Well it’s been a while since I last posted, and I am sure you are all wondering where I have been and what the heck I have been up to. Um, maybe not. But here is the part where I tell you. I, my friends, have been buried face down in pizza boxes all across this fine District of Columbia, and I am beginning to think that an intervention is in order. So much for those lofty New Year’s resolutions. For shame, as I talk to my Mom and Brother on the phone and they regale me with the fruits of their recent Atkin’s Diet successes. There I sit, tomato sauce splotched on face, grease dripped on shirt and a pile of crusts strewn out before my bulging belly, while saying things like, “Yeah…I have been watching what I eat too. Yeah.” (Watching it go straight into my mouth and my belly, that is, but I leave that part out. No need to be a sourpuss.)
Anyhow, all that said, I am officially dubbing January ‘Kristen’s Month of Pizza.’ A clever title, no doubt. As a matter of fact, I am sitting here eating a slice of said pizza as I type. A dire situation indeed.
So, I partially attribute this recent insurgence of Italian temptations on my diet to all of those tantalizing LivingSocial and Groupon deals that land firmly in my inboxes each day…taunting me…just chiding me to buy them in all of their well-discounted glory. Maybe that could be a future post…how social deal sites led to my ultimate demise…cut to a video reel of me, 300 pounds heavier, being airlifted out of my second story apartment window as onlookers gasp and point in disbelief. But, that’s for another time. Let me get a few more purchases under my belt to really make that story shine. For now, I will stick with my uplifting review of the varietals of my favorite cheese laden discs.
Somehow, I managed to buy two separate deals that happened to both expire within close to a week of each other in the blustery month of January. I must have been brainwashed by the pictures of gooey cheese. Poor planning, I know. Well, better it happens now than during bathing suit season, I suppose. The first was for Radius Pizza located in Mount Pleasant here in DC.
I had heard a lot of great things about this offbeat pizza nook and I was really excited to try it out for myself. From what I had been told, this place is the real deal. I, naturally considering myself a pizza connoisseur being that I am a native New Yorker, couldn’t wait to get my grubby little hands on some slices. And, as with most things in my life, I left this visit right up to the very last day before expiring. I mean, why do now what you can put off until its a screaming, hair on fire situation, right? I just work better under pressure.
I had never been to Mount Pleasant somehow, a lovely little borough in the city bordering on Georgetown/Cathedral Heights/Adam’s Morgan with some of the oldest, most beautiful houses I have seen. Maybe it was the addition of the snow on the ground, but the tucked away neighborhoods had a majestic and picturesque feel. As we walked up to Radius, the street itself where it is located had a very urban vibe, so we were off to a good start.
Seeing as I didn’t know the area very well, I of course dragged someone along with me, using the dangling carrot trick that implied “the end result will be a steaming fresh pizza.” Since he is unsure he wants to be exposed and subjected within my brilliant stories here on my blog, we will just call my sidekick Kitty Kat. (This incognito name was of his choice…I didn’t ask questions.)
Finally at our destination, Kitty Kat and I strolled in, both excited to scope the rustic space out with taste buds raring to go. Now, I am not sure how I feel about what happened next. Maybe chalk it up to the greeter being exhausted, or perhaps on edge about the inevitable onslaught of redeemers they expected to welcome on the last day of this deal, but I was less than impressed upon arrival. We were instantly asked if we were there for the LivingSocial deal. I replied, “why yes we are.” To which the greeter quickly and quite snappily pointed out that we could not sit and eat in the dining room…take out only, followed by an exasperated, “it says so right on the coupon!” I hadn’t really looked at the coupon in a while, so I simply responded, “oh, ok” as I looked around to see how I might go about ordering alternatively. I was then promptly told that the kitchen would be closed for the next hour for preparation for the night’s orders. Understandable. But, needless to say I was instantly turned off and on the defense.
Anyhow, I rounded up Kitty Kat and we hit the bar, poised and ready to order when the time would come. He didn’t seem to phased by our somewhat rough and tumble greeting, so I decided to let it go as well and just enjoy the moment, chalking it up to stress. They had some pretty interesting micro-brews that Kitty Kat, a micro-brew fanatic, gave two thumbs up. As we sat there, we talked to the rotating bartenders about how the deal had treated them, and came to find out that it had caused a bit of stress for the eatery, so I could see why everyone was on edge, but I am a pretty laid back gal and would have better appreciated a friendly greeting as opposed to getting barked at. Plus, barking scares Kitty Kats, as you well know.
