Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pizza by Astrological Sign

My darling friend Maggie forwarded on this guide to pizza. I'm a Taurus and they are definitely right on!

Did you know that your Sun Sign influences how you like your pizza? Each Sign has a unique approach to eating this popular food -- what's your style?

You want your pizza to go, with extra hot peppers.

You order one with everything on it, and then another in case you're still hungry.

You like half mushroom and half olives but are usually too busy chatting with the waiter or delivery person to eat it.

You bake your own, making the dough from scratch and using tomatoes from your garden.

You prefer gourmet pizza from trendy Italian places, but you only eat a piece so that your stomach still looks flat in your fitted jeans.

You order plain cheese pizza and request extra napkins for blotting the grease.

You order one all-meat and one all-veggie because you can't decide which one you want.

You get your pizza with pineapple, anchovies and secret sauce -- and you also manage to get the delivery person's phone number.

A Brazilian or Mexican pizza that can be put into an environmentally-friendly to-go box works for you.

You like any pizza that can be folded calzone-style so that you can eat while you work.

Mmmmm … doesn't a wheat-free pizza with soy cheese topped with organic vegetables sound delicious?

You get lost on the way to the pizza shop and end up at a Thai restaurant instead.


Monday, May 18, 2009

I know, it's been a while.

My friends, I am so sorry it's been so long. Last night I dined on a delicious cheese and garlic pie from Gianfranco's. Tonight, though... tonight I will be eating birthday pizza (in anticipation of my bday tomorrow) from Bruno's.

Full, cheesy report to come. Yum yum!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Apartment Vegan Pizza

My friend Art writes The Apartment Vegan, a wonderful food blog with lots of recipes and thoughts about delicious food.

About a week or so ago (probably longer) he sent me a text with a picture and description of a beautiful pizza and then my phone went haywire and I couldn't share it with you. I was hoping he would write about pizza on his blog and - behold! He has!

Check out his pizza with fra diavlo sauce! Oh man, also, Art gives helpful hints on how to stretch dough.

Looks delicious, even with the soy cheese. Which, for the record, I am against.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I am easily persuaded

I brought a [freezer aisle] veggie pot pie with me to work today. I am planning to check out that new pizza place again tonight, so I thought this would be a good option. My work girls brought their Lean Cuisines. We were going to just do that for lunch, no problem.

That is, until I got this call from Work Girl #1: "We don't think we can eat what we brought today. We need pizza."

And just like that, today became double pizza day!

2 Pizzas from Scratch

Pizzadelphia is quite a guy! After a rough couple of weeks, I was finishing up a big project so he decided to make me some pizza. In fact, he made 2 pizzas and they were both OFF THE HOOK good.

First up: Wowza-roni Pizza!

On this pizza: dough from scratch, olives, pepperoni, crushed chili peppers, goat's milk mozzarella, cow's milk mozzarella, tomato base, crushed black pepper

Verdict: gone in under 20 minutes. The goat's milk mozzarella is completely delicious - only a little different than traditional mozzarella, honestly, but yummy. And Pizzadelphia cut up the pepperoni into quarters, which is the best way to do it because then you don't have to contend with the whole piece of pepperoni coming off with a big slide of cheese... you know how that goes.

Pizza 2: Pineytime Station Pizza

On this pizza: dough from scratch, roasted garlic, toasted pine nuts, zucchini, tomato base, cow's milk mozzarella, crushed black pepper.

Verdict: OH GOD YES. Because we had already eaten a full other pizza, I only had half of my allotted slices of this one. This means I was able to enjoy it again during lunch on Monday. I like to eat leftover pizza cold, and I am here to tell you that cold or hot, this pizza rocked. Pizzadelphia roasted the garlic in the oven while he made, cooked, and we ate the first pizza. I love roasted garlic and it was really special to have on a pizza. He also toasted the pine nuts before putting them on the pizza. Here's a tip: put some toasted pine nuts on your next pizza. The zucchini still had a bit of texture to it, which was a nice addition.

In other pizza news, I may have found a place in Philadelphia to rival Bruno's. I tried it last night but faithful reader (and friend) PizzaMike recommended I have a second taste test before I go crazy with pizza proclamations. I'm going back tonight, so I'll have a full report on Monday. Have a wonderful weekend - eat some pizza!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Field Report: Good Sicilian Pizza in New Orleans!

My dear friend Anthony is back with a follow-up to his lamentations about the lack of quality pizza in New Orleans. Read on...

My Princessly Purveyor of Pizza,

I am writing to inform you of a change in my situation regarding my search for pizza in the illustrious City of New Orleans, in the Great State of Louisiana. If my words or thoughts seem muddled, please understand that I am positively overflowing joy and excitement!

Before I explain my discovery, this rare jewel which I can only equate to a significant archaeological finding such as the tomb of the great pharoah Tutankhamun or the more recent Fermilab discovery of the Y(4140) particle--may the new unexpected Y state that decays to J/psi and phi bring an abundance of spectacular discoveries in the upcoming years!--I must digress to my previous electronic correspondence.

