Monday, July 26, 2010

Michael's Pizza Bar - South Side

We visited Michael's Pizza Bar last year and liked it.  Now our friend and neighbor, Chef Matt, works at Michael's and made this pizza.   This photo is of the pizza before I reheated it, so imagine that gorgeous cheese warm and gooey from the oven. 

Lexi says, "It's bomb!"

Michael's Pizza Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Pizza Company - North Baldwin / Carrick, PA

3050 Churchview Avenue
Baldwin, PA

The Pizza Company is a small, but steadily growing, take-out pizza chain and since there is one fairly close to us, we'd been curious about their pizza.  We ordered a traditional crust pizza with extra sauce and asked that they go "easy on the cheese" since we don't like huge mounds of cheese on a pizza. 

We were happy with the pizza - we're not yet ready to add it to our top ten, but we'd definitely try it again.  The pizza is very family friendly - the sauce is mild and pleasantly herby.  The crust was a nice texture - it was cooked enough that it held the sauce well, and the ends were firm, but was not so hard as to have that cardboard texture that some crusts do.  Our friend Lexi loved it and said that it was an "awesome pizza"!   I only wished that it had more sauce, but again, that's my personal preference.

In addition to the traditional hand tossed pizza, the Pizza Company has white pizza and nine varieties of specialty pizzas - Supreme, Veggie, Pepperoni Feast, Gourmet White, Meat Eaters, White Chicken, BBQ Chicken, Buffalo Chicken and Greek.  (I think the Greek sounds really good - imported olive oil, garlic, spices, spinach, kalamata olives and feta cheese.)  They also offer wings, salad, some sides, and breadsticks. 

One interesting sandwich is the "Original Untouchable", that sounds kinda like a Primanti Brothers - meats topped with spice slaw and French fries on fresh Italian bread.  You can order an Original Untouchable with your choice of Steak, Ham, Salami, Capicolla, Meatball, Sausage or Turkey for $5.50, or a  Bacon and Egg Untouchable for $5.75.  You can also order either topped with tomato or a fried egg for a tiny extra charge.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Smoked Mozzarella Artisan Cheese from Emerald Valley Farm

There's a new vendor at the Whitehall Farmer's Market and they are selling one of our favorite things ... cheese!  The Emerald Valley Farm makes artisan "old world style" aged cheeses.  Their cheeses don't have any added hormones, food colorings or preservatives, gluten or binders.  And best of all, they taste good!  They were giving out samples of their cheeses at the Farmers Market, and this smoked mozzarella was our favorite.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pizza at the 2010 Summer Fancy Food Show

According to the National Association for the Speciality Food Trade, pizza remains a staple (well, we knew that!) with frozen pizzas that go far beyond pepperoni and sausage. 

Rick Bayless' Frontera Kitchens has three new varieties of wood-fired frozen pizza which are available in stores now:
  • Four Cheese with fresh vine-ripe tomatoes and cilantro 
  • Roasted Vegetable with with red, yellow and poblano peppers
  • Barbeque Style Chicken with grilled red onions and cilantro

Another famous chef, Chef Wolfgang Puck, has added a Four Cheese Tomato Pesto Pizza to his frozen food line - according to their website, the pizza has a "A thin, honey-infused crust topped with a classic basil-pesto sauce, mozzarella, fontina, parmesan and imported goat cheeses and hand-sliced tomatoes."

Amy's Kitchen, always a favorite of ours, has new pizza varities also - Four Cheese Pizza, with a combination of fontina, provolone, parmesan and mozzarella, and Broccoli and Spinach in a White Cheese Sauce. 

A company new on the specialty food scene, Red Fork Natural Foods, introduced Chicken and Smoked Gouda Pizza, and Bianca Pizza with Mushrooms and Kalamata Olives.  And if you're looking for pizza flavored snacks, Cruncho Snacks has pizza flavored peanuts that are available in two size of bags (and in bulk).

There is lots more pizza news and new products to talk about - more later!

Nominate Your Favorite Pizza as Pittsburgh's Best on WPXI

Have you found Pittsburgh's best pizza?  WPXI is looking for nominations for Pittsburgh's best pizza - nominations end July 15.

I'll have to think about which pizza I'll nominate as my own favorite - so far, I have nine of them!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Domino's Show Us Your Pizza Contest

I think all pizzas are beautiful, but is your pizza especially gorgeous?  Well, just take a photo and submit it to Domino's Show Us Your Pizza Contest and you might win $500!

