Category Archives: pizza place food
I like pizza. I mean I really like it. A lot. I guess I can be kind of a snob, but knowing what you like isn’t really snobbery, it’s just knowing what you like. I don’t like that Dominos (and Food Service) puffy crust. I also don’t like super dense crust. Oddly. I do like cheap, shitty $1 pizza as well as carnival type pizza (frozen shells). So, as a pizza fan, I am always on the lookout for new and exciting places. I am also always talking to pizza fan and comedian Joe Moore about places we could swap, especially because I am always traveling around doing standup comedy shows.
One day I was chatting with Joe about comedy, not pizza, when someone came over and asked him what his absolute favorite pizza was. He responded without even thinking “Easy. DeLorenzos.”. He went on to tell me that the place used to be in Trenton and it moved to a small town right outside. He could not stress it more: it was perfect. Now, I don’t usually get that far up in Jersey to Trenton, or if I do, I go way past it, up to Princeton or further. But one day I booked a show in Robbinsville. The name of the town looked familiar to me so I ran it by Joe and he verified it, it was the home of De Lorenzo’s.
After my show I literally ran to my car and drove over to De Lorenzo’s. The town of Robbinsville is cute, and everything is mostly new because it all used to be farmland that was just recently developed in the last 10-15 years. De Lorenzo’s sits in a shopping development with lofts over it and central parking in the back (someone actually thought about planning, that’s a nice change).
Inside there are some lovely red booths and white twinkly lights. But I was more interested in the ovens! The ovens, while I do not know if they are original, I believe did come from the old place in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, on Hudson street, where the original place stood for over 60 years. Now in thier 8th year in Robbinsville, the quality still stands.
But enough talk about the past. Let’s talk about the present. I walked into the restaurant and ordered a large pepperoni and homemade meatball pie and a medium pepper and onion pie. And then I had to drive an hour home with those pies in the car. I wanted to die! I wanted to dive right in on the highway and start stuff that amazingly smelling pepperoni, meatball, onion, pepper and garlicy pizza right into my mouth. But I didn’t! Why? For journalism! I hope you all appreciate it! Also, scroll to the end for a Photo Gallery!
First up: The pepperoni and homemade meatball pie. I have never had meatball on a pie and I had seen the pepperoni they use: not the sliced super thin stuff that comes 6 pounds to a bag (altho that does have a time and place), they use the quality stuff and aren’t stingy with it. The meatball made me almost burst into tears when I saw it: big slices spread all over the one side of the pie and smelled amazing. It was a little peppery but meaty. It was a perfect meatball. I would have loved to just have a bowl of those meatballs. Mental note: ask about that next time. The sauce was slightly sweet and slightly chunky. The cheese wasn’t 6 feet thick, it was just the right amount to not overpower anything else.
The crust is thin, in that it’s…thin and not a cracker. Some pieces were well done and some were exactly done. As Americans, we are spoiled in that we believe everything should be done exactly the same way all the way around, because we are used to machine and factory made things. We have lost touch with the idea of “homemade”. It’s the tiny little imperfections that make things unique and in the case of this pizza, absolutely amazing.
The pepper and onion pizza, well, I didn’t know if I would like that as much until I took a bite of it. Why? Because it’s sweet peppers! I love sweet peppers and always get them on hoagies! I never had them on pizza, and man was I missing out! The crust on this guy was a little more evenly cooked around the edges but I could care less. It was also fantastic.
Something else I loved is that there is a whiff of garlic to this pizza, but it’s not overpowering. I guess after 68 years, they know what they are doing, so don’t ask questions, just eat!
What I found interesting about this pizza is that they didn’t cut it into wedges. The only other time I have ever seen a circular pizza not cut into wedges was years ago when I was in suburban Chicago. I was at a house and they flipped open the pizza box and I was completely puzzled. The pie was cut into many squares. “WHY!” I thought. “WHY, GOD, WHY!”. This pizza was cut more into rectangles and frankly, I was totally ok with it because you had a shot at crust in every piece. It was probably easier to eat that way as well, because the point would probably break off between the thin-ness and the weight of the toppings. Or not, this is totally conjecture. Anywho, it was fantastic.
Many food websites as well as Zagat have rated De Lorenzo’s the absolute best pizza in the Country. I agree. When I got home and started texting Joe Moore about how I ate it, he asked me what I thought, because he was afraid he might have been overselling it. Spoiler alert: he didn’t. I wanted to build a speedway so I could go to Robbinsville each week and eat this pizza. I wanted to rub it all over me and build a pizza monument to it. I wanted to call the owners and ask them what I did in life to deserve to eat pizza that was so fucking amazing. I wanted to hug them and thank them. I cannot stress this highly enough GO TO THIS PLACE.