I am still struggling with the cold and irrefutable fact that yours truly did, in fact, recommend Dominos pizza to you and your readers. I do wish that I could attribute it to libations or, perhaps, something more illicit and dubious, but the truth is that I was confused, famished and in something of a credulous state when I saw, ordered and subsequently ate the food I had so gracefully praised a fortnight ago.

We shall not dwell on the past, however. What is done is done. We can only look forward and learn from our mistakes, dire as they may have been. Allow me to move on to my present announcement: I have found good pizza.

No. "Good" is not a strong enough word. Amazing. Miraculous. Wonderful. Marvelous. There are simply not enough words in the English language to describe this pizza! I discovered many clues, scattered throughout the multitude of tubes of which The Internet is comprised. A mention of a name here, an intimation of a Sicilian pie there. I donned my bowler and took up my calabash pipe and, as if possessed by the spirit of Sherlock Holmes, put these myriad clues together and discovered the location: Cafe Nino, 1510 S. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118. I telephoned and spoke with a young man who, after I inquired over their ability to make Sicilian pies, had me speak with Roger. Our conversation was as follows:

Me: "Good day, sir. I am calling to find out if you might be able to produce for me a Sicilian pie."
Roger: "Indeed, fine gentleman! As our requests for this excellent variety of pizza are few and far between I ask for your patience for the next one-hundred and twenty minutes. A pizza of this caliber requires me to make fresh dough, which must rise to perfection."
Me: "Sir, if you can indeed procure for me a Sicilian pie, I would be so inclined as to wait four entire hours. Perhaps even five!"
Roger: "Excellent! I look forward to meeting you face-to-face!"
Me: "Indeed, as do I!"
Roger: "Good day to you!"
Me: "No, sir, good day to you!"

I waited, pacing anxiously as if I were awaiting the birth of a child, watching the minutes on the clock crawl by at a pace that would make a gazelle resemble a tortoise. When I arrived the pizza was nearly finished. The smells were amazing. Roger made a point of showing me the pizza before boxing it, asking if it looked up to my specifications. My mouth and vocal chords were unable to form audible words. I payed the good man for his work and hurried home.

My dearest Meghann, there are simply no words. Poets would be found speechless. Songwriters, without a voice! The crust was crisp and chewy. The sauce was tangy but not overpowering. There was the perfect amount of mozzarella and pepperoni (a topping which would have my dear Catholic mother quoting scripture, as it was a Friday eve) and Roger was kind enough to give a good sprinkling of shredded parmesan cheese.

Twice have I ordered this pizza. Twice have I waited two hours. Twice has it been worth every moment of waiting. The second time I maintained enough of my wits--previously overwhelmed by my elation and excitement--to photograph the occasion. Please see below:

I am fearful of saying that I shall not write again, pronouncing the discovery of yet another pizza. If there are more restaurants such as this, then they are lying well below the radar of many capable individuals. I felt this finding was of great enough importance to share with you and your most esteemed readers. I felt, more than anything, that redemption for my previous correspondence was in order. I will attribute it to a temporary lapse of sanity, a momentary excursion from the realm of rational thought and decision making.

I have the honor to remain your most hungry and obedient reader,


If you'd like to submit a field report, that would be awesome! Just send it along. I might not get to use every field report submitted.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Double Pizza Day

It's Friday. It's Lent. I'm having pizza for lunch and dinner because that's how I roll!

Lunch: cheese.
Dinner: the options are endless!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You can't fool me, Distrito!

Last night Pizzadelphia and I visited Distrito in West Philadelphia for the first time. We are fans of Jose Garces and I'd been reading reviews of the bright pink lucha libre wonderland since it opened. We opted for a tasting menu and everything was going just fine when they brought to the table Huaraches Guisados.

This dish, was a flat, crispy dough with short rib, oxtail, 3 chile barbeque, cheese, poblano, crema, and radish (according to the menu, which I am looking at right now). It looked gorgeous - crema striped over the entirety of the dish. It was roughly the size of a large postcard or handbill, and rectangular in shape and cut into four strips.

Pizzadelphia and I took one bite, looked at each other in glee, and pronounced it pizza. YOU CANNOT FOOL US, JOSE GARCES. Crispy flat dough topped with multiple kinds of cheese, braised beef and other toppings? That is pizza. And it was totally delicious.

3945 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Pizza Bandit

There is a Pizza Bandit in South Philadelphia. So far, the Bandit has held up four pizzarias this month. According to this article (that I accessed through, he orders food and then pulls a gun and demands money. He has been all over South Philly - even to my home delivery of choice, Two Street Pizza. Here's the description:

- 35-40-year-old male
- 6'2" – 6'3" tall
- Medium build
- Light completion with freckles
- Light brown eyes
- Sandy brown to reddish eyebrows
- Wearing a blue hoodie

I'm not saying we need to start a mob of people looking for this guy but stealing from pizza parlors is wrong. Pizza Bandit, you need to learn: pizza is beautiful and we do not hurt the people who make the pizza!

Monday, March 16, 2009

This is probably the only thing I have in common with Kim Jong-il

Apparently, Kim Jong-il is obsessed with pizza. North Korea just got its first pizza parlor!

