Monthly Archives: January 2013

Blackbird Pizzeria

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“Blackbird singing in the dead of night.” (courtesy of instagram user becky_ws)

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Chalky white

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Men you

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“The Funghi” A.K.A “The Fun Guy”

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“The Haymaker”

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No animals were harmed in the making of these pies.

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The Seitan Pepperoni

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Not ‘cho nacho

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“All vegan and no meat make John go something something.”

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Poppin’ my vegan cherry.

Blackbird Pizzeria

507 S. 6th Street (between Lombard and South)

Castro:

Let me set the record straight before I even get this next review off the ground. I love meat. I adore meat. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy devouring things that were once alive and innocently grazing this lovely planet. The only thing better than eating meat is eating meat with another side of meat. Over the last 19 months, Plichter and I have consumed countless slices of pizza smothered in glorious shards of seared animal flesh. The one thing that we’ve neglected is a vegan pizza. It’s actually kind of selfish, because I can totally picture the animal friendly community reading our posts and disregarding anything the doughboys have to say…but then again, doesn’t everybody? I gotta hand it to them though. Those who practice these dietary ideals have mad heart. No chocolate milk? No rib eye steaks? No taco bell doritos locos tacos?! Y’all got some issues.

Blackbird pizzeria opened their doors for business a block north of 6th and South about 2 years ago. Apparently the need for an establishment which caters to the pizza needs of the Philly area “veganites” is in high demand. And why shouldn’t it be? Pizza is the best, with or without animal by-products. At first glance of their menu, you can tell that they’ve put some serious time and thought into perfecting their starting line up of pizzas. Blackbird is owned and operated by fellow veganites, who live and die by this lifestyle. They only utilize ingredients that they’d like to see on something that they themselves would eat. Throw them a “like” on Facebook and you can get advance notice on some killer “limited time only” pies. I just missed out on a buffalo chicken, mushroom and habanero pepper pie called “The chicken in the woods”. I’d do terrible random acts of violence for just a little sample of that pie.

Today, I decided on 2 of Blackbird’s top sellers. The first was “The Haymaker”. It’s a 12″ pizza brushed with garlic butter on the crust. Then it’s topped with “daiya cheese”, which is made from cassava root and arrow root. Sounds pretty unappetizing, right? Think again. Even though it’s made from various plant roots, it’s consistency was strikingly similar to fresh mozzarella. Add some red onion, fresh oregano and red sauce. Herein lies my problem. The sauce was extremely thick, almost like a tomato paste. I’m not sure if this is a vegan thing or not but I really wasn’t feelin’ it. The seitan sausage was the final addition. It’s basically a “wheat meat” with a blend of spices that gave it an authentic pork taste. I couldn’t tell the difference. I have mixed feelings on this pie. The savory, buttery crust and spicy faux-sage were delicious, but weren’t enough to get me passed the thick vegan pizza sauce.

My second pie choice (and my favorite of the duo) was the “Funghi”. This pie also starts off with a brushing of garlic butter. Then a handful of truffle oil mozzarella style “daiya cheese” is scattered throughout. Followed by some fresh thyme and then it’s polished off with 8 different types of mushrooms (including shitakes and white truffles) that are imported from a single local mushroom grower. I’m a huge fan of fresh ‘shrooms on pizza…and I stress “FRESH”. I cannot stand when pizza joints pop the lid off of a can of generic mushrooms and dump them on their pies. It’s sacreligious to the fullest. All the different tastes and textures from the various mushrooms were perfect. When I asked for a sprinking of grated parmesan cheese to add some flavor, I was told they have something called “nutritional yeast” which alot of people substitute for the cheesy topping. The name is extremely awkward but it worked really well. The “Funghi” was a home run.

All in all, this was an extremely informative visit to this mysterious and meatless lifestyle. I knew absolutely nothing about veganism before walking through the doors. It gave me a better understanding about what they stand for. Having said all that, I think that I’ll stick with my double bacon and extra cheese pizzas when I’m craving the almighty wonder that is ‘za.

Plichter:

After King Lorenzo died, many places in the South Street area have been eyeing up a very prestigious position. Who exactly has the best pizza in the Bella Vista area of Philly? Stella? Nomad? The torch has to be passed on to someone, and Blackbird has officially thrown their hat into the ring.

Over the past couple months, I’ve heard nothing but great things about this strictly vegan pizzeria right off of South Street. A self proclaimed foodie, I was a bit skeptical at first. I mean, I have plenty of vegan and vegetarian friends. But honestly, I think most of their meatless food substitutes taste like crap. Blackbird unjustifiably had its work cut out for them.

I walked in, took a gander at the slice pies, and immediately knew I had to have the Nacho Pizza. I don’t know how vegan cheese is made or what’s in it, but the cheddar Daiya cheese on this thing looked like straight up radioactive orange nacho cheese. (After a little research, Daiya is made from cassava and arrowroot, and is a much healthier alternative to traditional cheese.) Topped with avocado, caramelized onions and jalapeno peppers, this was honestly one of the most impressive slices of pizza I’ve ever had. Again, since my expectations for vegan pizza were exceptionally low, I was thoroughly impressed.

