Thursday, December 31, 2009
We started our Pizza Pizzazz blog earlier this year on a whim. It had been a tough year and we wanted something fun to do, and pizza - since it is one of our favorite things - seemed like a good subject for us. We thought it would be fun, but didn't realize how much fun it actually would be - we've had a blast! Our pizza research has taken us in many directions, some very unexpected. For example, we knew would like Fiori's, Danny's and DiSalla's pizza - people raved about them to us. What we didn't expect was to find such an excellent pizza at Spartan Pizza in Brentwood, or at Foli's in Braddock Hills. We had more fun than we ever expected tasting the pizza at the Grandview Buffet at the Rivers Casino, Heinz Field, and also at Kennywood - although we forgot to take photos and write the review. It will just give us an excuse to go back and try it again when the park opens in the Spring! We also were delighted to discover the Pizza Cone at Pino Gelato in Hilton Head Island, SC on our fall vacation - we expected it to be a gimmick, but it was amazing and delicious.
We have been researching Pittsburgh pizzas to try in 2010, and have been gathering recipes to test. We'd love to hear from you and find out where you think the best pizzas are in Pittsburgh.
And once again, thank you, and best wishes for 2010!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning, prepared or your own homemade mixture
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups small pretzels or pretzel nuggets
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Pour olive oil into a large Tupperware type container with a tight fitting lid. Add pizza seasoning and garlic powder, and stir. Add pretzels and tighten container lid firmly. Shake container until pieces are completely and evenly coated.
Empty coated pretzels onto large baking sheets (rimmed types work best because of the oil), spreading out on the sheet so that there is a minimum of touching. Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, store in a large zip lock bag or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. I like to drain the pretzels on paper towels or parchment paper before storing, so that they are less oily.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp. powdered lemon peel
1 pint pizza sauce (we used Mids)
Combine ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs and powdered lemon peel in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix and shape into golfball sized meatballs - we usually get 12 meatballs to a pound. Place meatballs in microwave safe grill pan or pie pan and microwave for 2 minutes. While the meatballs are being microwaved, empty jar of pizza sauce into large saucepot and bring to simmer. Drain meatballs and gently place into simmerin pizza sauce. Cook for a minimum of 30 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.
Note: We precook the meatballs in the microwave to allow some of the fat from the meat to drain. It is not necessary, and you can either precook them by sauteing in a little olive oil and then adding to the sauce, or by simply placing the uncooked meatballs into the simmering sauce.
Serving suggestion: Either serve the meatballs over cooked pasta, and sprinkle with a mixture of pizza cheese (mozzarella, provolone and parmesan) or serve 2 or 3 meatballs on crusty hoagie rolls, topped with cheese.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
322 4th Avenue
We recently saw a television ad for Ephesus Pizza and it looked so good, we thought we would try it. So I guess their advertising works!
Ephesus sells four sizes of pizza: Personal (6"), Small (10"), Large (14") and X-Large (16'). We ordered a small and wished we had gone up a size to the large - it just wasn't big enough for us!
The crust and sauce are made fresh daily and the dough is hand tossed. The crust was thick, with a nice chewiness. The sauce was deep red, and think, with a good tomato flavor and occasional chunks of tomato. The cheese was perfectly melted with a slight crust and was very flavorful.
We're not sure that Ephesus will be one of our new "top favorites", but it was very tasty and we did enjoy it. Since they are a combination of pizzaria and Mediterranean restaurant, they have some very unusual menu items that we plan to go back and try another time. The Turkish Pizza, or "Pide", sounds especially good. Pide come in ten varieties and according to the menu are served with a spring mix, fresh onions and lemons.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
1050 Brinton Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Foli's is a popular local favorite, tucked away in a tiny strip mall near where Braddock Hills, Forest Hills, Edgewood and Wilkinsburg meet. It had been way too long since we'd eaten there, so decided to head over the hill and pick up a pizza!
We weren't disappointed. We ordered a small, which was a 12" 6-cut traditional Pittsburgh-style pizza. The crust was very good, with a light and airy interior and nice chewiness, and a crisp exterior. The chunky tomato sauce had a freshly made flavor, and it had a good proportion of sauce to cheese.
