Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pizzeria Orso-- Falls Church

It takes a good pizza to get us out to the 'burbs. Not that there's anything wrong with the 'burbs, to paraphrase Seinfeld, but sometimes it's hard to break out of our homebody ways to drive out too far for dinner. We'd heard a lot of great things about Pizzeria Orso, though, so we decided a mini-road trip was in order.

Gary, Molly and I headed out early to beat the weekend dinner crowds. When we arrived around 5 PM, there were plenty of tables available and we were seated right away. The menu has a great selection of appetizers, so we split a mixed green salad and took some time to peruse the pizza options.

In addtion to their traditional Neopolitan pizzas, Pizzeria Orso makes several specialty pizzas. One that intrigued me was the "mezzaluna" (which means "half moon" in Italian). Half the pizza is stuffed and folded, meaning the ends of the crust are pinched together and stuffed with ricotta cheese, and the other half is a traditional margherita pizza. I ordered the mezzaluna, and Gary got a pizza that was on special that had grilled zucchini and heirloom tomatoes. Molly took a nap.

While we waited for our pizzas, Gary and I began to wonder. Why the name "Pizzeria Orso"? The word orso means "bear" in Italian, and their logo is a giant bear chowing down on a pizza pie. But why? Do bears like to eat pizza? I am confused.

Anyway, back to the food. Our pizzas came quickly, hot out of the oven. The crust was soft but not too droopy, and had a nice char that typifies pizza from a wood burning stove. The ingredients were fresh and the cheese melted in your mouth. Gary really enjoyed the smoky flavor of the zucchini on his pizza. I'd never had a stuffed pizza before, and I did like it although I probably would have enjoyed a plain old margherita (my fave) better. The ricotta in the stuffed portion of my pizza had a really nice flavor-- I love fresh ricotta, it's so much better than the kind you get in the grocery store!-- but I think it would have been a bit better with some sauce or something else in it. The margherita portion was delicious.

We finished off the meal with some yummy cannoli-- a great end to the weekend.

Suburbanites, you've got yourselves a nice little pizza joint. But can someone explain the bear to me?

Liza and Gary's rating: 3.5 stars

Monday, August 16, 2010

Washington Deli-- Downtown

Molly and I happened to be downtown during lunchtime last week, so I decided to seek out a place I've been meaning to try for a while-- Washington Deli. I've heard they have good pizza, but since I'm not downtown too often, I haven't made it over there yet. This was my chance!

Washington Deli is located at 1990 K Street NW, but it can be a bit difficult to find if you don't know where to look. The entrance is located on 20th Street. They have many different pizzas on display. Choose your slice, they rewarm it for you, and you're good to go with a quick weekday lunch. I got two slices and a medium soda for $7. Pretty good deal!

The slices are generous-sized, New York style pizza. They also have a square Sicilian-style pizza. Now, in the Detroit, where I'm from, square pizza is pretty typical. I've never heard it called "Sicilian" (it's more commonly referred to as "party style" in the Midwest), but any square pizza is good pizza in my book. So, I chose a cheese Sicilian slice, and a New York style slice of white pizza.

Molly and I were in a bit of a hurry since I was illegally parked. Side rant-- what's up with the parking downtown? The meters, if a) you can find one, b) it's not a handicapped spot, c) some clown hasn't taken up two spots with one car and d) the meter is actually working, are a quarter for 7 and a half minutes. I mean really. Who carries that much change around these days? Anyway, I was parked in this space that was sort of half a space and half not, and the meter that was probably associated with it wasn't working. A true test of parking fate, that was. So we get back to the car and, as luck would have it, no ticket! Of course, this leaves me to either wait till I get home to dig into the pizza, or eat and drive. Now, pizza is not the most driving-friendly food out there, but I was able to sneak in enough bites during red lights to make a proper taste determination.

First, the Sicilian. It had a nice crispy crust, sweet sauce, and a decent amount of cheese. Good 'za. It didn't knock my socks off or anything, but I liked it.

Next, the white pizza. I am a fan of white pizza, although I don't tend to order it too often. Washington Deli will have to make me rethink that position. This white pizza was SO good. Crispy crust, a nice blend of cheese, great spices (including some fresh rosemary), with a bit of olive oil to top it off. Delicious! If I wasn't in my car driving away I would have gone back for another slice.