For millions of undernourished North Koreans, the notion of eating at a restaurant belongs strictly to the world of fantasy. And so there is only the grimmest humour in the news that, for the country's ruling elite, Pyongyang's dining options just got a little more impressive: the country now has its first-ever pizzeria.

The Guardian story has so many wonderful quotes. Let me share a few favorites.

One of the officers [Italian chef] Furlanis was training asked him to specify the precise distance at which olives should be spaced on a pizza, he recalled.

According to Choson Sinbo, subsequent efforts to reproduce Italian pizza in North Korea were a process of "repeated trial and error", and last year the dictator sent chefs to Naples and Rome to learn more.

Quoting North Korean defectors, the South Korean news website Daily NK said Kim "does not eat much, but enjoys picking at various kinds of food, as if just to taste".

Well I guess, congratulations go to North Korea for getting pizza for their upper class. Maybe someday pizza will be for the people!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Right now...

I am dreaming of a mushroom and onion pizza from Bruno's. With garlic. And extra sauce.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Free, good pizza

Huzzah! We just had a bridal shower at work and there was free Gianfranco's pizza! I had two pieces and I'm hoping there are leftovers in the fridge.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pizza at home: now with goat's milk cheese!

I am not a big fan of goat's milk cheese, so I was a bit wary when Pizzadelphia brought home a block of goat mozzarella. No longer, though, because it is delicious.

Pizzadelphia made for me last night pizza from scratch, using garlic oil instead of olive oil in the dough. We didn't notice much difference, but just knowing it was in there was helpful for my soul. Crushed tomatoes were the sauce, topped with goat mozzarella, bacon (high five for bacon!), whole cherry tomtatoes, and just a couple of oil-cured olives. I'm pretty sure there were a few grates of parmigiana reggiano on top too. Everything came together beautifully and we continue to enjoy the crispness of crust the pizza stone provides.

I love whole cherry or grape tomatoes on a pizza. They get roasted and when you bite into them have a very satisfying pop and just explode with flavor. The danger, of course, is that they want to roll off your slice while you're holding it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Regarding Lorenzo's on South Street

If you're a Philadelphian, there are a few things you are expected to love. Ben Franklin, cheesesteaks, Yuengling Lager, Tastykakes, Eagles football/Phillies baseball...the list goes on. Somewhere on that list is Lorenzo's Pizza on South Street. Well I'm here to tell you the truth, my friends.

I hate Lorenzo's Pizza.

First of all, they sell only cheese pizza by the slice. They have large signs telling you NO TOPPINGS. They also have large signs telling you that you cannot get a box for your absurdly gigantic slice of pizza. You know what Lorenzo's is full of? Jerks.

But the real reason I hate Lorenzo's is the sauce. It's just too sweet. I do not like a sweet sauce and because of that I scrunch my face up at the mere thought of Lorenzo's. And yet the line stretches out the door and down the street every day. I don't get it. Can somebody explain to me why so many people love sweet sauce pizza made by jerks?

Lorenzo and Son
305 South Street
Philadelphia, PA

Monday, March 9, 2009

Free samples!

I was in Whole Foods on Saturday evening, hoping (as I always am) that they would be giving out cheese samples. Well something even better happened: I was given a free sample of PIZZA. Whole Foods now makes pizza and you know, it's not bad! You can find it at the prepared food counter. They have options like whole wheat crust, veggie lovers, giant pepperoni, etc. Not sure how much it costs for a slice, but you know, it's Whole Foods so I would expect it to cost a little bit more than you expect.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lickety Split

Last night I grabbed a slice from Lickety Split at 4th and South. I was rushing around and I pretty much scarfed it down, so I sadly can't remember too many details but here're the general notes:

* Originally, I asked for two slices, but when I saw the size of them, I opted for one instead. One slice at Lickety Split is the equivalent of 2 human-sized slices.

* I don't know if it had been sitting out for a long time or didn't have enough time in the oven on the reheat, but that thing was too soft and floppy. I had to fold my slice in half to get it to stay and I hate to fold my slices in half!

* Lot of oil. It ran down my arm, actually.

* I think Lickety Split wants to be a club/pizza place, instead of a pizza place.

* It wasn't terrible. It was food and that was good enough for me.

Lickety Split
401 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 413-3434

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The greatest pizza sauce in a can of all time


I just found out that I've been calling this product by the wrong name for my entire life. Just now. While searching for this picture. I thought it was Dom Pepino, whereas it is actually Don Pepino. That is so Jersey of me. Then again, I am out and proud about being from The Jerz so what do you expect?

There's not a lot to say about Don Pepino pizza sauce except that it is the greatest commercially available pizza sauce ever made. It is delicious, zesty, and most importantly, made with actual tomatoes instead of paste or tomato byproducts. Beyond being delicious on pizza, we use it as a base for pasta sauce, or on fake chicken patties to make microwave "chk'n parm," and I especially like to put it on pierogies. I'll level with you: I've been known to eat it by itself. It's delicious. The website (see below) lists a few different products but I would just stick to the rippled yellow can and enjoy!

Don Pepino on the web.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

From the mailbag - Pizza at the gym!

