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!