Monthly Archives: December 2012

Year End Review: Best in 2012

Another year has come and gone, and countless slices have been consumed by yours truly. In some cases, they were only choked down to give us more ammunition to trash the individuals responsible for such atrocities. However, majority of the pizza that we were introduced to in 2012 were fairly decent and definitely deserve a second look at to commend the shops who hold pizza so close to their hearts. This is our annual year end review, highlighting the best of the best in the city. Even though we share different views on the top 5 favorite pies of 2012, you can be assured you’ll be getting a damn fine slice of pizza wherever you’re hunger decides to take you. Hopefully 2013 will bring the Doughboys an even more delicious list of undiscovered and hidden establishments throughout this fine city.

CASTRO:

5. Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

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Check out those long hots :0

Anthony’s director of public relations in Florida stumbled upon us on a web search and requested that we come in for a visit. They made sure we were set up with pizzas and appetizers for days. A mix up of sausage, ricotta and long hots on their “Paul and Young Ron” totally took my breath away. I’m fairly certain anything that they pull out of their 800 degree coal fired oven will make you a believer.

4. Carluccio’s

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Counter top seating at it’s best

The 50+ mile road trip down the AC expressway to Northfield, New Jersey was well worth it for this old world style Sicilian pizza. Grab a seat at the counter, order a slice of “Grandma’s pie” and shoot the shit with one of their friendly staff. With each delicious bite you’ll be reminded that Mom and Pop pizza joints still exist and continue to chump corporate chain pizza any day of the week.

3. Pizza Brain

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Pizza brainiacs

I think Pizza Brain’s review was most fun I’ve ever had writing about pizza. The year’s worth of built up anticipation finally exploded when we were there on opening day to experience history in the making. All the pizza memoribilia strewn upon the walls is enough to make your head spin, not to mention a killer assortment of ingenious pie creations this side of the Delaware. Team Pizza Brain waited a whole year to perfect their recipe for some of the best artisan pizzas I’ve ever had. Their plain pie can go toe to toe with just about any slice we’ve ever encountered.

2. Johnny G’s Smokey Doughboy

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The pizza that changed everything

Johnny G never fails to cook up something original and tasty for us. He always welcomes us with open arms and is an avid follower our pizza ventures. This list would by no means be accurate without the addition of a pizza named after 2 slow witted pizza reviewers. The slow roasted, fall-of-the-bone, rotisserie chicken that’s marinated in a pineapple infused BBQ sauce easily trumps the rest of these pies to take the #2 spot. If you try any pie on this list, please make it the “Smokey Doughboy.”

1. Nomad

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And the wiener is…

Nomad was kind of the underdog this year. I never expected a joint that started as a mobile pizza truck, who serviced broke college kids in North Jersey, to pump out one of the most amazing pies I’ve ever eaten right here in Philly. Their locally imported spicy fennel sausage gave me goosebumps the moment it hit my lips. Rest in peace Lorenzo’s. Your time has come and gone. It’s time for a new prince of pies to claim the throne as best slice on or around South Street.

Honorable Mention:

Paulie’s Big Mac

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Big mac attack.

There’s really nothing great to write about Paulie’s. It’s a pizza shop in the city with mediocre customer service; but their “Big Mac” pizza may very well be the most creative pie of the year. Close your eyes, take a bite and you’ll actually believe you’re scarfing down a McDonald’s Big Mac…pickles and all. I ate half a pie in a matter of minutes. Ba-da-bop-bop-bop…I’m loving it.

PLICHTER:

5. Jules Thin Crust Pizza

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Jules rules!

Gourmet pies that are made with only locally produced, organic ingredients. That’s Jules. Not only are their super slim, thin crust pies a healthier alternative than most, their chic interior is the perfect setting for pretty much any occasion.

4. Pizza Brain

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Bizza Prain

You had to know this place was definitely gonna be in the top 5 of both our lists. The world’s first pizza museum/pizzeria garnered international attention with its unique décor and pie selection. Plus not too many places have limited-time seasonal pizzas. I can’t wait til next Fall to grab another slice of that sweet potato pizza.

3. Johnny G’s Smokey Doughboy

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On top of old smokey…

I’ll never forget laughing at how good this pizza was after that first bite. It was honestly unreal, like a dream or something. If you haven’t had this masterpiece yet, get off your ass and go get it. Johnny, keep up the good work.

2. Rustica

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In God We Trustica

Living up to the hype after being on the cover of Philadelphia magazine, a trip back to Rustica for their Pesto pizza is long overdue.

1. Carluccio’s

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Grandma always said it best

The Grandma’s Pie from Carluccio’s in Northfield was quite possibly my favorite part about living down the shore. A lot of people will tell you that Sam’s, Mack’s, or Manco & Manco are the best of the best down the shore. If you’re one of these people, I strongly urge you to make the trek to Carluccio’s and let them show you what a REAL pizza tastes like.