Sadly, I don't work downtown so it might be a while before I can visit Washington Deli again at lunchtime. But for those of you who find yourself on K Street, stop in for a slice-- you won't be disappointed.

Liza's rating: 3.0 stars

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We, The Pizza-- Capitol Hill

I have anxiously been awaiting the opening of Spike Mendelsohn's (he of Top Chef fame) new pizza place, We, The Pizza.  I haven't really frequented his other venture, Good Stuff Eatery, because I'm a veg-head (as Gary calls me) and thus, do not spend a lot of time in burger joints.  But pizza?  That's something I can get behind. 

The restaurant finally opened up a few weeks ago.  Since Gary has been quite busy at work, I decided to go on a weekday with Steph (who I dine with frequently and who has made several appearances on this blog) and baby Molly.

Well, holy hell.  There were quite a few people in line when we arrived at 11:30 AM.  And by "quite a few" I mean pretty much every person within a 2 mile radius (rough estimate) had decided to grab a slice.  The line snaked through the restaurant about 32 times (again, rough estimate) and was out the door.  So, just a word to the wise, do not try to navigate this ridiculous line with a stroller.  I'm just saying.

But, really, it wasn't that bad because the line moved along pretty quickly.  And, I have a very cute baby, so people were forgiving when I rolled over their toes. 

When I heard about this restaurant, I was expecting a sit-down place with table service.  Instead, you order your slice and they give you one of those buzzer thingies that go off when your food's ready, and they you can go find a seat in the dining room or outside.  Makes total sense, really-- with the large lunchtime crowd in the Capitol Hill area, most people don't have time to hang out and have a sit-down meal.

The pizza is New York style, with a thick crust that's much more bready than the neopolitan style you tend to see at DC pizzerias.  There's plenty of inventive pies on the menu, as well as your usual basic cheese and pepperoni.  They also have this really cool soda fountain, where you order a soda with some whackadoodle name (like "I've gotta orange crush on you") and they crush up the fruit and pour soda water over it right there.

I got a simple cheese slice-- my fave-- and Steph got potato with pancetta.  We split a spinach and artichoke slice.  We also each got a whackadoodle soda.  Molly just hung out in her stroller, oblivious to the broken toes she was leaving in her wake.

Steph and I found a seat outside and waited for the buzzer thingies to buzz.  Wasn't too long before our pizza was ready, and then it was game on.  I had to somehow navigate through the 32 lines of people, get our pizza and sodas, and navigate out without knocking anyone over, or worse, dropping our food.  Remember that old commercial with OJ Simpson running through the airport?  It kind of felt like that.  Except without the creepy implications that commercial has in retrospect.

The pizza itself was good; little droop, good ingredients.  The crust was a bit to bready for my taste, but that's just a preference.  Our complaint was that it was rather cold.  The pizzas are all set out by the register so you can see them before you choose, which is nice, but they would do well to heat the slices up a bit before serving.  Perhaps this is just an issue when they are really busy, I don't know.  I absolutely loved the sodas.  They were delicious!  In fact, I wanted to go back for another one but I didn't feel like standing in line again.

So last night, we went to a party for some friends of ours at Top of the Hill, right down the street from We, The Pizza.  As Gary and I walked by, we thought... oh my goodness, I could use some pizza right now.  But since we were a bit late, we decided to grab a slice on our way home. 

As we were saying our goodbyes, one story turned into another story, turning into "remember that time in Vegas when you were carrying the case of Bud Lime down the street when..." into "remember that time you we saw that tightrope walking guy in Stanton Park and then..." into we didn't end up leaving the party until close to 11:30 PM.  Bad news, pizza lovers-- We, the Pizza closes at 11 PM.  We found this out because as Gary and I walked up to the restaurant, the man himself, Chef Spike, was turning hungry revelers away at the door.  What's up Spike?  It's the weekend!  Give us a couple more hours of pizza love! 

Therefore, I will have to wait to give my rating until Gary can have a slice with me.  Stay tuned pizza fans!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Harris Teeter-- Capitol Hill

Harris Teeter has a special on Mondays where their pizzas are on sale. They make their pizzas fresh in-house. I know, I know, grocery store pizza can't be that great. But last Monday Gary and I were staring at an empty fridge at 8 PM, and so I decided to pop over to Harris Teeter, do a little grocery shopping, and pick up a pizza for dinner.

