Tag Archives: pizza

Blue(grass) Balls.

For more than a decade, when I’ve heard the Mermaid Avenue version of Woodie Guthrie’s “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key,” I’ve thought that the word were “Way over yonder in the monarchy. Ain’t nobody that can sing like me.” In my mind, Natalie Merchant was folksily letting us all know, without a trace of arrogance, that she can sing better than pretty much all of the Queen’s people.

This is all a preamble to what were to be the first three words of this post about a meatball.

Way over yonder where Worthington meets Clintonville, there’s a new pizza shop that showcases bluegrass music and coal-fired pizza. Coal. Bluegrass. Sounds like the Ohio river moved a couple hours west and joined us in Columbus. I haven’t spent enough time at this place, but I think that I will like it.

This is a 4-inch meatball covered in tomato sauce, a little Parmesan cheese and some flat leaf parsley for a little color. It cost $6.25 and was their special for the evening. (I love that the special was a single ball of meat and not, say, a coal-fired pizza.) Our server said that they kept running out, that the kitchen was in constant production of giant meatballs.

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Mom & Pop Pizza.

I spend a good portion of my professional energy trying to make sure that the image of my place of employment doesn’t come across as “mom and pop.” I remove misspelled signs, try to explain correct apostrophe use to the employees and try (but often fail) to guide uniform standards that not only look clean and sleek, but are also actually worn by the staff. Ironic, then, that my favorite pizza joint in Columbus is full of wrinkles, inconsistencies and oddities. (Though, I must say, no spelling errors or misuse of apostrophes. Cheers, guys!)

Bono Pizza is a restaurant on the side of a beer and wine carryout off of Chambers Road in Grandview. The plates (usually) don’t match, there are no uniforms and the only part of a Bono trip that is consistent from time to time is excellent wood-fired pizza. I’ve already sung the praises of co-owner Peggy Yerkes, but in honor of Pizza Week at Itinerant Foodies, I’ve decided to focus on the place, itself.

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Saintly Pies.

In August, the stars were in alignment: My sister was getting ready to begin a course in makeup application for stage, film, fashion, and the like at Ealing Studios in southeast London, and our mother was heading over to help her get settled and to see a bit of the city. I had some downtime at work, and you don’t need to ask me twice about putting another stamp in my passport. I bit the bullet, charged the exorbitantly priced ticket to my credit card, and began counting down the days ’til I could flee the country.

I didn’t arrive in England expecting to find a decent pie. It would be somewhat counterintuitive to travel from New York, a well-established pizza Mecca, to the home of fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and pub grub, with such a goal in mind—the thought never occurred to me, until the traditional Neapolitan-style pizza at Santa Maria sought me out, exceeding expectations I didn’t even know I had.

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Pizza Harvest.

I’m not sure how folks mark the change from summer to autumn outside of Columbus, Ohio. The season is thrust upon us (whether or not the weather wants to cooperate) with the emergence of football season. Love it or hate it, high school and college football games become the center of my culture. And with the games come a new type of seasonal eating: pizza. This week, Maya and I are celebrating this any-season-but-best-in-autumn dish on Itinerant Foodies. Expect a little controversy (she’s very particular on what constitutes a “correct” pizza) and some zesty prose on this all-American favorite.

As a foodie in Columbus, I’m spoiled; rarely do I have to wait for a seat in my favorite restaurants. I did not fully realize this until I visited Harvest Pizzeria in German Village. While it’s typical for eateries in this part of the city to be filled to the brim, I was faced with such a wide demographic of eaters that one of two things must be true: either Columbus is starting to appreciate local fare or German Village is extremely hungry (pardon the pun) for a solid pizzeria.

The concept behind Harvest Pizzeria is simple: wood fired specialty pizzas are made with local ingredients and served alongside classic cocktails and salads in a hip and bustling atmosphere. In short, this is not a Friday Night Pizza Joint filled with preteens — or pre-made sauces. It’s quite the opposite. The drinks and dishes are designed for adults. And that heavenly tomato sauce? It’s made by hand from home grown tomatoes.

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Behind The Scenes: Peggy Yerkes.

This winter, I took a few minutes to interview Peggy Yerkes from Bono Pizza for a series of interviews that I’ve sort of been afraid to publish. Procrastination, ya know. For months afterwards, I’d go into the restaurant and Bill would chastise me, “Every time I go to Itinerant Foodies, I don’t see my wife.” Thus, I came to a crossroads: either post the piece or avoid the restaurant. The latter seemed too ridiculous an option, so I present the first of our interview series: Behind The Scenes.

