Pizza

If I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose pizza. Pizza’s versatility is what makes me its number one fan. Pan, thin, deep dish, flatbreads;  The possibilities are endless! I am a very moody foodie(poet and I don’t know it!), so it really depends on where my taste buds are feeling that day when it comes to the type of crust I like. I will say however that deep dish pizzas are just not my thing. I apologize in advance to the city of Chicago, but I think Chicago style pizzas should not be referred to as a pizza. Its clearly a pie. I can very easily add some apples and a top crust and submit it in the next pie competition. 

I love a good brick oven pizza. Nothing beats the charred, chewy crust of a pizza right out of a brick oven. I remember eating the pizza at Pizza Paradiso in DC on my road trip earlier this month, and burning the roof of my mouth after not waiting long enough for it to cool down a bit. Needless to say I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying every single bite!

I am taking a different approach this month because there is a great deal to share about pizza. I will be reviewing pizza spots I’ve already visited first, then I will choose three new spots, and finally make a couple pizzas at home.

Nomad Pizza

When I lived in the Chestnut Hill area of Philly I stumbled on this awesome food event called Night Market. The Night Market started out as a small street food event and has grown into this mega food festival. Every summer they choose about 4 different areas of the city and take a over a couple blocks for the night. The best food trucks and local restaurants come here offering amazing street food fare. You can literally come here and satisfy every single food craving you have that day. I remember thinking to myself, ” I am officially in love with this city”. The Night Market speaks to the reputation of Philly’s food scene. 

I walked up to this pizza stand that had a portable brick oven. They had me at hello! Nomad pizza features local, fresh, organic ingredients. I ordered the margarita pizza and in five ten minutes I was in pizza heaven. Chewy, charry(so not a word), tangy, and creamy are the words that describe this pizza. I can without a doubt say that this place is in my top 3. After having it at the Night Market I decided to visit their South St location. We were seated at the downstairs table seated right in front of the pizza making action. Get here fast!

Photos from Nomad’s online gallery:

Earth Bread Brewery

I am not sure how I found out about this place but let’s just say my girls and I visited on a weekly basis at one point. The flatbreads are yummy and the recipes are out of the box. The weekly flatbread is always something over the top. Last week’s BBQ pulled pork flatbread was made with housemade maple BBQ sauce, pulled pork, fontina cheese, picked red onion and creamy cole slaw. The scene is very family friendly so feel free to get a pint of their beer while the kiddies are occupied with coloring sheets and globes. They even feature a kid’s appetizer(fruits and veggies with peanut butter). Earth Bread caters the culture of the Mt. Airy community: parents who still want to have a social life and bring their kiddies along. My favorite flatbread is the White and Black: Roasted garlic sauce, crispy bacon, figs, asiago, parm and arugula.

Photos from Yelp:

Brewing tanks

Pesto, apples, fennel, bacon, and smoked bleu cheese.

Dock Street Brewing Company

My best friend Egypt lives in the University City section of Philadelphia and recommended Dock St for dinner one night. We walked in on a Friday night around 8 and it was pretty packed. Egypt mentioned she never seen it that full. Good news for Dock St. The host was very accommodating in trying to find a table right away. We were seated after waiting about 15 minutes. Our good friend Toya(veggie burger feature from last month) met us there as well. We started with the roasted beet and goat cheese salad(oven roasted beets, walnuts, horseradish sauce, and balsamic reduction over baby spinach) and ordered the BBQ chicken and fig jam pizzas to share. The BBQ chicken is Egypt’s go to and the fig jam sounded yummy. Both were really good but the fig jam pizza was really tasty! The atmosphere is great for hanging out with friends. Not a kid friendly restaurant so keep the kids at home, at least after 6pm.

Photos from Yelp:

Fig Jam Pizza

Off to search for more gems!

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Road Trip: Raleigh and DC

After an awesome time in Savannah and Charleston, we arrived in Raleigh, NC. I had already researched a great BBQ restaurant(as featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) and was more than ready to dig my teeth in some ribs!

Raleigh Dinner: The Pit Authentic Barbecue 

We walked in to the very crowded restaurant at 9:30 after making reservations earlier that day. Its a good thing we made reservations as the wait was around 30-40 minutes. After being seated our waiter greeted us immediately. He brought waters and gave us the run down on the restaurant. He also let us know that a team of three will be servicing us for the night. After giving us some time, he took our drink orders. We ordered a pitcher of the local brew, Lonerider Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen. It was a German-style wheat beer that complimented the BBQ really well. We ordered the pumpkin cornbread as a starter. Right after we ordered the cornbread another waiter bought out a basket of biscuits and hushpuppies. Bread heaven! I tasted a bite of each and all were so good! The pumpkin cornbread came out in a skillet so the bottom was nice and crispy and the inside was nice and moist. The accompanying maple butter was a nice compliment.