I'm retyping this because Molly somehow deleted my first draft, so I'm going to cut to the chase here. When I brought my cooked pizza up to the register to pay for it, the cashier took my pizza box and TURNED IT ON ITS SIDE so that she could scan the bar code. Really?!? Really, cashier lady? I came home with a big, squished, droopy mess of a pizza. And it was undercooked, to boot.

It's almost a week later and I'm still irrationally irritated by this.

Liza's rating: 1.0 star
Gary's rating: 1.5 stars

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Follow us on Twitter!

Your DC pizza blog is now on Twitter. Follow us @DCPizzaBlog!

Happy 4th of July everyone-- raise a slice to the U.S. of A!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pupatella-- Arlington, Va.

Liza here...There seems to be a pizza trend hitting the DC area these days-- Neopolitan pizza. 2 Amys set the standard, but recently a whole slew of new Neopolitan pizzerias have popped up. One of these started as a humble pizza cart and is now a full-fledged restaurant in Arlington, Virginia -- Pupatella Neopolitan Pizzeria and Friggitoria.

Now, your first question probably is, "What the frig is a friggitoria?" From Pupatella's website:

Friggitoria translates as “Fry Shop”. In Naples, it is a restaurant that specializes in stuffed fried pizzas (calzone or ripieno), stuffed risotto balls, zeppole (mini-doughnuts), panzarotti (stuffed potato croquettes).
Sounds delicious, but we are a pizza blog, so we will stick to the pies and pass on the fried stuff for this review.

Your next question might be, "What makes a pizza a Neopolitan pizza?"

According to the good folks in Naples, Italy, a Neopolitan pizza has very specific ingredients. The dough is made from flour, water, yeast, and salt. The sauce is made from San Marzano tomatoes, and the cheese is buffalo mozzerella. Bake in a brick oven at high heat, add some basil and a little olive oil, and you have yourself a Neopolitan margherita pizza.

So, on the weekend of our two-year wedding anniversary, Gary, Molly and I ventured out to try out this newest incarnation of Neopolitan pizza. To Arlington we go...

Tag! Gary takes over the review from here...

Pupatella's is situated at the end of a strip mall on busy George Mason Drive in Arlington. We walked in and grabbed a table near the back so that lil' Molly would have plenty of room to soak in her surroundings and fuss if necesary. There were other families with babies, so kudos to Pupatella's for being baby friendly.

Looks like Pupatella's would be a good place for takeout, but on this day they did a good restaurant business as well. The place filled up right as the dinner hour arrived.

Liza wanted a margherita pizza. Again. This is all she ever wants to order. Sigh...

Gary dutifully walked up to the counter and put the order in. The hostess was friendly enough and she was cute wearing a blue fedora hat. We decided on a 12-inch margherita, but the hostess suggested that a 12-incher would not be enough for two people. Suspecting an upsell, I stood my ground.

After about 15 minutes, I picked up our pizza, fresh out of the oven, at the counter and brought it to the table. Molly was falling asleep--she's cute!

The pie proved plenty for two people to share, although it was cut into just four slices. Faithful readers of the blog know that this is another of my pet peeves. No pie should be cut into four slices--six minimum!

The pie was sprinkled with a good amount of sauce and mozzarella cheese, but just two small basil leaves. Liza was nonplussed. Why so skimpy with the basil? Is there a worldwide basil shortage? Hey Liza, better get your vegetable and spice garden growing in the back yard again! (Side note: what's going on with that garden anyway? It's over-run with weeds! We better get to work.)

The pizza sauce had a good tomato flavor and the crust was well-cooked and tasty. There was a little droop, but it wasn't an annoyance.

Overall, there was no wow factor with Pupatella's pizza. It was good, but it was also a bit ordinary. And the skimpiness of the basil suggested not much heart went into making it, either.

Best part of the dinner was the ice cream! Pupatella's has a nice selection of gelato, and Liza and I ordered coconut. (Yes, I wanted mint chocolate chip, but I didn't say anything.) On a hot summer evening, this ice cream hit the spot.

Pupatella's seems like it would be a nice neighborhood pizza joint, and perhaps we would go there more often if we lived closer. Unfortunately we were a little disappointed with their effort on our visit.

