Monthly Archives: October 2011

Santucci’s Square Pizza

 

Santucci’s Square Pizza
4010 Cottman Ave.

Castro:

A long time ago on a porch far, far away…

Look, I’m fairly certain most of you have tasted Santucci’s at some point in your life. You don’t need us to tell you they probably make best square pie around town. I wanted to review their pizza because it’s one of my favorite delivery pizzas of all time. Granted, the delivery time sometimes is a little longer than the norm, but I’ve eaten it so many times that I’ve learned to appreciate the wait and the quality pie that arrives at my door. The crust is always cooked to perfection. Super crunchy, never flaky and charred around the edges. Let us not forget the sweet and tangy red sauce that will undoubtedly leave its mark on your chin and make you ask “do I have any sauce on my face?” Yeah you do, you idiot. People will tell you the Juniata Tucci’s is the best, others maintain the South Philly location takes the cake. Truth is, it’s all gonna be fantastic because it’s all Joey Santucci’s famous recipe that dates back to the late 50’s. Oh, and there also may or may not be a $2 off coupon on their website you can print out. Shhhhh, keep that on the hush. Loose lips sink ships. And by ships, I mean $2 off coupons.

So we decided we were gonna watch horror movies outside my house, crush some brews, carve a pumpkin and order a few pies as part of a Halloween special…all while a romantic fire pit crackled in background. Sounds awesome right? Well it totally was. We even set aside a few weapons just in case the impending zombie apocalypse was to occur while doing this review. Just as scary German guy was about to offer more pie in the monster squad, our sexy pizzas arrived in a early 90’s hatchback. 1 half sausage, half pepperoni and 1 half meatball, half mushroom. $27. A little on the pricey side, but definitely worth it in my eyes. You’re guaranteed a delicious meal that’s worth every penny, each and every time with toochies.

The Meatball: Bangin. Thin slices of full flavored, savory meatballs blanketed the entire slice. Not like Wawa or subway meatballs either. Huge beastly, bulging meatballs. I’ve always been a total sucker for a good meatball pizza and this is absolutely one of them.

Schroom: It was a solid choice, but I think if you’re ballsy enough to get mushrooms on a pizza you should pair it with something. Like meat…or babies. I foresee a mush n’ bacon pie in my near future.

Pep: Never had pepperoni before tonight from Santucci’s. It was alright. Nothing spectacular. I like my pepperoni crispy, and blackened on the edges. I did appreciate how each slice was evenly distributed with 6 large pieces. It’s not one I’d be truly stoked to get again.

Sausage: Hands down, the main attraction of the evening. Rather generous lumps of spicy sausage graced the upper level of this pie. This is the only pizza I order when I hit up Santucci’s. It should be their signature pie. I’ll put money down that you’ll fight your favorite child over the last corner slice of this studly beefcake of a pizza.

If you’ve been to Santucci’s before, keep up the good work. If you haven’t, I feel sorry for what you’ve been missing out on. If you’re by chance there now, I’m extremely jealous and wish nothing but bad things on you because I’m starving. Make your next Walking Dead/Dexter night a Santucci’s night and I promise you’ll start your workweek out just a little bit happier.

Plichter:

It seems as if the majority of my reviews begin with a fond, reminiscent story about that particular restaurant. And this review is no different. I owe my once prepubescent, robust physique to Santucci’s pepperoni pizza and Dr. Pepper. During those days, my life consisted of nothing else other than Santucci’s pizza and hockey. (It’s funny how my priorities have stayed relatively the same since I’ve been 11.) Nothing could beat watching a Flyers afternoon game on a Sunday while eating a personal pepperoni pizza. In fact, that statement still holds true today.

I’ve loved Santucci’s for more than 15 years now, but there are certain ways you need to enjoy it. Firstly, it can’t be eaten straight from the oven. The sauce needs enough time to congeal before it can be consumed. Secondly, it’s imperative to not let the sauce congeal for too long. Since the sauce is atop the cheese, it will undoubtedly become cold if left out for too long. The precise moment when the sauce congeals, before it becomes too cold, is when it must be consumed. And thirdly, it must be consumed next to a fire pit while drinking beer, watching Monster Squad, carving a pumpkin, and playing with a shotgun. If you happen to not have any of those items, I SUPPOSE you could still give it a try.