My darling sister, Stupidcleese, sent me this email the other day and I wanted to share it with the pizzaverse.

Your blog also just reminded me that I missed Pizza Monday at the gym this month. Damn. It will never cease to amuse me that my gym gives everyone who is sweating out their weekend sins pizza (to, of course, replace these newly sweated-out sins and guarantee our return to "work off" the pizza we shamefully shoved into our mouths because, well, it's pizza. and even better? it's free!) the first Monday of the month. The pizza isn't very good. [...] It's a regular pie disguised as a sicilian---square pieces does NOT equate sicilian--often overly soggy and sitting too hot in a closed box for too long. But it's free. And when I'm running on the treadmill I often think of pizza. Pizza Monday at the gym is like the universe reading my mind.

To me, this is one of the most brilliant schemes I've ever heard. A vicious cycle of pizza and treadmill, guaranteed to bring you back for more of both. If they gave out pizza at my gym I would go every day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gusto Pizza

I co-founded a theatre company here in Philadelphia called Flashpoint. We are based in the Rittenhouse area of the city and thankfully there are many decent pizza offerings near the theatre. We were in the midst of strike on Sunday when the pizza cravings hit. Strike means taking apart the set after a production is closed. For Flashpoint, strike also means breaking large pieces of luan into smaller, trash-bag-able sized pieces by karate kicking them against a wall. It's a hard job and can make a person very hungry for pizza.

We decided to go in on a couple of pies from Gusto, a very small pizza shop just a few blocks from the theatre. We were dealing with a lot of different dietary needs, so we opted to order two cheese pies. And they were fantastic. This was not my first time with Gusto, and it won't be my last. The sauce is savory and loaded with herbs. The cheese is flavorful and distributed in a way to highlight the sauce. The crust is of medium thickness and has a nice doughiness to it.

After finishing my third slice and looking at the second empty box, I wished we had thought to buy another pie. When five people attack two pies and wish for a third, something good is happening in that oven.

240 S 22nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
phone: (215) 546-7200
omg! they have coupons on their website!

Friday, February 27, 2009

It's that time of year again

I am Catholic.

That sentence means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To me it means that during Lent I do my best not to eat meat on Fridays. You maybe see this one coming: today is the first Friday of Lent.

Growing up in a Catholic household, no meat Fridays mean one of three things could be for dinner: fish, spaghetti, or pizza. Maybe it was because Tuesday was more often the spaghetti night, or because fish wasn't tops on mine or my sister's lists. Whatever the reason, when I was very young Lent was one of my favorite times of year because it usually signified double pizza day.

At my Catholic grade school, Fridays were always pizza day. You brought in your pizza money at the beginning of the week and then on Friday mornings the teacher doled out the smooth, wooden buttons that served as pizza tickets. I always got two slices of pizza. This was in the blissful time of life before most of lunch hour was spent with mean girls taking stock of who brought Diet Coke for lunch, and complaining that their barely pubescent bodies were "too fat," a ridiculous assertation as none of us had anything more than baby fat on our bones.

I remember walking down to the cafeteria in a line, excitedly clutching my two wooden buttons. Some kids claimed that they liked recess best, or gym. But I was nerdy and spent most recess periods reading, and completely afraid of being hit when we played kickball during gym. Friday lunchtime was the best time of the week for me. As aforementioned, my mom was a Pizza Mom so I would say hi to her and get my two delicious slices of heaven and hope hope hope that we would also have pizza for dinner. Which we usually did. SCORE.

I think because of this Friday pizza day turning into Friday pizza night I have been conditioned to want, nay, EXPECT pizza on Fridays. This is especially the case during Lent. I just had two slices for lunch and I must say, I feel a little bit holier than I did this morning.

Thank you, God, for pizza.

From the pizza mailbag

I received the following email yesterday and with the writer's permission, I am reprinting it here today. I should probably give full disclosure that this letter comes from one of my oldest and dearest friends.

Subject: Something of a serious nature.

Dearest Meghann,

I cannot believe that I am going to divulge this bit of information to you. I am at the same time happy and full to the brim with shame. It's concerning something very serious and, as I know it to be, very dear to you.

It's about pizza.

I love pizza. Perhaps not as much as some, but I do love it. For the past 8 years I've been in a city devoid of good pizza. We have our chains, like Italian Pie and Reginelli's, which both make decent "specialty" pizzas. Nothing, however, that compares with the good kind of pizza you would find in the northeast. And then there are ... the other chains. Dominos. Pizza Hut. The "sellouts" of the pizza industry. Commercial. Mass produced.

But I have to confess to you, my dear friend, and I hope you understand and do not judge me too harshly. Please know that Dominos is the only pizza place that will deliver to my home, sadly located in one of the more crime ridden neighborhoods of New Orleans. After a night of indulging in the Mardi Gras celebrations, I found myself craving the delicious combination of dough and cheese. I caved.

However, if I was going to order one of these pizzas it would be something different. Something unique. A commercial came on showing the Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch from the American Legends line of pizzas. I chose the "ultimate deep dish" cheesy crust.