Gary's Rating: 2.5 stars
Liza's Rating 2.5 stars

Friday, June 25, 2010

D.C. Gets Serious About The Slice-- on NPR

Great segment on WAMU 88.5 FM, the local NPR station, today about all the new pizza places opening in the DC area. Check it out here:

D.C. Gets Serious About The Slice

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DC Slices-- Food Truck-- All Over DC

Sometimes, summer in DC can be truly awful.

Hundred-degree heat.  Sweltering humidity.  Irritable lobbyists sweating in suits pushing past you on the sidewalk.  Crime.  Grumpiness.  People biding time until they can get the heck out of here and go to the beach.  Summer in the city can be no fun at all, sometimes.

But then...

Sometimes summer in the city can be truly glorious.

Maybe it's only 85 degrees, with just a whisper of dampness in the air.  Maybe the sun is shining and moods are bright.  Maybe the K Street suits have shed their blazers and are pouring out of their office buildings to spend their lunch hour in the park.  Maybe Strasburg is pitching at home that night, and the buzz is already in the air.

Last Friday was a day like that.

Molly and I were downtown for a baby class-- I was learning about how and when to introduce solid foods.  Molly was quite excited about this, because she thought that maybe she would be getting some pizza soon-- alas, little girl, you'll still have to wait a while.  But on that beautiful summer day, after the class I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather,  put Molly in the baby sling, and take a walk down to Farragut Square.  Why, you ask?  Well, it was "Farragut Friday" for the DC Slices pizza truck. 

Food trucks are a phenomenon, folks, so it was only a matter of time until someone decided to add a pizza truck to the mix.  As your resident DC pizza blogger, of course I had to try it out.  I'm still on maternity leave, so I was able to head out on a weekday to find the truck.  Unfortunately, Gary's still a working stiff, so he wasn't able to make it out for this one.

The pizza truck was parked near 17th and K Street NW, right on Farragut Square.  We got there around 2 PM, so there was no line to speak of.   For $5.00 you can get a generous-sized slice and a can of soda.  Not bad.

Molly and I opted for a cheese slice (ask for fresh basil on top!) and a grape soda.  As our friendly pizza man noted, "It's just like being a kid again."  Indeed. 

Also-- kudos to DC Slices for providing a recycle bin for your cans when you're done.

We found a shady spot under a tree to enjoy our slice and pop.  The best part about the slice was the sauce-- a hint of sweetness, but still kept its tangy tomato flavor.  Gary would have liked the "droopless" crust.  The crust was good, but could have used a bit more done-ness.  It wasn't quite as crispy as I like, but of course, when you're cooking in the back of a truck that might be too much to ask.

So for all you lucky folks who have food trucks swarm outside your workplaces on a wonderful summer day-- go look for DC Slices.  It doesn't disappoint.

Liza's rating: 3.0 stars

Molly's rating: My mom doesn't let me eat pizza, but the pizza guy said I was adorable so I give him 4 stars.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Radius-- Mount Pleasant

I had heard lots of good things about Radius-- mostly because there was a rumor a while back that it was opening a second restaurant in my neighborhood up on H Street (although that rumor seems to be false). Anyway, I have been wanting to try it for a while, but sometimes it's hard to convince Gary to venture up to Northwest for a pizza adventure, especially on the night of the Amazing Race finale. But, being Mother's Day, I was fully prepared to use the "it's my first Mother's Day as a mom" card, and use it I did. So last Sunday, Gary, Molly, and I got in the car and headed out to Mount Pleasant for a bite.

The evening started off well when we were able to find street parking right in front of the restaurant. Score! It's always good when the parking gods are on your side.

The restaurant itself is rather small, but there weren't a lot of people there this evening (perhaps they were all at home watching the Amazing Race with their moms), so we were seated right away. I ordered a pinot noir, while Gary, being the responsible dad he is, stuck to water.

We started off with the panzanella salad. For those who haven't ever tried this tasty treat, a panzanella salad is an Italian dish made with day-old bread, tomatoes, cheese, and any other salad fixings you like. The bread in Radius's salad was grilled and had a nice, smoky flavor. The vinegrette was perfect. In other words, the best salad I've had in a long time.

On to the important part-- the pie. Since it was "my day", we ordered my favorite-- a margherita pizza. The crust passed Gary's test-- crispy with no droop. It had just enough olive oil to give it flavor, but was not too greasy. The cheese and sauce were fresh and flavorful.

You can see where we're going with this, right? This place is a gem.

