Archive for the ‘Pizza’ Tag

Mas Que Tacos II   Leave a comment

Among the surprises during a recent visit to Mexico City was the variety of food. I should have known that cosmopolitan Cuidad de Mexico (CDMX) would be well-represented by cuisines from around the world.

Pizzas Nosferatu has virtually no inside seating, but it’s fun to sit outside with an unobstructed view of the gourmet pies being made. The joven who took our order was friendly and, indeed, young. The thin-crusted pizzas are served on round slabs of wood. The beers available next door were astounding in the quality and variety. We enjoyed the namesake Nosferatu with spinach, ricotta, herbs and fresh ginger. The Henry with pepperoni, onion and tomato was also tasty.


Pulled pork and smoked brisket are not foods I associate with Mexico. Now I know better. I can’t wait to return to Porco Rosso Roma. The different spins on beans (spicy frijoles) and onion rings were a treat. Sorry no photos. Next time, though.

We enjoyed breakfast at trendy Delirio Monica Patino. Here the traditional molletes (thick slices of toast topped with melted cheese and beans) had a twist: Greek olive tapanade rather than a tomato-based salsa.

My pesto at Trattoria Giocovanni was a lighter version than what I had in Italy, but the lasagna was pure Italiano.


White, mild fish, at Contramar, was exceptional both in its presentation and flavor. Half was coated with a red dried chili rub and the other half with a parsley rub. The tuna tostados and the desserts rivaled the entrees.




Italian Chiapas Style   2 comments


I was surprised at the diversity of restaurants, in addition to Mexican, in San Cristobal de las Casas: Argentine, Indian, Japanese, Italian, French, Thai, among others – even Burger King and Subway can be found. After my mini mole marathon I was ready for something else: Italian. There are several to choose from.


We opted for Napoli Pizzeria, located in the central historic district. It has three tables inside and three more outside, calling it small is an understatement. Yet, the flavors belie the diminutive space. The pizza oven is in the dining area, which can get pretty warm, but it also provides a direct view of the woman whose job it is to roll out the dough and load it with toppings.


Besides pizza, two types of pasta are served. Both are freshly made on site and carefully measured, again in full view, before being taken to the kitchen for cooking. I ordered spaghetti pomodoro, a basic fresh tomato sauce with parmesan cheese. It was comfort food Italian style made in a Mexican kitchen. The fettuccini with pesto was also ordered. The pine nuts were evident and provided a nice balance to the basil mix. Both pastas were cooked al dente and the hearty servings left us more than satisfied.pizzanapoliIII


Pizzas are available in three different sizes. We ordered two mediums with the intent of have leftovers later. Although the crust was thin, it was sturdy enough to hold the toppings. These included pepperoni, chorizo, and a variety of vegetables.

Napoli Pizzeria
Cuatro Platos
Real de Guadalupe
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

A Bit ‘O the Blarney   Leave a comment


The menu at McGinty’s Wood Oven Pub identifies the restaurant as “A Touch of Ireland in Colorado!” This is no delicate light-handed touch, though. It’s as if every day was meant to celebrate St. Paddy. The odd thing is that it works.


Nearly every menu item is a spin on something Irish: from appetizers heavy on cheese, the color green and stout to the entrees, including the pizzas, also known as “Patty Cakes.” But first, back to the appetizers. We ordered the Brick Oven Brie served warm, but not gooey, so it spread easily over pieces of flatbread, slices of pears and apple. The star of the plate was the fig jam which complemented the smooth, creamy brie. We were amused, but not tempted, by the Hun Lee O’Connor: egg rolls filled with corned beef and cabbage.

Since it was lunch I didn’t want anything very heavy, the Fields of Anthenry Salad seemed a nice fit. The large plate of field greens was difficult to eat; and maybe having a second dish with brie was not the best choice, but the honey mustard vinaigrette provided a nice zip. The salad was an impressive combination of flavors and textures.


The menu also features an array of sandwiches, several soups, the aforementioned pizza, as well as pizza pot pies.

Although we weren’t there on St. Patrick’s Day, it was close enough so we ordered Guinness with Chambord. The combination, while sublime, transported us, but not necessarily to the Emerald Isle.

McGinty’s Wood Oven Pub
Three-and-a-half Plates
11115 W. Highway 24
Divide, CO

Dining as a Respite From Cooking   2 comments


When there’s been too much activity in the kitchen, thanks to extra mouths to feed and the excess associated with the holidays, going out to eat is less an opportunity to dine and more a chance to rest. Such was the case on a visit to Savelli’s, which met our criteria for the evening: close to home where we could be seated without having to wait long.

Savelli’s is a neighborhood Italian restaurant, complete with red-checkered tablecloths and a standard menu of pizza, calzones and pasta. It was a good choice, and as the place filled while the evening progressed, it was easy to see why it appealed to young families, couples and large groups. There is, indeed, something for everyone – even if the something is not exceptionally inspiring.


