Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Social for Jennifer's Bachelorette Party

Before walking the two blocks to dinner

 The best spinach artichoke dip we've ever had.  Hands down.

 Crispy Shrimp Spring Rolls

 Jasmine Rice Balls with Coconut and Red Curry Sauce

 Mushroom pizza--obviously not my choice--but they loved it.

 The fabulous pizza chef in the kitchen--I got a tour!

 Margherita Pizza

Salsiccia Pizza

A couple of weeks ago, 8 of us went down to Charleston, SC to celebrate (or mourn--depending on your take on marriage) the end of my cousin Jennifer's single life.  We had some amazing food and drinks (of course), but our favorite dinner was at the wine bar, Social.

We started out with the Russet Chips with Blue Cheese fondue and Scallions which were gone so quickly I didn't get to take a picture.....obviously we loved them.  Then came the Spinach and Artichoke dip, which we order pretty much everywhere we go.  I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I tell you it was universally agreed that it was the best we ever had!  It almost tasted like a vodka sauce with fresh spinach and artichokes in there.  It was so good-we ordered another right away!  Then came some things I didn't eat, but everyone else seemed to enjoy immensely--the Crispy Shrimp Spring Rolls and Jasmine Rice Balls.  They also went very quickly.

Meanwhile, Jennifer's fiance had ordered us two bottles of Prosecco and two bottles of wine--so we were feeling pretty good!

Then came the pizza....

Much to my dismay, some of the girls ordered one with mushrooms allllllllllll over it.  Talk about ruining a perfectly good food.  But again, they ate every last bite without complaint, so it must not have been too bad!  It was the Mushroom pizza with Criminis, Truffle Oil and Goat Cheese. 

I did try a half of a slice of the Salsiccia pizza even though I don't really even like anything on my pizza and I don't really even like sausage.  But it looked really good. It had Pork Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, and Caramelized Onion.  It wasn't bad....but I was waiting for the Margherita.  Duh.

The manager came and escorted me into the kitchen where I met the head chef (who promised me the recipe for the spinach artichoke dip).  And I watched our last pizza being made.  The kitchen was fast and efficient and everyone was very friendly.  When I followed our pizza out to the table, I was practically drooling.  It was well worth the wait.  The crust was thin and crispy and perfect.  The sauce was a good amount of tangy and you could tell it was made from fresh tomatoes.  And there is nothing better than fresh mozzarella and basil to top it off.  It was the perfect end to our meal.  That......and another bottle of wine and a shot!  We had a great time with great service and excellent food......GO THERE!!

188 East Bay Street Charleston, SC 29401
843 577 5665

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kelly's homemade pizza

 Tossing the dough is not as easy as they make it look in the pizza parlors!!

 Deep Dish cheese pizza

 Vodka sauce with fresh mozzarella and basil and Kelly's ring

 White pizza with caramelized onions, goat cheese and garlic

Fried Egg with pecorino cheese
 Kelly and Jessica thoroughly enjoyed our pizza and puzzle day!


A couple of weeks ago we had a few days of just torrential rain. So naturally, Jessica, Kelly and I decided to have a "stay in and make home made pizza, do puzzles and watch Friends and Gossip Girl and drink wine" day.  Sounded perfect to us!  And it was!!

We found the recipe for the pizza dough in Kelly's cookbook called The Very Best Baking Cookbook.  Kelly had made a recipe for monkey bread which was delicious so we figured it was a safe bet.  We weren't wrong!  Our only complaint was that we would like it a bit thinner for the thin crust pizza that we made.  But the deep dish cheese pizza was perfect!  It was yummy and doughy and crispy on the outside.  The other three were tasty, but we would just prefer them thinner.

Since we had all day, we tried whatever we felt like making!  We loved the vodka sauce pizza we had at Pomodoro's in NYC, so we got the vodka sauce from Whole Foods and made that pizza.  And it was........incredible!!!!  It kind of makes me wonder why you would ever use regular sauce on pizza ever!!  