Liza and Gary's rating: 4 stars

Monday, April 26, 2010

Z Pizza-- Alexandria, VA

So we didn't get on Pizza Wars. Well, we did get on for a brief second (you could see me and my giant pregnant belly), but no interview...which was just as well, because they mostly interviewed drunk 20-somethings, and in my delicate condition it might have seemed sorta inappropriate to be on...but anyway...

Z Pizza is a national chain restaurant, which we typically don't review, although we've made exceptions over the years. Neither of us had ever tried Z Pizza, and I like their philosophy of using fresh and organic ingredients.

So, one Sunday evening Gary, Molly and I drove out to the Z Pizza on Richmond Highway in Alexandria to see what it was all about.

There was a small table area up front, so we found a spot and went to the counter to order. We quickly realized that this was mostly a take-out place. Plenty of people came to pick up pizzas while we were there, but we were the only people to dine in.

As usual, Gary and I split a salad and a pizza. As usual, Molly stuck to milk.

We got an arugula salad, which was okay except that it was drowning in dressing and carmelized onions. Once our breath was nice and smelly, we moved on to the pizza.

We did a "build your own" pie with more carmelized onions, mushrooms, and spinach.

The pizza was decent enough. The sauce and ingredients tasted fresh. The crust was pretty droopy and a bit undercooked, though.

It seems Z Pizza is trying to put the gourmet into takeout pizza. We applaud them for their effort, this is a good thing. But they shouldn't shortchange quality just because it's takeout.

Now, if we lived in the neighborhood, would we order Z Pizza for a quick dinner? Definitely. It's better than your average takeout pie. Would we drive across town again to get it? Probably not.

Liza and Gary's rating: 2.0 stars

Monday, April 12, 2010

DC Food Wars premieres tomorrow

Well, we didn't make it into the promo, but maybe we got into the episode...

The DC "Food Wars" episode of Jumbo Slice vs. Pizza Mart premieres tomorrow night at 10 PM EST on the Travel Channel. All airtimes for this episode can be found here. (Look for the giant pregnant lady and her goofy husband.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vince & Dominic's Pizzeria -- Bethesda, Md.

Time for a sentimental journey.

Gary here. Back when I moved to the Washington, D.C., region--this was 1996, folks, so call me a Washingtonian now--my first job was at a marketing communications firm in Bethesda. The office was a hop, skip and a jump from the Montgomery Mall and a few strip malls, where I spent many a lunch hour discussing the future of mankind, philosophy and professional football with co-workers.

We would frequent a pizzeria called Vince & Dominic's, called "V&Ds" for short, and I grew fond of their pizza slices.
These were jumbo slices. I remember my first time at V&Ds, I ordered two slices expecting a normal size. Instead, they brought out two jumbo slices--I was nonplussed. I somehow managed to consume both slices, and I wasn't hungry again for two days.

I was reminded of V&Ds when Liza and I were at the Travel Channel's "Food Wars" taping for Jumbo Slice vs. Pizza Mart. Faithful readers of this blog know well that one of my pizza peeves is droop. Well, Jumbo Slice and Pizza Mart jumbo slices have major league droop. V&D slices? Almost no droop.

So I decided to take Liza and my lovely lil' Molly to the Montgomery Mall for some shopping--we had a Crate & Barrel gift certificate to spend. Of course, we had to stop in at Vince & Dominic's, situated in a strip mall across from the Montgomery Mall.

The restaurant has not changed a bit. The decor is reminiscent of the pizzerias of my youth, with pictures youth leagues on the wall, as well as a few signed photos of celebrities. Yay celebrities!

The procedure for ordering: you put in your order and you grab a table. You may have to clean off the table yourself, and that's okay. There are no waiters and waitresses here. Sometimes you have to work for your meals. Get over it.

V&Ds strives for authentic Italian food. The pizzeria was established in 1983 by a family originally from Reggio Calabria, Italy.

On their pizza boxes is the slogan, "A Little Bit of Italy In Every Bite." V&Ds takes pride in their red sauce, er gravy.

Says their web site: "Here at Vince & Dominic's we know Italian, because we are! If you're looking for that perfect Gravy on your Pizza look no further! Our Gravy, or sauce, is old fashioned Italian and is perfect for not only your pizza, but also with your Meatball Parm, Mozzarella Sticks, and pretty much anything Italian! We all know what makes Pizzeria is great, and that is authentic Italian ingredients!"