Next up was the slice of seitan pepperoni. A meatless substitute, seitan is a wheat gluten that’s an alternative to soybean-based products such as tofu. The uneducated would probably mistake it for sliced steak meat, or maybe even leather. It’s not exactly pleasing to the eye to say the least. It was grey and dry looking, but had an interestingly spicy taste to it. It won’t be my first topping of choice in the future, but it’s worth a try.

Personally, I believe that humans are natural carnivores. But if I had to live in a world without meat, Blackbird would be my restaurant of choice. While you’re there, be sure to try some of their natural sodas as well. But do yourself a favor and get that nacho pizza before you do anything else.

Trios Tomato Pie

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Trios in the light

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Straight cookin’ pies

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Sausage, Pepperoni, Prosciutto and Plichter

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The stylin’ and profilin’ hawaiian

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Pineapples? on pizza?! Now I’ve seen everything…

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A terrible twosome

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He put away 9 squares

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Gimme dat, gimme dat, gimme dat cheese.

Trios Tomato Pie

402 Easton Road. Glenside, PA.

Castro:

I’m super excited and honored to write this review for Trios Tomato Pie. Back in late 2011, we visited “Trios Trattoria” in Northern Liberties. They fixed us some damn good pizza. So good that it finessed it’s way onto our best slice of the year list. In early 2012, Trios opened a sister location on Easton road in Glenside, not far from 611. Trios’ Facebook page reached out to us and extended an invitation for the boys to stop in for a few pies. How could we pass up an opportunity to destroy another fine creation from the imagination of Trios?! Their Glenside location managed to snatch some prime real estate on Easton Road, which somewhat reminds me of the fictional Main Street from the movie “Pleasantville”. A perfect, quaint little spot to grab a slice of ‘za in town. The interior is completely modernized. Wall-to-wall glossy hardwood floors lined with a handful of posh tables, enough for roughly 20 hungry patrons to enjoy an intimate dining experience. I absolutely loved the self serve Coke refrigerator, stocked with 50’s style glass bottled Coca Cola. Right away, I noticed that their pizza by the slice was identical to the pizza that I adore from “Trios Trattoria”. I knew from the rip that this was gonna be a killer Sunday lunch.

As I reviewed the menu, I was smitten that they offer a Hawaiian pizza. Since the birth of the doughboys, we have yet to sample a Polynesian pie. What immediately caught my eye was that instead of the same old pineapple and ham toppings that’s been done thousands of times before, Trios scratches the ham and opts for some crispy bacon strips instead. That alone was enough to seal the deal for this pizza. However, It was the freshly diced pineapple that really deserves some blog action. The explosion of sweet and fruity juices from the pineapple totally complimented the salt and crunch from the bacon. It’s almost sexy the way it hits you at first bite, like a chocolate covered strawberry or some sea salt caramel. This pie just wouldn’t be the same if the crust and handle weren’t as thin as they were. I just kept eating and eating like a big, stupid dog who doesn’t realize that he’s full.

The “Meat Lover’s” idea was all Plichter’s doing for a secondary pie. It wasn’t tickling my fancy right away, but after I read that it was smothered in sausage, pepperoni AND prosciutto, I just had to add it to this review. A truly tasty threesome of succulent pork products that would have any vegetarian cringe in disbelief. The sweet sausage had a little zing to it, but my favorite part of this pie were the fatty pieces of cured prosciutto; an aged meat that definitely should make an appearance on more menus. It’s the only meat that’ll be delightfully delectable come it’s 2 year birthday. Believe me, the meat sweats are very real, and I experienced them after putting away 9 slices between these two powerhouse pizzas.

The Trios family of restaurants never ceases to amaze me. You can be assured that a visit to any of their 4 locations within Philly and the surrounding areas will surely end with top notch service, one of the cleanest dining areas you’ll ever lay eyes on and a belly full of some truly fantastic pizzas. I walked away wondering why more places can’t take notes of the success that Trios has had over the last few years. Keep banging out those killer pies, guys!!

Plichter:

I would expect any affiliate of Trios Pizzeria & Trattoria to serve up the same quality as the one I first visited at 4th and Girard many years ago. The original location was my go to place whenever I was at the Fire across the street. So when we were invited to visit their second location in Glenside, they had a lot to live up to.

In my opinion, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than watching a Flyers game and stuffing your face with pizza. Sure enough, the game was on the television as we entered. (Good start.) The last time I had a Hawaiian pizza had been ages ago, and since I should start incorporating more fruit into my diet in 2013, this was an easy first choice. And to counteract the pineapple from the first pie, going with a meat lovers only seemed natural.

Personally, I always advise whoever visits Trios to go with the thin square pies. Not that there’s anything wrong with their round pies, I just personally prefer the thin crust of the squares. The white Hawaiian pizza blended a mix of sweet pineapple, salty ham, and robust garlic. It was, in all honesty, one of the best Hawaiian pizzas I’ve ever had. And although I usually don’t order the Hawaiian often, I think I’ll reconsider from now on if I’m at Trios. Now the toppings of the  meat lovers were the standard, but their delicious sausage stood out as the primary flavor of the pie. Sometimes a meat lovers can be a little too much for some. So if you’re adventurous enough, go for it. But if you had to pick just one meat  topping, def go with the sausage.