2350 US Highway 33
Robbinsville, New Jersey 08691
Lunch: Tue.-Fri., 11-2 • Dinner: Tue.-Sun., 4-10 • Closed Mondays
I live in a city where you can’t walk 5 feet without having some good pizza to eat. Wether you like big sloppy pieces that you could use as a car cover, thick Sicilian pizza, pizza with sauce on the top, the bottom or no sauce at all, crispy wood fire grill type, gas oven type or even little pieces of perfection made in a little South Philly bakery, and anywhere else in between, we got you covered. That’s why I am not a fan of chain pizza. Domino’s and Papa John’s are complete garbage: spongey, overdone crust with salt soaked everything else. Gross.
I do have a small spot in my heart for Pizza Hut. When I was a very little kid, my parents and I would drive allllll the way up to the Northeast to eat at a Pizza Hut on the occasional Friday as a special occasion kind of thing. At the time, it was the closest one to our house and I always looked forward to it. Maybe it was because I was allowed to make my own salad at the salad bar (hello, salad mountain!) or maybe because thier buttery crust pizza was just so damn good. It was different from what the local places sold, and that was ok with me, because it was great.
Over the years I have scaled back my intake of Pizza Hut, mostly because the grease would tie me up in knots. Also, like I said above, local places were so good, and I always feel good supporting the local guys.
A little while back, I signed up for thier email list, mostly because I love the name of it: Hut Lover’s. It makes me giggle, mostly because I am a huge Star Wars Fan. I also do a bit about that in my standup set. But anyway, they were advertising thier new pizza “Hand Tossed” pizza and I felt like maybe this one wouldn’t tie me up in knots. And I was pleasantly surprised!
I thought about calling to order and then I remembered they have an iphone app. I opened the app, chose delivery, pay in cash and then not only was I given the choice of the regular pies and packages they offer, they also list, in detail, all thier daily specials. That was pretty awesome! I picked a hand tossed pizza and in the Super Supreme style. It was $11 and $14.58 with tax and delivery charge ($2.50 but the delivery lady was super nice, so I’m not complaining).
The Super Supreme pizza includes: pepperoni, ham, beef, pork sausage, Italian sausage, red onions, mushrooms, green peppers and black olives. This pizza was LOADED. It only took them a half hour to make it and get it to my door, so it was piping hot, which was nice. Nothing worse then a lukewarm pizza showing up, half congealed. They also were not skimpy on the toppings. Literally in every bite I had at least 4 toppings and the pieces were pretty big. A thing that also used to bug me when eating at Pizza Hut was that I felt like I ate 7,000 tons of salt. But the toppings weren’t salty and neither was the sauce.
Over the years, Pizza Hut has tried to examine every section of the pizza, to try and jam more cheese into it. Let’s face it, when your business is pizza, there’s only so much you can do. With this hand tossed pizza, they decided to cover the outside crust with a garlic parmesan shaker coating. Honestly, it’s delicious. It helps with the seasoning of the whole pie and, well, keeps you licking your fingers. A nice touch, I thought, was that when ordering online, they give you the option of skipping the coating if you so chooses. A nice touch for people who might not dig garlic. It shows the gang at Pizza Hut are paying attention.
But let’s talk about the crust. This thing is supposedly “hand tossed”. I sincerely doubt that the kids working at The Hut are tossing pizzas into the air, but whatever they are doing, they are doing it right. They are shooting for the local pizza parlor look and style and they have hit it, with a flair all thier own.
The outside crust is denser then the pan and chewy, without the patented Pizza Hut grease. I mean seriously, this pie is not greasy *at all* beyond the usual pizza grease you’d get because…it’s a pizza.
The inside crust is thin and still chewy, but not too thin so that when you pick it up it collapses. You wanna fold it? Go for it (altho the slices are still smaller then a regular pizza place). It is as close to a pizza place then Pizza Hut is going to get. They do it with thier own flair and I have to say, they hit the mark.
I feel weird reviewing things without finding something to not like. This might be the first time I like every single thing. The crust is good, the seasoning is good, the toppings were good and even the delivery was prompt and got here right when they said it would. I am sure you mileage may vary depending on where you live, but for a shade under $15 bucks, I was really impressed with this pizza.
Hat’s off to Pizza Hut for a really great job.
A few weeks ago, Joe Moore (of the sketch team Dog Mountain), his wife Emily (of the Camden County Library System), Brian Kelly (of the sketch group Secret Pants) and I met at Tony’s, in Mayfair, to eat tons of their awesome tomato pie as well as their regular pie. If you aren’t from Philly, and more specifically, from somewhere around the northeast, you might not know Tony’s. It’s actually a bar & restaurant (with great red vinyl booths that you can’t even find anymore), that sits on a weird angle of Frankford Ave, across from the old Devon movie theatre (I saw “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” there for a buck when I was kid.).