The Chicken Parmesan featured what appeared to be a previously-frozen cutlet bathed in a tangy marinara sauce over a bed of spaghetti. The chicken parm I make is definitely better, but the benchmark this night was based more on convenience than culinary execution. My husband’s Calzone was stuffed with Italian sausage and pepperoni. The large slits not only allowed the air to escape from within the confines of the stuffed, baked turnover, but also much of the filling. Consequently, it was difficult to eat – even with a fork and knife.


The good news is we were sated, relaxed and didn’t have to spend much. Sometimes that’s more you can hope for.


Three-and-a-half Plates
301 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

The Kitchen Zink   Leave a comment


Zink Kitchen+Bar is a well-kept secret. After all, who’d think to look in a Doubletree Hotel for an eclectic restaurant with a bold menu, good service and quality food? Half a dozen small plates are offered, any combination of which would make a complete meal. Our group opted for All Things Bacon as a starter. It was more than bacon, but somehow All Things Pork or even All Things Porcine doesn’t have the same ring. This indulgent plate successfully combined pork belly, maple bacon, pancetta and polenta in a mustard and dried fruit sauce.


Our server recommended the entrée items from the Wood Stone Oven: BBQ Pork Mac ‘n Cheese, Smoked Chicken Enchiladas, Vietnamese Chicken Clay Pot and Artisan Flatbread Pizza topped with sausage and red pepper. It was a culinary version of the U.N.


The Mac ‘n Cheese was thick, rich and creamy. The tangy barbecue-sauced ribs provided much needed balance. The enchiladas featured a white sauce augmented with Hatch green chile. It had a trace of a kick which allowed the chicken filling to take center stage. The sweet corn relish was a nice addition, but the side salad was superfluous. My Vietnamese Chicken wasn’t really in a clay pot. Still, it was quite good: an Asian version of chicken soup thick with Shitake mushrooms, bok choy, crispy pieces of chicken and Jasmine rice.


Zink taught me a lesson about good restaurants hiding near hotel lobbies. I won’t be so dismissive of them in the future.

Zink Kitchen+Bar                                                                                                                                                                           Four Plates
Doubletree Denver Tech
7801 E. Orchard Rd.
Greenwood Village, Colo.

Il Vicino Pizza   Leave a comment


Typically, I have plenty of time to study the menu on the wall at Il Vicino. That’s because the line is long enough that I can read through the descriptions of pizzas and other offerings while waiting to place my order at the counter. Recently, however, there was no line, so even though there was no pressure to make a quick decision, I felt uneasy. I worried that people aren’t frequenting this gourmet pizza place like they should.

The small eatery offers more than dozen types of pizza, several calzones and Panini, salads and a few pasta dishes. From a traditional Margherita to pies with roasted chicken, tuna, even spicy shrimp. It’s often difficult to decide. Even with no one in line behind us I was torn.


We eventually settled on two salad/pizza combinations. The Pizza al Pesto is embellished with fresh pesto, sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, pine nuts and mozzarella. The bread-like crust was thick with wood-smoked flavor. The Spinach Salad was the perfect complement with a fresh pesto dressing, roasted red peppers, red onions, pine nuts and Gorgonzola cheese over a bed of spinach. The other combination included the Campagnola: a traditional marinara, sausage, mushrooms, and, instead of goat cheese, Asiago cheese. The sausage stood out in the crowd of ingredients. The beautifully-plated Insalata Il Vicino was a rift on a Cobb Salad with rows of chopped roasted chicken, diced egg, Gorgonzola, artichoke hearts and walnuts.


While leaving, the line in front of the menu board began to back up. Whew!

Il Vicino
Four Plates
11 S. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, CO

Molte Pizza   Leave a comment

Mozza pizza-1

It’s obvious before entering the doors that Pizzeria Mozza isn’t a typical neighborhood pizza joint. The valet parking stand gives it away.

The menu is another clue; there’s also the fact that the owners are Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Not surprisingly, their marks are everywhere: Silverton with the baked goods, and the men with their rustic Italian flair evident in everything, and all of them, of course, in the menu.

Our server would have happily explained the unfamiliar items, but it was fun studying the menu in advance. For example, Arancine alla Bolognese. I will eat almost anything with Bolognese, but it’s nice to know that at Mozza it’s served with rice balls made from creamy risotto, rolled in bread crumbs and fried. The texture is a marriage destined for bliss.

mozza tapas-1

Although I don’t recall the sequence of arrival, each dish seemed to be better than the one before. The Fried Squash Blossoms filled with ricotta looks like an ugly duckling on the plate, but the burst of flavor reveals the literal inner beauty. The Bone Marrow al Forno is rich, beautifully plated, and decadent. It’s served with roasted garlic and toasted bread, and oozes fatty beefy flavor. The Chicken Wings alla Diavola, Prociutto di Parma, and Mozzerella di Bufala, and the Bianca pizza completed our meal. The latter, served with crispy fried sage and sottocenere, is just the kind of upscale pizza associated with valet parking. By the way, sottocenere, is white cheese with truffles.

