Slice 2.0

slicetowsonslices

Not quite two years ago I did a write-up about Slice Pizza in in Nottingham, MD.  I was critical and constructive in my thoughts.  That review can be found here.

I thought the pizza wasn’t up to par with what they were charging, and the creative slices.

One look at their full menu will tell you all you need to know about how dynamic and daring some of their signature pies are.  But daring doesn’t always translate to good. Some of us want our simple cheese slices that are affordable, ready to go, and harmless

There’s the flip side.  Do you want it too much on the unique and chaotic side, or will a simple plain do?

slicetowsonstorefront

Well why am I rambling on about a place I already wrote about?  Well I have a reason.  And along with that, they’ve since opened a second location not far away in downtown Towson, MD.  They don’t have a website but hopefully this will help.

slicetowsonsign

I found myself at their new locaotion, like I always do when it comes to where  I choose to eat, rather serendipitously (no such thing as coincidence) and just in time for lunch.

They had an even wider array of slices that I wouldn’t think to make.  However, this some of these slices bordered on chaotic.  And chaos, no matter how organized and clean, may intimidate some.  Not me.  I say bring on the mayhem.

And I was hoping for a major upgrade from my original visit.  Now onto the pies…

I don’t know what it is, but I just tend  to be in the mood for mushrooms from time to time.  So with further adieu how did my slices turn out?

chickenmarsala

First up was the the Chicken Marsala.  I’ll tell you what, the pieces of chicken on top of this slice were fantastic.  I couldn’t tell if they were marinated or chicken cutlets.  But either way it was a good start.   This is more about the pie than the makers themselves.  This was a little too rich for me on the inside. I’m assuming they used marsala wine to add to the sauce.  And it just didn’t work for me.  The crust was heated maybe just a little too golden brown and burnt on some ends that it did lose some of its flavor on top of the pie Not the best slice I’ve ever had nor the worst.

tomatomushroompestocado

Now we go to the Tomato Mushroom Pestocado.  Now if I said anything wrong about the title of this slice, please correct me.  This was good.  The fresh uncooked tomatoes on top added so much to this pizza.  The lukewarm mushrooms added a little something else.  Whether it was meant to be cooked more doesn’t matter.  I dug it.  And I’m assuming this was an avacado based pesto as part of the well, base of the pie.  I may be wrong on that too but the main thing I felt took away from this was there was too much ricotta cheese and it wasn’t very good.  That’s when I realized this was a white pizza with all kinds good goodness piled on top.   Take out the ricotta, this is a really good slice.  The crust was heated better on this one too.

The two staff members working the counter could not have been nicer.  They made the experience so much better.

slicetowsoncard

What I did find troubling is the $10 total I paid for both of my slices.  I know these are on the gourmet end but $10 did feel a tad steep.  Luckily the do have lunch specials where two cheese slices and one drink do only cost $6 and change.  We’re only talking a few dollars here but I’m looking at this from all areas.

Since there’s so many unique slices to choose from, this is only the beginning.  I almost feel I could run a supplementary blog for all their outside the box slices.  I love that and I love when folks break tradition and go their own way.

slicetowsonbox

Another visit is in order and soon.

slicetowsonpizza

Here’s my ever growing history of the pizza of Towson.

Happy New Year,

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.

lotsafront

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.

lotsastone

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.

lotsabreakfastpizza2

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.

lotsabianca2

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.

lotsabiancaslice

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.

lotsabox

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

 

 

The Best View

wholefoodsshrimp

I honestly don’t know what to say.   Columbia, MD has always been an intriguing topic of discussion with my friends.  Actually I tend to be the one that brings it up.  I’m softy for the area.  Some of my friends don’t care for it for the same reasons I adore it.  It’s been deemed to safe, too happy, and too transparent.  Well it may be all of those things to some and some (or many) may be fine with that.    I see the good but understand why others see the negatives.