Meghann, I would be lying if I were to say this was not one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten in this city. Perhaps my palette has been tainted by substandard pies, but this combination of chicken, bacon, what I imagine was ranch dressing, and a surprisingly perfectly cooked crust was delectible. My mouth: it waters right now at the thought, although my mind recoils in terror.

The pizza situation in New Orleans is very bad, Meghann. Surrounded by Sicilians who do not make Sicilian pies. Oh, how I long to hold a slice needing two hands to be properly folded just so. The straw has broken the back of this proverbial camel: a good-natured and solid-minded individual from the northeast found comfort and solace in a pizza from Dominos. Weeping and mourning are not strong enough to properly react to this horror.

I am surrounded by madness, my friend. Absolute madness.

So please, keep on blogging of your pizza adventures. We poor souls who find ourselves in these locations devoid of the pies of which we longingly reminisce rely on your words as a message of hope. Perhaps one day others like me will not have to travel over a thousand miles for good pizza. But until that day comes, I'll enjoy each and every one of your posts.

I have the honor to remain your most hungry and obedient reader,

Check out Anthony's blogs, The Museum Project and The Daily Composer. When he's not longing for good pizza, Ant spends his time being an incredible musician, writer, and friend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Old City Pizza

My friend and I found ourselves looking for a place to have lunch that was equidistant to our respective offices. Old City Pizza was the answer, a corner pizza/sandwich restaurant that does booming business on weekday lunches and tourist weekends. OCP is located half a block from the Betsy Ross House in the historic section of Philly. (I should say one of the historic sections of Philly - we are chock full o' history here.)

We opted to share a small pepperoni and an order of fries. OCP offers a wide variety of specialty pizzas, but sometimes you just need to go simple. Old City Pizza is not my favorite local option, but it's not bad. The sauce is fantastic - lots of herbs mixed in so it's more savory than most of the local favorites (we'll get into my hatred of Lorenzo's famous slices in a later post). The cheese is fine, a little uneven in spots. The crust is where we run into trouble. It's not quite a deep dish crust, but it isn't thin, either. It's crispy but oily. It's fine, but it makes for a more filling pizza. I like to be able to ingest as much pizza as possible, so thicker crusts are harder for me to love because they make it hard to get through more than 2 pieces.

All in all, Old City Pizza is a fine idea for lunch or an improvised meal plan, but I don't know that I would seek it out as a destination. If you're planning a trip to the Betsy Ross House soon, let me know and I'll direct you to some much better pizza, just a few blocks away.

Old City Pizza
100 N 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 574-9494

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slumdog Pizzanaire!

And the winner is...


Slumdog Pizzanaire!

Pizzadelphia concocted this amazing pie for us during the Oscars last night. He made dough by Mark Bittman's recipe in the essential tome, How to Cook Everything. The korma sauce went on the dough. Pizzadelphia then pan cooked some chicken that had been dipped in flour so that it would have a little crispness on the pizza. That went on top of the korma, along with some peas. The entire beautiful thing went onto a hot pizza stone and WHAMO! Fantastic pizza!

The pizza stone made a huge difference. The crust was crisp on the outside and soft inside. The middle of the pizza crust wasn't wimpy or sagging. The combination of flavors was wonderful, especially the peas. The korma sauce had an unexpected spiciness to it, which the peas balanced perfectly.

A winner, for sure!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I'm very excited for the Oscars this Sunday. The glitz, the glamour, Hell yes!

Pizzadelphia challenged me to think up 5 pizzas, each representing the nominees for Best Picture. We'll make the one that looks best to consume during the show. (It's a shame The Wrestler isn't up for Best Picture because I could have made one hell of a heroically sad Jersey pizza.) The nominees are...

The Curious Case of Pizzamin Button
In honor of New Orleans, my take on a muffaletta!

Thick dough with aged provolone (see what I did there?), genoa salami, cappicola ham, and olive salad. Of course because Pizzamin Button has to be backwards, the toppings will be directly on the crust, with cheese on top, ultimately topped with sauce. Hopefully the sauce can be made of baby tomatoes. (see what I did there? again?)

This one was the hardest to concoct. NO WAY was I going to suggest a pizza topped with Nixon's famous favorite food - cottage cheese and ketchup. That would be an abomination of pizza. So, we'll take a line from the movie (which I have not seen), and go with the end when Nixon asks Frost what they talked about over the phone. Frost replies, "Cheeseburgers."

Cheeseburger pizza - thin crust, tomato sauce, a mix of American cheese and Red Leicester cheese, ground beef. Optional: sliced tomato, raw onion, and a layer of shame and deceit.

The Pizzer
I thought about making The Reader's pizza simply a tribute to Kate Winslet, but decided instead to go with the overall book theme and German/Jewish thing.

Thin crust latke pizza, with bratwurst...shaped like a book! The potato skins can be arranged like lines of writing on a page and the bratwurst can serve as page numbers. Sexy page numbers.

Slumdog Pizzanaire
Easiest and most delicious suggestion!

Naan crust, korma sauce, ground lamb. I want to eat this immediately.

Pride Pizza!