We also ordered a side of cheese sticks - they were perfectly fried, and had just the right amount of spice for our taste. The accompanying sauce was delicious.
Everyone we talked to in Foli's was very friendly and welcoming, from the nice woman who answered the phone, to the restaurant staff and the fellow customers. I have to admit I forgot to pick up a take out menu and am not sure what else Foli's has to offer. The pizza was so tasty, that I would expect nothing but good things from their other menu items!
Friday, December 4, 2009
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced or chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 can Italian style stewed tomatoes, with liquid
1 small can (8 oz.) no-salt tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup pepperoni (sliced, then cut into quarters)
1 cup grated pizza cheese mixture
Heat olive oil in large sauce pot. Saute onion, mushrooms and green pepper on low heat until tender (about 3 minutes). Add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef broth, stir well. Simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes.
Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and serve. It's fun to use breadsticks as "dippers"!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Our first impression was that Donte's smells great! The wonderful aroma coming from the little restaurant was inviting, and the atmosphere was clean, bright and welcoming. The staff was very friendly, too, both on the phone when we ordered and in person. There are about 10-15 tables inside and two video games to keep you or the kids occupied while you wait.
We ordered a traditional, Pittsburgh style, pizza and enjoyed it very much. The dough is made fresh daily, as is the sauce, and the pizza crust is hand tossed to order. The result was a charmingly uneven crust with a light, airy interior and crisp edges. The bright, fresh red sauce was slightly sweet and dusted with Italian spices.
We like that Donte's offers slices for those days when we are hungry from a hike in the park and need something good in a hurry!
Would we go back again? Yes, we would. We think that it's not in our top favorites, but it was good ... and it's the perfect spot for an after park snack and we're happy to have found it.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup cooked turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato pieces (we cut each tomato into halves or quarters)
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion (like a Vidalia or Mayan Sweet)
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, crushed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Spread ricotta cheese evenly over crust. Arrange remaining cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, turkey, onion and spinach over ricotta. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Bake for about 12 minutes or until mozzarella cheese is melted.
Cool slightly, cut and enjoy!
Friday, November 20, 2009
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice (we used a combination that included smoked Cheddar)
1 large tomato, diced (we used a meaty Roma tomato)
or 1/4 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1-1/2 cups shredded or diced iceberg lettuce
1/4 cup prepared ranch dressing, or more to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread pizza crust with olive oil. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly on top. Top with diced tomatoes and crumbled bacon. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
While pizza is baking, toss the shredded or chopped lettuce (we used chopped lettuce) with ranch dressing.
Remove pizza from the oven and top with lettuce mixture. Slice into wedges and serve.
Note: We found it a little easier to slice the pizza and then top the individual slices with lettuce mixture.
Monday, November 16, 2009
5260 Library Road
Bethel Park, PA
Last Christmas, Sharon and John gave us a gift certificate for dinner at Pasta Too. We really appreciated it, but the time was just never right to use it - either we were in the area, but didn't have the coupon with us, or we had the coupon, but it was a weird time for dinner ... you know what I mean.
Last night all the stars aligned and it was perfect timing to use our Christmas gift. We called in for take out and ordered a feast to eat while watching Monday Night Football - pizza, wedding soup, Italian salad and provolone sticks.
The Pasta Too offers two styles of pizza - Napolitano (thin crust) or Siciliano (thick crust). We ordered the Napolitano with extra sauce and light cheese. The sauce was deep red and loaded with Italian herbs and spices, and we liked the thin, foldable crust.
The "provolone stick expert" said they were very good, and my "small" salad was HUGE and included lots of goodies, including my favorite - artichoke hearts. We enjoyed the wedding soup, which was full of veggies and shredded chicken along with the tiny meatballs.
The restaurant has a full Italian style menu, serves generous portions, and is very popular - the restaurant was full on a Monday night! On another visit I think we'll try the Chicken or Eggplant Parmigiana - they both looked wonderful.
Thank you, Sharon and John!!!!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Pittsburgh, PA 15226-1241
Some people crave ice cream or mashed potatoes when they are in need of comfort food, but for us it's pizza. During a very sad time this past week, Judy - who is beautiful inside and out - suggested a little pizza therapy and we gratefully accepted. Judy raced her Mustang to Fiori's in Brookline and Nathan ran the steaming pizza from her car to our door.
The first thing we noticed about Fiori's pizza was the aroma - it smelled wonderful and the kitchen came alive with the rich scent. When we pulled the pieces apart, the thick layer of deliciously gooey cheese stretched beautifully and dripped from our hands. The crust was interesting (in a good way). Our impression of the first slice was that it was doughy and bread like. Once the pizza settled, though, the crust changed character and was firm and pleasantly chewy . The sauce was excellent, also, with a deep tomato flavor and a hint of sweetness. We like a lot of sauce and usually order extra sauce on our pizza, which I think we will do next time - just because it was so tasty we'd like more of it.
Thank you, Judy! We love you!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
- Complimentary Mimosas, Bloody Marys and Champagne
- Beef Strip Loin, Turkey Breast and Ham at the carving station
- an Omelet station
- Flambe station
- and Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster for dessert!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Cranberry Twp, PA 16066
We have often enjoyed Monte Cello's Sicilian pizza, but had never tried their traditional round thin pizza. We were in the area yesterday and decided the time was right - and it was fantastic!
The traditional round crust was firm and chewy; crunchy on the outside, with a light and breadlike interior. The rich sauce - which is different from the sauce used on their Sicilian pizza - has a deep, spicy tomato flavor and a gorgeous color.
Monte Cello's traditional round thin pizza is available in four sizes, with toppings an additional charge:
- Mini 9" 4 cut - $4.50
- Small 9" 6 cut - $6.50
- Medium 14" 8 cut - $7.50
- Large 16" 10 cut - $8.95
We're glad we went back!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Shelter Cove Plaza
Mid-Island, Hilton Head Island
When we heard that Giuseppi's Pizza in Hilton Head was founded by a Pittsburgher, we knew we had to try it.
When in Hilton Head, we always make a stop or two at New York City Pizza and recently fell in love with the innovative Pizza Cone at Pino Gelato ... but Giuseppi's pizza tastes like home. Actually, it tastes like a really, really good version of pizza from home!
First of all, Giuseppi's sauce rocks. It is thick and rich with a hint of sweetness, slightly chunky, and fragrant with Italian herbs and spices. (We ordered our pizza with extra sauce and light on the cheese.) The crust is medium thickness; it has the perfect chewiness, with crisp, cheesy edges. The menu describes the pizza: "We start with our homemade hand tossed dough, ladle on our special recipe tomato sauce, add a generous portion of specially blended provolone and mozzarella cheese, then bake it in our stone hearth oven."
Nine varieties of pizzas are on the menu - the Big Cheese, Giuseppi's Special Pizza, Giuseppi's Veggie Pizza, Giuseppi's Mega Meaty, Chicken Alfredo, Jimmy the Greek, Giuseppi';s White Pizza, Shrimp Scampi, and Giuseppi's Ultimate White Pizza. Individual slices of the Big Cheese, Special, Veggie, Mega Meaty and White Pizza are available if you can't manage an entire 12" or 16" pizza. Or, for $2 more, they will make it a stuffed pizza by adding a top crust layer, baste with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, and baking.
If you'd like something other than pizza, Giuseppi's has a huge menu including seven pastas and four baked pastas, eight varieties of hoagies, seven types of wraps, five flavors of Philly Cheesesteaks and four different Parmesan Hoagies. Two Giuseppi's specialties are Weggies(r) and Boli's. Weggies basically folded and stuffed pizza dough, topped with lettuce and tomato, onion and ranch dressing - they are available in 11 flavors, including the Original (ham and pepperoni), Weggiedilla (marinated chicken, cheddar & jack cheese, bacon, onion and BBQ sauce) and a Greek Weggie (chicken, feta, kalamata olives, banana peppers, romaine, tomato and Greek vinaigrette).
The Boli is similar to a calzone - pizza dough filled with toppings along with ricotta and cheeses, then folded and baked, and served with a side of their wonderful marinara sauce. Giuseppi's Boli's are available in Carboli (pepperoni, sausage and ham), Macaboli (mushrooms, onions, green peppers and black olives), Cheeseburgerboli (ground beef, American cheese, bacon, mustard and ketchup) and the Create-a-Boli (you choose!).
Nine salads are on the menu, as well as another Pittsburgh staple - Italian Wedding Soup, available by the cup or bowl. In addition, you can choose from 14 appetizers and extras - Spinach Dip, Stuffed Chili Peppers, Shrimp Basket, Buffalo Shrimp, Onion Rings, Mozzarella Cheese Stix, Chicken Fingers, Buffalo Chicken Fingers, Garlic Toast, Cheese Garlic Toast, Garlic Tomato Cheese Toast, Fries, side of Marinara Sauce, and Meatball Sliders.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
1 2-3 lb. beef roast (we used a rump roast)
1 tsp. pizza seasoning
1 tsp. garlic pepper seasoning (we used a McCormick's "grinder")
1 tsp. paprika
1 cup low sodium beef broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together pizza seasoning, garlic pepper seasoning and paprika. Rub seasoning mixture on roast. Place roast in an oven proof pan or roaster with lid. Pour beef broth over roast. Add water as necessary to bring the level of liquid so that it covers 3/4 of the roast. Cover and cook for approximately 3 hours or until meat is tender.
Remove from oven and let rest for several minutes. Remove to platter and slice. Serve with Pizza Gravy.
1/2 cup prepared beef gravy (freshly prepared gravy from pan juices or bottled gravy)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. pizza seasoning
Mix gravy, tomato sauce and pizza seasoning in a small saucepan. Bring to simmer and stir. Serve hot with slices of roast.
Note: We used our own salt free pizza seasoning mixture to season the roast, but used Penzey's pizza seasoning for the gravy as it is a ground seasoning and blends into the sauce.
Monday, October 26, 2009
The Village at Wexford
Hilton Head Island, SC
We loved Pino Gelato's Pizza Cone!
We were intrigued when we read about the Pizza Cone on Hilton Head Island's Blog a la Carte blog - when we saw that it is going to be featured on an upcoming episode of the Food Network's Unwrapped, we knew we had to try it while we were there last week.
I thought it would be a gimmick - I never expected it to be as tasty as it was!
A Pizza Cone is basically pizza in a cone shaped crust, which makes it easy to hold - perfect for a lunch on the go. It is baked to order in a special pizza cone oven and served piping hot. The crust is exceptional - very flaky, almost like a pastry, and just downright delicious. The sauce, which is made on the premises, is also very good - slightly spicy with a rich flavor. There is cheese throughout, and a layer of cheese at the bottom of the cone, which helps seal in the sauce and tastes like a bite of cheese bread.
The pizza cone is $3.25 for a Margherita, $3.50 for Pepperoni or Sausage, or $3.50 for an Italian Hot Dog. They also have daily Pizza Cone specials, as well as two combos - a Pizza Cone and gelato for $5.95 or Pizza Cone and soda for $4.50.
We were happy to hear that Pino Gelato is opening a location in the Butler/Cranberry area - that's not very close to us, but it will be worth the trip.
P.S. The gelato at Pino Gelato is amazing also!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
We also tried an order of New York City's mozzarella sticks. They were wonderful, with a nice coating, and bursting with flavor with each bite. The cheese sticks came with a very good garlicky marinara sauce. The sauce was different from the pizza sauce, but just as flavorful.
New York City Pizza offers three styles of pizza - New York, Pan Pizza or Sicilian - and sells pizza by the slice also. They make calzones and strombolis, which are available in either small or large. They have 14 specialty pizzas, including a Margherita, Greek, and White Pizzas. Some of the more unusual pizzas are a double crust Stuffed Cheesesteak Pizza, Chicken Parm Pizza, and Mario's Mexican Mayhem - with refried beans, steak and other Mexican style toppings. I wonder how many people order their Baked Ziti Pizza - ziti and tomato sauce, tossed with mozzarella and ricotta and spread over a pizza crust.
New York City Pizza's extensive menu includes six cold subs and nine hot subs, and nine reasonably priced salads, from a small side salad to a fresh Insalata Caprese and a heartier Chef or Grilled Chicken or Chef and my favorite - the Greek Salad. Available appetizers are soup of the day, mozzarella sticks, fried calamari with marinara sauce, garlic sticks with marinara sauce, and buffalo chicken wings with your choice of six sauces.
They have many pasta and dinner choices with 31 options available - from lasagna and eggplant parm to Penne Rivazza, Linguine Calamari Marinara, Veal Picatta, and Chicken Francese to name just a few, with extra meatballs, sausage, and chicken available as sides.
If you're still hungry, you can opt for dessert - Tiramisu, New York Style plain or raspberry cheesecake, or cannoli.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
1 cup prepared pizza sauce
red pepper flakes (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Fold pizza sauce into softened cream cheese. Pour mixture into a microwave safe bowl and heat for approximately 2 minutes, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds.
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese if desired.
Serve with warm bread sticks, pita chips, crackers, or strips of fresh green pepper.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
948 E 8th Ave
Homestead, PA 15120
We have a new addition to our Top 5 List!
We had been wanting to try Di Salla's pizza for a long time - whenever we ask for pizza recommendations, Di Salla's in Homestead (or I guess it's Munhall) has been the name that is mentioned to us most frequently. Last Sunday after the Steeler game, we decided the time was right!
We called and ordered a half tray, which was 8 square pieces of pie. You don't have to order in advance - Di Salla's sells pizza by the slice and is happy to add the topping you'd like and prepare it while you wait. Also - a word to the wise - we wished we had ordered the full 16 slice tray. It was so good, that we were fighting over the last slice.
The pizza shop was crowded, and we were the only newcomers. One woman waiting at the counter said she had been going to Di Salla's for 30 years - that once you taste it, it's the pizza you crave above all others. We parked next to a man who was eating in his pick up truck, and saw another man lift the lid and pull out a steaming slice as he was walking to his car - neither could wait, and once we caught a whiff, we understood why.
Di Salla's pizza sauce is one of the best we have ever tasted - it is a deep red; thick and rich, and loaded with garlic. I was expecting a traditional round pizza, so was surprised to see the square cuts. But that's not a bad thing - the crust was also excellent. Carol remarked that the crust was crisp and crunchy, yet it melts in your mouth, and that was very true.
Di Salla's is take out only and pizza only (no sides). That's enough, when your pizza is as near perfection as Di Salla's pizza.
Friday, October 16, 2009
You know from our previous posts that we love the Grand View Buffet at the new Rivers Casino!
The Grand View Buffet special for October is a Thursday night Seafood Buffet for $26.95 per person - I wonder if they have a seafood pizza at the pizza station? That would be inspired! I'll have to go and find out.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The Pittsburgh-style crust was thick, but had crisp edges. It was spread with a thick red tomato sauce with a hint of spice, and was loaded with fresh grated cheese. If you don't like a lot of cheese, you can take some off before cooking and save it for topping subs or your own fresh pizza.
McGinnis Sisters has three locations in the Pittsburgh area: Monroeville, Brentwood, and Adams Township. The menu for the new Adams Township location lists three pizzas in their Adams Cafe menu - Margarita (which includes pesto and balsamic in the toppings), Five Cheese (one of the five cheeses is their delicious smoked Gouda) and BBQ Chicken.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
It was a chilly day, so we also ordered a cup of Spartan's Italian Wedding Soup to help warm us up. The soups at Spartan Pizza are homemade by a retired chef. The Wedding Soup was very good and also unusual in that it was made with beef broth rather than chicken broth, which gave it a very rich flavor. It was loaded with thick chunks of fresh carrot and dotted with spinach and acini de pepi, as well as tiny and tasty meatballs. The Wedding Soup is available seasonally - and I'm glad it is Wedding Soup season, because I'd like to go back soon for a larger container!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
It was a beautiful fall night at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh - and the Steelers were winning by ... a lot. What could make the night even better?
Food, of course! We were happy to find a kiosk close to our section selling personal pan pizzas.
Heinz Field offers a choice of a pepperoni or cheese pizza for $5.75. The cheese pizzas were sold out, so by default, we chose pepperoni. We were surprised to find out that the pizzas are Freschetta brand frozen pizzas with self rising crust. The pizza comes in a Freschetta branded box and is cut into 4 slices. The kiosk vendor said that the pizzas are a fan favorite and one of their biggest sellers.
It had been a long time since we tried Freschetta and liked the mild spiciness and the chewy, flavorful crust.
But even more than that, we liked the Steeler victory!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
The old Girl Scout song "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold ..." doesn't only apply to people - it can apply to pizzas as well!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
We must have passed Mm! Mm! Pizza hundreds of times and never noticed it. We found a 50% off coupon in the new Enjoy coupon book and thought we'd give it a try.
We ordered just before half time in the Steelers/Bengals game, which was a very busy time for the pizza shop. Despite that, they were up to the challenge and had our pizza ready to pick up within 25 minutes and pleasantly answered our questions.
The shop is take-out only, but there's enough room to watch them stretch and hand toss the pizza dough to order. The sauces are made fresh daily, and the toppings and cheese are also prepared fresh every morning.
We ordered a large traditional pizza with homemade red pizza sauce. The sauce was very good - it was thick and robust, pureed style, with a hint of sweetness. The crust was thick and breadlike, with a mild flavor. My first thought was that it was a little too thick for my personal taste, but in thinking about it, it was the perfect crust for the sauce - a thinner crust would not have stood up to the thick, rich delicious sauce. The ratio of sauce to crust to cheese was just about perfect. Our guest pizza taster, Carol, gave the pizza a B+ rating, and we all agreed.
Mm! Mm! Pizza has an enormous menu - they offer 24 pizza toppings, 13 specialty pizzas, 12 appetizers, 10 types of salad, and also make lamb or chicken breast gyros, wings, calzones, subs, fish sandwiches, and sweet or savory bread sticks. Some of the Specialty Pizzas are very unusual, such as the Flyin' Hawaiian (chicken breast, peppadew, and pineapple) and the Hawaiian (pizza sauce topped with ham, bacon, pineapple, mozzarella and provolone) and even the Seafood Pizza (white garlic butter, shrimp and crab meat, onions, and cheeses). I might be tempted to try two others that sound good to me - their Taco Pizza, or Chicken and Spinach.
We tasted an order of Mm! Mm! Pizza's provolone sticks, and they were very good, helped by the accompanying container of their delicious pizza dipping sauce. Instead of fried baby mushrooms, they offer breaded Portabella slices, and I plan to order some on another visit.
If you don't have an Enjoy or Entertainment book don't worry - Mm! Mm! Pizza offers lots of discounts. They have 2 Pizza Specials every day (2 Medium for $12.99, 2 Large for $14.99) and have daily specials. Their Tuesday special is a large Cheese Pizza for $6.99 or an X-Large Cheese Pizza for $8.99. On Fridays, you can choose your own special from any of the other six daily specials.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel
Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle over pizza sauce, or use to give pizza flavor to other dishes.
Store in a zip lock bag or glass jar. If you use the dried lemon peel, store in refrigerator.
Friday, September 25, 2009
We have so many wonderful take-out pizza options available, that we don't normally make frozen pizza. Sometimes, though, it's handy to have a frozen pizza on hand, and we were lucky enough to have a California Pizza Kitchen's Pizza Margherita Pizza for One waiting in the freezer. As a bonus, it turned out to be very good!
The box had directions to cook the pizza by either microwave or in the oven. We chose the oven, but the lined box does fold over to double as a pizza pan if you'd like to use your microwave.
The crust was light and crispy, and much tastier than we expected. The pizza had a light sauce with small chunks of tomato and flavorful pieces of basil on top. It was topped with a mixture of four cheeses - Parmesan, Asiago, Romano and Mozzarella.
The California Pizza Kitchen website suggests pairing the Pizza Margherita with a Chardonnay. They have a fun "Wine Pairings" gadget on their website that allows you to select a crust and pizza, and they will give you wine suggestions. The website also suggests cooking a Pizza Margherita, cutting it into strips and serving with a trio of dipping sauces - pesto mayo, marinara and olive oil - for a quick appetizer.
All in all, it was a very tasty pizza that we would definitely buy again.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
2612 Sarah Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Michael's Pizza Bar is a bar and restaurant on Sarah Street, one block removed from the traffic of East Carson Street, on a corner between S. 26th and S. 27th Streets.
The pizza we ordered was a large traditional Pittsburgh style with extra sauce and light cheese. The traditional crust was chewy and bread like. We enjoyed the sauce, which was thick, flavorful, and slightly spicy with small flecks of oregano. Michael's was very generous with the cheese, even after we had asked for light cheese - so if you like lots of cheese on your pizza, you will love Michael's!
We also tried an order of Provolone Sticks with a small container of their excellent sauce for dipping - the cheese sticks were cooked perfectly and had a nice flavor.
Unfortunately, we forgot to pick up a menu and to ask pertinent questions about sauce, crust and preparation. It was half time and we were hurrying to get back before the 3rd quarter started and simply forgot.
This week's celebrity pizza taster, Dave, posed several interesting questions that we all considered while we ate: If we changed the amount of amount of cheese on the pizza, would the texture of the crust also change since the required cooking time might be different? What type of oven do they use to cook the pizza? What type of cheese do they use? Why did Jeff Reid miss not one, but two, field goals in Chicago? All good questions.
We will have to go back to Michael's and see what we can find out. I think next time we will sit down in the very pleasant restaurant area and enjoy the pizza, fresh from the oven.
P.S. The 50% off coupon in the Enjoy book made this pizza a real bargain, too!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Mancini's Bread Company in Pittsburgh's Strip District offers their fantastic pizza dough to go - you can purchase a 1-1/4 lb. ball of plain pizza dough ($2.75), or try the Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Dough ($3.70), or European Multi-Grain dough ($3.15). Mancini's also offers two pizza kits: one with dough, sauce and cheese ($7.95), and another that also includes pepperoni ($10.35).
We've tried the regular pizza dough, and intend to try both the Mancini's Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Pizza Dough and the healthy sounding European Multi-Grain.
I have to admit I rolled instead of tossed - next time, I'll have to buy extra and practice!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
This time we chose the West End Cafe, a very casual restaurant that lured us in with the enticing aroma of freshly cooked wings. The West End Cafe is a fast food style restaurant, with a walk up counter for ordering surrounded by booths and tables.
The West End Cafe offers six varieties of 10" Personal Pizzas - Pepperoni, Sausage, Quattro Formaggio, Supreme (mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, black olives, mushrooms, peppers and onions), Great White (olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, black pepper, oregano, broccoli), and Farmers Market (tomato, olive oil, grilled vegetables, mozzarella). They also have "Uncle Ed's Stromboli", which is stuffed with mozzarella, provolone, mortadella, salami, capicola, roasted red peppers and fresh basil. The pizzas were all generously topped and had lots of cheese.
We split a "Mighty Monongahela", which is a meatball hoagie, with marinara sauce and mozzarella. The meatballs were fresh and juicy, and the overall, the sandwich pretty darn good. The West End Cafe offers 4 other varieties of grinders - Duquesne (basically an Italian hoagie), West Ender (sausage), Steel City Steak & Cheese, and a Foundry Dog (available with chili, cheese or sauerkraut).
We also had their very good Wedding Soup and an order of fresh sliced fruit for dessert - and it was very fresh and delicious.
They make six types of Grilled Tostinos Sandwiches, served on Italian bread, and they sound very good. The Milanese sounded particularly good to me - buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, roasted red peppers and a balsamic glaze - as did the Sicilian, which is stacked with oven dried Roma tomatoes, smoked mozzarella and pepperoni. The West End Cafe Wraps will also be worth a try on another trip. There are three types - Chipotle Chicken, BBQ Chicken BLT and Boursin Roast Beef.
In addition to the sandwiches and pizza, the West End Cafe has soup and chili, salads, wings and chicken, onion rings and french fries, Italian sausage lasagna and macaroni with cheese. You can also order your favorite beverages, including beer and wine. The desserts also sound pretty good and delightfully decadent, such as the Double Chocolate Fantasy Cake and the Wild Berries and Cream Napoleon.
Although we haven't (yet) been big winners at the new Rivers Casino, we have not been disappointed with the food!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Anthony's is famous for two things - their very good pizza bagels and their excellent homemade iced tea. We used to get Anthony's pizza bagels often and recently realized that we had never tried their pizza!
Anthony's has been in business at the same location since 1969. The small restaurant is like a fun trip to the past, with comfortable booths that are equipped with jukebox music selectors.
Their pizza is made the old-fashioned way, too - they make the dough and sauce fresh daily, and hand toss the pizza dough to order. The sauce is made fresh on site each morning. They also freshly grate the cheese for the topping and even the ground sausage is fresh. The traditional style pizza we tried had a thin, chewy and easily foldable crust that had a good flavor. The sauce was mild - suitable for those who don't enjoy tangy foods - and the cheese was plentiful.
In addition to the traditional crust that we tried, Anthony's also offers a thick crust for an extra charge. They have plenty of toppings available: pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, anchovies, meatballs, bacon, green peppers, extra cheese (not necessary!!!), black olives, onions, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, and ham capicolla. They also make ten varieties of hoagies, including a very tasty Italian hoagie, roast beef and cheese, vegetarian, and hot sausage, among others. Anthony's makes three varieties of calzones, and four types of salad (and have their own special house dressing that is very good). Appetizers include soup, homemade chili, garlic toast, soft pretzels, nachos, french fries and pizza boats.
A nice touch are the old fashioned desserts - pie, ice cream, Italian ice and Klondikes.
The next time we try Anthony's pizza, we plan to eat in the restaurant. Although we enjoyed our pizza, it did not travel well - mostly our fault, since we took longer than expected to pick it up after ordering. And besides, eating in the restaurant means we can play some tunes and split a Klondike for dessert!
P.S. The 50% off coupon in the Enjoy book made this pizza a real bargain!
Monday, September 7, 2009
1 12" prepared pizza crust (we used a whole wheat Boboli crust)
1 can black beans
1 tsp. taco seasoning, or more if desired
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Place pizza crust on a baking sheet.
Drain black beans and put in a mixing bowl. Use a potato masher and mash beans - leave slightly chunky. Add desired amount of taco seasoning (we used Penzey's taco seasoning).
Spoon bean mixture onto pizza crust. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over top.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, or until beans are thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.
guacamole or sliced avocados
salsa or hot sauce
Serve at half time!
Friday, September 4, 2009
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice bagel in half and lightly toast. Place toasted bagel halves on oven proof pan or baking sheet. Top each bagel half with 2 tablespoons each of prepared pizza sauce. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of grated cheese on top of each half.
Put pan in preheated oven and bake for approximately 7 minutes, or until sauce is heated through and cheese is melted.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
777 Casino Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
We made our first visit to Pittsburgh's new Rivers Casino last night ... and had a blast!
Our first stop was the Players Club, where we quickly joined and headed out into the casino with our new red Players Club cards and complimentary $10 of free play. We wandered over to one of the bar areas and played a quick round of Joker Poker (Jacks or Better).
We soon decided that we had better fuel up before settling down for some serious game playing, so we headed up to the Grand View Buffet. Happily we found that the Casino has a 2 for 1 September dinner special at the Grand View Buffet for Players Club members (Monday through Thursday, 4 to 9 pm). What an incredible bargain!
The buffet was nothing short of amazing! There were seven stations, including BBQ, American, Italian, Asian, and Mongolian, with an enormous salad bar and an incredible dessert bar. We briefly debated whether to head right for dessert, but couldn't resist the wealth of other goodies, and we tried small tastes of just about everything offered. The variety, freshness and quality of food was wonderful - we liked everything we tried. Sharon headed right for the Asian and Mongolian bars and headed back with a plate heaped with egg rolls, Chinese spare ribs, fried rice and more. I went a more traditional route and had salad first (and again - a huge selection at the salad bar), then tasted a very juicy roasted turkey, and tidbits from all of the stations.
We were delighted to find that the Italian station had a pizza bar, which offered three varieties of pizza - cheese, pepperoni and a Chef's Special. The Chef's Special had an Alfredo-like creamy sauce, and was topped with halved cherry tomatoes, thin slices of red onion and cheese. The traditional cheese pizza had a hearty red sauce with chunks of tomato and a generous layer of cheese. The chef at the pizza station told us that the sauce and dough are fresh daily, and that the pizzas are baked in a stone oven. We had a good view of the pizza station from where we were sitting, and it seemed to be very popular with the other diners, also. Although we would not have thought of going to the Rivers Casino for pizza, we all agreed that it was pretty tasty and we would definitely try it again next time.
The highlight of the buffet was the dessert bar ... especially the lemon gelato. Don't miss it!!!
Friday, August 28, 2009
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped (approximately 4 large)
1 teaspoon sugar