Tag Archives: pizza

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Even When Pizza’s Bad, It’s Still Bad

After a debacle of pizza-eating in Gettysburg, PA, my friend Liz shared her friend’s theory about pizza: “Pizza is like sex. Even when it’s bad, it’s good.”

We’re going to have to respectfully disagree. (About the pizza part — the other half of the statement is sort of correct.)

The pizza we ate was abysmal, some of the worst I’ve had the misfortune of tasting.  A mushy, pasty, doughy mess masquerading as crust, sauce that couldn’t have been more than two steps removed from Ragu, limp toppings, and a mountain of goopy cheese that weighed the sad slice down like a cheese avalanche.

I didn’t take any pics, and I don’t even want to say the name of the restaurant, because it feels too mean. I almost thought it’d be funny to post a pic of the slice, but silhouette it out like one of those anonymous interviews you see on Dateline. Believe me, this pizza should remain anonymous.

Shudder. I told Liz we need a pizza reboot, and we’ll just pretend that never happened.

Have you had any truly bad pizza?

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Slices at We, the Pizza

After checking out the cherry blossoms a few weeks ago, my friend Liz and I were looking to grab a bite to eat. We both wanted something casual, and the immediate area around the Mall offers limited options. The solution was an easy one — hop on the Metro at Smithsonian and travel the three stops to Capitol South, where it was a quick walk to We, the Pizza.

Pies on display. You can order whole pies or choose by the slice.

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I haven’t seen too many pizza joints in DC serving by the slice; it’s a nice option, reminiscent of the New York style that I think We, the Pizza is aiming for.

There are toppings galore. You’d have a hard time not finding something to suit your taste.

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Most slices go for $4. Certainly not cheap, but they’re quite large, so you’ll most likely only eat one, or two, max.  They’re popped in the oven to re-heat before being served.

On the left is a slice of wild mushrooms and thyme. On the right, sausage and peppers with basil.

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Crisp crust and very tasty toppings. Especially those mushrooms. Liz liked her slices (one was a Buffalo chicken) quite a bit.

We both left happy. $8 for dinner (not bad for DC), and we caught the cherry blossoms before they all disappeared. I’d say that’s a successful spring night.

We, the Pizza
305 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Washington, DC
202-544-4008

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A Mixed Pizza Bag at Comet Ping Pong

When I tell people I love New Haven pizza, I’m usually met with a blank stare, followed by, “What’s New Haven pizza?”  There are imitators, but to understand what the big deal is, you really have to go to New Haven, CT.  The big deal is that blistered crust… and the clam pie.

Comet Ping Pong does their own version of the New Haven clam pie with the Yalie (Get it — Yalie? New Haven?), but it falls far short of the original.

I’d say I was a little let down by Comet in general.  A recent Friday night resulted in over an hour wait. The pizzas are also rather small — maybe 10″-12″ in diameter?  For $11-$15 a pop, that’s not a whole lot of pie.

The pies we ordered were generally solid — especially the toppings, like the fennel sausage and roasted peppers.

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Nice fresh ricotta, spinach and olives here.

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I believe this was our favorite, with potato, spinach and feta.

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Surprisingly, the crusts look better than they tasted. Not as chewy or crispy as I was expecting. The toppings overly weighted towards the center probably had something to do with that — when the balance is off, the middle can get soggy.

The Yalie is modeled after the famous clam pies of New Haven. Fresh clams, garlic, thyme, parmesan and lemon. When it works, the combo is a marvel. Not as successful here. The clams were severely overcooked; they should have been tender, not tough and chewy. Disappointing, considering this is the pie I was most excited to try.

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Overall, Comet’s doing decent pizza, but there’s large room for improvement, and the Yalie was a definite letdown. I’d like to try Haven Pizzeria in Bethesda as a comparison.  Or maybe I’ll just have to swing by New Haven for the real deal.

Comet Ping Pong
5037 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC
202-364-0404

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Ella’s Meatball and Leek Pizza

As I’ve said before, a city can never have too many pizza restaurants. Bring it on — the more pizza, the better.  The Penn Quarter/Chinatown area has some good options, from Matchbox to District of Pi.  It’s not mind-blowing, pizza-of-the-gods stuff, but you’ll leave satisfied.

Which is how I felt about Ella’s.  The pizza there holds its own, with crispy thinnish crust, interesting toppings, bright sauce and the right amount of cheese.

Here’s one with artichokes.

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And another with meatballs and leeks. Never thought to put leeks on a pizza, but it really works. Kind of a great pairing, actually.

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Ella’s is perfect to hit up before a game at the Verizon Center, before a movie/show, or simply for a weeknight happy hour.  Other people seem to know that too, because it looks like the place can get somewhat crowded.  I guess everyone loves pizza.

Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza
901 F St. NW
Washington, DC
202-638-3434

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VIDEO: Making Pizza Without Tomatoes

Chef Matt Finarelli was the instructor for a bread making class I took at Culinaerie. Not only did we learn a lot, but we took home a boatload of freshly made bread which I savored for weeks.

Chef Finarelli has a new cookbook out called Beyond the Red Sauce: Classic Italian Cooking Without Tomatoes.  I thought it’d be fun to make a video of him demonstrating a few of his recipes. Here’s the result — a video on making your own pizza dough from scratch, plus three pizza recipes using no tomatoes.

And yes, we devoured all three pizzas after filming. Such hardships…