Monthly Archives: December 2011

Year End Review: The Top 11 of ’11

Castro:
These past 6 months have been amazing for us. This started out as something we were both passionate about and it spiraled into something much bigger than we both expected. The doughboys have gained nearly 500 fans on facebook and received roughly 150+ views a day on the blog. As we close the book to 2011, we wanted to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone for their support with the blog and we appreciate all the slice recommendations. You have introduced us and opened our eyes to delicious pizza that we didn’t even know existed. The doughboys have big things in store for 2012 and hopefully you’re all gonna tag along for the ride. Happy New year, you animals…
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Plichter:
We’d like to thank all of our friends, families, and fans for the support we’ve received in 2011. When we started doing this, I never could have imagined this kind of reception. So many people and businesses have embraced and supported us, and proved that food reviews can be entertaining as well as insightful. Who would’ve thought that two idiots who like to eat pizza could accomplish so much in six months?! From the bottom of our deep dish, to the top of our thin crust, we’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. And stay tuned for what we have in store for 2012, such as pizza parties, merchandise, guest reviewers, and our one-year anniversary party this July!
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11. Pete and Elda’s Pizza Challenge

Pete and Elda's free t-shirt challenge

Castro: The 150 mile round trip, memorable journey to Neptune New Jersey to eat an entire 20″ pizza and win a free t-shirt was more than enough to make the cut.

Plichter: Never have I felt so awful after an eating experience. Def needed to be mentioned.

10. Mojo’s Pizza and Grill

Mojo's roast beast

Castro: The gravy induced roast beef pizza consumed in a back alley next to a grease dumpster easily gets a top spot.

Plichter: Any pizza this original needs to get the recognition it deserves.

9. Soho Pizza

Soho

Castro: The perfect swirl of BBQ sauce had me licking my lips for hours.

Plichter: I’ve had plenty of BBQ pizzas in my day, and this was by far the best.

8. Tacconelli’s

Tacconelli's

Castro: The exclusive, advance order dough was well worth the 24 hour wait to eat 14 slices between the two of us.

Plichter: Although I don’t consider this the “best” pizza around, their sweet sauce and charred crust are a welcomed change of pace for anyone who eats pizza as much as we do.

7. Merc Brothers

Merc Brothers Meatball Extravaganza

Castro: Who can forget the Merc Brothers VS Tony’s debacle which ultimately ended with Tony’s getting stunnered for the thin crust championship belt.

Plichter: Nothing like getting reacquainted with an old friend, especially one as delicious as this.

6. Angelo’s Pizza Kitchen

Angelo's "The Mexican"

Castro: The Mexican’s sour cream and Jalapeno’s made this one my absolute favorite gourmet pizzas thus far.

Plichter: Just as amazing as I had remembered. Glad to see that some pizzerias can withstand the test of time.

5. Stogie Joe’s

Stogie Joe's

Castro: Stogie Joe’s crackling fireplace and sausage white pie made me realize that they made the square pie their bitch. San “who” cci’s?

Plichter: I’d like to personally thank Stogie Joe’s for rekindling my love affair with square pizza. Their white, sausage, and broccoli pie totally trumps Santucci’s.

4. Charlie’s Pizzeria

Charlie's

Castro: The doughboys’ very first review. This sweet sausage pizza popped our cherries and introduced us to the world food criticism. Acting like you know everything about pizza is the best!

Plichter: The first of many delicious pizzas, and one started us on our road to glory. There’s nothing like weirding out old people and talking about pizza like a pro.

3. Isabella’s

Isabella

Castro: Man, 2 giant slices of crispy chicken parm pizza and a soda for $5 would take the #3 spot on anyone’s list.

Plichter: I don’t know how they do it, but they take the concept of chicken parm pizza to a new level.

2. The Couch Tomato Café.

The Couch Tomato Cafe

Castro: The smoky BBQ pulled pork pie was such a welcomed change to our normal pizza intake.

Plichter: Amazing originality and execution. Any one of their specialty pies are a safe bet.