The sausage and pepperoni from Santucci’s has always been top notch, and I personally think the combination of their tangy sauce and sweet pepperoni is possibly the best in Philadelphia. Along with those, we ordered up another half meatball/half mushroom. Although I don’t usually order mushroom on my pizza, this occasion was def worth mentioning. Whereas most mushrooms I’ve eaten have had a rubbery texture and have been flavorless, you could really taste the flavor with this one. However, next time I order, I believe I’ll be complimenting the mushroom with the sausage. The combination of both could be something phenomenal. My favorite pie of the night would def have to go to the meatball though. Instead of using prepackaged miniature meatballs like most places, Santucci’s uses actual slices of whole, homemade meatballs. Each slice was about the size of pepperoni, and exploding with Italian spices. If you’re ordering from there soon, go with the meatball.

We lost interest in carving the pumpkin, the fire pit dwindled down, and the pizza had been consumed. It was now time to relax and continue enjoying Monster Squad with a couple of Blue Moons. In hindsight, I only wish we had ordered a pie with garlic on it so I could’ve recreated the scene where Sean smashed it on Dracula’s face. I guess I could’ve done it with any of the other slices, but it just wouldn’t have been the same.

Trios Pizzeria & Trattoria

Trios Pizzeria &Trattoria
342 W. Girard Ave.

Castro:

This week’s review is a little different than others. Since our conflicting work schedules were making it tough to simultaneously place pizza into our mouths, we decided to split the review and each go a day apart. This works out perfect for me, seeing that I don’t have to look at Plichter’s stupid face while I consume food. (I’d also like to add that sitting alone and taking pictures of yourself eating can make for a pretty awkward situation.) Anyway…next on deck is a 2 year old pizzeria, deep in the heart on NoLibs called Trios Pizzeria & Trattoria. Wait a minute; I know what you’re thinking. No, you don’t need to put on skinny jeans and gauge your ear lobes to venture into this Northern Liberties establishment. Trios was actually quite nice. The interior décor was very laid back and relaxing, yet it maintained a certain level of class. The owner, Sal, was extremely hospitable and walked me through exactly how they make their pies. As you make your way to the front, to your immediate left, was an army of different slices to choose from. I snatched a menu from the counter and was greeted by a list of creative pizzas in their arsenal. For instance, the “siciliano”, which is a white pie topped with sausage, broccoli rabe and sun dried tomatoes. This is an authentic Italian recipe that you probably won’t find in too many Philly pizza dumps. Not to mention the “create your own pie” option with 30+ toppings available at your dismay. It’s understandable why Philly magazine gave them one of the top 50 joints in the city.

Almost immediately, I was drawn to the “rustica” pie. It was a square pie topped with chunks of seasoned, mildly spicy Italian sausage, and garnished with a pinch of red sauce. Extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, and super thin mushrooms (almost like they shaved them down with a razorblade) followed. This pizza was absolutely amazing. As soon as I bit into it I tasted every single ingredient and topping working together. The olive oil gave it a distinct flavor and kept me wettin’ my whistle as I came back for another bite. My favorite part was the sausage. This took the top spot as the BEST sausage I’ve had on a pizza. It tasted like something you’d pick up from the reading terminal or the Italian market. Definitely not something your corner pizza shop will have.

I was advised that in addition to the sausage, I MUST try their signature tomato pie. A thin, crisp, square pizza with grande mozzarella (part skim milk, part whole milk). It’s not your standard tomato pie. The only tomatoes are the gigantic plum tomatoes. Six, juicy bastards to be exact. They truly set off the flavor for the slice. As I bit down, my teeth busted open one of the plum tomaters and the juices ran down my chin. It was very pornographic.

Each pizza on the menu seems as if they’re family recipes passed down. Many will attempt to replicate these pies but none will duplicate. My personal recommendation goes to the rustica. That sausage was everything a growing boy could axe for. If you decide to hit Trios…do me a favor and be creative. They have a wide variety of traditional and authentic Italian pizzas to suit even the pickiest of eaters. After stuffing your face with a pretty fantastic pie, make sure you tell one of them mustached hipsters at the piazza to take a bath.

Plichter:

As disappointed as I was by the fact I wouldn’t be dining with Castro, I was relieved I wouldn’t have to witness plum tomato juice running down his face in a “pornographic” manner. In the words of Frank Costanza, “That’s perverse!” Trios Pizzeria & Trattoria has been a favorite of mine since it first opened. I’ve spent many a night there, usually before a night of rockin’ out and drinking at the Fire. I enjoy their pizza so much that I actually disowned a classmate after they badmouthed it. (She asked where a good pizza place was, I recommended Trios, and she bashed it. She said she would’ve preferred Papa John’s, and now we don’t talk anymore.) It’s one thing to disagree with me when it comes to pizza. I can understand that everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion. But to choose chain pizza over authentic? If that’s the situation, you don’t deserve my respect.