Thin crust, traditional tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Toppings, arranged in bars, according to color:
Orange Peppers
Yellow Banana Peppers
Blue Potatoes
Eggplant (skin on)

I'm interested to hear other ideas! Especially if you've seen these movies, since I haven't seen any of them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pizza in Providence

I had occasion to spend the day in Providence, Rhode Island yesterday. I had about 5 hours free in the afternoon (a luxury, I assure you), so I decided to check out what Providence had to offer in terms of pizza. Before my trip, I went on Yelp to aid my search for good pizza places. I made a list of four and searched them out.

Three of the four are located in East Providence. The fourth will remain a mystery because I could not find it. Bob & Timmy's Pizza on Spruce Street, you will be my quest on another visit. I did notice a prevalence of whole wheat crusts, which were delicious if unexpected. Also, each place had what I'll call a "WTF Pizza" - some real doozies.

I was planning to try a slice of cheese at each place to properly compare their qualities, but I gave up on that the minute I laid eyes on the slice I had at Fellini's, my first stop. Pesto, scallion, and pepperoni on wheat crust. Oh yes, it's as amazing as it sounds. It is also as oily as it sounds. Pair the usual oil slick that comes with pepperoni pizza with pesto sauce and what you have is 4-5 used napkins by the end of the slice. Not that I'm complaining! This was one of the best slices I've had in a long time. The crust was thin and could have been a bit crisper, but the pepperoni and pesto went together perfectly, so I didn't really care. I also spied pizza with bacon, and a pizza with shaved butternut squash on it. Too bad I had to pace myself to make it through all 3 places - I wanted to try a little of each. I noticed that every other person who came in ordered a spinach pie - perhaps they are crazy and did not see the delicious pizza sitting in front of them?

Fellini's WTF Pizza: Philly Steak Pizza- shaved steak (ok...), red onions (not really but ok...), banana peppers (...), feta cheese (WTF!?)

After my pleasant experience at the noisy and packed Fellini's, I ventured down the road to the unfortunately named Pizza Pie-er. Is it supposed to be like more pie? Or perhaps denoting a pier? Or is it supposed to be almost Pierre? So confusing. Also, so small and dead inside. Their shtick is 4 crusts, 11 sauces, 33 toppings, great pizza. I will agree with three of these claims. They don't do slices at Pizza Pie-er, so I ordered a 7" personal cheese pizza on white crust. This pizza was all too hauntingly reminiscent of Pizza Hut - thick, greasy crust, not enough sauce, perfectly browned cheese. At first, I thought the cheese was great - a little crisp, definitely tasty. But once the pizza cooled down a bit, it did that thing where I bit into it and all the cheese came off the slice at once. I hate that. Also, I hate Pizza Pie-er. More like Pizza Die-er. I wouldn't call it an abomination of pizza, but it wasn't good.

Pizza Pie-er WTF Pizza: Brimp - cheese (yes...), broccoli (yes...), alfredo sauce (...) and shrimp (WTF!?) on a multigrain crust

I had a bit of a walk after Pizza Die-er. Unfortunately, I had burned the roof of my mouth on my first slice of the personal pie and I was worried that it would adversely effect my ability to taste the final slice of the day. I drank some water and chewed a little gum in hopes that I could regulate my mouth. I was told that the first two places were in "RISD Territory" and I had to walk over to Thayer Street, what appears to be the main drag of "Brown Territory." I browsed in a couple of shops, and let my mind wander, which is how I totally missed Nice Slice on the first go round. I had to double back and pay attention to street numbers in order to find it. I finally did, next to a body piercing store. Nice Slice had the youngest and hippest crowd of any of the places I tried. I almost ordered a buffalo chicken slice but changed my mind at the last minute when I spied a margherita pizza sitting in the corner, looking lonely. The basil was hand-ripped and there was a LOT of fresh mozzarella with a sweeter sauce. All of this was on a super duper thin whole wheat crust. The thing I noticed about Nice Slice is that they have a vegan pizza menu, which is probably their claim to fame among the college kids. The slice was good, but not very hot. On one hand, my burned mouth was glad, but on the other, pizza always tastes better if it's straight out of the oven.

Nice Slice WTF Pizza: Cranberry Picnic - spinach (ok...), cranberries (...), feta (...), almonds (WTF!?)

I saw another pizza place across from Nice Slice that seemed to be doing good business, but by that time I was too full of Providence pizza to even attempt a visit. I'll put it on the list with Bob & Timmy's for the next visit. Until then, I'll be dreaming of Fellini's.

Highly Recommended:
166 Wickenden Street
Providence, RI

Nice Slice
267 Thayer Street
Providence, RI

Not Recommended:
Pizza Pie-er
374 Wickenden Street
Providence, RI

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nothing says Valentine's Day like pizza

Pizzadelphia really outdid himself this V Day! My pizzacentric presents were great! First, he gave me triangular ziploc bags illustrated with cartoon pizza slices - the Pizza Saver! This will be perfect if there is ever a day we don't finish an entire pizza.

The second gift was a pizza stone. I'm excited to use this and get the middle of the crust nice and crispy on the next pizza I make!