Since there were 4 of us, we ordered a bunch of pies. The first being the Famous Tomato Pie! A tomato pie had the sauce on top (altho some tomato pies have no cheese at all). A lot of people compare Tony’s to Tacconelli’s, for they both have the thin crust people love so much. I love it too, and Tony’s never disappoints.
It’s not skimpy on the sauce, which is sweet but not as sweet as Tac’s, which I am a-ok with. They also use a square cheese which is delicious and doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a tomato pie. What I am saying is that the cheese is like the supporting player: it makes everything else look good without taking much glory for itself.
The crust is thin but, well, there is a difference between thin and “crumbles like a taco shell once you take a bite out of it” thin. This crust walks that line confidently.
We also ordered a two other pies for our little booth!
Next up is the Pepperoni Pie! It was a pretty awesome pie. They were not skimpy with the pepperoni, and while it wasn’t thick slice, imported, artisinal pepperoni that foodie people whine about, it still was delicious and plentiful. There were no breaks in the cheese, it was a solid covering, with just a little bit of sauce peeping out at the crust. Frankly, that’s the way I like it. I like cheese and I like a lot of it. This pie fit the bill!
Next up is the green pepper and onion pie. This is one of my favorite combos. The onions weren’t burned but almost roasted and the green peppers were soft and absorbed some of the grease from the cheese so that they were almost buttery.
Again, the cheese was a solid sheet over the pie, but this time there was a little more sauce peeking out of the top to announce it’s presence.
The pizzas at Tony’s are flat out amazing and do not get the props they deserve in this town. It’s a quiet jewel among the throngs of pizza places that clog the streets of Philly. Do yourself a favor and drive on down to Tony’s and treat yourself to some amazing pies (and they also have a full menu of other things as well as a vast assortment of beers!).
Joe Moore has written up some of his thoughts on Tony’s as well, as he is our reigning Pizza Expert here at DidjaEat:
My favorite pizza in the country is technically a “tomato pie” and depending on who you talk to, it’s a night and day difference. Cheese on the bottom, sauce on top. This really forces the tomato sauce into the spotlight, and you pay more attention to what it’s doing with the pizza when you’re looking at it right in the face like that. Fortunately, Tony’s sauce is great. I think I preferred their tomato pie over the regular cheese-on-top slice.
Ah, pizza. The one food I could eat everyday, for every meal. The one food my grandpop would not eat, even when his army buddies got him drunk. The one food people have very specific likes of: thin crust, thick crust, deep dish, pepperoni, white pies, cold pizza, hot pizza, frozen pizza from the toaster oven, steaming hot right out of the oven pizza. The list goes on and on.
Anyone with half a brain can make a pizza. But to make a great pizza requires skill and a really great oven. This brings us to Tacconelli’s. Tacconelli’s is a pizza place in my neighborhood, the Port Richmond section of Philly, on Somerset street. They have a very cool brick oven and they know how to use it.
You can’t just pop in there and order a pie. I mean, you can, but it is easier to call ahead and order your dough. You can tell them what to do with it when you get there but you better call ahead, because it’s a one man, one person oven and they only make so much dough every day. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Needless to say, this makes the pizza desirable, to say the least.
My friend Joe Moore is from the Jerz, and had not had really any good pizza in the Philly area. Every time he would say that, it occurred to me to mention Tacconelli’s and then I would forget. We finally got it together and got on over there. Now, you have to understand, Joe is no ordinary pizza shmoe. He is what would call a connousseur of pizza, a lover of the pizza pie. He was also really excited about the outing, as was I!
We decided on getting the Regular pie (with a little cheese and sauce) and a Margherita pie (with fresh basil and fresh mozzerella) and a third pie with pepperoni.
All of the pies were great! The thin crunchy crust was perfect, and Joe was surprised by the sweetness of the sauce.
I liked that the pepperoni was sliced a little thicker. Some places slice it super thin (or, I should say, buy thin sliced pepperoni). It may have added grease, but pepperoni grease is delicious (you know it, I know it and everyone else knows it).
As you can see in the picture here, the crust is super thin, so you can really put away a lot of this pizza. In fact, we put away about 75% of it. I don’t know about Joe, but I had to actually stop myself from eating because I would have gone on and mowed through the rest of it (thank god we saved some for his wife Emily, or I would have really hurt myself).