Honorable Mention:

Nomad

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That margherita though!!

I can’t wait to crush a couple of these pies and some craft beers next time I’m on South Street.

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Johnny G’s: Holiday Edition

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Mur’ Krismas

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Almost there

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The Holiday Pizza

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Close up festivities

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Silent slice. Holy Slice.

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All is yum. All is nice.

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Literally, worst beer ever.

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Cold sippin’ on that pizza brew

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When you’re as rad as us, you get free pizza threads

Johnny G’s Pizza
7315 Oxford Avenue.

Castro:

Everyone’s heart belongs to local pizza shop that they call home; one that they can always rely on ordering the same quality and great tasting pie each and every time call. Johnny G’s is, without a doubt, our home away from home. When we’re not sampling what pies this city has to offer, you’ll surely find us hanging onto the front counter, anxiously awaiting our take out orders after a hard days work. We’ve already posted 2 seperate reviews of various Johnny G creations (one being a pizza that he even named after us, all hail the smokey doughboy.) This week he summoned the doughboys to stop in and sample a super secret pie that he invented solely for the holiday season, and strictly for us 2 morons to eat. It’s so newly birthed that it doesn’t even have a name yet. I’m talking about a pizza that screams deck the halls. Simply reciting the different toppings used on this pie is enough to make you want to run to the store for a freshly baked pumpkin pie.

It all starts with a base layer of stretchy provolone cheese followed by Mr. G’s homemade stuffing that he himself assembles from scratch. It’s the same stuffing that he would whip up for his own flesh and blood at the dinner table. Next the he tosses on the gorgeous, thinly sliced, slow roasted turkey. His turkey is literally a 25 pound plump bird that’s placed into an oven on super low temperatures and forgot about for half the day while it bastes in it’s own juices and spices. Next he adds a combination of American and Mozzarella cheeses to give it that “pizza texture”. Two dozen spoonfuls of cranberry sauce are strategically flung throughout until it’s finally finished off with a drizzling of chicken gravy. This pizza was unbelievably delicious.

My very first bite had a little of everything in it and it was a match made in heaven. The slow roasted turkey infused with his handcrafted stuffing was the meat and potatoes of this pie. The sweet and sugary taste of the cranberry sauce off set the homestyle gravy and blended extremely well. You would think a pizza with this many toppings, especially ones as heavy as these, would fall apart with the greatest of ease. This was not the case. In fact, this pizza held up better than most places could ever even dream of. I made my voice known that Johnny needed to add this to his menu ASAP, or at the very least, he needed to make it readily available on November 1st and run it through New Years. It really is the perfect holiday pizza. A pizza with balls this big can’t be strutting around the streets of Philly nameless. I’m leaning toward either “The Tryptophan” or “The Griswold”. Lastly, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas from the bottom of our sauce filled hearts.

Plichter:

With the unique selection of items at Johnny G’s, I could probably eat there for the rest of my life with no problems. It’s no secret that he truly believes in the products he sells, unlike so many other pizzerias in the area who simply throw together a slice pie and try to make a few bucks. Everything there is delicately made with care, which is a rare trait in this day and age. So of course when I heard about this specialty “holiday pie” I knew we were in for a treat.

I can honestly say this pie was better than most turkey dinners I’ve had in my lifetime. What really stuck out for me was the three different kinds of cheese used, which brought a different taste with each bite. Aside from that, Johnny is a firm believer in making sure you get a taste of each topping in every bite, which applied to this pie as well. It was glorious to say the least, and I can only hope he makes it a regular menu item so the rest of you can enjoy it in the near future. I’ve got one slice left in my fridge, but I’m nervous to eat it because I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to again. Anyways, Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!

LaScala’s Pronto

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LaScala’s Pronto Pizza

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Dressed for success

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Pre-BBQ chicken pizza face

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Nice slice, 4 eyes

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Margherita pie kinda guy

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BBQ Chicken, flexin’ for the camera

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The list goes on and on

LaScala’s Pronto Pizza
1501 Spring Garden Street

Castro:

This week, we decided to hit up one of Center City’s best and brightest up and comers. If you frequent the area of the Community College of Philadelphia, then you definitely can’t miss “LaScala’s Pronto” staring you in your hungry face. The original LaScala’s is an authentic Italian restaurant located in the heart of historic Philadelphia at 7th and Chestnut. They’ve been pumping out some of the finest Italian cuisine in the city since 2005. I’ve partaken in their “lobster ravioli” a few years back and I can totally vouch for their deliciousness. About a year ago, the LaScala family decided to open up their second establishment “Pronto” a block west off of Broad Street and Spring Garden. “Pronto” basically accommodates all those white collar workers and college kids who don’t have the time or the luxury to dabble in a long sit-down meal on their lunch break. In addition to a full “LaScala’s inspired” menu consisting of some of their more popular lunch dishes (massive salads and authentic Italian pastas), they’ve added an entire selection of gourmet pizzas to choose from.