Trios, to this day, has never let me down. Whether you’re at 4th and Girard or in Glenside, you can expect the same great quality and taste.

Margherita Pizzeria

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Misspelling? Or hilarious rhyming pun?

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First pies of the day.

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Peppy and Mark Buffalo

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Globs of cheese are the best kinds of cheese.

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Working on my lunch break.

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“Don’t mind me…just taking a lil’ selfie.”

Margherita Pizzeria
60 S. 2nd Street (2nd and Chestnut)

Castro:
2nd Street, between Market and Chestnut, is a general hub-bub of activity during the infamous Olde City nightlife. There’s plenty to keep busy with down there, especially on a cold Friday night in January. In a 1 block radius, I counted at least 10 notorious bars where you can surely tie a killer load on. The only obvious thing to accomplish once said load has been successfully tied on would be to stick something greasy in your mouth. What better way to accommodate such a craving than with a giant slice of delicious pizza. The fact that “Margherita” stays open well past last call guarantees you an early a.m grease fix. I remember playing some wrestling quizzo a few years ago at “Drinkers” and getting destroyed by a bunch wrestling nerds. Margherita Pizzeria would have been a clutch move on my part after that evening of demolishing $1.50 high lifes and making jokes about Chris Benoit.

When you read the window decal on the front door, you’ll be inclined to notice that it distinctly says “Margheria Pizzeria”. A Google search clearly states their name is “Margherita Pizzeria.” Honestly, I could care less if it’s a typo, if the Internet is wrong or it’s just their attempt at some confusing nursery rhymage. I simply found it hilarious enough to include in this review. Anyway, depending on what your inner fat kid is telling you to get, “MARGHERITA” has a huge selection of slices to choose from. I wanted to splurge and sample either the meat lovers or the 4 cheese. I decided to keep it real with the original gangsta of pizza, pepperoni, and a slice of juicy buffalo chicken. Pretty standard choices that almost every pizza joint should readily have on deck. If they don’t, then they’re doing something wrong.

Both pies were freshly blasted out of the oven, since I stopped in as soon as they unlocked their doors for the business day. Superb handle. Extra crispy. Medium style thickness on the crust. So far so good. The pepperoni was fairly decent. Perfect ratio of grease glaze from the cured meat. It wasn’t a slice that I couldn’t get from any other pizza place, but they did it up well. The buffalo chicken was the better of the two picks. I was really in the mood for some wings when I stopped through. The buffalo sauce they incorporated in their pie was better than most wing places use. It had just the right amount of kick. A lot of places generally use bigger chunks of chicken on this style pizza, which bothers the shit out of me. Margherita walks the road less travelled and uses finely chopped chicken instead. Definitely goes down a lot smoother.

All in all, the pizza was fairly good; but it’s nothing that I’d make a big stink about. It’s clean, open really late and serves up a product that won’t hurt your pocket after you stumble out of the blue martini at 2 am. If you’re in the area, stop in and drop a $2 bill on a slice, y’all. However, don’t waste your gas strictly for the pizza.

Plichter:

I’d like to state for the record that this is the second review I had to write for Margherita Pizzeria, after my first review didn’t save (for some reason).

Margherita Pizzeria certainly wouldn’t be my first choice for pizza when around 2nd Street. With Soho putting out some of the best pies in the city, I’d almost always take my business there. But on this particular day, I stumbled upon Margherita Pizzeria when walking down Chestnut Street. It was far past my lunchtime and the place looked legit, so I figured why not?

Be forewarned that Margherita doesn’t take debit cards, so make sure you bring cash unless you wanna pay four bucks at the ATM across the street. After finding this out the hard way, I scoped out the six different slice pies and settled on the buffalo chicken, and the margherita. I’ve had quite a few buffalo chicken slices in my day, which usually feature hefty chunks of chicken that fall off the slice the moment you bite into it. Margherita uses chopped, buffalo chicken cheesesteak meat, which is firmly held in place by the mozzarella cheese. It also seems to have been sitting in the buffalo sauce before hand, instead of just being topped with it at the end. The result is a slice that delivers big buffalo taste without the mess.

Next up was the margherita slice, which I knew I had to have when I saw how saucy the bastard was. With such a thin crust, I was amazed that they were able to fit so much sauce atop without compromising the sturdiness. After eating so many specialty pizzas as of late, I was long overdue for such a tomato topped treat. The heaps of mozzarella sat like islands in a sea of red, awaiting to be devoured. I was pleasantly surprised.

Margherita Pizzeria was good. There’s no better way to put it than that. Would I go out of my way to get it again? Probably not. But if I’m right there and it’s lunch time, I’ll give it another go. Odds are though that I’ll walk myself down to Soho for a slice of their BBQ pizza.