If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to say the pepperoni one was the best, but the Margherita wasn’t bad either. The pepperoni pieces were smaller then you would get at a regular pizza place, but they were a tad thicker and they are not stingy with it. If you are a regular reader at all of this blog, you know I hate stingyness!
The fresh basil on the Margherita really gave it some depth, even tho I could have done with more of it. The problem with basil is that too much and you end up with everything tasting like basil (and not this Basil). Overall it was delicious, thin, crispy and slightly sweet.
Joe, being the pizza guy he is, wrote up a little piece about what he thought of the pies as well:
I had heard a lot about Tacconelli’s pizza and was pretty excited to finally try it.
I grew up at, and still live in, a place with awesome pizza. I can really say I have only had pizza I wouldn’t eat a handful of times and most of the time it comes from a freezer (and being honest here, I’d still eat it. Starving kids and all….). Up until I was in high school, I only had pizza from local pizza places, with the occasional trip to Pizza Hut on a Friday night as a treat.
I always liked Pizza Hut, but only ate it once in a while (and let’s face it, that’s some heavy, greasy pizza. I don’t know about you, but I always have to book some home time after that until my body returns to normal afterwards.) and I was always allowed to load up on the salad bar first, so I think my Mom thought I was even-steven with my nutrients. Pizza Hut was the only chain pizza place in Philly at that point. We would see ads for Little Caesars with the little toga guy (who looked suspiciously like the little guy in the Pink Panther cartoons), but no one I knew ever ate there or knew where one was (until about 10 years ago and my friend Pat told me there was one by his house in Havertown when he was a kid in the 90’s).
So, in the past 15 years or so, Dominos, Papa John’s and Little Caesars have infiltrated the Philly area. I don’t like eating at places like that because I’d rather support local businesses and keep money in my neighborhood. I have had Papa John’s and Domino’s and I’d rather eat my sneakers then eat that inedible crap again. I don’t care how much they say they changed, the pizza is always all crust, and puffy, crappy crust at that. But, as the glutton I am, I was intrigued by the Little Caesars “$5 Hot and Ready Pizza”. I mean, how good could a $5 pizza be? One night I was talking about it at an open mic and my friend James Hesky (of The Monthly Hour with James Hesky at the Philly Improv Theatre) told me it was pretty good, so that intrigued me. I had to have it.
And so I did.
One Sunday, I was hungry. I also wanted to watch football. And all I had was $5, so I ended up at Little Caesars. Contrary to what the ads might have you think, they offer a lot of other sorts of pizza, I think they offer the $5 one to lure you in and then try the up sell. It wasn’t a strong-arm up sell (Crazy Bread? Soda? Wings? A Square Pizza?), so it didn’t bother me.
I ordered my $5 pizza (you have the choice of plain or pepperoni. I always go with the meat. The website says they also have regional ones (like a Hawaiian) and one called The Three Meat Treat, which sounds like some kind of weird porno) and it literally took them 2 minutes to give it to me. I don’t know if they are reheating them or what, but that was quick as hell.
I took my pizza and headed for the hills…
I got home and settled myself in for some pizza. This thing wasn’t too large (it’s 14 inches), you could maybe feed 2 hungry people with it, but I wouldn’t go to 3 unless you like fist fighting (maybe your friends are different, but I wouldn’t test it). I ate half of it and then the other half after the game. The shame was free with purchase.
The grease was about average for a pizza (it wasn’t sliding around or anything) and yes, it was hot. Not super crazy burn-your-mouth hot, but ready to put on plate and enjoyed (Or eat out of the box. Not that I do that…). One thing that I liked was the pepperoni were full pieces, not cut up or mutilated, but actual, real pepperoni slices, and they weren’t skimpy, as you can see from the picture over yonder.
In other pizza chains, the crust is a greasy, chewy, kind of gross piece of semicooked “dough”. Then, the sauce is kind of slapped on and the cheese, well, I’m getting stomach cramps just thinking about it. On this thing, the cheese comes right up to the edge and the cheese, while not the finest cheese you can buy, does the job. The sauce is slightly sweet but pretty evenly seasoned. It’s designed to not offend and I appreciate that.
Now let’s talk about the crust. Instead of a giant, shitty, mouthful of grease and air, this is a flatter crust that still is a little greasy, but really just about enough to give it flavor without dripping down your arm and staining that sweet new Star Wars shirt you got for your birthday. I hate when that happens. I mean, when it happens to others, not me or my new R2D2 shirt.