There are several reasons I love going to Bono Pizza. Their wood-fired pizzas are the best in Columbus and the BYOB policy is quite nice. But more and more, I find that I want to go see Peggy. It’s no secret that Bill and Peggy Yerkes are the incredible team holding Grandview’s pizza-shop-within-a-convenience-store together. While Bill works the back of house (in a figurative sense; the place is too small to have much of a conventional restaurant feel), Peggy takes charge of the front of house customer service operations. Her duties go far beyond the typical chores of taking orders, seating guests and making change; Peggy will also lend out books, introduce any unique or strange customer to everyone in the ten-seater restaurant, and has been known to chase down young ladies in her parking lot to procure phone numbers for (startled) gentlemen regulars. Peggy is the unconventional matron of this unconventional restaurant; in short, she fits in perfectly.

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Friday Night Pies.

On any given Friday night, all across the United States, pizza places are packed with teenagers or families, all basking in the fluorescent glow of family-owned shops whose servers and pie-makers’ single short-term goal is to simply feed the masses and do it quickly.

Drink orders are placed and pizza toppings are decided upon and the waiting begins. Patrons subconsciously keep track of which tables were there first, and whether they’ve received their pies. As each pizza gets delivered from the oven to tabletop, those without get hungrier and hungrier. And the phone never ceases to ring with competing orders from folks at home.

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Pizza, Eventually.

I wish I could claim to be an early adopter, but I’ve never managed to be on the cutting edge of much of anything. It’s one of the many downsides to procrastination: Typically, by the time I get around to picking up on the latest, greatest thing, the cool crowd is on to something else. Fortunately for me and my bad habits, though, there are a few items that defy the average food-trend lifespan. Burgers. Bacon. Pizza.

I love a slice as much as the next New Yorker: I’ve put in time waiting on line at Grimaldi’s and Lombardi’s and coughed up the dough (hee) for a pie at the late (overpriced) Una Pizza Napoletana, but I hadn’t begun to delve into the offerings of city’s newer artisans until recently. Only a year or three late, I finally got around to trying out Motorino.

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Justify My Love (for Bacon).

A recent episode of No Reservations that featured two Columbus restaurants (as a part of a fly-over country episode) had me thinking: where in Columbus would I take an East Coast foodie to show off my city’s culinary prowess? When Maya comes to town, we typically spend at least one day in my kitchen. But if we were to do five straight days of Columbus eating (with complete disregard to cash and calories), for one of those days, we’d end up at Yellow Brick Pizza.

One of several new unique pizza places throughout the city, Yellow Brick Pizza is definitely a place where Maya and I could get into trouble. With a giant beer list paired with a pizza topped entirely with green stuff, the place hands out justification for overindulgence on an aluminum tray. Go ahead, order another beer. The pizza is healthy.

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Pie for Breakfast.

I have a shameful, shameful confession to make.

Almost exactly one year ago to date, I went on record to proclaim my newfound love of homemade pizza; I even bragged about the acquisition of a peel and a stone, promising more experimentation in my near future. Would you believe that it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I finally got around to my second-ever pizza-making attempt?

Ahem. Of course you would.

April’s been a travel-filled month at Casa IF-NY: Prior to my trip to the Philippines (yes, stories and pictures to come soon, we promise), the Carnivore spent a week in Trinidad, making up for our aborted Carnival excursion with a spring-break getaway. His early morning return to Brooklyn provided the perfect excuse for a welcome-back brunch à deux, and, more to the point for our purposes here, the perfect opportunity to try out a bookmarked recipe for breakfast pizza. Bacon, eggs, caramelized shallots, and crunchy, fresh-green garnishes? What’s not to love?

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Delicious Dilemma.

This, my friends, is a story about a moral dilemma, a once in oh, let’s say a quarter lifetime dining experience and, finally, some damn good pizza.

Two days after I returned from my trip to New York, I set off again with Baseball Boy for a long weekend in Arizona. We’d scored a free place to stay where Scottsdale ends and Cave Creek begins, just north of Phoenix, and we were looking forward to a break.

When a friend found out that we were going to be in the Phoenix area, he sent me no fewer than 15 reviews for a pizza joint called Pizzeria Bianco, which, conveniently enough, was six minutes from the airport. It was decided; we’d go straight there upon arrival. I only had to read two or three reviews to know that a) this pizza would require a several hour wait and b) it would be worth the wait. Luckily enough, they just happen to operate a bar next door – a nice comfy place to spend money and relax during said wait.

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