We decided to share the Big Boy combo after speaking to the couple sitting next to us. The boyfriend(from Lancaster, Pa) mentioned it was more than enough to share. The combo includes a nice portion of pork chopped BBQ, beef brisket, BBQ chicken and two pieces of each kind of rib(baby back and Carolina style). For sides, we ordered fried okra, mac and cheese, and baked beans. It was more than enough! We ate until we were about to pop and still took about half of it back to the hotel with us. Our waitress started casual conversation with us and asked if we were from the area. We told her we were from Philadelphia and she demanded we take some banana pudding home with us, on the house. Southern hospitality at its best. Thanks Kristy!

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Buttermilk biscuits and hushpuppies

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Pumpkin cornbread with maple butter

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Big Boy Combo: pork chopped BBQ, beef brisket, BBQ chicken and two pieces of each kind of rib(baby back and Carolina style). Fried okra, mac and cheese, and baked beans

Banana pudding with a meringue topping (picture courtesy of Yelp)

If I am ever in the Raleigh area, I will be making it my business to visit this place again.

DC dinner: Pizzeria Paradiso

I knew I wanted food that had nothing to do with Southern cuisine after having a weekend full of it. I decided to have my favorite food of all, pizza. We walked in and got seated right away. We ordered a local brew, Atlas Brew Works Saison Des Fetes, a fruity, refreshing beer. We ordered the Insalata Paradiso(Baby Arugula, Goat Cheese, Sweet Red Pepper, Mushroom, Pine Nut, Citrus Vinaigrette) to start and small Di Mare(Paradiso Tomato, Minced Garlic, Parsley, Mussels, Parmesan) and Genovese(potato, pesto, parmesan) pizzas. This brick oven pizza delight was everything a top notch pizza should be: a thin crispy foundation with a chewy crust and yummy toppings. The mussels on the Di Mare could’ve been seasoned better, but the broth on the crust was a nice compliment to the tomatoes. The potatoes and the pesto on the Genovese were just divine!

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Insalata Paradiso

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Di Mare: Paradiso Tomato, Minced Garlic, Parsley, Mussels, Parmesan

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Genovese: Potato, Pesto, Parmesan

This road trip was everything I hoped it to be. I stepped out of my box and engaged in dialogue with people who are passionate about quality food. I met people who were proud of their cities and its food offerings. I explored 5 cities and ate some of the best food. I learned a great deal from this experience and am so thankful for it.

Savannah and Charleston: Going Home

After a long drive from Williamsburg, we finally arrived in Savannah around 7:30. We had already selected our dinner option for the evening so we checked into the hotel and made our way to dinner shortly thereafter.

Savannah dinner: Sweet Potatoes Kitchen

We walked in this brightly colored restaurant and was greeted by the hostess who told us there was a 10 minute wait. No big deal. We were seated right in front of the bar and greeted by our waitress almost immediately. She asked us what we wanted and I picked up the drink menu and started to tell her I wanted the local beer but before I could say the second word, she said she would be right back. Awkward. Why ask, if you weren’t ready to take our drink order? Anyway, she came back and took our drink orders. When she came back we ordered our entrees. I ordered the fried chicken with a side of mac and cheese, stewed tomatoes and okra, and mashed sweet potatoes with apples. Shonn ordered cornmeal crusted fried catfish with a side of mac and cheese and red beans and rice. I ordered the banana pudding for dessert. Amazing! I have to say, I was kind of dissapointed with this place but that may not be fair. I am a southern African American which equates to me being a soul food aficionado. I felt like I could’ve had better at my grandma’s house, however this food would’ve been great to someone who is trying it for the first time. 

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Catfish with mac and cheese and red beans and rice with a biscuit. The mac and cheese was clearly the end of the batch. The fish was ok but couldve used a bit more seasoning.

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Fried chicken with mac and cheese, stewed tomatoes and okra, and mashed sweet potatoes with apples and a biscuit. The fried chicken was tasty but oily. My favorite was the sweet potatoes and apples.

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Banana pudding. Heavenly! So silky and creamy with banana slices and crunchy wafers. The pecans were a nice southern touch.

Savannah breakfast: Farmer’s Market at Forsyth Park

Redemption is nigh!!

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Taking a break from our run to take a picture on a stoop of a vintage home.