So what’s the final verdict on this thing? I don’t want you to come away from this article and think that I am in love with this pizza and it’s the best thing since…sliced pizza. That is far from the truth. This is no Taconelli’s. This is no *insert your favorite pizza place*. This is the best pizza you can get for $5 when you look at the 3 chains (Pizza Hut is its own category). You can eat it, hate yourself, take a nap and wake up for $5. The sauce is decent, the cheese is decent, the pepperoni is decent and the crust is decent. It is a decent $5 pizza and if you find yourself hungry with limited funds, go for it. And have a happy nap.
I first came across Tony Boloney’s in AC when I covered the AC Beer Fest. They blew me away with their Cheesesteak Ole’ and their Reuben Pizza. Unreal. Plus, I loved the fact that they understood marketing (see their blue truck (that will come and cater your event!) with the giant moustaches and their mascot, an old school chef with said handlebar moustache) and had fun with it as well. I swore I would get to their shop on Oriental Ave, 2 blocks up from the Revel, and I finally did!
I tried to have a few things from the menu, starting with the Reuben Frio! Where to begin? Let’s start with the bread. When making fantastic, mind-blowing sandwiches, you need a good base to keep things from falling apart 3/4’s of the way in. Tony’s hits it out of the park with rolls from A. Rando’s Bakery, the oldest bakery in AC and the 3rd oldest Italian bakery in the country! And wow, what a roll! Chewy, crusty, lovely goodness! It’s had to find a roll that doesn’t feel like it is taking over the whole show, and Tony’s did.
Ok, so the sandwich. Whew! Beautifully thick-cut Pastrami, not skimpy on the kraut, thousand island dressing to keep it moist and just enough Muenster cheese to keep this puppy on track and I fell in love. A theme you’ll find in this article is “not skimpy”. In the times we live in here, which are recession times, food places try and cut corners by inching the prices up and lowering the amount of ingredients. This sandwich was brimming with meat and kraut! I feel like this thing was created in the 80’s when everything was overstuffed and then time traveled right to my table. And man, I am way ok with that!
Next up, was my absolute favorite: The Sh#tfaced!
This thing is a straight up knock out. I would eat this everyday for the rest of my life and not bat an eye, that’s how good it is! Beer battered chicken with a Stout Honey BBQ sauce. That’s so many flavors and textures working together, it actually short circuits your taste buds for a second. The beer batter (which is not very heavy at all) plus the sauce, which is just a little bit sweet and a little bit buttery and a whole lot heavenly. Oh, and it’s got melted Mozzarella and Cheddar on it too, just in case you needed some more awesome to go with it! You owe it to yourself to try this thing, it is absolutely mind-blowing. And if that’s not enough! You can also get it on a pizza!
Moving on to another work of art, meet The Po’ Doc Carver! Deliciously fried chicken with a house made Chipotle sauce and covered in a smoked Mozzarella that’ll spoil you on regular mozz for life! Toss in some lettuce and tomato and you got yourself a rainbow of texture, aromas and deliciousness.
Now, Tony Boloney’s isn’t just sandwiches, they also make some unreal pizzas as well! When I popped in, I picked up a slice of the Carnival Freak. The pizza at Tony’s is unlike most, it’s a crispier crust and is nice and light but still have the cojones to carry whatever sick and twisted ideas that owner Mike Hauke has up his sleeve.
The Carnival Freak has breadcrumbs on the crust, herbs to keep that flavor palate hoppin’, Mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and a marinara that bent my brain, it was that good! I know it sounds odd that there are breadcrumbs on the crust, but it adds to the impressive texture of the pizza as a whole.
What really impresses me about the pizzas at Tony’s is that they understand that not all of the toppings need to fill the entire slice. Don’t get me wrong, I completely enjoy an everything pie once in a while, where you get a bite of all the toppings in each bite, but that doesn’t work with a lot of different combos of pies. In this one, you get some marinara and some ricotta in one bite, then some mozz and herbage in another, and so on. It’s really a delight.
Finally, I also ordered The Crab Fries! Chickie and Pete’s serves frozen crinkle cut fries with some Old Bay and melty American cheese in the side. Tony’s serves Crab fries with CRAB on them, along with some butter, Old Bay and Mozzarella cheese! They were pretty kick ass, and again, NOT skimpy with the Crab!
The cheese went all he way thru and the butter gave it a delicious smoothness that combined with the Old Bay to dance around the fries and hug it with awesome. Seriously. Awesome.
So, you might be wondering, after reading this review of Tony Boloney’s, if there was anything I didn’t like about this place. The answer, honestly, is no. they even offer awesome sugar cane sodas like Boylan’s along with the usual suspect sodas. The tables were clean, and at the right heights so you don’t feel like you are sitting on the floor when you are eating. Don’t feel like sitting inside? Sit outside on the picnic tables and get some fresh air while ya eat.