wholefoodsfront

As we approach the town’s 50th birthday (which I didn’t know about until doing research), I thought it would be cool to do another write-up (here’s my original) about one of the the best places to live in the states.  And based on this intro, it almost makes complete sense to write about the local Whole Foods.

wholefoodsview2

Yes they have pizza, something which not every store has.  They also have one of the most incredible views you’ll ever see from a grocery store, like the one you see above.  But how was the pizza?  In short, I’ve had much better.  I’m also looking at this from a standpoint of this being a supermarket.   That doesn’t mean I’m lowering my standards.  It means I still expect it to be on par with the better pizzas we’ll have at a restaurant or at home.  It should still taste good.

wholefoodsprices

There was a lot of confusion with what their pizza is.  Is it Artisanal, Neapolitan, Wood Fired, Brick Oven, or all of the above?  That first word, artisanal, is used so much and by everybody, I’m not sure how much value it has anymore.  This has nothing to do with Whole Foods, but everywhere.

wholefoodsshrimp2

I went with the Grilled Shrimp Pizza (which was the weekly special) and the White. Neither blew me away nor was either one terrible.

wholefoodsshrimp5

The shrimp looked mightily impressive but something just didn’t add up.  I think as whole these ingredients didn’t work well together.    I love feta, shrimp, tomatoes, and red onions.  And I imagine if this was prepared in a different fashion or with a different energy (but with the exact ingredients and dough) that this would work to near perfection.   Maybe feta on top of mozzarella is a clash of two cheeses.  It may not work.

However, even when I picked off the shrimp, it didn’t taste like I had hoped.  The sauce may have tarnished the shrimp and everything else.  These ingredients don’t work with their tomato sauce.  The crust wasn’t anything special either.  This pizza was ok but this was an opportunity lost.

wholefoodswhite3

The white was a little better but not anything special.  It was kind of just there.  And I’m honestly surprised.  I thought this would be simple yet delicious, and I wasn’t wowed by it. Both slices were ok to eat but not out-of-this-world.  And I didn’t finish either.

I can’t complain on the prices though.  For a place that charges a lot of for their groceries, salad bar, and hot bar, etc., getting two slices for $6 is a bargain anywhere.

I just wished what I ate would have been one to write home about, as opposed to expressing my disappointment.   This won’t deter me from trying some more in the future.   As you can see, they have an assortment of slices and I’m certain there’s a few that will be praised in a post here down the line.

But these views from the outside dining area are worth coming back for alone.  This is one of the newer additions in town, and one of the more visually pleasing parts of town.  That storefront is quite welcoming.  It draws me in more time than not when I’m visiting.  I haven’t done many repeats, yet I’ve teased doing some down the line.  This has been added to that list.

So as I’ve said before, this is just the beginning…

Ideen

 

Flatbread Fridays

BistroWithWine

Over the course of these Summertime posts I’ve mentioned how I wanted to focus on lighter fare, as long as the focus remains on pizza.

Lets face it, the majority of us love pizza.  Nutrition value is out the window.  We want our comfort food any time of year.  It’s something that bonds us together.  There’s a multitude of ways a pie can be made.  That’s one of the many things that makes this thing so fun.   It doesn’t discriminate even if our tastes may.  And that’s another joy.  We all don’t love the same flavors.  If we did, that would be boring.

Thicker dough is not my friend.  I’m not sure whose friend it would be.  Bread is a tough one and while the weather is hot and bright, it’s easy for me to get bloated and full without hardly eating a thing.  The yummy pizza crust becomes a challenge in these months.  This isn’t a complaint.  I’d take this weather all year round.

This brings me to a surprise discovery.  And we’re back at BistroRx in the Patterson Park neighborhood of Baltimore, MD.

But is it really that much of a surprise?  Just because a place isn’t known for their pizza, or in this case flatbreads, doesn’t mean it can’t be discussed.  It just gives expanded options and I will be taking full advantage of such.