What separates Trios from most other pizzerias is their extensive selection of slices. You can get a slice of pepperoni or plain at almost any pizza place. But at Trios, you can choose from about ten different slice pies at any given time. Although some classic constants remain (such as tomato pie or pepperoni), it’s not uncommon to find a slice of margherita or veggie ready for picking. And in this particular case, those were the two I went with.

The last few veggie pies I’ve gotten have been a bit disappointing. It seems like every place tries to overcompensate by overloading their pies with toppings, which weighs down the crust and ultimately causes a mess. Trios on the other hand has it all figured out. Their ultra thin crust is surprisingly sturdy, and can support a slew of toppings. But to compliment their already thin crust, Trios makes sure their toppings are thinly sliced and proportioned evenly. The tomato, spinach, garlic, red onion, mushroom, and extra virgin olive oil were distributed perfectly to create a broad yet uniformed taste. They seriously have topping-heavy pizza making down to a science.

As much as I enjoyed their veggie slice, the margherita edged it out for the position of preferred slice. Atop the crispy crust (glistening with olive oil) were the traditional toppings: sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. The tomato was heated to the perfect temperature, leaving it tender, flavorful, and juicy. The sliced mozzarella was also cooked well to the point where you could bite through it without causing a mess. The half inch pieces of basil were the perfect end to the perfect slice. As often as some talk about the margherita at Tacconelli’s being the best around, I think Trios might take the cake… Or in this case, the pie.

The bottom line is that Trios satisfies with their diverse slices and competitive prices. Two specialty slices and a large fountain soda will typically run you about eight bucks, which is totally reasonable in my opinion. It’s also worth mentioning that they usually offer some sort of lunch special, such as two slices and a fountain soda for around five dollars. So if you’re in the neighborhood, I feel bad for you. (I’m sorry, but there are too many pretentious hipsters in No Libs.) But if you’re in the neighborhood and you’re hungry, def check out Trios.

Northeast Philadelphia Pizzeria Crawl

Many people have asked us, “Hey, when’re you guys gonna review a really shitty place and trash it?” As fun as that may sound, we’d really prefer to eat nothing but the best pizza around and save ourselves the disappointment. However, on an unseasonably warm day in October, we decided to finally give in to our fans. So submitted for the approval of the Doughboy society, we present to you the Northeast Philadelphia Pizza Crawl: A two hour journey that featured a slice at eight different pizzerias up and down Frankford Avenue.

Original Boston Style Pizza:

Castro: Definitely one of my neighborhood favorites. 27 years and counting, flipping pies off Passmore Street. Today we got a bacon pizza. I dig it. I’ve always dug it. I’ve drunk dialed them on numerous occasions from the confines of a well-lit fire pit. They continuously and consistently serve up one of the better pies on the avenue. I gotta give OBSP the thumbs up for feeding me what would eventually be one of two decent slices of the night.

Plichter: Truth be told, I’ve never been a fan of Original Boston Pizza. But when compared to the other crap we ate today, they weren’t half bad. The bacon was crispy and flavorful, and the cheese had a decent texture, but that couldn’t make up for their cardboard crust.

First England Pizza:

Castro: I asked the gentleman with the Eastern European accent and the pork chop sideburns behind the counter how long they’ve been in business. To which he responds “I don’t know…70, maybe 80 years?” Yeah, okay. I kinda doubt First England was making pies during the prohibition era. Not to mention the menu says “since 1970.” Don’t waste your time. The pizza was fucking horrific. You’re better off putting your $1.50 into a high interest yielding account…or just throwing it in your local trashcan. Thumbs down.

Plichter: The dude working the counter at First England said they had been open for about 70 or 80 years. Their menu clearly states that they’ve been “serving Mayfair since 1970.” Need I say more? I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if they dressed a gorilla in a human costume and taught it how to use a cash register, cause this guy was dumb. The only thing worse than their dirty interior was their awful pizza. The place was a dump and their pizza was shit.

Pizza City:

Castro: Honestly, I’ve never eaten here before today. I’ve never even given this place a 2nd glance when driving up the Avenue. I gotta say I wasn’t impressed. They don’t offer slices so I assumed they’d put all their effort into making sure the one you do get is above par. This was not the case. It was just…pizza. Mediocre at best. Thumbs even steven.

Plichter: Pizza City is a guilty pleasure of mine. There, I said it. At the end of the day, Pizza City provides a decent pizza at a reasonable price. A large pizza costs around ten bucks, they deliver up to 1am usually, and they’re better than almost any of the shitty alternatives on Frankford Ave. If you’ve had Pizza City in the past and were disappointed, try their pepperoni tomato pie next time. It’s a personal favorite.

New London Pizza:

Castro: I found 3 menus in my front door a few days ago to New London. This is the only reason I knew this place even existed. We ordered a pepperoni slice. Do you wanna know the best part about this pizza? It was the fake mustache novelty machine in the store. 50 cents gets you a pretty awesome, low quality stash. Oh yeah, by the way…the pizza fucking sucks here. You should just get 20 mustaches instead of ordering a pizza from this dump. Thumbs down.

Plichter: Question: If pizza originated in Italy, why are some pizza places named “England” and “London?” And then the people who work at these places are almost always Greek! New London Pizza, which has been open for about two years, operates out of the old Pizza Depot location right by Wellington and Frankford. And if I were them, I wouldn’t get comfortable at that location. Not even the fake mustache dispenser could make up for their overcooked pizza that had obviously been sitting out all day. Well…it almost made up for it.

Superstar Pizza:

Castro: This little eyesore has been open for business just over 2 years. There was nothing special about this pizza that without looking at a picture of me eating it, would make me remember it. It was plain. It was bland. It had cheese. It had sauce, and it had crust. That’s about it. I took a single bite and everything I needed to know about that pizza was right there. Thumbs down.

Plichter: Super Star Pizza. If the pizza was as tasteless as the name, we were in trouble. And sure enough it was. I was extremely disappointed, especially considering their menu touts without originality that they’re the “Best in Town!” Any place that claims to be the “best” in anything is usually just a letdown waiting to happen. I was more than happy to let down their pizza into the garbage.

Mayfair Pizza:

Castro: There are so many bad things I wanna say about this pizza. We sat on the sidewalk outside of the daycare across the street with this abomination of a plain slice. It was thick. It was soggy. It was limp. The sauce was like water. The crust tasted like they coated it with margarine before they baked it. The best part about this visit was when a bum pushing a shopping cart banged into my shoe and left a pretty rad scuffmark on it. I’ve never eaten Mayfair pizza before this day and hopefully I never will again. Thumbs dizown!

Plichter: I couldn’t help but laugh as soon as I walked into Mayfair Pizza. I even considered throwing the pizza directly into the trash before we even tasted it. Words can’t describe how awful this pizza was. The rubbery texture of the cheese, along with the fact that my slice literally fell apart before I could hoist it into my mouth, led me to believe that even a homeless man wouldn’t eat their “pizza.” The only redeeming part of this visit was the cigarettes for sale and the hidden closet door in their wall. So if you’re into secret doors and cigarettes, check out Mayfair Pizza. But if you’re into good pizza, avoid it.

Bill’s Family Pizza:

Castro: Just when I thought Mayfair pizza was gonna take the title of worst pizza on the ave. In comes Bill’s. Let’s weigh the pros and cons here of this fine establishment:
Pros:
1. A Leslie Nelson movie was playing on a TV inside the store.
Cons:
1. The pizza fucking sucks.
2. They have the balls to charge $2 a slice for this garbage.
3. The dude behind the counter had a sleeveless Godsmack shirt on.
4. The pizza fucking sucks.

I have no idea how this place stayed in business for 15+ years. It looked like frozen pizza that was microwaved, sat out overnight and then warmed in the oven. I took one bite and spit it out. I felt it only necessary to run the remainder of my slice over with my jeep. No really, I totally did. “I heard O’Bannion backed his truck over some pizzas and made some freshmen eat it.” 4 Thumbs down.

Plichter: And just when I thought we had already been to the dirtiest and worst pizza places in the neighborhood, enter Bill’s Pizza. This was the worst thing I’ve even eaten. EVER. Not only was it terrible, it was the most expensive at two dollars a slice. Other than the Leslie Neilson movie on the television, it was an absolute nightmare. It was so bad that we felt obligated to run the pizza over with Castro’s car.

Gino’s Pizzeria:

Castro: Gino’s has long been at the top of the pizza pyramid in Mayfair. It’s no secret that they can go head to head against anyone on the avenue and come out on top. While my dad was alive, this was his spot. Plain cheese. Nothing more…nothing less. We grabbed a sausage slice to change things up a little. It was perfect. Sweet meat, flavorful melted cheese and a crispy, charred crust. I love the fact that you can walk in and grab a slice. OR, you can sit down and actually have a waitress take your order. Most of you have probably heard of Gino’s. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you make a night of it. Thumbs all the way up. Thank you Gino for saving the night and earning the title “Frankford Avenue pizza god.”

Plichter: We couldn’t end this review without visiting the king of the Frankford Ave pizza: Gino’s. Gino’s is the best pizzeria on Frankford Ave, if not in the northeast. I’d even say they can compete on a citywide level with any other pizzeria. I’m not gonna go into detail about this, because if you haven’t had Gino’s pizza, you’re fuckin stupid. Don’t feel obligated to order any pie in particular because they’re all perfect.