1. Vince’s and Johnny G’s

Vince's and Johnny G's

Castro: 2, number one first place spots? Yeah, thats right. I could eat both pies from both of these places for the rest of my life (god willing) and I would be completely and utterly happy. A congratulations is in order to both winners for making some of the sexiest pizzas Northeast Philly has ever laid eyes on.

Plichter: I know I know, a bit disappointing that we couldn’t have a decisive number one. But both their whites pies were absolutely stunning. I never expected myself to put a white pizza as a favorite, but they’ve made me a believer.

Joseph’s Pizzeria

Joseph’s Pizzeria
7947 Oxford Ave.

Castro:

Alright, so this is probably one of the tougher reviews I’ve had to conjure up. Allow me to explain. We’ve gotten numerous recommendations to give Joseph’s pizza a whirl. People who reside in Fox Chase live and die by it. They’ve grown up eating it so they consider it their lifeline. It’s their go-to pizza on any given night. They probably have a special place in their heart for it, kind of like me with England or Boston, and I respect that. Dozens of delicious pies have preceded Joseph’s before tonight, so here’s to hoping we can keep the tasty pizza streak alive and kicking.

We picked 2, 10″ pies for this evening’s main event. “The B.L.T.” Crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and a few squirts of ranch dressing. My eyes lit up from the moment I read the menu. I had high hopes for this pizza from the rip, based off sheer originality. The bacon was perfect. Crispy and greasy, exactly how bacon should be…but it lacked something and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it was the shaved hoagie lettuce or maybe the tomatoes needed to be seasoned in olive oil. The ranch dressing was a great addition to it but it wasn’t enough to swing my vote. Joey could even do a thin layer of chipotle mayo on it just to keep things interesting. I would love for this pie to be my Daniel Larusso and I could mold it into a champion. It would crane kick all other pizzas in the head. But I’m just a doughboy, who’s gonna listen to me.

The 2nd pie was “The perfect trio.” Sausage, green peppers, onions and mozzarella. This was the better of the two. The sausage was shredded down with a cheese grader and had quite a bit of flavor to it. But that was extent of information worthy enough to blog about. I think the crust played a huge part in my thoughts on these pies. It was way too thick and reminiscent of sourdough bread. I’m a crust guy, and when you fuck the crust up it’s hard to recover from such a deficit.

I don’t wanna say that this pizza fucking sucks because it truly doesn’t. They just need to spruce the pies up a little with something that’s gonna make people remember them. However, this particular visit proved that the vegas-esque, bright lights out front just weren’t enough to satisfy the doughboys. Joey’s pizza was anything but impressive and was easily forgettable. It was enough to fill my stomach for a few hours until I would ultimately end my night with a giant bowl of cocoa puffs. Merry Christmas you filthy animals…and a happy new year.

Plichter:

Poor execution. That’s the best description I can give for this pizza. When you look at a menu and see options such as the B.L.T. pizza, I guess you just expect a little more. But there’s no recovering from anything that starts off on the wrong foot, and this crust was enough to disappoint me before it even went into the oven.

It’s a real shame that the pizzas at Joseph’s are built on such a bland crust, because otherwise they’d be quite impressive. The toppings on the B.L.T. pizza were exceptional; the decent sized bacon chunks, shredded lettuce, and well-cooked tomatoes were a delicious trio. But the crust was just ruined it for me. Even “The Perfect Trio” fell short of perfection, hindered by the poor excuse of a pizza crust. It was thick, tough, and anything but appetizing.

I don’t wanna write this place off solely because of the crust, but I have no other choice. The exterior, interior, staff, and general ambiance were all outstanding, but the most important element was lacking: the pizza. Do yourself a favor and take a walk down the street to Johnny G’s instead.

Angelo’s Pizza Kitchen

Angelo’s Pizza Kitchen
6920 Bustleton Ave.

Castro:

When dealing in disc-shaped piles of cheese and sauce, sometimes originality and creativity play a huge factor in whether or not your pie building skills will succeed or ultimately shatter before your very eyes. Enter Angelo’s Pizza Kitchen. From the outside it’s your typical pizzeria, serving up anything on the standard menu one could want. However, under the specialty pies list lies the white whale. The Holy Grail if you will. The inglorious bastard of pizzas. Behold…”The Mexican.”