BistroPieWithWine

As we were enjoying our wine (for more on this bottle click here), a small plate was necessary.   I almost decided on a salad or random finger food, but the answer was right in front of me.   We went with the Margherita and what a superb choice.  If I went in another tangent or direction, this post doesn’t happen.  There’s a little dramatics for you.

BistroPie

I had no idea the shape would be just as immaculate as a regular pie.  But what is a regular pie?  It can be anything you want it to be.   Nevertheless, this crust was superb.  It was thin enough to enjoy in the heat.  And that pesto was dazzling.   It can make any pie a winner and this would win some titles if they were handing out belts, or trophies.   Hopefully this praise is on par with those rewards.

Besides the pesto and crust, the mozzarella and tomato sauce make this simple recipe on the level of some of the better za’s I’ve had recently.   This flatbread never had a chance.  If I was feeling unreasonable I’d have ordered another (and maybe another).  It was that stellar.

BistroWithWine2

I will be frequenting Bistro more.  I’ve had quite a few meals and this was on that level of pristine eats.  I’ve mentioned some of the other diamonds I’ve had, and you can read more about that here.

The energy and the vibe certainly helped.  Outdoor seating didn’t hurt either.

I’ve made friends in the neighborhood, some who just moved in and some were here temporarily, they have praised Bistro’s food above most, if not all, of Baltimore.  I can understand why.  It’s top flight and I want more.  I’m pining for another meal from there as I near the end of this post.  They’re closed now as of this writing.  Maybe some other time.

Yes I know this experience didn’t take a place on a Friday but it makes for a great, albeit cheesy title.  I’m fun and funny.

Until next time,

Ideen

 

The Groovy Gourmet

PeaceAPizzaSlices

The amount of times I’ve driven by on or on the outskirts of Peace A Pizza without stopping in is too high to count.   I’m perplexed at myself.  But earlier this week I was in the vicinity and decided it was finally time.  Maybe the sun being out consistently has snapped me back into a bit of normalcy.

So when I stepped out of my car and saw a hippie and positive logo on the outside I was hoping I was in for a positive and vibrant experience.   And that’s exactly what I got.

PeaceAPizzaFront

First things first, Catonsville is the home of this location.  And even though I’ve spent a minuscule amount of time in the town, I felt at ease and at peace walking around.  Yes I gave myself a few minutes to soak in the area.  It may not look as historic as towns near you, but it still had a community feel to it that I welcome in my life.

Smack dab and nearly centrally located is this pizzeria.    I was there at an off time so I had the whole place to myself.  While that may sound lonely, it was fine by me.  I was able to snap some photographs I otherwise might not have been able to.

PeaceAPizzaSlices2

Without even realizing, the two slices I ordered were based on my favorite ingredients. And I savored both.  I went with the Buffalo Bleu Cheese and the Green Goat, with the latter containing pesto.  For those who’ve been following this blog, I’ve raved about this sauce from the get go.  More on that in a moment.

PeaceAPizzaBuff

The chicken on my buffalo slice tasted fresh and real.  That’s all you can ask for.  I could pieces of chicken on this slice all day.  I didn’t have all day though.  The bleu cheese was delectable but the funny kicker is that instead of sour cream, they used crème fraîche instead of our cream.  What’s the difference?  You can read more here.  The red peppers were a nice touch.  This was a wonderful gourmet slice.  And that’s what they tout.

PeaceAPizzaGreenGoat

The Green Goat is a funny one.  When I ordered the slice at the counter, I forgot to ask what it was.  I just liked how it looked and saw the green pesto sauce emanating from the slice.  So after looking my pictures over and perusing the menu, I can deduct that is what I ordered.  My excitement got the best of me.  At the time I could only officially identify my slice as, ‘what is this?’ or just ‘this’.  That’s the crack reporting you’re looking for I know.

