Monthly Archives: September 2011

Soho Pizza

Soho Pizzeria
218 Market Street

Castro:

After a recommendation from one of our Facebook fans in which we would be dubbed “jerk-offs” and most definitely defriended unless we tried the BBQ chicken pizza from Soho Pizzeria, we knew it was a must that we venture to the heart of Olde City for a slice or four. As you walk in the door, you’re surrounded by wall to wall of red bricks and extremely exclusive seating. Staring at you like a predator stalking its prey was an enormous 600-degree, wood stone pizza oven, covered in beautiful ceramic tiles. I compare it to that pissed-off giant talking furnace from home alone. Yo, I wasn’t shook. They have numerous single slices available upon order for roughly $3 a piece. Anything from buffalo and ranch chicken slices to their famous “Olde City Favorite.” (Mozzarella, spinach, chopped tomatoes, garlic and feta cheese.) However, we were on a mission for the pizza that the City Paper labeled “simply the best BBQ chicken pizza in the city.” And to stay true to our pizza roots, we also went with a traditional pepperoni pie. The great thing about Soho is while your pies cook, you can grab a delicious jack and coke from their bar directly next door. Not to mention, for all you smokers, permission to spark up a butt.
(Smokers are jokers.)

Onto the goods. Our pies arrived fairly quick, one after another. You can tell the chef took his sweet time constructing the pizzas by the way the toppings were meticulously arranged. It seemed like each slice had an equal amount of perfectly laid out toppings, like something you’d see in a TV commercial. (I’m gonna let Plichter tell you about the BBQ chicken, since that idiot felt the need to bother me with every single detail.) The pepperoni pie reminded me of the perfect New York pizza. It was massive; probably about 20 inches in diameter. I absolutely fell in love with the crust. It was chewy but it still managed to sustain a certain amount of crispiness. It had a blend of garlic seasonings baked right into it. You could seriously eat the crust by itself like a breadstick with some dipping sauces. Man, it was beautiful…like seeing a baby born. The pepperoni was mildly spicy and smokey, like a really good quality Italian deli meat. I loved dangling the slice vertical and seeing the grease drip onto my paper plate. We couldn’t have ordered 2 more perfect pies.

Next time it’s 1 a.m. and you’re absolutely shitfaced from binge drinking your life away at Lucy’s or Drinkers, stop into Soho and grab yourself a slice. You’ll taste one of the best authentic New York slices this city has to offer. Afterwards I went home, watched serial mom and passed out into a pizza coma on my sofa. Success.

Plichter:

Although it seemed glamorous to some, my internship at WYSP was anything but at times. Making coffee, sending out invoices, and essentially doing bitch work became quite the irritant, making my lunch break all the more enjoyable. This was when I began frequenting Soho Pizza, located at 218 Market Street. Although I had passed it many a time in a drunken stupor after a night at Sugar Mom’s, I never took the time to actually try their pizza until that summer. And needless to say that once I did, it became my regular lunch spot during those long months.

My lunches back then consisted of two slices of pepperoni and a 20oz fountain soda, so ordering the pepperoni this time around was a no-brainer for sure. It’s a classic thin crust, with a plentiful amount of pepperoni evenly distributed over the pie, leaving just enough space between each bite. But that IDIOT Castro insisted on talking more about the pepperoni, so I’ll wrap up my review of the pepperoni on this note: It’s outstanding, but bring napkins. That thing can get greasier than my face.

Ok, I’ve had quite a few BBQ chicken pizzas in my day, so I honestly wasn’t expecting this one to be too much different. And on paper, it wasn’t. It had all the makings of your run of the mill BBQ chicken pizza: chicken, BBQ sauce, and cheese. However, this pizza totally exceeded my expectations. For starters, it just looked utterly perfect. It was the closest thing to pizzeria perfection I’ve ever laid eyes on. But looks can be deceiving, and I wasn’t sold until that first bite. Some pizzerias insist on using tomato sauce along with BBQ, which can sometimes be a distasteful combination. Fortunately, Soho refrained from such a poor decision. (They chose WISELY!) The bites without chicken were solely mozzarella cheese and BBQ sauce, served on an ultra thin and exceptionally tasty crust. The grilled and slightly charred chicken chunks were thicker than previous pizzas I’ve had before. And waiting for me at the end of this barbequed behemoth was the tastiest crust I’ve ever experienced. I have to agree with Castro; it was almost like a breadstick in itself. The dynamic flavor of garlic, olive oil, and oregano came crashing into my mouth like the waves of the 50-year storm. It was truly a rush.