We also made a white pizza with olive oil and roasted garlic and caramelized onions.  This is always a favorite of mine, but with the other two specialty pizzas......it fell by the way side!
Our other favorite of the day (and one we will definitely repeat often) was the fried egg pizza we had at Mario Batali's place in NYC, Otto.  It had the pecorino cheese and a fried egg.  I actually can't believe I ever tried it, but I did.  And it was AMAZING!  And we loved it when we made it too!  

All in all, I highly recommend picking a rainy day and staying in with your friends, Friends, puzzles and, of course, PIZZA!



Monday, August 8, 2011

Surf's Up....Bethany Beach!!!



 Friday night at Surf's Up in Bethany Beach!!

 Kelly, Erin, Matthew and Lauren enjoying a bite

 Kelly insisted on her own photo.

 Justin and Cassie
 Joel and Daniel


For 28 years, my family has been going to Bethany Beach, DE for a family reunion.  We rent 4 houses, set up a literal camp at the same spot on the beach, and eat lunch (and often dinner) at the same place every day, Surf's Up.  Needless to say, this write up has a lot of meaning for me!  About 5 years ago, we learned that the owners were leaving and moving to Florida.  This brought on a lot of anxiety for about 40 members of my family.......but there was no need to stress.  One of the men who had worked there through high school and college had decided to buy it and keep it the way it was.  Thank you Bill!  We have strong traditions and it would have been brutal if we couldn't eat there every day!!  We are all recognized by the staff due to the amount and, well, size of my family.  We always have a night out with Bill which makes us feel like we are hanging out with Bethany royalty!

I will be honest, we don't usually go there for the pizza.  Their cheesesteaks are the best I've ever had, not to mention the rest of their subs!  But when you just can't eat another cheesesteak in the same day, pizza is the way to go!  Years ago, they had $5 pizza nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we would order, like, a hundred, and bring them on the beach for all 40+ of us to enjoy.  Due to mass volume, they can't keep up with that anymore, but we do eat the pizza when we've maxed out on the magical subs. 

On Friday night, our last on the beach, a bunch of us went for dinner and ordered 2 cheese and 1 pepperoni pizza.  Some people has their cheesesteaks and just a small slice so they could be a part of the blog.....but everyone ate some pizza!  I am admittedly biased to Surf's Up, so I can't give a fair review, but we all loved the pizza.  The sauce-to-cheese-to-crust ratio is good.  The crust is crispy and chewy in the right mix, the cheese is good quality (meaning greasy!) and the sauce is very flavorful.  But there is something about the beach that just makes everything taste better.  I wholeheartedly recommend going there and going there often!

Surf's Up
100 Garfield Place
Bethany Beach, DE 19930
302.539.5742




Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pete's A Pizza

Our first time at Pete's 2 years ago in Colombia Heights, DC
 Arancini with fresh mozzarella.....soooooo good.
Crispy Goat Cheese salad......also sooooooo good.
 There's some roasted garlic and onions on this one.

 Cheese.  enough said.

 Ryan and Aunt Jackie who is from New Haven originally!
 Michael is lucky to live right across the street from the new location!

 Erin stuck with the plain cheese.

 Joel dishing a slice of Boola Boola
 Kelly eating her Boola Boola

 1/2 cheese and 1/2 Cutler's

 Cassie's first time meeting the family and she's already on the blog.

My cousin Justin eating his very meat-y pizza.


Before I ever moved to the DC area, I had been to Pete's A Pizza.  I found a write up in the Washingtonian magazine that said it was family friendly and had a gluten free option, which was good because we were there with my brother's family which consists of kids and his wife, who is gluten intolerant.  We decided to go there the next day and our lives were changed forever.  You may think I'm being dramatic, but we are that affected by pizza.  And this is really good pizza.

This time we went to the new location in Clarendon, VA.  It's right across the street from Michael and Jessica, and just a few blocks away from Kelly and Joel.  They are super lucky.  They can run in for a slice anytime!  In fact, Pete's has a happy hour deal that includes a slice and a beer for only $5!  We ordered whole pies this time, along with the arancini (which were awesome) and I got a goat cheese salad that I wanted never to be gone!  

