wonderful town.  And that means more pizza recaps.  This post will be dedicated to one of the more popular destinations downtown.

Charlie’s Bar at Mangia’s is in the heart of the city.  It has a great view of the nearby sailboats, tourists walking about, and other pleasures of the town.

Too bad the pizza leaves a lot to be desired.   I’ve been going sporadically over the past 10 years or so. And even though I never felt it was the best pizza, I don’t remember it tasting this poor.  Or maybe my tastes have changed.    They’re open until 2 am on Friday and Saturday nights. With that information in hand, we know the pizza is made to fit the later night crowd.   Unfortunately, that same pizza is also served to the daytime crowd.

Sometimes even bad pizza is good pizza.  And maybe that works in some instances.  However, this was abysmal.  I don’t want to reiterate this fact over and over.  So let’s get to my slices.

MangiasSlices

First up, was the cheese.  The crust was too crunchy and it didn’t taste like real cheese.    I could barely taste the sauce either.   I don’t think these were the freshest ingredients    I wish I could find some positives.

Second, was the white slice.   This did not taste like any white I’m used to.  But that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be good. Just like the cheese, not all good whites taste the same.   If I didn’t know this was a white slice, I would have just assumed this was garlic toast.  And bad toast at that.

Finally, was the Spinach Ricotta.  Like the previous two, I’m not sure what I was eating.  The spinach tasted ok, but the ricotta didn’t taste as good as other places.

The gentleman who heated up my slices was very nice.  Otherwise, the other staff seemed very idle.  But this was during lunch hour, so not much else was going on.   But, I did say lunch hour.  I expect pizza to be a little higher in quality during the day as opposed to near closing time at the bar.   This was disheartening on so many levels.

I don’t go into these blogs looking to disparage anything or anyone.  I want them all to succeed, especially if their intentions are to serve good pizza and to benefit the community.

Fortunately, I will be reviewing more pizzerias in Naptown, in the very near future.   And I know the best is yet to come.

Take good care.

Best,

Ideen

Fells’ Finest

LiquidEarth

I’m happy to have my first pizza review of a Fells Point establishment be this one.  I love Liquid Earth.  It’s been Earth Week for me, so I wanted the pizza review to reflect that.  And this is special.  This is unique.  Most importantly, it’s delicious.

I had been here a handful of times before.  And thanks to my friends who told me about this place, otherwise I might still drive or walk past it, and never go in.

For our friends in the Baltimore area, there’s no need to explain too much about the place.  But yes it’s Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly.  That alone, makes it unique and charming.  In addition, the interior is so welcoming and has an old time feel. There’s a few tables for dining and a small bar.  Why is there a bar?  Well you can order shots.  And I did just that!

Miso

As you can see, I went real heavy.  I ordered a Pomegranate shot with a side of Miso Soup to start.  Those are apple slices. And I love this presentation.   Yes, the spoon is positioned inside the bread.  I think I order this now, just to see the magnificent layout.   This was exquisite.  In previous visits I’ve ordered Wheatgrass and those are a rejuvenator.

RawItems

So what about the pies?

LiquidEarthPizza

First up, was the Liquid Earth Pizza.   I’ve had this before. My first time felt unique.  It had a taste I’m not used to.  But that’s the fun of this.  Everything we eat now, was at one moment in the past, something we ate for the first time.   And that’s how we develop our tastes in food and drink.  This is a treat from the universe.  Buckwheat and nut cheese are not ingredients I’m used to eating.  And I believe I’ve only had them here.  What a shame.  I would love to try these ingredients on other entrees.    The mushrooms and bell peppers taste so real and so fresh, that it’s like they just came from the farmers market moments before.  Maybe even better than that.   I was happy eating the veggies on their own off the pie.  The basil tastes incredible.   Fair warning, however, this got me full barely halfway eating it.  The crust, made from flax seed, is what got me. And I was happy to take the rest home.

flaxcrust

Here is the crust.  How beautiful is that?