Every pizza at Soho seems to be perfectly constructed, so don’t be afraid to try something different when you’re there. I don’t get out to Olde City too often these days, but I’ll be sure to stop by there every chance I get from now on.

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Chickie’s and Pete’s

Chickie’s and Pete’s
4010 Robbins Ave.

Castro:

There I was, sitting in a dirty alley off Frankford Ave and eating a slice of roast beef pizza, when I explained to Plic an urge to consume some sort of seafood pizza. “It might be a great addition to the blog, right?” Before I even had a chance to finish my sentence, he said, “Yo, Chickie’s has lobster pizza.” Whoa. Out of the countless times I’ve almost killed myself, stuffing my face with crab fries and doing shots of melted American cheese at Chickie’s and Pete’s, it’s never even dawned on me to order pizza…let alone pizza topped with crustaceans. You don’t go to Chickie’s and Pete’s to eat pizza. You go to break crab legs apart with your bare hands like an animal or for a cutlet sang’wich. That’s what I thought until today…

If you open the menu and look at the very bottom, you’ll see “Pete’s-A-Petezza.” There are 4 selections of pizza to choose from. Plain, pepperoni, shrimp and Lisa’s blonde lobster pie. We didn’t come for just any pizza; we wanted a shot at that sexy lobster pie. (Apparently it’s Bon Jovi’s favorite thing to get.) “This lobster pizza is bleeding, but you can’t see his blood.” Typical of a doughboy, we went in there hungover and starving. So what did we do? We ordered 3 of the 4 pizzas they offer. That’s right…24 slices of pizza for 2 people. That’s a boss move.

1st on deck was the plain cheese. I was surprised at how simple it was. Fresh hand tossed dough, nothing frozen. The crust was flaky and crunchy. The black char spots are evidence of a skilled pizza cook. The red sauce was chunky and delicious. (To think Chickie’s would serve anything other than a ridiculous red sauce is absurd.) The cheese was perfect, stretching from mouth to slice. This pizza was more than able to hold it’s on against any pie that we’ve had to date.

The pepperoni was my personal favorite. Crispy slices of semi-thick meat, with blackened edges. This is the type of thing that makes grown men weep. I could literally break the charred edges of the pepperoni off and chop them up into a fine powder with my debit card and snor…well you get the point.

And finally, the pièce de résistance. The lobster pie. This dish is apparently best served cold. Wait, that’s revenge. This dish is apparently best served in white sauce. However, being the risk takers that the doughboys are, we got it with red sauce. Bon Jovi would be highly disappointed. I’m totally glad we opted with the red. These are giant pieces of lobster tail meat strategically placed throughout the pie. 3-4, 1.5″, flawlessly seasoned, juicy lobster pieces on each slice. I’m no lobster connoisseur, but that has to be 2 full tails of meat on a single pie. Definitely one of the most creative and succulent pizzas I’ve encountered on this most non-non triumphant pizza journey.

All I ask is next time you decide to have a Chickie’s night, drop an Andy Jackson on the table and try the lobster pizza. Rest assured your life will finally be complete and you can tell yourself “you chose…wisely.” (Inserted Indiana Jones reference)

Plichter:

If you’re like me, you’re about six feet tall and named John. But if you’re really like me, pizza is never even an option when dining at Chickie’s and Pete’s. Every time I’ve eaten there, I’ve had some sort of sandwich and crabfries combination. After all, how good could their pizza be? Bar pizza usually never lives up to the hype once sobriety kicks in. But on a dreary afternoon in September I literally ate those words, along with lobster pizza.

Don’t let the menu fool you; just because they call it “Pete’s-A-Petezza” doesn’t mean you’re going to get some gimmicky, Chuck E. Cheese type garbage. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it can compete with some of the local pizzerias, let alone local bars. The paramount difference between the pizza at Chickie’s and any other bar is clearly the crust. Whereas most all bars serve their pizzas on previously frozen slabs of bread, Chickie’s hand tosses their thin crust right there like a true pizzeria should. Their topping selection may be a bit limited, but with all the other menu options, it really doesn’t matter. Of the four pizzas you can order on the menu, Castro and I ordered three: plain, pepperoni, and LOBSTER. That’s right, we got classy for a brief moment. But never fear, I’m sure we’ll be back to eating in alleys and parking lots soon enough.

Truth be told that I’m not a huge lobster fan. There’s just something about the texture and consistency that has always turned me off. But out of all the times I’ve ever eaten it, this was the best. That doesn’t exactly say much, but it just happened to taste exceptional on their pizza. And for a twenty-dollar pizza, they really piled on the lobster. Huge, juicy lobster tail lumps literally littered the entire pie. If you’re a lobster fan, that needs to be your topping of choice.

Personally speaking, I’m a huge pepperoni fan. It’s such a simple topping that can either make or break a pizza. Unfortunately in this situation, it kinda broke it for me. The pepperoni was crispy, well done, and just a bit charred, which I usually prefer. But the flavor itself wasn’t special, almost as if it were stolen from the kitchen of Pizza Hut or Domino’s. Of the three pizzas we ordered, I must admit that the plain was what really impressed me. The ratio of cheese to sauce was perfect, the crust was thin and flaky, and the overall flavor was stupendously memorable.

Although it felt odd dining at Chickie’s and not ordering crabfries, the pizzas were a welcomed change from my usual orders. If you’re skeptical about ordering a pizza from there, don’t be. Lay down the $14 and split a plain. It’ll make you a believer.

 

Montesini’s VS Renzi’s

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Since Plichter was in an alcohol induced coma after partying hard with blink 182 the night before, this review will be handled by the more attractive, college degree-less doughboy.

The following match is scheduled for one fall! The 2 biggest names in Mayfair pizza go head to head in a no holds barred, steel cage match for the best slice this side of the Boulevard. Both are somewhat iconic and well known to the locals. Both are my neighborhood go-to pizza places for single slices. If you ask your friends who makes a better pie, you’re undoubtedly going to get a mixed review. In one corner you have Montesini Pizza. 26 years and counting, cooking up slices in the Mayfair mall. In the other corner you have Renzi’s. A notable 14 year veteran of Bridesburg, who opened a second shop in the northeast due to the demand by it’s customers. One shall stand…one shall fall.

Montesini Pizza
6420 Frankford Avenue, Mayfair Mall

I can vaguely recall getting out of school at St. Tims on a half day because of a snow storm. $5 bill in hand, I walked down to Montesini Pizza in the Mayfair Mall for lunch. Barely able to see over the counter, I’d place my order. 1 plain slice, 1 tomato slice and a small soda. Fast forward 20 years later, and I still get the same thing every time I go. The pizza here is always consistent and it always tastes exactly the same. Delicious. The slices are nice and crisp down the middle. When you make the standard pizza fold, you hear that beautiful snap from end to end. The sauce is sweeter than your average pizza sauce. The cheese was nice and stringy, with a few burn marks on it. When I wait in line for midnight video game releases, I always get a couple slices. It’s almost like a routine. As I sat in the booth by myself like a loser, that first bite was almost nostalgic. It reminded of a time when things were so simple. No bills. No job. Just a fat kid, eating pizza after school. Montesini will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Renzi’s Pizza
6300 Battersby Street

Renzi’s is somewhat of a newcomer to the northeast pizza game. They’ve been slinging pies off of Harbison Ave for roughly 3 1/2 years. However, don’t let the age fool you. The original Renzi’s has been holding their own in Bridesburg for 14 years. Majority of the people from down that way swear by it and would put it to battle against any local pizza shop. Renzi’s slices are huge, and dangle off the edge of your paper plate. I went with a tomato slice today, because I feel this is Renzi’s strongest pizza. Their sauce is different than everyone else’s. It’s a little thicker with a hint of garlic and spices. My favorite part are the slices of mozzarella cheese. You don’t find this very often among pizza shops. The full slices of cheese definitely hold in the flavor better than the shredded cheese. I wasn’t a huge fan of the body and crust. You need to tilt your head sideways, or bring it down on an angle because it’s a little flimsy. One edge renzi’s has is the fact that they bring it to you. I’ve gotten many a pie delivered to my door. (I of course set firecrackers off in a pot, gave him $13 and told him to leave it on the doorstep and get the hell out of there.)

This battle was fought valiantly by both opponents. Each came out swinging and entertained the crowd to the very end. Both can stand proud that they make one of the best slices in the neighborhood. However, Renzi’s can’t compare to the sweet tasting sauce that Monte’s has been cooking up for over a quarter century. Just when you thought Renzi’s was gonna finish the fight, Montesini’s choke slammed the Bridesburg native through the ceiling of the steel cage onto a pile of thumb tacks and secured the belt as the undisputed heavyweight pizza champion of Mayfair. Cue the music.

Mojo’s Pizza and Grill

Mojo’s Pizza
8107 Frankford Avenue

Castro:

On a tiny block of Frankford Avenue, just north of Welsh Road, lies a pizza place with some of the most unusual selections you’ll find in Northeast Philly. If you’re distracted as you drive by, you may in fact miss it. Mojo’s Pizza. I’ve never even heard of this place until we got a recommendation for something that just sounded way too amazing to pass up. A pizza so unique, it seems like it should be a selection on the menu of a gourmet restaurant rather than a pizza joint on Frankford Ave.

Roast. Beef. Pizza.

Picture this: Roast beef…not your typical deli sliced roast beef. I’m talkin about roast beef your grandmom used to make, drizzled with thick brown gravy and fried onions. Now, take that roast beef and chop it up on the grill. In comes the dough…the dough was dough. However, add some garlic and a few other seasonings to the crust, and you got yourself a nice textured and an extremely flavorful foundation for a pizza. Now, remember that roast beef we talked about earlier? You know, the roast beef with the drizzled brown gravy and fried onions? Drop that on your dough and then generously spread a huge handful of American and mozzarella cheeses on top. Toss it in the oven for a good 10 minutes and you got something sweeter than yoo-hoo.

This pizza was absolutely delicious. The cheese was melted and drippy, reminding you of the cheese you’d get on a hot roast beef sandwich after it had a chance to sit for a minute. The roast beef was tender and chopped up to the perfect size for a pizza topping. No matter where you bit, you got a mouthful of that salty brown gravy and the sweet onions. My absolute favorite part was the crust. The seasoning baked into it is what really makes Mojo’s stand out from the crowd. If you hit every other pizza joint on the Avenue, you won’t find crust like this. As a secondary pie, we decided on another unique pick. Chicken, bacon and ranch pizza. Huge chunks of grilled chicken and giant pieces of crisp bacon topped with thick ranch dressing and mozzarella cheese. We even ate our pies in a pretty rad alley next door, reminiscent of the alley Jack Napier shot Bruce Wayne’s parents in.

We couldn’t have chosen better pizzas to do for this review. I actually thanked them for how delicious they were. From the looks of the place outside, you would think it was just another pizza shop in the neighborhood. Next time you decide you want Boston, England or Bill’s family pizza, I ask you to give Mojo’s a chance. They’ve only been open for a year, but they’re a solid contender for the best and most original pizza on the Avenue.

Plichter:

There’re few specialty pizzas out there that catch my attention these days. Between the usual suspects (BBQ Chicken Pizza, Buffalo Chicken Pizza, etc.) and the lack of imagination, I was starting to get a bit tired of eating the same old conventional pizzas. Enter Mojo’s, home of some of the most brilliant specialty pizzas out there. Located at 8107 Frankford Ave, this little taste of heaven can easily be mistaken for just another Northeast pizza place. But once you take a look at the menu, you’ll realize it’s anything but.

At the suggestion of my good friend Chris Snyder, I had to try Mojo’s. Although I was skeptical at first, never had I heard of a roast beef pizza before. Yeah, that’s right, roast beef pizza. And it was everything I had hoped it would be. Thickly sliced pieces of roast beef, chopped onions, brown gravy, American and Mozzarella cheese, all atop a mound of dough made this pizza hard to forget. Imagine a really awesome roast beef sandwich, and then imagine it in pizza form. The crust may have been a bit thick for my taste, but the baked in herbs and spices allowed me to make an exception. Not to be outdone, the chicken bacon ranch pizza was quite a contender as well. The mozzarella cheese coupled with ranch dressing created something almost like an Alfredo sauce, which tasted absolutely magnificent with the chunks of chicken and bacon. Be forewarned however, don’t make plans to dine in unless you plan on eating in the alleyway like Castro and I. If you’re going with Mojo’s, have it delivered.

I’m just as skeptical as the next Northeast neighbor when it comes to trying a new parlor on Frankford Ave. I too know the irritation of coming home from work to find a thousand menus from random restaurants wedged in my door. But if you happen to come across a Mojo’s menu, give it a shot for sure. On a strip where pizza places come and go, there’s no need to pray for Mojo.

Pizzeria Stella

Pizzeria Stella
420 S. 2nd Street

Castro:

The next stop on this insatiable pizza conquest took us to Society Hill. We decided to hit the ever-popular “Pizzeria Stella.” Just in case you didn’t know, Steven Starr owns this little establishment. Mr. Starr owns roughly 15+ restaurants in our area, not to mention the handful of other joints around the country. Chris, the general manager, sat down with us and schooled us on a little history of the place. Stella’s 2-year anniversary is coming up on September 29th. Majority of the staff has been working since the doors first opened in 2009 This tells me that the management really takes care of their people, who in turn make sure the customers are taken care of. The pizzas are carefully cooked in a 700-degree, wood-fired brick oven. They don’t just use any wood. They use handpicked pieces of ash, pine and pecan wood which gives their pizzas a very distinct and delicious taste. Now because the fire is so hot, the pizzas generally take about 3 minutes to cook. I don’t know about you, but this blew my mind. It takes longer to place the ingredients on the dough than it does to actually cook it. Mindboggling. Less than 6 minutes after our order was taken, they arrived at our table. I dare you to find a quicker turn around time at a restaurant.

The pizza options consist of 13 unique selections including ones topped with egg, pistachio and black truffle. We decided to stick with a traditional Margherita and a pancetta pie to keep things interesting. Pancetta is Italian bacon, which is seasoned and salt cured for no less than 3 months. Finding pancetta as a topping is rare. I’ve only had a Panch pie once in my entire life, so I knew it had to be on my hit list. In addition to the Panch was fresh mozzarella, wood roasted onion and Tuscan kale (which is black cabbage.) The combination of these exclusive ingredients made this one of the better pizzas I’ve eaten in a while. It had a nice, salty and garlicky taste to it. The globs of fresh mozzarella melted in my mouth as they hit my tongue. The crust was absolutely perfect. It wasn’t too thick yet it wasn’t too thin. Nice sporadic, black char spots. I love when you can fold a slice right down the middle and you can hear it crackle and crunch. The pizzas are just the right size for one person. When we eat we end up getting 2 pies and we always walk out feeling like wastes of life. We’re like big, stupid dogs that can’t stop eating.

It really sucks seeing these idiots give negative reviews based solely on the price of the pizzas here. People seem to have a huge problem shelling out $15 for a 10″ pie when “you can get 2 large pizzas from a local place for the same price.” Whatever dude. Stella uses only the freshest ingredients on their pizzas. This, combined with the unique taste of the brick oven and the impeccable service the staff provides, will have you coming back again for seconds. If you disagree with any of my previous statements, you should probably go buy 3 Mama Celeste pizzas instead and eat them alone in your mom’s basement because you sir, are a moron. Mad props Mr. Starr for making this one of the better pizzas I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.

Plichter:

Whenever I ask most people about their favorite pizza place, one that’s been open for many years is the usual response. Honestly, I’m no different. My favorite pizza place is Gino’s on Frankford Ave simply because I know what I’m getting, and I’ve frequented their pizzeria for close to 20 years. But trying new things is a part of life, and trying new pizza is no different. So when I heard about the rave reviews coming from Pizzeria Stella, a restaurant that’s only been open for two years, I knew it was time to check this place out.

Owned by renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr, Pizzeria Stella provides gourmet pizza in a chic climate for a unique dining experience. If you were passing by on a Friday night, you’d be surprised that such amazing pizza lies behind the swanky exterior. But once you’re inside, make no mistake: their pizza can go toe to toe with any of the corner shops that have been operating for many years.

Although their pizzas could be considered only a little larger than personal sized, each one is moderately priced at around $14. At the advice of my good friend Gus Bellingham, one of the Chefs at Pizzeria Stella, I ultimately decided to go with the Margherita. In keeping with our tradition of ordering a second and more diverse pie, Castro ordered the white Pancetta pie. Having had a few Margherita pies in the past, the buffalo mozzarella used at Stella was really the ultimate factor when it was time to order. As opposed to ordinary mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella is produced from both the milk of water buffalos and cows, and is widely considered superior in the comparison between the two. After my first bite, I understood why. This form of mozzarella was thicker, smoother, tastier, and had an overall better consistency than what I’ve had before. The San Marzano tomato sauce also gave it a truly authentic Neapolitan pizza flavor: not too sweet, but just right. Since their pizzas are brick-oven cooked at about 700 degrees in roughly four minutes, the crust was both blackened and flakey in various parts. After being topped with flavorfully fresh basil leaves, this pizza proved that Stella can compete in such a tough pizza town.

Gaeta’s Italian Bakery

Gaeta’s Italian Bakery

7616 Castor Avenue

Castro:

Today was a good day. When you think tomato pie, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a slice of pizza with the toppings reversed: cheese on the bottom and sauce on top. What people don’t realize is that authentic tomato pies are generally square, and served cold with no cheese. If you make it correctly, it’s probably one the most delicious things you can ever put inside of your mouth. During our visit, we had the pleasure of speaking with the current owner of Gaeta’s, Frank Straface. He was so cool. He was extremely humble and really puts his heart into the product he sells. Gaeta’s has officially been slinging tomato pies at the Castor Ave location since 1976. Prior to that, they were owned and operated since the 1930’s out of Germantown under a different name. It’s safe to say that if you’re making the same product you made for the past 80+ years, you’re probably doing something right.

It’s situated in a tiny shopping center in the heart of Rhawnhurst. If you’re driving by and happen to blink, you’ll definitely miss it.  (We had to circle the block twice like a bunch of idiots.) The décor on the front of the store is reminiscent of “Satrielle’s meat market” from the Sopranos. I actually had no idea this place even existed until recently. After a recent recommendation from my buddy Steve Varallo, we decided it was time for a change of pace. Some things to keep in mind before you decide to visit.

1. No delivery, no seating inside. It’s strictly take out.

2. A medium pie is big enough to feed 3 people.

3. They’re only open Wednesday through Sunday.

4. They only serve pizza and a few different types of breads.

5. They do have toppings, however, I suggest you stick with the authentic tomato pie.

6. Walk across the street and eat it in the McDonald’s parking lot, like a champion.

I have no idea how this pizza flew under the radar for so long. It was unbelievable. The sauce isn’t your average pizza sauce. The consistency is much thicker and heavy, like crushed or chopped tomatoes. It was super sweet and didn’t seem like much was done to it with the exception of a few basic seasonings. The crust was baked golden brown with a few crispy brown spots on the edges. You can really taste the olive oil painted between the crust and sauce. Let us not forgot the freshly grated parmesan cheese that was sprinkled on top. Even if tomato pie isn’t your thing, please make it a point in your near future to at least try one of these beauties. After 5 slices, I went home and watched rookie of the year with sauce stains on my fingernails. Today was definitely a good day.

Plichter:

The term “tomato pie” gets tossed around all to often these days, especially when a true tomato pie isn’t tossed at all. As opposed to traditional Neapolitan pizza, the style of the tomato pie is related to Sicilian pizza. Square, thick dough is usually hand flattened and topped with tomato sauce, while various bakeries put their own signature on each by including grated cheeses or toppings. Philadelphia is one of the more well known places when it comes to Sicilian tomato pie, and I’m sure everyone can remember eating a piece during some sort of family function at one point or another. With so many options, we decided to go with our guts stick with what so many of our friends recommended: Gaeta’s.

What I loved the most about Gaeta’s was the simplicity. They’re only open 5 days a week, serve little other than tomato pie, and there’s no dining area. If we had known ahead of time that toppings were an option, I’m sure we would’ve chosen a few. But like the bakery itself, we kept it simple.

I’ve had some tomato pies in my life, and most of which weren’t worth mentioning. Gaeta’s on the other hand stands above the rest. The dough was thicker in certain parts than others, leaving options for everyone regardless of crust preference. The corners were deep and doughy, but became more and more thin and we approached the slices towards the middle. Blotched, blackened ends were met with golden, flakey neighbors that (once again) would appease almost anyone. The sauce itself was reminded me of the homemade pasta sauce my grandmother used to make, only better. Thick and freshly prepared tomato sauce accounted for about 2/3 of every slice. Even when it was fresh out of the over, the consistency was thick enough that it never even had a chance to run.

As I stared at that slice of tomato pie in the McDonald’s parking lot, the sun glistening off of the speckled array of tomato skin beat into the sauce, I knew that there would be no other substitute for an original, Sicilian tomato pie. If that’s what you’re looking for, go to Gaeta’s.