I’m sure you’ve probably seen a Mexican pizza before. I mean, how hard can it possibly be to throw a bunch of taco ingredients onto some dough and call it a Mexican pizza? Well what sets the bar so high with Angelo’s is the flat quesadilla crust. It’s crispy. It’s flaky. It was just the right addition to be labeled a true Mexican. I’m surprised it didn’t come with a guitar case full of guns. The quesa-crust is just the beginning. Heaping servings of juicy, grilled chicken or chopped steak are proportionately set like puzzle pieces. It’s then doused with a chunky mild salsa and spicy jalapeño peppers. Finally, it’s sprinkled with fistfuls of Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses. This alone was a combination to be reckoned with, but add the side of sour cream and a drizzle drazzle of hot sauce and you got yourself something special.

This was the ultimate act of teamwork among the toppings. Every flavor worked so well with the next. The fiery jalapeños gave this pizza a certain zing that was lovingly embraced. But the quesadilla crust with toppings stretched to the very edge literally made this pie. I will say that the addition of seasoned ground beef or tortilla strips as options would just be delightful, but like Plichter said “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is by far one the best and most authentic Mexican pizzas I’ve come across. Muy sabroso pendejos!!!

Plichter:

I can honestly say that the Mexican pizza from Angelo’s is def in my top five list of best pizzas of all time. I know that sounds like a bold statement, but you can trust me on this one. It quickly became a recurring delivered dish on my Friday nights at Nazareth Hospital. As much as I love variety, I had no problem ordering this thing on a weekly basis. So when it came time to revisit an old favorite, I welcomed the opportunity with nostalgia and excitement.

Being built on a flakey12 inch Mexican style quesadilla shell really sets this pizza apart from all the other “Mexican” impersonators out there. I’ve had Mexican pizzas in the past, and they’re almost always made on the typical Italian style dough. But this one is in a league of its own specifically because of its crucial crust. It’s obviously not made in Angelo’s, but it compliments the other toppings so well that I could care less. From there it’s topped with salsa, Monterey jack and cheddar cheese, jalapeno peppers, and your choice of chicken or steak. Castro and I both agreed that the steak beats out the chicken, but see for yourself by ordering half and half. The sour cream and hot sauce on the side are an added bonus that allows you to spice it up accordingly. The salsa isn’t too chunky or hot, which gives it a paste like quality with green pepper and onion still remaining. The two different kinds of cheese tie the meat and jalapenos together to the crust, preventing topping spillage. I can honestly say this is the closest you’ll get to authentic Mexican food in a pizzeria. I can also say that you’ll be hooked for life after you finish such an original and flavorful pie.

Now it should be mentioned that this thing is obviously not for the weak of stomach. If you’re not into spicy foods, you might wanna steer clear of this pizza altogether. I’ve never had any other pizzas from Angelo’s, nor have I really thought about it. I was hooked on this south of the border beast since that first bite. But I do believe I have no choice but to try another of their specialty pizzas one of these days. If all of their pizzas are as delicious as the Mexican, then this place could soon be a force to be reckoned with in the Philadelphia area.

Florida Style Pizza

Florida Style Pizza
2052 S. Beechwood Street (20th and Snyder Ave.)

Castro:

While I was watching the travel channel, looking to see Adam Richman do what he does best, there was a show on called “deep fried paradise.” It highlighted the country’s best deep fried chicken, burgers, dogs, and desserts. Which reminds me, if you haven’t checked out “pizza paradise” by now, you probably should kill yourself. Anyway, after 60 minutes of pure heaven, I noticed there was definitely a lack of deep fried pizza. Which got me thinking…are there any places in Philly that flash fry pizza? The answer is no, or at least not that I’ve found. However, I did find a spot in South Philly whose claim to fame is something called the “Inside-Out Pizza.”

