One Step Up and Two Steps…

FranksAberdeenStuffedCheesesteak

It’s good that I can take appreciate what’s a little bit closer to home to me.  There’s plenty of places that serve pizza anywhere, in one shape or another.  In one form or another form, pizza pies can and will be found.   And while the flavors, topping, and ingredients remain constant, everyone has their take, their soul, and sometimes just different types of pies are going to be prepared and served to you.

FranksAberdeen

Frank’s Pizza in Aberdeen, MD (all menu and no website makes this a bit easier), is not far away from home, and the nearby streets surrounding it have a small town feel, but then it kind of doesn’t.  I don’t mean to sound do obscure, but I’m really not.  Every town has its historic part with their post office, cafes, small shoppes, a few businesses that add to commerce, and a few randoms.  I love the randoms too.   And yet there’s always another constant, pizza.

Frank’s is as no thrills as it gets.  It’s got a simple counter, a massive space, and old school seating that makes it easier to write about, so the artisanal and sometimes pretentious aspect is out the window.   It’s refreshing to write mainly about the pizza itself and nothing else.  Well the staff was busy yet courteous.

The pizza trays are the first things you see when you walk in.  That’s a strategy that’s not rocket science, and I’m always been a fan of.

I’ve been here before, and the pizza is pizza.  It’s nothing life changing nor does every experience, food, or pizza need to be.   It does its job, does its job well, and you’ll likely to come back if you work, live, or are in the area.

This time I noticed a couple of stuffed pizzas on display, and for the sake of changing it up, this was necessary to purchase.   I did not eat all of this one sitting.   These four slices are the equivalent of four meals, at least.

FranksAberdeenCheese&BuffaloChicken

So along with getting your simple cheese, a buffalo chicken, a stuffed cheesesteak, and a stuffed romano (pepperoni, sausage, and mushroom… if I’m missing something, I’ll stand corrected).

The cheese and buffalo chicken are fine.  Nothing amazing, nothing that’s going to be questioned.  Unless you write about it.  The crust is fine, but nothing extraordinary.

The same can be said for the romano.   The golden brown color is always a nice sight to see, but again, it’s solid but not much more than that.

FranksAberdeenStuffedPizzas2

I gloss over these three slices for a reason…

FranksAberdeenStuffedCheesesteak

Finally, the cheesesteak is a guilty pleasure.  And as you see with the romano, they pile on the toppings.  And I don’t care how authentic this cheesesteak and the steak itself (Frank’s is less than an hour outside of Philadelphia), it’s the height of comfort food.  But again, you could get multiple meals out of this.  This is not meant to be eaten all at once.

FranksAberdeenStuffedCheesesteak2

I have all four slices, resting comfortably in my refrigerator, that may be sitting there for a while.  I don’t recommend all of this in one sitting, or even a couple.   Get a work out in before, and one sometime after.   This can’t be healthy, but this is not why you eat this stuff to be healthy.  This is not some conspiracy theory.

Sometimes you just want to eat and not worry about the consequences.   That’s what you’re going to get with Frank’s.

Maybe next week we’ll go artisanal and a little more classy?  Whatever that means.

Blessings to you…

Ideen

A Lovely Cheese Pizza Just For…

HarrisTeeterCheesePizza

…for anyone!   Harris Teeter is one of those friends you shouldn’t take for granted.  By me saying that I almost sound derogatory or patronizing.  Well I do like patronizing their stores.  I think you know what I mean.  Well I hope so.

HarrisTeeterStore

I only realized a few minutes ago that the first time I visited one of their stores was in North Carolina, which is where they’re originally based out of.   Now they’re everywhere. And if you live in a city or a suburb chances are there’s more than one store right up the street and walking distance from you.

This isn’t going to be a history lesson or discussion of their groceries and free samples. Even though the latter is readily available and always appreciated.   I knew in time I was going to be discussing their pizza.

I’ve saved a few pictures of slices over the past few months knowing I would be sharing my thoughts with the world.

The results were a mix bag.  The prices are fantastic and they always have some exciting specials going on.  Sometimes on a monthly basis.

I’m judging these pizzas on the premise that this a grocery store, and not a pizzeria.  This is not meant as a slight or insult to their store.  It’s more along the lines of how I rate pizza. I don’t ask for much. I just want it to taste good, be reasonable priced, and makes feel happy when its over.

HarrisTeeterPrices

Over 4 different stores (at least) I tried 4 different slices, and maybe a little more. Perhaps the title gave it away.  I’ll get to the slices first.

HarrisTeeterChickenPesto

First, the chicken pesto.  This is one I thought I would be in love with.  It was fine but within the context of good pizza and pesto this was only ok.  The crust was fine but noting special.  Fortunately with this slice, the crust didn’t dominate as you may see in another pizza shortly.   I didn’t taste much chicken, onion, or pesto.  I didn’t taste much of anything.  The toppings all seem to get lost in the shuffle.  And that’s never what you want.

Next, is two I’ll blend together.  The Steak and Cheese, and then the Deluxe actually both tasted the same to me.  And you can see with these two, the crust sort of envelops the actual pizza itself.   I know the sign says the pizza is made fresh every two hours but these slices felt like they were out longer than that.  And that’s fine.  If they’re reheated they should taste adequate enough.  Again, these were ok but I would’t go out of my way to try them over others.   And speaking of which…

HarrisTeeterGreek

The Greek was a pleasant surprise.   I love feta cheese, olives, onions, and tomatoes.  And they do it all here perfectly.    It looks like a lot and it is.  But that’s the fun of this.  The toppings seem to a bit more over-the-top than the previous three slices I mentioned.  You can tell such a difference in this slice versus the others.  And the visual is so different.  They throw on a lot and it pays dividends.  I absolutely adore this slice.  And the crust was fantastic as well.  This is a great slice.