The goat cheese and pesto are a winning combination.  I love how both slices look. I’m admiring them even more a few days after the fact.  The arugula and plum tomatoes also complement this slice accordingly.  Man I love this one too.

I noticed they didn’t heat up either slice entirely.  I’m actually glad they didn’t.  I’ve mentioned before, that sometimes heating it up too much will cover up for glaring holes and issues with the pie itself.  Lukewarm is a strong barometer of how the pizza truly tastes.What I ate is what I got.  Makes sense right?

The vibe inside is one of happiness, harmony, and hippies.  Did I just do some alliteration again?  Oh boy.  And I wanted to avoid using the word hippie if I could.  But it applies here. I’m all for uplifting vibes and feeling good.

PeaceAPizzaOutside

This is a chain that looks like it will blow up.   There’s only seven locations currently, but I suspect that number will grow.  If you’re near one I highly recommend a visit.

I had way too much fun here.  I will have to come back here sooner much rather than further down the line.  Whether it’s this particular location or elsewhere, I welcome trying some more unique and groovy slices.

PeaceAPizzaDeals

I’m feeling those good vibrations.

Peace and Love,

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

Something on the Somewhere

TavernChickenPizza2

When I first started writing this blog, my primary focus was in and around the Baltimore area.  It was suggested to me that I expand where I could.   Even if it’s just a suburb, a different town will add a different element to my posts.   Since then, I’ve expanded to other parts of the northeast and sometimes elsewhere.  I don’t know where this is going, but global domination would be nice.  Or at least an expansion.    But this week I take it back to the city  I first wrote about.

Don’t you just love how I post a photo and then not get around to discussing it, until the second paragraph?   When you think of good pizza in Charm City I doubt Tavern on the Square makes many peoples’ top 10 or even 20 lists.   Should I even go higher?  This is not an indictment of them.   I actually found some of their pizza enjoyable, if not just flat-out scrumptious.  But there’s more to this place.  It’s become a frequent happy hour spot for dear friends of mine.  I’ve been grateful to be a part of many of these convocations.

TavernFront

But if you know the location, you know this bar has seen many transformations.  It’s been at least four different establishments since I’ve been frequenting this area.  Did I mention that this is nestled in the sometimes chaotic Canton Square?  However, this is one of the more subdued and refreshing locations, depending on what time of day you’re there.  And even at night it’s a little more reserved than some of the other more fraternized locales. Pun not intended.

For many, it’s like any other bar.  For me, I wonder what the identity is.  I over-analyze and ask sometimes reaching questions.  Maybe the fact that it has no niche is just what their niche is .  There I go being deep again.

Like I always ask, how was the za?

This is going to be a recap of several pies over multiple visits and in sequential order.  And in general, the pals I mentioned earlier were around for all of them.  I’ll try to simplify this so as to not overlap.

It wasn’t until I saw a good friend eating a gargantuan meatball pizza, that I even knew it was on the menu.  The meatball on this day was heated to perfection.  Look at that immaculately heated crust.  And the burnt cheese on the side is always a nice touch.  You can tell the flatbread crust was heated with soul and the chef was enjoying himself.  The meatball tasted great as well.  I’m thankful my friend gave me a couple of slices to try.

The blackened chicken was at the top of the standings.  This was over a second visit a couple of months later.  The chicken just had a taste to it that worked.  And the accompanying vegetables complemented the protein.  Once again, that crust was heated in stellar fashion.  As you can see, this pie got decimated quickly.  I was happy to share with my friends as that’s what life is all about.

For the next visit, we all ordered a bunch of pies.  This is also where things fell apart.

I ordered the buffalo chicken.  This was the dichotomy of the first two pizzas. It wasn’t heated well.  And you can tell by the pictures.  The golden brown was missing.   The buffalo sauce was too spicy and the blue cheese tasted goofy. Yes I said goofy.  I don’t know what went wrong.  It was good enough to meat but their was nothing behind this.  It didn’t feel like the happy pie I’ve grown accustomed too. And that made me sad.