Speaking of the next pizza I make, he did all the work for me! He made me a heart-shaped pie with more of the pepperoni and olives from Thursday's turnovers. Heart-shaped pizza?! Swoon.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pizzadelphia's pepperoni and two olive pizza turnover

Last night Pizzadelphia brought dinner to me at the theatre - his first attempt at a pizza turnover! He made the dough from scratch, following the recipe in Mark Bittman's wonderful How to Cook Everything, and filled it with a ton of delicious ingredients. In the turnover was Whole Foods sauce; locatelli, parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses; pepperoni; green olives; and oil-cured black olives. It was folded into a neat little burrito-like pocket and baked in the oven. The dough was crispy on the outside and nice and soft inside. It didn't fall apart as I ate it and was wonderful.

And because Pizzadelphia knows me pretty well, he brought me two. Fantastic!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Pizzadelphia was in DC this week for a couple of days and ended up at Sonoma, a lovely restaurant on the Hill. (They have wine on tap - the height of cool.) We were texting back and forth when he sent me the single phrase that turns me green with jealousy.

I ordered a pizza.

Here's how my brain interprets this information:

1. I love pizza.
2. He's having pizza and I'm not.
3. I wish I was having pizza.
4. When is the next time I can have pizza?

223 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC

NOTE: I don't remember if I've ever had pizza at Sonoma. I did, however, have their black truffle risotto one time and have been dreaming about it ever since. Plus, they have wine on tap.

Gianfranco's broccoli rabe and provolone pizza

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pizza dough at home

For one of my birthday parties as a girl my poor, misguided parents indulged my request for a pizza party. The morning of the party they picked up fresh pizza dough from our local bakery, the one and only Del Buono's. (Side note: locals tend to say this "Dell Boy-noes," which is so South Jersey.) They brought the dough balls home, covered them with cloth to rise, and chastised me repeatedly for sneaking little bits of raw dough to play with or eat. Then my friends came over, had a flour fight, made a couple of pizzas, and I had a great birthday.

My mom was a pizza mom at my Catholic grade school. She and a few other moms would go to the school on Friday afternoons and make pizzas for all the kids from pre-made crusts, large bags of shredded mozzarella, and most importantly, Dom Pepino pizza sauce. (More on Dom Pepino in a future post.) Sometimes my mom would bring home extra crusts and we would have "St. Rose Pizza" that night for dinner too. The days when I got to eat double pizza were some of the happiest of my childhood.

A few months ago, Pizzadelphia and I started using the Pillsbury pizza crust you can find in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. It comes in a can, just like the Grands, and rolls out to a square shape. We did all sorts of fabulous pizzas - lamb and ricotta, vodka sauce and sopressata, chicken and broccoli. I loved the ease of making pizza at home, but those roll out crusts make me fart, like a lot, and I think there are some seriously non-natural ingredients in there. I'll check and get back to you.

Recently, Pizzadelphia started making pizza dough from scratch and concocting beautiful pizzas without weird chemicals or xantham gum or anything in them. Just pure, unadulterated, pizza goodness. This is how I know Pizzadelphia loves me. There is no phrase that makes my heart swell quite like "I made you a pizza."

I'm going to try my hand at making pizza dough from scratch this weekend if possible. I am hoping the smell of fresh dough rising under a kitchen cloth brings me back to my childhood, throwing flour at my friends as my parents stood there, horrified by what they brought on themselves.

Del Buono's Bakery
(I think they still do pizza dough. Call and ask. But if not, go anyway for the animal sculptures outside and the amazing rolls and corn muffins.)
319 Black Horse Pike, Haddon Heights, NJ

Key Pizza: horrible

When my former roommate and I first moved to Philadelphia, we had a whopping 16 people helping us schlep furniture and boxes up to our new third floor apartment. My roommate had come from Chicago in a gigantic Uhaul and picked me and my stuff up in South Jersey on the way. In exchange for helping us move, we bought everyone pizza. The only problem was that we had just moved in, so we didn't know where to get a pizza. The kind folks at Key Pizza had slipped a menu under our front door, so we went with that.


Key Pizza was terrible. It was oily, lacked sufficient sauce, and had a crust vaguely reminiscent of cardboard. I only remember trying the cheese pizza, so I cannot comment on their toppings. Maybe that's a good thing.

I learned an important lesson that day. When shopping for an apartment, be sure to also shop for a pizza place. This is too often overlooked when moving, but is terribly important. You need to know if you are within delivery distance of decent pizza. Once we got to know the neighborhood a bit better, my roommate and I found a better pizza shop close by, but the memory of Key "Pizza" is burned in my brain forever.

If you must...

Key Pizza
1846 S 12th St, Philadelphia

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pizza from a vending machine? Really?

Why is pizza available from a vending machine? That's just wrong.

Now, obviously, I love pizza. But this? This is not good. In fact, I would go so far as to say this is an abomination of pizza. Apparently, there are Tombstone versions as well. WonderPizza (the first link) is an Italian company, and we all know Tombstone because we all still quote the stupid joke from the commercials they ran in the 90s. Now you can make that joke at work, in the breakroom. Fantastic.

I could go into a rant about how this is not really pizza and that it's gross and horrible but the simple truth is, I need to find one of these pizza vending machines and test it out. Immediately.