HarrisTeeterCheesePizza2

But finally, the reason for this post, is the April Four Cheese pie special, at only $8.   You can always tell how good a place really is based on the cheese.  And the cheese was fabulous. This is along the lines of the Greek with loads of toppings but instead loads of cheese. And I mean loads of cheese.  You can see how high they stack this thing.

HarrisTeeterCheesePizza5

To be fair, this was fresh out of the oven, placed in a charming to go box, and it felt so good on my hands.   The difference in having it right out of the oven, after 15 minutes, going against slices being heated up is significant, but I didn’t know it would be this significant.

HarrisTeeterCheeseSlices

This is cheese that makes you feel like a kid.  It reminds me of a cheese pie I shared with my family many times over, when I was a kid.  The pizza sauce is tangy, yet it works perfectly with this pie.  And the golden brown and slightly burnt ends of the crust makes this pizza worth going out of your way for.  Actually wait.  You don’t have to go out of your way for it.   Wow I’m cheesy.  Oops!

HarrisTeeterSpecials

And at only $7.99 for the rest of the month of April, it’s a bargain.  This is usually $12.   I got four meals out of this.  And it just kept tasting as awesome, if not better, every time. I’m craving some now as I write about this for you guys.

HarrisTeeterPizzaBox

This pizza isn’t going to win any awards and I don’t think Harris Teeter is looking for any. But they do cheese pizza right.   I will be back again.  Maybe I’ll review some more slices or another to-go special.   Any way you slice it, I look forward to sampling (not those free samples, but I love those too) more of their creative slices and pies in the near future.

To find the nearest Harris Teeter near you, click here.

There’s still a lot of April left so I highly recommend getting this pizza, at this price, while you can.

Thanks so much,

Ideen

In The Spirit Of The Season

squisitoslices

Actually that title might be misleading, but I just felt like writing another holiday themed title for this blog.  We’re kind of in the home stretch here so I want to enjoy all the moments I can.  I want to look back on posts like this, knowing that I did my part to spread Christmas, or in this instance pizza, Cheer.

I’ve gone on in the past about how much Annapolis feels like Christmas.  And the downtown area always looks and feels magical.  Well this weeks pizza takes us back to Annapolis, but not in the downtown area.  And the pizza I’m about to review from Squisito, wasn’t from a recent visit.  So I may have this during a holiday, but not those ‘happy holiday’, we love to say in limitless doses.  I think this goes back to September, but I did take notes (actually no not really) and am happy to recap this experience to you.

squisitofront

Now this wasn’t like the other Squisito’s I’ve visited before.  The front signage was fancier than others.   This is a local chain but this one, aside from the logo, had a different look and vibe about it.  Again it’s maybe the Annapolis thing. There’s a bit of favoritism I show towards our state capital.

I’ve been eating slices, among other standard lunch and Italian fare  here for a couple of years, and have always considered it to be good to great food and service on every occasion.

And when it came to pizza slices, I always got the standard cheese, veggie, and various mat and veggie combinations.   But on this day I felt inspired.  I wanted something different.  It also seemed the Annapolis location had more slices to choose from than I’ve seen at their other stores.  Here I go again with the favoritism.

I went with the Philly Cheesesteak and the White Pizza with grilled chicken, tomatoes, and arugula.

Can you guess which one I preferred over the other

squisitosteak

The cheesesteak was ambitious.  Now I’m not judging it versus how a cheesesteak from Philadelphia should taste. But it should still have that amazing melding of steak, cheese, peppers, on top of this crust.  So how did  this Philly Style cheeseteak taste on top of the New York Style crust?  I see an oxymoron here.   The pizza was wine but it seemed like it had been out for a while and may have been slightly compromised over time.  I envision this pizza would be so much better if fresher and right out of the oven.

It’s easy and hard to make a good cheeseteak regardless of the city.   And as a personal side, it may have just been a bit too heavy for me.  That’s a personal preference for me tat has nothing to do with the quality itself.

squisitochicken

The chicken slice was the show stealer. Those are real, fresh, and genuine looking piece of chicken   I think I just used the same synonym or superlative three times over.  But this was a fantastic slice.  I love how basically the toppings were put on cold.  Literally they were cold.  The  chicken was heated somewhat but didn’t need to be.  The dichotomy of the heated slice with the chilled toppings was creative, unique, and endearing.  There I go with the three word narrative again.

Squisito is a model of consistency. They have great pizza and great service, that is approachable and welcoming.  And what’s the moral to this story?   Keeping it simple always works but going outside the norm of what goes on a pizza can be exciting and something I look forward to when seeing unique slices at the counter.

squisitoslices2

I look forward to being back again and enjoying another genuine and sincere experience. That’s what we should all strive for during the holidays and the rest of the calendar year as well.

Here’s their menu, growing list of locations, and contact information.

My Annapolis History Lesson can be found here. There’s lots of great places!

We’re this close to Christmas.  And I want to wish you a happy and festive celebration with the ones you love, and maybe have some great pizza along the way.  Squisito would certainly quality as that.

Happy Holidays,

Ideen