They will accept entries until July 26, 2010, and will judge the entries on creativity/originality, quality of composition, and adherence to the photo promise as shown in the rules.  Four inners will be chosen and will be announced on August 16, 2010.

Good luck!

My Pizza Garden - The Fennel Has Disappeared!

It is super hot today ... and what happened to my fennel?  When I went outside to water this morning, my little patch of fennel is nowhere to be found.  I think either the deer or the bunnies must have eaten it!  On the plus side, the herbs are rockin' - the oregano is thick and full of gorgeous purple blossoms, the basil is very fragrant and healthy, and the parsley is delicious.  (Why aren't the bunnies eating the parsley as they have in other years?)  I pulled out two hot pepper plants, but the rest seem to be doing okay.  I don't have any ripe tomatoes yet, but there are plenty of little green ones on the way.  I can't wait for some ripe tomatoes - I have a recipe for a Caprese Pizza, and am just waiting for some fresh, homegrown tomatoes so that I can give it a try.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Luciano's Italian Brick Oven - White Oak

1212 Long Run Road
White Oak, PA  15131

And we have a new addition to the Top 10!

Sharon called today (Happy Birthday, Sharon!) to tell us about a fantastic pizza that she tried - Luciano's, on Route 48 in White Oak.  Since it was on the way back from our trip to the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival in Greensburg, we decided that there was no time like the present to try it ... and besides, we were starving.

Luciano's is a full service restaurant and has a take out pizza and six-pack area.  Both are thriving - the parking lot was packed, even at an early hour on a weeknight. 

It was easy to see why they are so popular - Luciano's pizza was everything Sharon said it would be and more.  The handmade, hand tossed crust was chewy and tender, yet firm enough to hold the sauce without being soggy.  The pureed style sauce was slightly spicy, deep red (full of healthy lycopene I bet!) and rich with oregano.   We asked for extra sauce and easy on the cheese, and it was prepared exactly the way we like it.  Luciano's offers 10 varieties of pizza:  Traditional, White, Deep Dish, Pan, Chicago Style, Chicken Supreme, Vegetable, Stuffed Spinach, Gyro and Alfredo.   We saw a white pizza being prepared, and I'd like to go back and try that next.

We also tried the cheese sticks and they were some of the best we've tried, with perfect seasoning in the breading, slightly melted but still firm, and not at all greasy or oily.  I also ordered a tossed salad, and it had fresh ingredients and was accompanied by a nice balsamic vinaigrette.  In addition, Luciano's has eight varieties of calzones, ten hoagies and two pizza breads - red or white.

If you opt for dinner, Luciano's has pasta, seafood, chicken and veal entrees.  Sharon has had Chicken Piccata and Veal Parmesan and said both were excellent.  They also have a full range of appetizers, soups, salad, sides and extras.  I saw polenta listed under the appetizers - since I love polenta, it just gives me another reason to go back!

Luciano's Pizza & Six Pack on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Aunt Carol's Pizza Pizzazz Dip Mix at the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival

Today was gorgeous and we went to the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival at Twin Lakes Park.  Guess what we found?  Another Pizza Pizzazz!  Aunt Carol's makes a Pizza Pizzazz dip mix.  The sample was decent, but I bet it would be good as a pizza seasoning, too.

If you've never been to the Arts and Heritage Festival, you have to go - the artists' booths are set up under trees and along the lakes.  It is a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and has a wide variety of arts ... and an equally wide variety of food.  The festival runs through the Sunday the 4th.  Make sure you stop by the juried art - there is an incredible silver necklace on exhibit! 

Garlic and Basil Pizza Recipe

I finally had a few small bits of produce from my garden!  Today I used some fresh garlic and basil from my garden to make a very simple garlic and basil pizza.  Actually, it's so simple that it doesn't even deserve to be called a "recipe", but it was really fantastic.   Here's how I made it:

I used a premade crust from Armello's Italian Bakery in Vandergrift, PA.  I put the crust on a large cookie sheet, then spritzed it with about a tablespoon of olive oil.  I then spread about 3/4 cup of pizza sauce on top of the crust.  I cleaned two cloves of fresh garlic and sliced the garlic into very thin slices - I used a sharp knife, but I think a microplane or peeler would work better.  I picked some fresh basil, cleaned and julienned it and then sprinkled it on top.  (Next time I'll use a lot more basil.)  I then topped the pizza with about 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella cheese and about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan, and slid it into a 450 degree oven where it baked for about 8 minutes.

It was wonderful!