We ordered the Boola Boola, which has House-made Meatballs, Roasted Peppers, Caramelized Onions, and Cherry Peppers; Cutlers, which has Pepperoni, Hot Sausage, Prosciutto di Parma, and Soppressata; one with Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onions; and, of course, just cheese.  

The thing that makes New Haven style pizza different is the crust and amount of sauce.  The crust is thin and crispy and the slices are smaller.  There isn't as much sauce, which makes the cheese melt to the crust a bit more.  The result is amazing pizza!  I like a sauce-y pizza as much as the next guy, but there is something about this style!  It was a bit of a hike for us to go to the Colombia Heights location but now that there's one in Clarendon, we'll be there all the time.  It is my absolute favorite in the area.  They will soon get to recognize my face!  Definitely check it out.  And if you need someone to go with you, just let me know.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Luciano

 Just the regular large cheese pie

 White pizza with plenty of garlic

The 'fam' enjoying the yummy pizza


Last weekend, the girls in the group went to see Kelly try on her wedding dress (Joel had to make himself scarce).  Obviously, we had to celebrate with pizza.  It may seem a little random, but Tyson's Corner 1, the mall in McLean, Virginia, is where we went.  I wouldn't usually recommend mall pizza, but this is a destination for many a pizza eater.  So, instead of Sbarro, we went to Luciano.  And believe me, no one was disappointed.

We ordered a regular cheese pizza and a white pizza.  Everyone had a slice of each and EVERYONE loved it.  The crust was crispy and salty, the cheese was high quality and the sauce was tangy and not too sweet.  It was the perfect way to top off seeing Kelly look so beautiful and happy! 

This is mall pizza I can get on board with.

Luciano Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria
7946 Tysons Corner Center
McLean, VA 22102
702-893-8448

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kelly's Bachelorette Pizza

 Vodka pizza from Pomodoro for I heart Kelly Ruest weekend!!!

 Kelly and Jessica with their rings!!

We made quite the splash with 14 of us!!

This past weekend was my sister, Kelly's, bachelorette party in NYC.  We had a four day extravaganza which, of course, included pizza!!  Since Joey's in Tribeca closed, our favorite pizza to date is the vodka pie at Pomodoro.  We had 14 hungry girls and they were eager to seat us.  You see, we made quite a spectacle wearing our orange tie dye hoodies that said that we loved this KR.  EVERYONE we walked by for 3 days asked us who KR was!    Duh.  My sister!

Deferring to my pizza expertise, the party let me order.  We ordered 3 large vodka pies and they weren't set down on the table before they were gone.  Every single one of us loved the pizza.  So much so that we had to order another.  Kelly was completely satisfied with her bachelorette party pizza at Pomodoro!  As you can see by the worker in the background of the photo......the staff at the restaurant was more than happy to serve us!! 

I still recommend going there and ordering a pie because fresh out of the oven is the best way to try this pizza.  They have not disappointed me yet!!

Pomodoro Ristorante
51 Spring St.
NY, NY 10012
(at Mulberry St.)
212-966-9229

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Italian Store

Cheese pie from The Italian Store

 Kelly's the one with the engagement ring now!

 Joel's first bite
Drew Givan in his first pizza blog night!


So, I went and picked up a cheese pie at The Italian Store in Arlington, VA one Friday night when Kelly and Joel were packing to move into their new place.  The place was packed, which is always a good sign.  I've had their subs and some of their refrigerated entrees and everything so far had been amazing!  However, it took a reallllllly long time because they couldn't find my order.  It turns out that they heard "Joe" instead of Joel, and apparently couldn't make the connection when I was asking for Joel's pizza.  By the time they figured it out, we had a not so fresh pie.  

That being said, it's still pretty good pizza.  They have an excellent cheese-to-sauce-to-crust ratio.  They use high quality cheese, that was obvious.  I wish I could make a better assessment when it's fresh out of the oven, but they have no seating there, so no matter what it would be a bit less "hot out of the oven" than I would like.  I'll have to grab a slice and eat it in the car.  I will do anything for a good slice of pizza!!



3123 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22201
703-528-6266