It’s essentially the cheese, sauce and toppings wrapped inside pizza dough. It’s then battered and tossed in the deep fryer for a couple minutes. FSP’s “inside outs” got rave reviews from a quick internet search. Based off the sign out front, you might not even give this place a second look if you passed it on the street. In fact, I believe Plichter asked me if I had my gun on me before we went in. The bulletproof glass in front of the register was somewhat intimidating and had me second-guessing our choice of post-dinner snack, but we stood our ground for a little taste of that deep fried goodness. Now it might not sound like much, but these things were absolutely amazing. Crunchy on the outside, with a soft and warm chewy center. The fried batter coating on the outside combined with the great taste of pizza on the inside is a much welcomed change to our diet. As the grease drizzled down my face, it left me believing that this has got to be one of the best and unique variations of pizza I’ve ever eaten.

While there are a few places that do offer a similar item called a “panzarotti”, it’s most likely mass-produced in a warehouse somewhere across the river. Vinnie, the owner, assured us that his inside outs are made fresh by his own little Italian digits. Word on the street is people drive from Jersey and Delaware for a dozen of these at a time to throw in their freezer. If you’re in the area (to buy heroin or maybe to gun down a few snitches) I dare you to savor one of these for a quick bite while you’re on the road. I wish more places would put stuff into deep fryers, especially descendants of the pizza family. I mean, for 3 bucks a pop, how can you go wrong?!

Plichter:

Just as Castro mentioned above, we were a little skeptical of this place before we actually stepped in. Although I’m familiar with the area, it looked especially ominous after walking down brightly lit Passyunk Ave just moments earlier. But the promise of a unique pizza-eating experience pulled us in and never let go, not even after that first bite of the inside-out pizza.

Now I’ve had plenty of panzarotties in the past, so when the owner Vinnie and his co-worker Steve informed me that the inside-out was rooted in the same style, I was a little bit disappointed. For those who don’t know, the United States version of the panzarotti is pretty much a combination of a stromboli and calzone, which is then deep-fried to perfection. Combining the style of a stromboli with the size of a calzone, they usually consist of mozzarella cheese, sauce, and various toppings. But the unique selling point behind Florida Style Pizza is the fact that their inside-out pizza is made in-shop, as opposed to many pizzerias who simply deep-fry some frozen piece of garbage. It was time to put their pizza where my mouth is.

Whereas a typical panzarotti is only lightly fried and a little doughy, this thing was fried to crispy and crunchy perfection. The contents exploded out of the pocket and into my mouth, with residual pepperoni grease and cheese flooding my taste buds. Remember the scene in Requiem For A Dream where Jared Leto and Marlon Wayans shoot up and their pupils dilate instantly when the heroin pumps through their veins? Yeah, it was like that. Except instead of heroin, it was pizza. The moist filling left the inside edges of the pocket flavored with pepperoni, while the outside remained crispy and well done. Words can’t even describe how unique this bastard was. Next time you’re in the area, be sure to pick up a dozen or so.

I cannot stress enough that the Inside-Out Pizza is not the same as a panzarotti. If you visit Florida Style Pizza, leave your previous pizzeria and panzarotti knowledge at the door. But if you must call it a panzarotti, it was simply the best one I’ve ever had. Well done.

Stogie Joe’s Tavern

Stogie Joe’s Tavern
1801 Passyunk Ave.

Castro:

Imagine walking down a beautifully decorated side street in South Philly, where every single house on the block is entangled in Christmas lights. Now picture yourself with nothing on but a rad, plaid button up shirt on a frigid 35-degree night. The only logical thing to do would be to warm up with a few slices and a few beers, right? Stogie Joe’s holds the corner spot down on the 1800 block of Passyunk Ave. Upon entering, you’re greeted with a crackling fireplace and a refrigerator stocked with an endless supply of craft beers. It’s a super cozy atmosphere with an unbelievably friendly staff. We’ve heard from numerous sources about this establishment serving a square pie that’s almost identical to Santucci’s. When I say “almost identical” I actually mean “Identical.” That’s because the owner of Stogie Joe’s is related (through marriage) to one Mr. Santucci, and it’s his very own recipe. The sausage pizza from Tucci’s is without a doubt one of my all time favorite pies, so I knew this pizza needed to get into/onto my face immediately.

