I consider myself a little bit above average on the Adventurous Eater scale. I'm only truly freaked out by a couple of things, but in the right sauce I'll gladly try those things (ahem, tripe). Of course, this was not always the case. There was a time when I turned my nose up at radishes, wouldn't go near skate wing, and certainly wanted nothing to do with anything spicy. Tops on the list of "I've never had it and I doubt I'll like it" was broccoli rabe.
It doesn't look like broccoli. It doesn't taste like broccoli. It's bitter and weird. Why would anyone eat that?
Let's all pretend to be surprised that it took a pizza to turn me around. I remember one summer day, working for the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe. A deadline was looming, everyone was getting stressed and hungry, so pizza was suggested and I, of course, got excited! Being the new kid and not wanting to express opinion (dumb), I said I'd be happy to go in on whatever kind everybody else wanted. So the order was placed to Gianfranco's for 2 large pies with provolone and broccoli rabe. I was horrified. Why hadn't I spoken up? Why didn't I mention my go-to, a garlic pie? Was this going to be a -gasp!- white pizza?! My mind reeled. Pizza gone wrong. Is there anything worse?
When the pizza showed up, I decided that I needed to try it because I said I would. As you might have guessed, it's awesome and I loved it. I still love it. It is indeed a white pie, and there is a ton of garlic on it. The melding of cheese, broccoli rabe, and garlic with Gianfranco's soft and thin crust was the perfect way to make me rethink my stance on the bitter greens. I think the provolone is a special order, but ask for it nonetheless. The sharpness of the cheese stands up perfectly to the other flavors.
Gianfranco's is a great Philadelphia pizza chain, with three locations. This is some of the best pizza in Philly and worthy of a visit. Go at lunch for a great deal - 2 slices and a drink for $4. Better yet, convince your friends to go in on a special order pie and prepare to be amazed.
Gianfranco Pizza Rustica
6 N.3rd Street, Philadelphia
248 S. 11th Street, Philadelphia
2124 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia