Saturday, December 27, 2008

East Coast Pizza

East Coast Pizza located in Chesterfield Valley has been around for several years. It is a family owned and operated pizza joint. Their Menu states they are from Philly and New York and that they lived in New Jersey for years. The Philly influence is seen in their menu with items like TastyKake's for dessert and Amoroso Bakery rolls for their sandwiches, both famous Philadelphia landmarks.

East Coast Pizza is what I would call a full service pizza joint. They have everything; soups, salads, appetizers, pizza, calzone - stromboli, hot & cold sandwiches, dinners and desserts. You can get your pizza by the slice or whole pie. They have hand tossed and Chicago style crust with homemade red sauce, you can also get both crust as White Pizza (mozzarella cheese, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese).

For me it was the usual hand tossed crust with pepperoni, meatballs, ham and onions. Leena my reviewing apprentice ordered a slice of cheese pizza. First thing you notice is the crust is a bit thinner and crispier than what you might find at other New York style pizzerias in the area. The crust still needs support when hot though. Next is that the meatballs are no longer in the form of meatballs, but more of a seasoned finely ground beef. The pepperonis were not overly spicy, the ham was thinly slice and the onion's were chopped. The cheese is of course Mozzarella. The toppings were all fresh with good taste. The sauce was a bit on the mild side. The cheese pizza could have used a little more cheese in my book (yes I was allowed one small bite), but was well liked by my 5 year old apprentice.

Overall the pizza was quite good. Not necessarily at the top of my list, but it passes the "Would I pay for it again" test. In fact East Coast Pizza is on my list for a few return visits as I need to try the White Pizza, the Philly Cheese Steak (their from Philly so it's got to be good right?) and I have yet to sample the TastyKake's. East Coast Pizza is located at 17304 Chesterfield Airport Rd at Boone's Crossing in the Vally. You can reach them at (636) 536-7888, for more information check out their web-site(click on the title link).



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pizza House, Merrill's Pizza or...

The phone rings, when I answer it's my contact. "How many do you want? I need to know by tomorrow". My reply as always is "I can do three, let me know when they are ready". Let me set the record straight right here, I said contact and that would be my pizza contact, not my drug dealer.

To make a long story short, this review starts in the early 70's, and if you read my earlier post you will have read a bit about the Pizza House and my humble beginnings in the world of pizza. So in the beginning (1970's) there was the Pizza House, next came Merrill's Pizza (mid 80's), the short lived McKenisey Junction steak house (late 90's early 00's) that sold more pizza than steak, until the new highway came along. When McKenisey Junction was closed we (Pizza House fans, I'm not alone) thought that was the end, but as you can see from the photo above we were wrong. I don't know who's idea it was, Merrill's (chief pizza maker and all around good guy) or a fan, but with in a year's time word spread Merrill would be making pizza again. The way it works is, Merrill goes down his phone list asking how many they want and telling them when the pizza's will be ready. Ever since his phone list has grown, he makes something like 800 pizza's a session. My contact and I are small time, combined we may order up to 10 pizza's. Once the call comes in I have about 2 weeks to plan the 6 hour round trip to pickup my pizza's. My 3 pies will last about 4-5 weeks, with the first gone within 2-3 days.

Once the pizza's are in my freezer, I'm only 20 minutes away from 35 years ago. Preheat the oven to 450, place the pizza directly on the middle rack and cook for 15 minutes, put it in the pizza box, cut it into 8 pieces, and close the box and let it rest for a few minutes. When you open the box it's just like you walked in the house from the pizza joint, if you really want the proper experience sit in your car with the pizza for 10 minutes (if you can last that long). I'm a creature of habit, so this is the same pizza we would order back in the day. Back then it was a Spartan Special with hamburger, today it's pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and hamburger. Starting at the bottom, the crust is thin, but not so thin it can't hold up whats on top, the edge is almost crunchy. I believe the crust has evolved since the early days, but it's been so long that I can's say which is better. The sauce is thick and not over spiced, it's spread around in just the right amount. The cheese is "100% Real Mozzarella Cheese" and what ever you do don't ask for extra cheese, Thats a whole other story. The Canadian bacon is the real thing, not just sliced ham, the pepperonis bight back just the right amount, and the hamburger comes from a local butcher shop. I have to make myself stop eating without some strong will power I will power through the whole 14inch pizza, and not realize what I've done. When I hear the word Pizza this is what pops into my mind.

At this point I would normally give you some contact information, but I have none to give. Even if I did have a phone number or email address I probably wouldn't give it out, as it may get me stricken from the next round of pizza's. If you aren't in Merrill's phone book you are out of luck, that includes me as I rely on an intermediary. So for those in the know (you know who you are) I highly recommend Merrill's One Man Pizza Show. for the rest of you to bad...

Highly Recommended.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dewey's Pizza

Dewey's Pizza has been in St Louis for a few years and more specifically in Kirkwood since 2005. Dewey's Pizza is a small chain (16 locations) that was started in Cincinnati in the spring of 1998. My first taste of Dewey's Pizza was a year or two ago in Kirkwood, since that time I have made a few visits. Today was a Family gathering of 9 people, so I did the half & half routine. We went to the Ellisville location, arriving around 5:30 and had to wait 30-40 minutes. It was a packed house.

I started off the meal with a Peppercorn Ranch salad, it and the Caesar salad are the only 2 salads that don't start with the words "field greens". All of the salads come dressed and mine was no exception, the romaine lettuce had a light coating of peppercorn ranch dressing, just enough shaved Parmesan, and plenty of fresh tomatoes and red onions, not to mention the bacon.

We ordered 5 types of pizza, but I was only able to try 3 of them. Starting with mine and Akiko's, we ordered Half "Socrates Revenge" which included olive oil, minced garlic, mozzarella-fontina blend, spinach, black olives, green olives, feta cheese, red onions, and tomatoes. I had one piece and it wasn't bad, due to all of the olives it was a bit salty, but hay I've had worse. It falls under the if somebody else is paying I'd eat it. My half was... you guessed it, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, red onions and meat balls. As with the meat ball pizza I have had else where they are cooked and sliced prior to hitting the pizza. Starting at the bottom, the hand tossed crust is probably the best I've ever had, it's a bit on the soft side so you have to use 2 hands for that first bite or two, after that it holds up well. the edged of the crust looks like it has had a stick of butter rubbed across it once the pizza came out of the oven, and it tastes even better than it looks. Moving up one level, the sauce has a spicy bite to it and the very young may not like it. I could do with just a tad less sauce myself, not because of the spiciness, I just like my pie a bit dry. The toppings are all excellent, especially the meatballs. The flavors just melt in your mouth. A most excellent Pizza.

We all so had a Cheese pizza for the younger members of the group, and yes it had the same spicy red sauce as mentioned above, and yes the youngest member complained. There was a "Edgar Allan Poe" on the table as well it includes olive oil, mozzarella-fontina blend, mushrooms, roasted garlic (large whole cloves), kalamata olives and goat cheese, with fresh tomatoes and parsley after the bake. I was unable to sample the Edgar, but Akiko said it was a bit on the garlicky side.

Lastly we had a sausage, meatball and mushroom pizza. I did get a chance to sample it and it was very good. The sausage was very good, it was of the link variety and had been sliced prior to going on the pizza. The mushrooms were fresh, not a topping I would order my self as I'm a canned mushroom kind of person.

Dewey's Pizza leans towards the High Class sort of pizza joint that I'm not really into, but as I said in the beginning they have some of the BEST pizza around. I personal prefer to get it to go so that I don't have the long wait on a table and it lets the pizza attain the ideal eating temperature on the ride home. In the end you really can't go wrong with a Dewey's Pizza. Check out their web site for a location near you (click on the title above).

Highly Recommended.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pizzarelli's Pizzeria

As I sit at the kitchen table and put my thoughts to words, I'm enjoying my Pizzarelli pizza for the 4th time. The first was Sunday evening, then Monday and Tuesday morning for breakfast and finely Tuesday night for supper.
Because the whole family is home I don't get to order pizza very often and must make the most of it when I do, hence the multiply feasting on a single pizza.

Pizzarelli's Pizzeria located at 15858 Manchester Road in Ellisville is locally owned and operated and is what I would call my local favorite. It's only 3 stop lights east on Manchester from home. It is by far the best pizza that close to home. They offer the big 3 Dine-in, Carry-out, and Delivery. The dine-in option is limited, and I would suggest you carry out or have you pie delivered. The dine-in ambiance is that of a busy take-out and delivery pizza joint, seating is limited and there is not a lot of time spent in the upkeep of the dining area, as they are all busy making pizza's for carry out and delivery.

The Pizza, you have three choices, New York Style (round hand toss), Chicago Style (thin & crispy) and Deep Dish. Before we go any further I have to discuss the "Chicago Style", living in St Louis for the past 20 plus years I know that "Chicago Style" is not thin and crispy as their menus states but that St Louis Style is thin and crispy, but it's not my pizza joint and they can call it what ever they like. I'm a New York Style Pizza kinda of person anyway so the semantics's don't really matter to me.

For me it's my current favorite, New York crust with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, meat balls, and onions. If I was feeling my oats I would have them put some anchovies on half, but not this time. As far as the toppings go the only thing I would like to see different is Red Onions as an option. By the time I get home (just three stop lights) the pizza has cooled off just a little and is the perfect temperature ( the cheese will stretch a bit but you can bite it in two). There is just the right amount of pepperonis, the sliced meatballs are seasoned just right, the Canadian bacon is the real thing (at least real for those of us south of the border), and the small slice to big hunk of onion. I can't forget to mention the generous helping of mozzarella cheese. The pizza just melt in your mouth, If I was home alone I probably wouldn't stop eating until the whole pizza was gone it's that good in my book. If you are in the neighborhood you ought to give them a try, call ahead @ (636) 394-0094.

Highly Recommended!

The pizza is now all gone so I guess it's time to shut up. GAW

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Katies Pizzeria Clayton, MO.

Katies Pizzeria is located about half a block east and across Clayton road from the Esquier Theater. The menu is what I would call FUFU food, its a bit hard for me to explain you either know what I'm talking about or you are one. Their wine list took up more space on the menu than all the food combined.

You have only ten choices for pizza, unlike the infinite combination's you can come up with at a more traditional American pizza joint. I choose the Fingerling Potatoes, Parsnips, Pancetta, Parmiggiano, Onion, and Rosemary it was about 12 inch's and cost $16. I choose this pizza because I know that Pancetta is a bit like bacon, and how can you go wrong with fat salty meat? Right? Outside of the Pancetta it was way out side my comfort zone, but I wasn't ordering my last meal so a little daring I was. I'm not sure if it was the Fingerling Potatoes or the Parsnips as I don't recall having eaten either item in the past, but the pizza had a very unusual flavor all most sour. It wasn't bad by any means just unusual. My dining companions ordered the Italian Market Vegetable Chop Salad which had shaved fennel, carrot, zucchini, shaved parmigiano, pine nuts, cannellini beans, and was tossed with lemon balsamic dressing ($9). They also ordered the Salami, Onion, Crushed Red Pepper, Kalamata Olives, and Fresh Mozzarella pizza ($16). Their pizza was more to my liking than my own. Would I dine at Katies Pizzeria again? Sure, but hopefully on somebody elses dime. GAW
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Pizza World Maplewood, MO.

Pizza World is a small chain of pizza restaurants based in Collinsville, IL. They have resturants in 6 states and from my recollections have been around the St Louis area for 10+ years. I have had pizza from Pizza World on several occasions in the past, but those locations are no longer open. I worked in Brentwood today and I didn't take my lunch (out of bread, no really...), I was surprised when Pizza World was one of the places that delivered. Nobody eles wanted pizza for lunch so I held out until my workday was done. I placed an ordered togo and was told it would be ready in 30mins. When I got there the pizza wasn't ready, they had forgot to make it, so I got a free drink and a deep discount. I wasn't in a hurry to get any where and 3:30pm is a bit early to order pizza anyway. I wasn't even half way through the RFT when my pie was ready to go. Yes it was a Pepperoni, Meatball, Canadian Bacon, and Red Onion pizza on a hand tossed crust. It takes me about 45 min to an 1 hour to get home and that puts the pizza just about the perfect temperature in my opinion. It was a very pleasant experience when the first slice hit the taste buds. It was rather hard to not eat the whole pie, but I was feeling a bit lazy so I saved half to lunch on Tuesday. It was worth every penny I paid, I would have gladly paid full price it. GAW

And then there was the Pizza files.

The green chile parade being over, I figure I will start chapter 2, something close to home and close to my mid section. The Pizza Files. I've always loved pizza for as long as I can remember. As a small child pizza was a group thing, if we had pizza it was usally 3 or 4 familys together sometimes at the pizza place sometimes the guys went and picked up. It always came from the Pizza House on the south side of Moberly, MO. 35 years and I still vividly remember the taste and texture of the pizza not to mention the interior of restaurant. The Pizza House has been gone for almost 25 years now.

1984 I was sixteen and I had a 1973 Super Beetle with god only knows how many miles on it. It was the perfect car to deliver pizza's in, so thats what I did. I started out as a delivery "BOY" and when I quite on Christmas Eve 1986 I was the assistant manager. In the 2 1/2 years I worked there I became the best pizza maker the Pizza Works had ever seen, and I learned a very good lesson. That lesson was that I prefered to eat pizza than to make it.

Those two pizza joints enfluenced my tastes in pizza to this day. At the Pizza House I started with good old pepperoni, and as I matured the Spartan Special became my prefered pie (the Spartans were the local high school team, the pizza had pepperoni, hamburger, and Canadian bacon). While working at the Pizza Works my palette expanded again. I came to enjoy the BJ special... One of the owners was Bruce Johnson and it was his creation hence the name. I still order it on the rare occasion when I visit Pizza Works. The BJ special consist of the usual, crust, sauce, cheese and a light sprinkling of sausage pellets (yes pellets don't know what they were make of), pepperoni, onions and finally a liberal shake of parmasan cheese before in the oven.

Today my pizza should have pepperoni, meatballs, Canadian bacon, and red onions. I shouldn't have to mention it, but Mozzarella is the only proper cheese for pizza. Hand tossed crust is also called for. Please don't think I'm a pizza snob, but if I'm paying thats what I'm getting. I like all pizza and if your buying I'll eat it even if it's got green peppers (the most evil of all food).

Yes that is my 1973 VW Super Beetle that I delivered pizza's in. GAW