As soon as you make your way through the front doors, you’re greeted with about a dozen pies assuring you of what LaScala’s is really about. Enormous 16″ creations, brought to you by the same people who conjured up the Italian dishes that consistently make Philly’s best list year after year. I was like a needy kid at a toy store with his face pressed against the front window. “Mom, I want that the sausage! No, I want the cheesesteak!! Awwww, I need the meatball!” So many to choices, with so little time. I also couldn’t help but notice how immaculate the dining room and open kitchen prep area were. Not a speck of dirt anywhere. A pizza parlor this prestine is a rarety among Center City restuarants and deserves some mad props for their squeaky cleanliness. We ultimately agreed on 2 pies that everyone can associate with. Our first pick, the margherita pie, is sure to catch anyone’s eye whose trying to decide what to get for lunch. The beautiful, bright red hue of the sweet and zesty tomato sauce was a dream come true. The sauce was off set by huge milky-white dollops of melted mozzarella cheese slices. I managed to get there as soon as they opened for the business day, so my particular slice need not be reheated. It was freshly made and steaming from it’s 15 minute slumber in their 575 degree brick oven. Just as the pie was about to be cut, the chef rushed over 2 generous handfuls of basil that he had just chopped only a few seconds earlier and finished it off. The basil was such an amazing addition to this already remarkable pizza. At first bite, you can immediately tell that this sauce was handmade and ridiculously fresh. It was so ungodly sweet on the tongue that I needed a moment to reflect on how shitty my day was up until that point. As my teeth snagged away that first giant clump of melted mozzarella, all the components of this pie came together and I realized how perfect it really was.

The second pick for this week’s review went to the BBQ Chicken pizza. We’ve done more BBQ Chicken pizza’s over the last year and a half than anything else, and I would say majority of them were nothing more than an unoriginal and ordinary take on this generic recipe. Most people can identify with this choice of gourmet pizza because nearly every pizza joint offers it. Just because they added it to the menu, doesn’t necessarily mean they achieved a home run. LaScala’s is, without a doubt, the exception to that rule. It was stunning the second it was laid on my paper plate. Heaping portions of juicy grilled chicken infused with just the right amount of mozzarella cheese is the only base layer before it culminates with a cross drizzle of homemade BBQ sauce. As I took bite after bite of my slice, I tried to decipher anything other than the 3 ingredients; Chicken, cheese and BBQ Sauce…and I could not. The seasoned bits of diced chicken combined with the smokey, hickory BBQ sauce is all this slice needs to get the thumbs up. I was most impressed with LaScala’s take on a rather common and easily forgettable dish.

I walked into LaScala’s on a 16 hour empty stomach and 2 slices later I was completely and utterly satisfied. I venture into this part of the city probably 2-3 days of my work week. Rest assured, I’ll be stopping off at LaScala’s again in the near future for another stab at their Margerita pie. This newcomer has the potential to make it to our “Best of 2012” list.

Plichter:

As far back as I can remember, there hasn’t been any REALLY decent pizza around CCP. My friends used to live on Green Street right around the corner, so City View and Brandywine Pizza were pretty much the only two options for pizza in walking distance (and neither of which were impressive). Brandywine’s pizza was always super greasy, messy, and doughy. City View was a little better, but that doesn’t say much either. So it was definitely overdue for a legit pizzeria to open in the area. Enter: Pronto.

Pronto definitely caught my eye when I happened to be passing by 15th and Spring Garden on my lunch break. You could tell just by looking at it that they weren’t your run of the mill pizzeria. I immediately pulled over and knew this would be my lunch destination. With probably about eight different slice pies available, the vast options were more than Brandywine or City View could compete with. A slice of the Marg and BBQ Chicken seemed to be in order since they were both close to perfect looking. The Marg slice had such a thin crust and saucy base that it resembled a fine tomato pie, with sliced mozzarella delicately placed on various regions. Considering the past few Marg pies I’ve had were laden with mozzarella, the tomato sauce really popped at Pronto because of the sparing use.

The BBQ Chicken slice was equally as praiseworthy, with diced bits of chicken in each and every bite I took. Although the tangy BBQ sauce wasn’t really impressive, the abundance of chicken made up for it. But I truly believe that both pies were made so much better by the thin and crispy crust. The only drawback was that since I ordered from the slice pies, they weren’t reheated thoroughly enough. That being the case, I can only imagine how much a fresh Marg from there would taste. If you’re into a good thin crust pie in the area, look no further than Pronto. Don’t waste your time with the garbage in the CCP cafeteria.