Mozza marrow-1

Pizzeria Mozza
Four-and-a-half Plates
641 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, Calif.

A Subtle Pizza Place   Leave a comment


Among the first things you notice when entering Baked is the absence of tables. Then eyes turn to a turntable playing records, real 33 1/3 LPs. The distressed brick walls also command attention as does a large frame on part of a chalkboard listing the day’s offerings. It’s an eclectic scene which reflects the menu: five types of pizza, a soup, a salad, two types of Angel Food cupcakes (chocolate and vanilla) and (usually) another dessert. The other distinguishing feature is the friendliness of the staff.

They have good reason to be amicable; this is a pretty relaxed place that serves food based on what’s fresh and available locally. In Galesburg, IIL., in late winter you might think that wouldn’t be much, but that would be wrong. Fresh isn’t relegated only to produce. At Baked it also refers to locally-sourced meats and cheeses.

Pizza is available by the slice and by the pie. We tried the “low pork” which was slow roasted and shredded. The crust was thin enough to fold and the pork jumped off the red sauce with a slight kick. Mozzarella was almost superfluous. The Angel Food cupcakes were funky-looking, but airy and frosted with creamy, tangy icing.


Other pizza offerings included pepperoni, tomato, cheese and the intriguing-sounding pistachio and red onion. The pepperoni comes from Walt and Cole, unless you’re a local that doesn’t mean much more than tasty.
Although Baked has no tables, it does have a small counter space with barstools to accommodate as many eight people, if everyone is a close friend – or wants to be.

Four Plates
57 S. Seminary St.
Galesburg, Ill.

Inverted Pizza   Leave a comment


Upside Down Pizza doesn’t sound nearly as appetizing as Chicago Stuffed Pizza, although it actually is topsy turvy. Except for the crust, everything is out of place: cheese is first covered by the generous toppings, which are underneath the rich tomato sauce – and it’s all a couple inches thick. The place for stuffed pizza in Chicago is Giordano’s. More than a dozen Giordanos grace the city, and numerous others are in the suburbs, but this does not have the feel of a pizza chain.

A recent trip passing through the Windy City’s downtown included just enough time to dine at Giordano’s – keep in mind it’s not a place to grab a quick bite; plan on 35 minutes from the time the order is placed to when the heavyset pizza arrives at your table. The waiters were consistent in their time estimate. And, they were pretty accurate. It’s worth the wait.


Deep dish is a more apt description of the pizza at Giordano’s. Toppings, or fillings if you want to be more accurate, include the standards – pepperoni, sausage, pineapple – but also offer some creative options – broccoli, artichokes, pesto chicken. Our visit was on a Friday, during Lent, so we ordered a pie with green peppers and mushrooms.

Besides its very bulk, one of the most impressive features of the pizza is the buttery crust: it’s flakey! And, given the weight it carries, it doesn’t lose its texture. Although thin crust is a menu option, it only raises the question: why?


Four Plates
815 W. Van Buren
Chicago, Ill.

Not Your Mamma Mia’s Pizza Pie   2 comments


If there’s ever a contest for creating the most unusual topping combination for pizza, The Secret Stash Pizza in Crested Butte is definitely in the running.

It’s hard to fathom why anyone — over the age of 12 — would only consider pepperoni or sausage with such varied possibilities as the Mac Daddy: a combination of Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, red onions, pickles and shaved beef. Or, the New Potato Caboose: traditional sauce, roasted potato, bacon, green onion, cheddar and sour cream. We opted for the Figalicious/Notorious F.I.G., featuring, of course, figs, bleu cheese, asiago cheese, prosciutto and truffle oil. In keeping with the ious-motif, it was delicious. It was also decadently rich. The sweet figs countered the saltiness of the prosciutto and the cheeses bound everything together.


The Secret Stash, located at the western end of Elk Street, has been part of the Crested Butte dining scene since 2002. In June, the owners plan to move to a larger location in the center of town.

In addition to the variety of imaginative pizzas, the Stash has an eclectic décor, as if perhaps its name came from the idea of being a receptacle for anything funky, fun or startling. Vintage photos, knick knacks, all manner of kitsch adorn the restaurant. A surfboard, bust of King Tut and miniature Volkswagen bus rested on a shelf above our table. There was more, much, much more, but my eyes kept returning to Tut, and my taste buds kept enjoying the pizza combos.

The Secret Stash Pizza
Four Plates
2 Elk Ave.
Crested Butte, CO