That aside, we ended up ordering a scrumptious pizza with handmade meatballs (I will dub them “amazeballs”), large hunks of roasted garlic and freshly plucked basil. And when I say this was a huge pizza, I mean it was HUGE. We journeyed home where we could squirrel away and eat this delightful monstrosity in the privacy of a shielded dining room, away from prying eyes that might judge the haste in which we plowed through our savory spoils. There is just something comforting about pigging out in twos. It was obviously a win for both of us judging by the speed in which we devoured the pie. If you decide you would like to try it out for yourself, I recommend looking into their awesome happy hour specials, which offer up a massive slice and pint of beer, or an aromatic bowl of Prince Edward’s Island (PEI) Mussels for just $5 each and every day. They also rotate some pretty enticing seasonal specials that incorporate fun items such as fall pumpkin ravioli.
So, with that pizza under my belt, where it still quite literally resides, I will move on to experience number two. This one was an unplanned ringer. I made plans this past Monday eve to meet up with my old friend Scooter to catch up and shoot the breeze. We decided on Pizza No. 17 located on a corridor right smack in the heart of the gay man’s motherland, which neatly coincides with Scooter’s stomping grounds so it worked out swimmingly.
I had been here once before just after opening last year, and since I don’t make it to the neighborhood often, I was glad to see it survived and is thriving. The interior is small and understated, but in a very cozy manner, with communal benches lining the walls. Each time I have been in here, and perhaps due to the close proximity of the tables, I end up chatting with other tables and bantering back and forth. It really almost feels like you are in someone’s living room.
Our server was very helpful and attentive, offering up advice on the simple, yet tempting menu items and toppings. I started off with a refreshing vodka and Limoncello cocktail and Scooter and I agreed on sharing the Funghi, which included red tomato sauce, Buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato, an assortment of fresh mushrooms and red onion. Luckily, this wasn’t a date, so load on those onions. We also decided to spice it up a bit by adding pepperoni which proved to be a wise choice indeed. The crust was perfectly thin as you would expect of a wood fired pizza and heaping with toppings that were so fresh and flavorful that I have to say I will most definitely be back. I will warn you that due to the size of the place, the weekends can get tricky inside, but there is ample outdoor seating for warmer weather, and plenty of fantastic people watching. So much so that you may just stay for a second course!
So last up, and sadly only a mere day later, I ventured over to the local Potomac Pizza located in Chevy Chase, MD to redeem my almost extinct Groupon for a large pizza of my choice. I knew full well that I wouldn’t be able to finish it, but not one to let good things go to waste, I ordered myself up a large cheese pie with my favorite topping combination, grilled chicken, broccoli and fresh garlic. Like heaven I tell you.
The guys there were super quick and super nice. I snatched up my large pie with the plans to take it home and freeze some slices for a rainy day, but as I walked to my car, the overwhelming smell of garlic got the better of me. Needless to say, there I proceeded to sit in my car like the little chubby kid at school, barreling through a hefty slice to squelch my growling stomach. Not my proudest moment had anyone seen me, and perhaps they did seeing as I was in a public parking lot, but it would have been an embarrassing sight. Luckily, I was too engrossed with eating that I shan’t have noticed. I showed some restrain and kept it to one slice and brought the rest home for its original freezing purposes, but I have to tell you…they have a fantastic selection of toppings, they are fast and the pizza is immensely satisfying. A definite new go-to place for take out for me.
So, there ends my pizza adventures for now. I am taking a hiatus, checking myself into proverbial pizza rehab on my own accord, and looking for a new food to explore in the month of romance ahead. Oh, and I will leave you with a tip, if you are not a crust eater. With all of these pizza’s I have imbibed in as of late, I find that saving those doughy crusts and chopping them up to use as croutons is a smashing way to spruce up your salads and avoid the waste.
And lastly, as an homage to one of the greats, I would like to share one of my all time favorite pizza places (outside of NYC), Peace A Pizza. This hippy-ish store nestled in the heart of sunny Newark, DE, the home to my Alma Mater and old college stomping grounds. Their rotating menu of specialty pizzas has some of the most off-the-hook combinations I have tried to date. Here are my two favorite flavors from them, and please chime in and let me know what your favorite pizza joint is so that I can add it to my growing list!
Beef Taco: tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, seasoned ground beef, lettuce, pico de gallo, diced tomatoes, monterey jack & cheddar cheeses.
Bacon & Potato Pie: creme fraiche, provolone cheese, sliced potatoes & bacon topped with cheddar cheese & seasonings. offered without bacon, inform your server.
Happy eating my friends!