Some friends ordered the margherita. It just tasted like it was there.  The presentation was so-so, and this tasted like there was nothing behind it.  This looked and tasted undercooked.

TavernMeatballSliceDay2

Finally, a friend ordered the meatball and I just had to try again.  It was nowhere near the level of what I enthusiastically described earlier.  The meatball itself didn’t seem cooked and again the crust seemed boring.   Again, enough to eat, but nothing more.

So what happened?   I have my educated guesses and information. maybe it was an off night.  I was happy to share and swap slices with friend for the third visit.  I just wish the enjoyment level was on par with the first meatball and blackened chicken pizzas.

With that being said, that’s how I’ll remember the visits and the eats.  That blackened chicken was tremendous.  I would strongly recommend if you get the chance.  I look forward to getting another visit in and hoping for a repeat.

Nevertheless,  the positive experiences with good friends is most paramount.  And I’m thankful to have had many here, as either a happy hour, starting point, or ending point. And with that, to Tavern, one final thing needs to be said. Thank you.

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

The Slice Is Right

The timing of this post is right.  I have some dear friends headed to New Orleans next week and I thought it was only right to go back into my archives for this week’s pizza extravaganza!

I love this city, I love the energy, the people, the outdoor festivals and parties, bars, restaurants, people watching, sight-seeing, and everything in between.  I know I just used a lot of similar narratives but so be it. I am getting emotional looking back and photos and writing today’s post.

SliceFrontSliceSign

After a quick ride from the airport and dropping my bags off my room, I was not about staying inside whatsoever.   I never had that much of a set plan while I was there except for maybe trying a few pizzerias.  It only seems right for changing the geography of this blog when I can.

I wrote about an incredible spot back in July and I’m grateful to be writing about Slice Pizzeria in the beautiful St. Charles neighborhood.

This was actually planned.  Sometimes they do come together. My room was just minutes away.  When I arrived here I got goose bumps.  I’m getting goose bump and chills now.

A few friends had suggested this place to me and I’m all for fun places to go along with wherever random and unexpected turns I make in my travels.

I knew I was in good for a great day and great visit. The inside is so laid-back and so charming.  There were a few regulars and enjoying their food and their cold ones.   It felt so right and a nice start before I did more of the touristy stuff.

Now onto the slices!

SliceCheeseUpClose

First up, in typical vacation fashion, I ordered a cheese slice.   The crust on all of these is perfectly cooked and a bit crunchy. That’s a good thing.   The slices were crisp and thin so I never got bloated.  And that’s good because I would be over-indulging for the majority of the trip shortly thereafter.

I think the cheese was solid but I wasn’t blown away by it.   It was enjoyable but nothing out-of-the-ordinary. However, at $2.75, it’s very reasonably priced.  That was a pleasant treat.

SliceMenu

After that slow start I got a bit more ambitious.  The menu had a nice breakdown of pies between Classic, Signature, and Native.  I think that’s a wonderful touch.

SliceUpClose

Next was the Sportman’s Paradise.  We had a lot of moving parts on this one.   The shrimp and sausage mixed together definitely gave it some power.  I had to pick some of the pieces off just to see how they tasted on their own.  And they were brilliant.

In my honest opinion, having the onions, peppers, and tomatoes might have been a bit much.  Don’t get me wrong, this was another good pizza but I think there may have been one or two toppings too many.   Sometimes less is more and that’s what I felt here. But how can you complain at $4.25 a slice.  This was worth that.  I just think this slice could be incredible as opposed to just really good.

SliceDuo!

So I ordered those two slices together and usually I’d be done at this point.  But I’m in a different universe. It’s time to get ambitious and inspired.  And this final slice I ordered is exactly that.

SliceSpecialty

SliceBBG

The B.B.G., which is short for Bacon, Basil, and Garlic is one of those slices I still think about.   Maybe that saving the best for last and the third time is a charm cliché applies here.  I can’t rave about this one enough.   This is how less is more and how every topping really means something here.

