Sunday, January 27, 2008

Turkish Pizza!?! Cafe 8 -- Capitol Hill / Barrack's Row

Gary and I had one of our first dates at Ellington's on Eighth (awwww), so we were a little sad to see it go. In its place popped up Cafe 8, a Turkish / Mediterranean place. We'd heard some good things about it from friends, so on Friday night (aka "date night") we decided to give it a try.

I loved the decor of the place-- it is actually much more inviting than Ellington's was, with warm colors and candles everywhere. We had a cozy table by the fireplace.

So, how does a Mediterranean restaurant make it into the pizza blog, you ask? Because Cafe 8, we found to our delight, has Turkish pizza! They are called pides (pronounced PEE-days) and they are kind of a cross between a pizza and a calzone. The pizza dough is spread out, the toppings are put inside, and the edges are folded over so it has an oblong shape, kind of like a little canoe, or an calzone with an opening. Another thing that makes it different than a traditional pizza is that it doesn't have sauce, but many of the varieties have tomato in it.

We had a pide with eggplant, olives, and a traditional Turkish cheese in it. I thought it was excellent. The crust/bread was soft and buttery, and the cheese was mild but flavorful.

Gary's thoughts: "It was good... but a little too bready... although the bread was good."

Personally, I loved Cafe 8. From the little appetizers (falafel, stuffed grape leaves, hummus) to the salad (feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes), to the baklava for dessert, everything was tasty. And as an added bonus, the prices were quite reasonable, which is hard to find in this town. Gary liked it too, but was a little less effusive in his praise. He didn't think the pides were very "pizza-y".

Cafe 8 does have a woodburning oven, and they actually have regular pizza on the menu, too. So perhaps we'll have to visit again and try the traditional pies.

Our scores for the Turkish pizza:

Liza: 3.5 stars
Gary: 3.0 stars

UPDATE: I had a "regular" pizza at Cafe 8, and it was pretty... eh. 1.5 stars. Stick with the pides!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Matchbox - Chinatown

Saturday, January 19th was an important day for us. This is because 1-19-08 was designated "Liza and Gary's DAY OF FUN!!" (two exclamation points). Yes, it was going to be a day all about US. So of course, it included pizza! But we'll get to that in a minute.

The morning started out at the Bed, Bath, and Beyond in Chinatown. How is this fun, you ask? Well, because we were registering for gifts, that's why! This is why weddings rule-- you can actually go to the store, pick out stuff that you want, and then people go buy it for you. What the heck?!? This is the best thing since trick-or-treating, if you ask me. So we went around the store and Gary got to use this nifty little scanning gun to put all the stuff on the registry. (I think this was created specifically to get men into the store.) It was sa-weet... but I must tell you, even though it's awesome, even the greediest among us get a little gifted out after an hour or so of picking and scanning.

Seeing my enthusiasm starting to sag, Gary suggested we go around the corner to Matchbox to get some lunch. Pizza? I'm always in!

When I'm hungry I get a little grouchy, so the lunch did not start well when we had to wait for 20 minutes for a table-- not because there were no tables available, mind you, but because the hostess forgot about us. This is the kind of thing that burns me up, but Gary just laughed at me. Whatevs. (PS-- Gary said we didn't wait 20 minutes. Well... it FELT like 20 minutes, I'm just saying.)

But on to the pizza. We each got a (very yummy) salad and split a veggie pizza (are you sensing a veggie theme here?).

I thought the best thing about the pizza was the sauce. It was sweet but had a little bit of spicy zing to it. The vegetables had a nice roasted flavor. The crust, however-- I was not a fan. It was floppy and seemed rather undercooked, even though the edges were burnt. The crust didn't seem to rise at all. And-- the ultimate good crust test-- it did not reheat that well.

Gary described the crust as "rubbery and soft." He felt the sauce was a little too spicy. He did, however, like that the pizza was not too filling and left him ready to take on the rest of the DAY OF FUN!!.

So, feeling re-energized after our lunch at Matchbox, we went on to E Street Cinema to see Juno (two thumbs up), finish up our registry at BBB (we registered for a Dyson... YAY), head home for some movie watching (The Terminal with Tom Hanks... I give it an "eh"), and then out for drinks with friends that evening at a local pub.

All and all, a pretty damn good DAY OF FUN!!

But not the best pizza we ever had.

Gary's rating: 2.5 stars
Liza's rating: 2.5 stars

Armand's, Capitol Hill (Jan. 12)

Ahhh, football season is almost over. Five grueling months come to an end. What better way to celebrate than to watch the AFC and NFC Divisional playoffs...(Playoffs? We're talking..Playoffs? Playoffs?)...with pizza and beer!

So I huddled in for an evening of football and fun at Liza's lovely abode. We phoned in an order for Armand's, known for its Chicago-style deep dish pizza. And we drank Dock Street, an excellent Philadelphia beer not easy to find in these parts. Good stuff, I'm tellin' ya'...

For Armand's, we ordered a medium vegetarian pizza, which included onions, 'shrooms and green peppers. The pizza delivery dude arrived fairly quick, so kudos.

On to the pizza...I'm an east coast boy, so I've never been a big fan of deep dish 'za. This was the first time I had Armand's and it was quality. It had just the right amount of sauce, with good, sweet flavor, and toppings. Very tasty. I ate two slices and I was stuffed.

Liza, your thoughts? "I liked that the sauce was a little bit sweet. I like the deep dish pizza. It has a substantial crust, which makes it good for re-heating."

True to word, Liza ate the rest of the pizza the following day, and commented that it "re-heats well."

For takeout, Armand's proved to be a fine choice.

One last comment from Gary: A few hours after eating the pizza, I did not feel too well. I had to lay down (which was fine, because football was on). My tummy was gurgling. Could have been the beer, but I doubt it. Liza felt fine, though, so we'll give Armand's the benefit of the doubt.

Gary rating: 3 stars
Liza's rating: 3 stars