We went with a half white w/sausage and broccoli rabe (at the recommendation of our tatted up waiter) and a half red sauce with pepperoni. Those who aren’t familiar with broccoli rabe, it’s a little thinner and more leafy than broccoli. It’s usually sautéed in garlic and Parmesan. Needless to say, this classic blend of bitter greens and spicy sausage was the perfect choice to warm us handsome gentlemen up on this brisk, December evening. At first bite, I knew I had found one of the most delicious pies on this colossal campaign of crust consumption to date. It had a perfect hint of garlic and stretchy, sliced mozzarella cheese. Every time I caught a piece of that sausage and a diced broccoli stem it was like I died and went to Italy, circa 1920. The bottom of the pie had a gorgeous, golden brown texture, whereas the actual crust was charred and super crunchy. Perfection to say the least.

The red pie was sauce over cheese. The sauce was sweet with a hint of herb seasoning. It definitely had the inner workings of a Santucci’s pie. The pepperoni was good but in my eyes, although they were a little too chewy and lacked a certain level of crispiness. I enjoyed it, but if I could go back in time I’d totally get it with some of that seductive sausage.

This Stogie Joe’s visit was flawless. The incredibly tasty pizza was only half the battle. The interior was more than enough to entice me to come back for seconds. It’s intimate enough where the staff won’t be hassled by massive amounts of tables yet it was big enough that the bar was separated from the dining area. I highly recommend bringing your chick here for a slice date or just coming to slam a few high IPA beers down. Either way Stogie’s is 100% doughboys approved. Well done fellas.

Plichter:

Let’s get one thing straight: Santucci’s rules. But depending on which location you visit, the pizza varies. Sometimes it’s too soggy, other times it’s just straight up cold. Too many toppings can lead to spillage, as I found out the hard way when trying to eat their veggie pie. (You probably shouldn’t wear anything nice if you order that one, cause most of it will end up on your face and clothes.) Since Santucci’s is franchised, there’s no real guarantee that a great experience at one restaurant will translate to another. Here’s where Stogie Joe’s comes in. Using the original family recipe and making every pizza with care, Stogie Joe’s guarantees the deliciousness of a Santucci’s style pie with the attention to detail it takes to get it right.

At the suggestion of our waiter, we went with half white with broccoli rabe and sausage, and half red with pepperoni. While we waited with anxiousness, we had no problem taking in the atmosphere and enjoying a couple Blue Moon’s by the fireplace. Yes, this place is a pizzeria, a bar, and a classy joint with a fireplace all wrapped into one. You could either slum it with the locals at the bar or rub elbows with the yuppies in the dining area, depending on the mood you’re in. But enough about the interior, let’s get down to the pizza.

When this magnificent bastard first arrived at our table, it seemed like the same familiar looking Santucci’s style pizza I had grown accustomed to. But there was something different about this pizza. It looked perfect, unlike the last few I’ve had from Santucci’s that were hit or miss. You could tell that the person who made it took their time and put the effort into it, which was reflected after that first bite. The seasoned rabe was firm yet soft, as the cheese stretched from my mouth to the plate. After my first couple bites, I really began to notice the seasoned Italian sausage. Although I forgot about it at first, it quickly became one of my most unforgettable pizza topping combinations to date. The red pepperoni, albeit not as delectable as its white counterpart, was definitely up to par. Pepperoni on these types of pies usually don’t come out crispy since it’s submerged in tomato sauce. So if you’re like me and don’t mind the lack of crispiness in this situation, go for it. Otherwise, go for raised toppings that’ll get cooked thoroughly.

Of course, there were some pros and cons to dining at Stogie Joe’s. The beer list, fireplace, delicious pizza, accommodating staff, and general ambiance were all top notch. The only problem is I’ll never be able to eat Santucci’s again with the same contentment. Stogie Joe’s > Santucci’s.