Even the staff was awesome. I am a bad order-er in places. It takes me more time then it should to order (I think my brain shorts out when there is too much choice and my friends all make fun of me for it) and this guy, who was working himself behind the counter and juggling like 9 things at once, was super nice and didn’t at all try to hurry me along. In fact, he answered all my stupid questions with ease and didn’t bat an eye when I ordered enough food to feed 9 people “for here”. I was thinking he was the twin of that one guy from the show House, but he is not. What I am saying, is that this place has it covered: great food, great customer service, and a cool place to eat!
You would be cheating yourself if you didn’t check this place out on your next trip to AC! 300 Oriental Avenue, right on the corner! Look for the blue and the big moustache!
I have always been fascinated by ridiculous sandwiches. Even when I was a kid and would see Dagwood, in the Blondie comic strip, make those crazy sandwiches, I was fascinated. In New Brunswick, New Jersey, there lives Rutgers University. Whenever you have a college, especially one as large at Rutgers, you get food trucks. These trucks, known as “grease trucks”, are exactly what you think they are: sandwich trucks. But these sandwich trucks spawned something interesting: The Fat Sandwich.
The Fat Sandwich is a bad meal on a long roll. That’s the best way to put it. You feel like eating a cheesesteak with a side of fries? Well, why not just put the whole thing on the cheesesteak? Maybe you wanted Jalapeno Poppers as well? Put those bad boys on there too. And maybe some chicken fingers? Yup, everyone in the pool!
So when I went to visit my friend Pat, who seems to be becoming my new food-partner-in-crime at times, we put down our beers long enough to decide to order some sandwiches. He steered me towards a place called Giovanelli’s. This place has a laundry list of fat sandwiches, as does a bunch of others. He really likes this place tho, so we ordered!
First up is the Fat Phillipino. Not a very politically correct name, but the tastiness of the sandwich makes up for it. I felt a little better about eating it because it has a lot of lettuce and tomato on it. Maybe it’s a mini-salad? Yeah, let’s go with that.
But this puppy is loaded to the gills. It doesn’t look so bad when you take a top down view of it. It looks almost tame, right? Like it’s a small sandwich? (This is a half by the way. Pat and I decided to switch halves in order to try 2 kinds. No wonder he is a graduate school graduate. I can’t even say that 5 times fast…)
Now let’s take a look at this thing from the side and I will go over the things that are loaded in here. Are ya ready? (And please, click on the picture to get the full effect. Yowza!) It’s got cheese steak, chicken fingers, gyro meat, mozzarella sticks, french fries, white sauce, lettuce and tomato. The fries were a little bit limp by the time the food got to us, but I’m ok with that.
The sandwich is supposed to have white sauce on it, but it did taste a little dry. I imagine it’s because of the time of transportation and also because of the bread and the breaded ingredients within the sandwich. How did it taste overall? It was pretty darn delicious, I have to say.
The second sandwich was the the Fat Giovanelli. I actually heard my Mom yelling at me in my head for eating this thing. The things I do for journalism! This one looks really harmless from the top, doesn’t it?
That red you see is hot sauce. It’s actually not a very spicy sauce but it does give the sandwich a bit of a kick. It also made the sandwich a lot less dry then the other ones, but it could have used more moisture. But, like I said, I think transportation and bread’s moisture sucking qualities kind of did me in a little bit. Don’t despair, beer helped.
Now check out the side shot of this thing (then go take your cholesterol meds). This thing contains: cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, bacon, egg, hot sauce. I am a HUGE fan of eggs on cheeseburgers, so when I saw there was a sandwich with egg on it, I was all over it. This thing does not disappoint. The egg gives the whole thing some more moisture and some great texture when you are up against the cheesesteak meat and the breading of the chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks. And again, the hot sauce moistens up the fries a bit.
So, would I eat one of these monstrosities again? Sure. Do I think I can take on the challenge of eating 5 that one of the trucks does? No way. Will I be eating salads the rest of the week to make up for the damage I did? Probably. I’d like to try another kind of these at some point, so we’ll see what happens. But thanks to Pat Farley for being smart enough to not only graduate grad school but also to know where the good places to eat are!
I have to admit, I do not enjoy writing about food I don’t like. Negativity is not something I enjoy spewing all over the internet like a heavy meal after a run at a bottle of Jameson. I genuinely like food and sharing it with all 4 of you who read this blog. But when I go somewhere with a reasonable expectation of awesome, and it only half registers a pulse, I gotta talk about it.
When I was in college up in North Central Jersey, I had a lot of people in my dorm who were very anti-Philly in terms of sandwiches (and anti-Philly in general, which I found hilarious considering that they had never been there and they were all from podunk tiny towns and always referred to NYC as “The City”, like there weren’t any others in the world) and very pro-North Jersey and I heard a lot about this White House place. I even remember Bill Cosby name dropping it a few times on the Cosby Show when I was a kid (side note: I cannot remember my phone number half the time but I can remember a food reference from 25 years ago. Go figure.)
I have a thing for old places. I like some history, some backstory. Smiling old people in pictures on the walls make me order more food. I also like vinyl booths, pop up napkin dispensers and cool signs. I’m a sucker for a place with soul. So, in that part, The White House did not disappoint. It had an old school sign up on the roof and it is pretty no frills, which I can appreciate.
When you see a sign like this, proudly pronouncing that they have been open for 60 years, it’s a cool thing. Nothing these days lasts very long. You think Bobby Flay’s Burger Joints will be around for 60 years? Much like any famous deli/sandwich/steak shop, this place is covered with famous people who have swung by to stuff their face with sandwichy delights. I’d imagine, since this place is literally up the street from the Taj Mahal Casino, it wasn’t too hard to get people to come and eat, but whatever.
But enough about the decor. Let’s get down to the brass tacks. The food. (also, I will be referring to all of the white house offerings as “sandwiches”, not “subs”.)
This place does sandwiches. Not “hoagies” but “subs”. A whole is pretty big, most people get a half. The roll is pretty awesome. They get them from a place up the street, The Formica Brothers Italian Bakery. Nice and fresh. It’s the kind of roll called an “Atlantic City Roll”, just call it a great roll. It’s crusty and chewy but not too much of either of those things. It’s just right and saves both of these things I ordered from me having a fit.
I ordered 2 different sandwiches: 1. The Ham, Cappicola, Genoa Salami & Provolone Cheese and 2. The Chicken Parm Sub.
The Ham, Cappicola, Genoa Salami & Provolone Cheese was pretty good. The meat was not skimpy, but it also wasn’t really piled on. I did enjoy the fact they they didn’t cheap out on the provolone, sometimes when you get a sandwich the cheese is sort of an afterthought. Really, the only issue I had was my own fault, I forgot to ask for mayo and I got oil. There is a line of thought that italian hoagies always get oil but I am a mayo freak so I like it on everything. In fact, I usually order extra because rolls tend to soak it up and then the sandwich gets dry. That’s not acceptable to me. (oh, I also ordered a side of sweet peppers as well. They give you a nice sized container of them, it made me happy.)
The thing about these sandwiches, and maybe it’s just me, or that’s the way a sub is supposed to be, but these sandwiches are flat. Any good hoagie I have ever seen, and a sub is a hoagie, have been round. I just found that weird. What do you guys think?
Let’s talk a little bit about the Chicken Parm Sub. I ate this thing like 3 weeks ago but I had to wait to actually sit down and write about it because of how angry it made me. Yeah. Angry. A sandwich made me angry (seriously people, I need a life). You might think I am being ridiculous but when you see this thing, you will understand.
I have eaten hundreds of chicken parm sandwiches over the years. It’s an easy idea: breaded pieces of chicken are put on a roll. You cover in sauce and cheese. Delicious and done. It is almost impossible to screw up. Or so I thought.
Let’s talk about the size of this thing. As in, the lack of filling. If you click on the picture, it actually kind of looks like stacked up chicken cheesesteak meat. That is NOT acceptable.
I started eating this thing, half in shock and half wondering what the hell was going on. Then I took a bite of the dry sandwich. Wait, it’s supposed to be saucy. This thing has about 2 tablespoons of sauce on it. And the sauce was flat and nasty.
Like cheese? Cheese takes a vacation on this thing. I do NOT UNDERSTAND what they are doing here. Was this thing made by an intern? Or half the sandwich fell out on the way to my table? Maybe aliens escaped with half the chicken? Maybe they ran out of breaded chicken and had to fill the sandwich with this crap?
I ate half of it and took the other half home. Sometimes, a sandwich tastes better the next day, or even just a hour or two or three later.
I took this thing home and it was even shittier later on that nite. And I was drunk! Everything tastes better when you are drunk!
This whole thing baffles me. I was told by a local that the place isn’t the same as it used to be. I don’t understand how that is possible. A chicken parm sandwich is a simple item of food. Chicken is fairly cheap to buy and you already got the rolls. The sauce can be made in
huge batches and frozen so it’s not a big deal. You can buy bags of shredded cheese at places like Jetro and Sysco for a song. Whatever the hell they are doing with this sandwich, in the name of all things holy and sandwich related, should be STOPPED.
I am sure someone is going to slam me for writing this post. Trust me, there is no one out there who would love to love a new sandwich shop like me. As someone who has worked in food, loves to eat and loves when people have a small business that is thriving, I was hoping for the best.