Liza and I each ordered a slice and a soft drink. Our food was brought over by one of the cooks, an Italian gentleman. The pizza was straight out of the oven. There was a decent amount of red sauce--er, gravy--and a generous layer of mozzarella cheese baked on top.

Still no droop.

How do they do it?

More from V&Ds web site: "Our slices have a crispy bottom layered with sauce and an abundance of cheese. The reason for the crunchy bottom is, we cook The Special 25 Inch slice pie in our oven about 3/4 cooked with sauce only. When a customer places an order for a slice, we cut it and customize it with the topping or toppings of their choice. Our slices take 7-10 minutes to finish cooking and melt the cheese."

Now this all sounds pretty glowing of V&Ds. While I have fond memories of the pizzeria, I must judge the slice as a pizza afficionado.

As mentioned previously, V&D slices have a thick, toasted crust that stops droop. The crust at the end of the pizza was very bland and a little too crunchy, a mild disappointment but expected given how they cook the slice.

The sauce, er gravy, was spread thinly on top but you could still taste it in every bite. It did have a simple, authentic taste to it--emphasis on simple. While it was a decent flavor, it didn't have a lot of spiciness to it. Still, it seemed to go well with the thick crust.

I liked V&Ds a bit more than Liza, but that may be because I have a history with the place. Their slices are memorable, but I have to acknowledge that this is not high quality pizza.

I like V&Ds pizza, though--I grew up on it.

Gary's Rating: 2.5 stars
Liza's Rating: 2 stars
Molly's Rating: 0 stars...I drink milk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chef Spike is Opening a Pizza Place... Coming Soon

As you may have already guessed, Gary and I are big Top Chef fans. Our favorite local Top Chef celeb is Carla, of course, because she gave my belly a celebratory rub at the Food Wars taping last month.  How can you not love that?  But our second favorite would have to be Chef Spike, who is now famous enough to be referred to by one name, kind of like Madonna or Cher.  Spike is better than either of those pop divas, though.  Why, you ask?  Because he's opening up a pizza restaurant, that's why!
In April, the lanky, bearded Mendelsohn will expand his fast-casual concept with the opening of We, the Pizza, a hip New York-style pizzeria emphasizing regional, farm-fresh ingredients. It’ll be right next door to Good Stuff on Pennsylvania Avenue.

We, the Pizza will operate as a sit-down restaurant and later take on deliveries. It will sell slices and whole pies that range from the classics, topped with cheese and pepperoni, to the more creative: with creamed spinach; potato and pancetta; or mushrooms with truffle shavings and Bechamel sauce.
Gary, Molly, and I are looking forward to blogging it up for you all!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Liberty Tree -- H Street Corridor

As you can see from the post and picture below, Gary and I were expecting-- and soon!  Well, our little bundle of joy has arrived.  Molly was born on February 26, and has already expressed a desire for some pizza.  Naturally, we had to oblige.  Could you say "no" to this cute little face?

We decided to venture out on a Monday evening to try out a new restaurant in the up and coming H Street corridor.  Liberty Tree offers American fare, and of course, our beloved pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven.  Your resident pizza bloggers had to give it a try.

The space at Liberty Tree is fairly small.  It has an open kitchen with a bar area, and a few booths and tables.  The restaurant is nice and cozy, with a more sophisticated vibe than many of the restaurants on H Street.

The three of us took a table near the bar area, but it was still low-key enough for little Molly to enjoy her dining out experience.  Gary and I split a salad, a goat cheese appetizer, and my favorite-- a margherita pizza.

Since it's a new restaurant, they seemed to still be working out some service issues (all of our food came out at once, for example), but the food was good.  But on to the most important part of the meal-- the pizza!

The pizzas are 10 inches and are cut in 6 pieces-- the perfect size for sharing.  The sauce had a spicy zip-- it kind of reminded me of the tomato sauce at Matchbox, although not quite as spicy.  The cheese and basil were both fresh tasting. The most unusual part of the pizza was the crust.  It's different from any I've sampled here in DC-- it was light and buttery, and had a crunchy, almost cracker-y taste.  I liked it, although it didn't really seem like pizza crust to me.  I don't think Gary cared for it much, though.  Maybe because the middle of the pizza crust had the dreaded "droop" that Gary dislikes.