TheOriginal

I noticed a second pizza on me the menu.  And my curiosity couldn’t contain me.  I ordered The Original to go, to have for dinner.  The similarities to the first pie are there at first glance.   But the subtle differences in appearance and taste do shine through.  This is a winner as well.    My photo may not do it justice.  The tomatoes on this one were a godsend.  This makes other times I’ve had a tomato with salad, pizza or anything seem amateurish.   They stand by using local and organic ingredients as much as possible.  Where can I find them?  Any restaurant or business that does its best to stay local, deserves all the praise in the world.  What a treat this was.   The tomato sauce, zucchini, and spinach all play their part in making this a joy. I felt honored eating this.

So have I said enough positives?  There can never be enough.   And at $15.95, this is a more than reasonable price.  Two people can split this and feel satisfied.

I can’t say enough things about this place.  I feel full, fat, and happy each time I’m dined here.  And it’s a good full feeling. There is no grossness or feeling bloated.  I end up with a new found energy and positivity that I’d love to transfer into all facets of my life.

I hope the Earth has been good to you.

Best,

Ideen

Buon Appétit

Buon

I have wanted to write about Buontempo Brothers Restaurant, since I began this blog.  And I organically hoped to be in downtown Bel Air, MD to be able to try enjoy some unique slices.  And this week I was fortunate enough to do so.   Oh and you better believe, they have some creative ideas for pies.

Just as important, they have a friendly staff that has always greeted me and as far as I’ve seen, all of their patrons with a friendly hello and some pleasantries.   I have only lived in the area for over 6 years, but I always get the feeling, that there is a strong sense of community and it’s frequented by a lot of regulars, that have been coming for years.  There’s a lot of love going around.   It just feels like what a pizza place/Italian restaurant should be.

And that love translates into their cooking.

Simply put, I love their pizza.  And you see how aggressive their menu is.   You see some selections that are atypical of many pizza parlors.  And ever since, the first time, I visited them in 2008, it’s been nothing short of fantastic quality.

My indoctrination came from their Tuesday special.   A purchase of any large pizza, would get me a second large cheese for just $2.00.   Worth it’s weight in gold, and za!

My favorite slice of theirs, is the Chicken Pesto, and I’ve continuously raved many times on how much I love pesto.    I will review this slice in time, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone again.

First off, I ordered the Mediterranean and as you can see below, I barely made it to the party.

Med

I will say, that their crust has always stood out to me.  I can’t put my finger on it.  I don’t know if it’s something in the water but, oh my goodness, it’s divine.  I sense there might be some parmesan or butter embedded in the crust, or I could be tricking my into thinking as such,  But it’s top notch.  I could’t resist the pesto anyways, as we’re drawn to each other like magnets.   But this is a damn fine slice.   With the aforementioned pesto, eggplant, feta, tomato, and spinach piled on top of a traditional cheese slice, this is a certified winner.  I was so happy to try this and will be seeking it out again.   I know, many of us, myself included, can’t help but devour a pizza very quickly.  In this instance, I tried to savor this.  The flavors and the soul behind this slice, coming together, was pure ecstasy.

My second order, the Stuffed Spinach, almost didn’t have a chance.   I’m glad I got it though, and for folks that love bread, this is amazing.   But it’s too filling for me.   But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try another stuffed pie again.  It’s all a matter of taste.  I was pretty full after the first choice.

Spin

I could hardly eat the crust but, the spinach, ricotta, and mozzarella inside was a real winner.  Toasted to perfection.   On a thin crust, it’d be even more magical.  The marinara sauce, on the side, added some more flavor, that was already bringing some good ones.  Still a solid slice, just not something I would go for, on a regular basis.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s cool, they reheated both and to my pleasure, the slices, ended up being stuck together.  Now some people might find that annoying.  I find that cool.  And the theme of this blog has been about soul, joy, and fun.  And how can you not get a kick out of this :

Duo

I had to break the two pies apart, and perhaps that’s a source of good luck or just great food.

If you’re in the Bel Air vicinity, I suggest going here.  There’s a vibrant energy that keeps many of us coming back.   One review of this place will not do it justice.  More to come.

Best,

Ideen