Gearo’s Pizzeria

Gearo’s
1913 Welsh Road

Castro:

Looking back on my post grade school years, Gearo’s played a vital role in my useless-overweight life. I vividly remember going to the Bustleton Avenue location when I was somewhat obese and eating endless amounts of mozzarella sticks until my 10:30 curfew on weekends. That’s when I’d call my mom to pick me up because I was afraid of getting beat up by Max Myers kids…but that’s a horse of a different color. In came the double shooting out front and they closed up shop, leaving the only spot open in our area on Welsh Road. People have been recommending Gearo’s to us since we started the blog. I feel like such a moron for brushing it off until now. It’s probably been 11+ years since I’ve eaten at here and I’m totally stoked that we saved it for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Wings, steaks, sandwiches…Gearo’s does them all. One thing that not too many people know is that they do pizzas up big. They offer a pretty husky list of toppings for the average pizza eater. Not to mention you have the choice of a 10″ pie or a 14″ pie. There’s also a nice little option called “The pie in the sky”, which is any 3 toppings for $13. We opted for a half sausage/mushroom and half bacon/sweet peppers. I expected this pie to be somewhat decent, but I never expected it to knock my L.A lights off. The sausage was sweet and flavorful. And they didn’t hold back either. Mounds of those little clumps graced our presence. The mushrooms only added to the plethora of deliciousness. I will say that the amount of schrooms was a bit much. Nevertheless, I finger blasted a few of them off the pie and we were back in business. Now the bacon and peppers definitely took the top spot as my favorite. Crispy, greasy, chopped bacon piled high to the ceiling and topped with juicy sweet peppers. This beautiful combination needs to make its way onto more menus around the city. Something about the tangy-spiciness of the peppers that works so well with the bacon. They belong together, like Riggs and Murtaugh. Bill and Ted. Bodhi and Utah. Zack and Kelly. Gearo’s red sauce was enough to bring about goose bumps to my Dexter tattoo. Perfectly spiced and laid on top of that ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese. Neapolitan style for yo’ ass.

All in all, I’d say Gearo’s outdid themselves with this pizza. I was more than happy with the way they flip pies. Having said that, I would like to see “pizza” on the front page of their menu and not nestled in the corner of the 2nd page. In my eyes, Gearo’s could quite possibly be one of Northeast Philly’s great sit down pizzerias.

Plichter:

It’s taken me this long to review the pizza at Gearo’s only because they have so much to choose from on their menu. I always feel obligated to get a pie, but their entrees and cheesesteaks usually prevent me from doing so. I had their pizza a few times in the past and I remembered it being pretty decent, but always buckled and went for my sure thing. But this is a pizza blog, not a cheesesteak blog. And it’s my duty to inform the people of their best bets for doughy eats.

The “Pie in the Sky” special allows you to pick three toppings of your choice on a large pie, but we decided to go with four altogether (at no additional charge). Half sweet peppers & bacon, half mushroom & sausage, and a half hour later we were good to go. There must’ve been a pound of toppings altogether, which totally made the $13 more than reasonable. Now the sausage and mushroom was delicious, with real seasoned Italian sausage and hearty sized slices of mushroom blanketing the whole pie. My only qualm with such an amount of toppings is how much it weighed the slices down. For it being a thin pie, the toppings gave it a bit of a deep-dish feel. Don’t get me wrong, the pie was delicious. But if you’re a bit of a neat freak like me, you might wanna steer clear of having such a heavy and messy combination.

The bacon and sweet peppers was a different story altogether. This thing was nothing short of pizza perfection. Ya know when you order a pizza with bacon and it comes out speckled with tiny bits of anything but? Yeah, this wasn’t the situation. These were REAL strips of bacon, crisped and cut to a decent size. It was more than you get at a diner when ordering breakfast. I actually had to reapply the pieces that fell off since there was so much (which I am certainly not complaining about). The texture of the sweetened peppers only added to how enjoyable the crispy bacon was. Many people don’t know about how delicious the combination of the two can be on a pizza, but I’m sure it’ll be catching on soon enough. For those who prefer hotter and tangier food, go with hot peppers instead. The idea is literally making my mouth water right now, making it hard to suppress my inner fat kid.