Molly slept through the whole meal, so unfortunately, she is not able to weigh in with her opinions on this one.

Overall, we enjoyed our Liberty Tree experience and would return.  The pizza was good, but not one of our favorites in DC... at least as of yet.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this restaurant grows and changes once it's open for a while longer.

Liza and Gary's rating:  2.5 stars

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Food Wars" on the Travel Channel-- We're Local Pizza Celebs!

Gary and I had a rather unique pizza-related experience a few weeks back. We ventured out to Adams Morgan for the taping of a new show on the Travel Channel called "Food Wars". The premise of the show is that they go to different cities and find a food that is unique there. Then there's a "food war" between two different restaurants that make that food.

The Food War in DC was... pizza! Specifically, a jumbo slice of pizza. The pitted "Jumbo Slice" pizza against "Pizza Mart" pizza in Adams Morgan. The show was taped at Madam's Organ. We had tons of fun! We got to see the taste panel, and Gary and I were interviewed. Hopefully we'll make it on the show, and won't end up on the cutting room floor. We'll see...

One of the judges was local food celebrity Carla Hall, of "Top Chef" fame. We talked to her a bit and she was just as sweet and adorable as she was on TV.

"Food Wars" premieres tonight at 10 PM EST on the Travel Channel. The DC episode hasn't been scheduled yet, but we'll give you a heads up when it is!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pi Pizzeria and Wine Bar-- Adams Morgan

We have been bad bloggers lately. Many apologies for neglecting our poor pizza blog for the last few months. We do have a good excuse though-- we have a little one on the way! Consequently, I haven't been in the mood for pizza like I usually am. But, now with one month to go, we figured it was time to venture out for some pie-- so why not try Pi?

Gary and I went out with friends Steph, the Chef, and Jenn. I got a gift certificate for Pi off of, so I figured we were golden-- not so, as it turns out. (More on that later.)

It was sort of a weird experience from the start. I called for a reservation at 5:30 p.m., and the person on the phone said that they "already had a reservation at that time." Uhhh, you can't have more than one? After putting me on hold, she came back and said that she could take the reservation. Ooooooooooookay.

We actually got there a few minutes late, but when Steph and Chef got to Pi at 5:30, they weren't even open yet! (They are scheduled to open at 5:00.) They finally got someone to open the door for them. The oddest part was that we were the only people there for our whole stay, except for a few folks at the bar. What happened to the other reservation?

Also, if you go to Pi, make sure upon your arrival that you find the right entrance. We all arrived separately and we all walked up the steps to the door. Doesn't open. The door is to your left, but it looks like a window, not a door. It took us all a while to realize this.

Anyway, we all got settled in at a round table near the window, and it was actually a pretty nice spot. We decided to split three pizzas between the five of us: a voce e notte (smoked mozzarella, eggplant, red pepper, onion), a malafemmena (mozzarella, hot sausage, olives, red peppers), and a Margherita.

This is where the mini-drama comes in: apparently Pi is under new ownership, and they no longer accept gift certificates. So why are they still selling gift certificates on the web site? This is a mystery. After going back and forth about this for a while, and me being a salty pregnant lady, and our server making a bunch of phone calls, they decided to honor the gift certificate. But-- if you plan to go, be aware.

Now, on to the pizza. Ours were the first pizzas of the night, which can sometimes make for a rather floppy pie. All three pizzas arrived at the same time, which was good.

First bite was the vocce a notte. Gary thought it lacked flavor and was pretty bland, but I could taste a smokiness to the mozzarella and eggplant that I liked.

The Margherita was decent, good amount of tomatoes and cheese. This was the best pizza of the bunch, Gary declared.

Since the malfemmena had sausage on it, I will bow out on this review and yield to Gary: "This pie had a real bite to it, courtesy of the spicy sausage. This was welcome after eating the flavorless vocce a notte, but it kind of dominated the rest of the pizza."

On to the crust: it was thin and crunchy on all three pies, and I thought they were good enough. Gary was not a fan. He thought it was like store-bought Elio's crust, just really bland.

Overall, we thought Pi's pizzas were pretty standard, nothing to write home about--but plenty to write a blog about. To be fair, I think Steph, Chef, and Jenn enjoyed the pizzas more than we did. Their ratings were more in the 3ish range, but ours were:

Liza's Rating: 2.5 stars
Gary's Rating: 2 stars