After our morning run we stumbled on the farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets just make me feel so happy inside. I love supporting local farmers and businesses. Of course, I wanted everything, even the veggies that wouldn’t last until I got home. After coming back down to reality, I snagged some peach jam from ….. I also purchased fresh dried pasta, tomato pesto sauce, and super tasty melanzane sott’oilio(eggplants in olive oil) from FraLi Gourmet. Do yourself a favor and order some pasta or marinated vegetables from FraLi.. The prices are reasonable and you can count on quality. Lisa, the owner, is originally from Philadelphia so it makes me proud to support her.

Pappardelle Tomato and Basil: One of the pastas I purchased. I can’t wait to try it with the tomato pesto sauce.

Melanzane Sott’olio: Marinated eggplants in oil. I purchased some fusilli and plan to toss the pasta with the eggplant and olive oil. Happy dance!

Shonn was famished after our run so he bought some tabouleh from one of the vegetarian vendors. It was fresh, crunchy, and tasty. It kept him satisfied while I drooled over all the vendor goods.

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All in all, the visit to Savannah was saved by the wonderful farmer’s market. Oh did I mention, we ran into a 5K in the middle of our run? Chic-Fila sponsored a 5K race that benefited Young Life, an organization that is dedicated to the betterment of Savannah’s children. The city of Savannah was alive that morning! You will be missed Savannah…

Charleston Brunch: Hominy Grill

I’m home!

We arrived in Charleston around 1:30, right on time for brunch. We walked up to Hominy Grill(another reco from Randy at W&M) and the hostess told us there was a 10 minute wait but we could order a drink from the walk up bar/takeout window in the meantime. It was the cutest little window in their courtyard that also offered outside seating. We didn’t get a chance to order because they had a table available just that fast.

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The waiter greeted us to take our drink order. I ordered a beer mimosa and Shonn ordered a regular mimosa. My mimosa tasted like blue moon with OJ. Yummy! Our waiter asked if it was our first time and gave us his recommendations since we confirmed that it was our first time. After being torn with many items I ordered the she crab soup with a biscuit and Shonn ordered the Charleston nasty biscuit(wait for it). The soup was buttery, creamy with crab shining through. The biscuit was fluffy and warm and was a nice compliment to the homemade strawberry jam on the table.  

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She crab soup

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Charleston Nasty Biscuit. Fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese, and sausage gravy. Words cannot describe the goodness of this sandwich! The chicken was perfectly seasoned, the cheese was a great tangy compliment, and sausage gravy put it over the top.

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Cute table setting which includes homemade strawberry jam

Off to North Carolina for BBQ!

Road Trip: Philly and Williamsburg

I get easily excited whenever food is involved. Each month I’ve been stoked to share my restaurant and featured recipes with you, however this month is special. I decided to take a couple days off and explore the southeast region of our country. My trip starts in my city, Philadelphia and ends in DC. I will be visiting Williamsburg, VA; Raleigh, NC; Charleston, SC; and Savannah, GA. I view this road trip as a way of revitalizing my roots. I am a Southern bell at heart but admittedly forget that at times as a result of heavily saturating my life in all things “Philly”. I will try to post an entry each night of my four day tour.

Philadelphia: Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat

This is a very popular restaurant in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, specifically for their brunch. The menu is inspired by the south with a Jewish flare, featuring items such as biscuits, latkes, and challah french toast.

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I was honored that Back of the House Manager, Shauna Alvarez, took the time to come out and greet me.

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Three egg omelette with spinach, mushroom and turkey bacon, biscuit, and a potato and cheese latke with applesauce

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Breakfast Bomb: Buttermilk pancake stuffed with scrambled eggs and bacon with a side of homefries

Williamsburg, VA: Dog St. Pub

My honey was recently accepted into the College of William and Mary’s Mason school of business for their MBA program. Full scholarship, might I add (in my very proud voice). We decided to visit Williamsburg on this trip to further explore the city and its offerings. The Associate Director of MBA Admissions, Randy, was kind enough to give us a tour of the campus and local residences. The campus has such a colonial feel, as expected in this town. I am looking forward to visiting Shonn as I am already in love with this town. We decided to try the Dog St. Pub as recommended by Randy.This gastropub is a very local spot with good eats at affordable prices. It just so happens they were running a special. Three sliders with a paired beer for a whopping $9. Score!

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Extensive bottle list

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Fried green tomatoes with arugula, goat cheese, and bacon

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Sliders: Lettuce, pickle, and cheddar, and trellis sauce; carmelized onions, ham, and cheddar; bacon, american cheese, and a fried egg

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Beer flight: Alewerk’s Colonial Wheat, Smartmouth Alter Ego, Alewerk’s Drake Trail IPA

The experience on day one has set the bar high for the remainder of the trip. Looking forward to the other cities!