I wish I had ordered a pie of this.  This was heavenly, divine, cosmic, metaphysical, and out-of-this-world.   And at $3.50 I felt like I was stealing from them.  We all know how amazing white pizza is.  But these simple additions really make this something to behold.   The garlic, bacon, and that fresh basil thrown on top is pure eye-candy.  It was almost too beautiful to eat.  Thankfully I saved a photo.

SliceWine

And you know I’m going to enjoy some vino with my meal.

This is how I will always remember how I started my vacation.  And knowing who I am, this was perfect.  I am missing this amazing city as I write all this.  It’s only been four months but I’m feeling incredibly nostalgic and yearning to go back.

The bartender was very friendly and this made the experience all that much better.

SliceTees

There will be more NOLA posts to come.  When the timing feels right.  This feels right.

I miss it.

Best,

Ideen

An Ocean City Favorite

Whether it’s the locals in town or folks on vacation, people have sung the praises of Trattoria Lombardi’s (or just Lombardi’s for short) in Ocean City, MD.

When I mentioned to my fellow pizza pals that I wanted to focus on pizzerias by the Maryland and Delaware Beaches, Lombardi’s was the top request and suggestion.

I am grateful to only live a couple of hours from the Eastern Shore.  And I am grateful to have made a visit to this famous restaurant during 4th of July weekend.

And the fact that it was during the holidays will be taken into consideration.

Lombardi'sEntrance

The interior is very authentic.  It’s an older restaurant and I like it that way.  There was really no chance to take photos inside, since it was such a sea of humanity. And what I would try to capture would be lost in the shuffle.  The place was packed and the lines to get a table or even to order food to go were growing by the minute.  There was such a frenzy and I wouldn’t expect anything less during such a hectic time of year.

I ordered three pies to go, for my friends and I to enjoy.

Lombardi'sMenu

While scanning the menu I was pleased to see a special Summer Pizza.  Of course I had to satisfy my curiosity.

Lombardi'sSummer

Unfortunately this was my least favorite.   The tomatoes and basil on the white pie really didn’t click for me.  It wasn’t bad.  It just didn’t come together how I had hoped.  The dough on all three were cooked very well.  It was the right about of crispness and softness at the same time.  The visuals are a delight.  I love how the  cheese looked so magnificent melted into the crust.    But for this one, maybe it was a rush job.  The tomatoes don’t need to be cooked all the way but it felt like they were thrown on at the last-minute.

Lombardi'sWhite

Next, we have the White Pizza.  I didn’t realize until I was eating it that it had onions.  I thought it was a mistake or a few onions had spilled over from another order by mistake.  It wasn’t until I looked at the menu that I saw this was their special version.  And I really liked this one.  I found this very tasty and love how the onion is a part of this pie.  If you look close you may be able to see them in this picture.  This was my favorite of the three.

Lombardi'sCheese

And finally, it’s the Cheese.   So many people have told me this is one of their favorite pizzas at the beach or anywhere in Maryland for that matter.  So I had high expectations.  They did not reach them.  I thought it was good but it didn’t turn out as great as I hoped.  I’m not sure what I was hoping for but this was a notch or two below that.

Nevertheless, my buds and I ate this pizza up over the next couple of days because it was very good.  And it tasted great reheated.  But I don’t think it’s quite the blow away pizza others have touted.

But as I previously stated, I understand this tasting fell on a holiday weekend, so I will definitely give it another go.  And I would eat here again anyways, either in-house or carry-out.  I found this to be a very good but not quite the amazing feast I felt would happen.

Lombardi'sSignage

In a way I blame myself for such high expectations.   But I can’t way to go back on another day and have those same expectations.  I believe the hype!

Lombardi'sToGo

If you’d like to read my previous resort themed pizza posts, click here and here.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen