Saturday, November 28, 2009

Donte's Pizzaria - South Park, PA

We found a comment the other day on our Fiori's Pizza review suggesting we try Donte's Pizzaria and thought, "why not"! We often take our dog to South Park and have passed Donte's a zillion times. To be honest, we never even noticed it, and were happy for the suggestion. We found Donte's in a little strip mall near the Brownsville Road entrance to the park.

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.

Donte's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey and Ricotta Cheese Pizza Recipe

1 pre-baked pizza crust (such as a Boboli)
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

BLT Ranch Pizza Recipe

1 pre-baked pizza crust, such as a Boboli
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

Pasta Too Family Italian Restaurant - Bethel Park, PA

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!!!!

Pasta Too on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fiori's - Brookline, Pittsburgh, PA

103 Capital Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15226-1241
(412) 343-7788

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!

Fiori's Pizzaria on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grand View Buffet at the Rivers Casino - November Update - Champagne Brunch!

Wow! The Rivers Casino has added a Sunday Champagne Brunch to their Grand View Buffet - and it sounds fantastic!

  • 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!

The Champagne Brunch is available Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. And here's the best part - it's only $19.95 per person.

Grand View Buffet (Rivers Casino) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monte Cello's Italian Restaurant - Cranberry, PA

30325 Perry Highway
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!

Monte Cello's-Cranberry on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 2, 2009

Giuseppi's Pizza - Hilton Head Island, SC

Shelter Cove Plaza
Highway 278
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

Italian Pot Roast with Pizza Gravy

Italian Pot Roast

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.

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.