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 Philebrity.com), 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!