Bruno's: my favorite pizza ever, hands down

I come from South Jersey, a land populated by strip malls, regular malls, gas stations, diners, and the ubiquitous WaWa. About 8 blocks from my parents' house is a little pizza place/restaurant next to a small liquor store. For years this pizza place changed hands, never quite catching on in this strange location. The parking lot is small and most of the cars belonged to people popping into Shirey's Liquors to pick up lotto tickets or a case of Honey Brown. That all changed when Bruno moved in.

Bruno is almost a caricature of a pizza shop owner - skinny, Sicilian, bushy moustache, thick accent, always in a rush. He has poster-sized photos of his daughter and grandchildren on the wall and his son, Moses is behind the counter dealing with all the impatient South Jersey folks who just want their large cheese pie and order of mussels in red.

Bruno's Pizza is one of the greatest loves of my life. I want it every time I get near South Jerz. My sister demands it (rightfully so) every time she visits from grad school. And we're not alone. Good luck finding a spot in the parking lot on a Friday night. Try to get a pie before a big event, like the Superbowl, and you'll be in line with 50 other people, straining your ears to hear your number called.

There's a certain lazy etiquette to picking up a to-go order at Bruno's. When you call, they give you a number. If you are me, you almost immediately forget it. If it's summer, you can walk right into the pizzeria portion of Bruno's and approach the counter. In the winter, you have to walk through the breezeway, into the second door, past the dining room and fish tank and hang a left into the pizzeria. There will usually be between 3 and 10 people hanging out, waiting. First timers try to march right up to the counter, but that's not really how it's done there. You have to linger for a while. Moses will at some point catch your eye and say "What number?" and that's your cue to head up to the counter and tell him that you forget but you had the large cheese and the large onions and mushrooms. A large pie runs between $10-$15 at Bruno's, and is worth double that.

Usually, Bruno will be around, kissing the cheeks of women, shaking the hands of men, indulging the broken Italian phrases people tend to offer. My parents claim he's known my sister and I since we were kids, back when he ran Carousello. They tell stories of Bruno scooping us up and taking us into the kitchen to run around and play. I hope they're telling the truth because I like the idea of having history with Bruno and his amazing food. Once you taste this pizza, you'll know it is only logical to include it in every milestone. We had Bruno's when both of us graduated high school. I had Bruno's on my 21st birthday. College graduation, getting a job, losing a job, breakups, falling in love - Bruno's pizza had been part of it all. What's more, my sister and I have decided that should either of us ever marry, our rehearsal dinners will be held at Bruno's. We agree that if we are to start new lives, there must be Bruno's.

Down to the matter at hand: the pizza. Bruno's pizza is thin crust, if slightly doughy. The cheese is well proportioned and doesn't overwhelm. His sauce is the secret to his success - I don't know what it is that he seasons it with, but it's perfect. I would eat the sauce alone, as a side dish. Where Bruno's Pizza scores the most points with me is that the pizza does not lose any integrity once the toppings get piled on. With some places you have a slice of cheese and a slice with a topping and you'd be surprised that they came from the same state, let alone the same shop. Bruno's rises above this (it's got to be the sauce) to be even better with toppings. I recommend getting a pie with onions and mushrooms. Onions still in rings, not chopped up like those crappy Pizza Hut style offerings, and big pieces of mushrooms. Absolutely wonderful.

Bruno offers endless options, so you don't have to stick to the basics to get a good pie. A word to the wise: if no one else wants pizza and you decide to go with the traditional solo pizza option: the pizza turnover, be warned that it is bigger than your head. And it's unstoppably delicious. Just get extra sauce on the side. You know, for later.

Bruno's Pizza
509 Hopkins Rd.
Haddonfield, NJ (i don't know how this could be Haddonfield. It's actually Westmont area)

Pizza is the Best

I have always loved pizza the most. Sure, when I was 7 I wouldn't eat anything but hot dogs, but in any lifelong love affair there must be a time when one partner tries something new. But hot dogs suck and pizza is the best.

When people ask those hypothetical questions like "what if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life?" my answer is simple. My answer is pizza. I like cheese pizza, I like pizza with toppings, I sometimes like just the cheese and sauce, sometimes just the crust. I like pizza turnovers and pizza rolls. Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at supper time. When pizza's on a bagel, you can have pizza anytime. I'll even get down with Ellio's if I'm in a bind.

I grew up in South Jersey and I've lived in Philadelphia for five years. I work in theatre, which ups my potential for random pizza parties, as there is usually someone around who is hungry and will go in on a pizza with you. A lot of people want to talk smack on Philly pizza, but there are a few good spots. I'll let you in on them, as well as the ones to avoid.

I'm starting to make my own pizza and I'll let you know how that goes. My tremendous boyfriend, Pizzadelphia, is a much better cook and usually does the pizza dough preparation - but I'm good at giving credit where it's due. You'll always know who responsible for the pizza.

I'm also going to be traveling a bit in the next few months and I plan to check out the pizza in various places and report back. If you have any pizza tips, definitely send them my way. We're together in the pursuit of pizza!