So, here are some things I did like: they have nice napkin dispensers that pop up the napkins and it makes it easy to grab when covered with various sandwich accoutrements. The waitress was super nice. They give you a choice between bottled water or water from the soda machine (aka tap). If you are a single person, they have a small booth that is good for one or two people if you don’t want to eat at the counter (the regular sized booths are saved for 3 or more people). Like I said above, I enjoyed the pictures on the wall, especially the Tug McGraw (my favorite Phillie) at the grill picture. I also enjoyed the size of the cups they put the sweet peppers in, it was just enough.
Here was the brightest spot in my visit to The White House. A taste of Philly.
So, if you are headed down to Atlantic City, if I were you, I would avoid this tourist trap and go to Tony Boloney’s (300 Oriental Ave) instead. While I had one ok sandwich, that chicken parm was so horrendously bad, I wouldn’t risk eating anything else there, except for, of course, Tastykakes!
A little while ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Atlantic City Beer Fest. It was pretty awesome. Lots of beers from all over the world, friendly people, beer themed oddities to buy and food to eat.
Wait?…Food to eat? Well, yeah. You can’t have a whole giant convention floor full of beer and not offer food, that would be wrong. Or, more succinctly, it would result in some very drunk people driving their cars into the ocean. That’s not good for anyone.
There were lots of different food vendors selling everything from crabcake sliders to yelp offering pretzel necklaces to kielbasie sandwiches. But I was more interested in the truck with the curly moustaches on it.
Normally, when people start blabbing on their website about how good their sandwiches are, I tend to automatically roll my eyes. I am from sandwich-land, aka Philly, and it is real hard for me to accept boasts from others about these things. Even with pizza, I feel the same way. There is something in the water here that makes for fantastic bread (and, of course, dough. Doh!). I don’t know what it is (nor do I want to know, save your emails), but you can’t find it anywhere else.
I did some research before I went to the Beer Fest and Tony Boloney’s caught my eye. Funny little name. Fun to say is good branding, along with the big fat chef that’s the mascot. They have a pizza & sub (not hoagie, we are outside the Philly area) shop in
AC. They obviously understand branding and food, because the menu for the shop is like 4 pages long and every single thing is a different spin on favorites (Like meat on a pizza? Try the Casino Carnivore with “every animal noah brought on his ark ravaged by mozzarella”) as well as things I never would have even thought to make (Reuben Fries!).
They decided to start a food truck (and bring it to the Beer Fest!): The Moustache Truck! Obviously, these guys are up on trends and understand marketing. It’s nice to come across a food place that understands marketing that isn’t a shitty major chain. I had emailed them and asked if they might be interested in donating a shirt for the giveaway I was doing and they were excited about it! That was cool,
because a lot of the beer vendors and assorted other vendors came with nothing to sell, nevertheless give away (besides, ya know, beer). Another thing I loved about these guys is that they are putting forth the idea that people actually *live and are from* Atlantic City, a fact that a lot of people tend to forget
when they come to empty their pockets and stuff their faces full of famous chef restaurant food (not that there is anything wrong with that, but there is much more to the city then that). Their slogan “Indigenous Atlantic City Grub” hammers that home in a mouth watering way!
When I made my way over to the truck, I was impressed with the smartness of the menu: pizza and the cheesesteal ole’. People who are drinking love pizza and cheesesteaks! They had a bunch of pizza options, but as soon as I heard it, I knew I had to try it. What was it? Reuben Pizza!
Say what? That sounds odd. That sounds weird. That sounds…delicious. And you know what? IT WAS!
The Reuben pizza would have been something terribly simple to totally screw up. How much kraut do you put on? Do you just use a squeeze bottle to put the dressing on all around? Or do you use it like sauce and cover the whole pie?
Do you cover the whole pie with corned beef like you do with pepperoni? The questions are endless! (seriously people, I need a life.) I think they nailed it. They used a 2 cheese blend to keep the pizza from tasting flat. under the meat, there is kraut, under that is a glob of the thousand island sauce that ooozes a bit but not too much. So ridiculously good. I had to physically restrain myself from getting another piece.
I also really liked how they were having fun with the crowd. It got a little chaotic, so what did they do? They whipped out a bullhorn. There was no panicking (what I would have done. To the panicking!), no freaking out, just a little louder and they kept on cranking out some awesome pizza!
I realized, after awhile, that I wanted to try the cheesesteak: The Cheesesteak Ole’. This thing had apparently won some kind of 2010 Guy Fieri Cheesesteak Battle. (An aside: I find it funny that a guy from Northern California can put his name anywhere around something called “cheesestesk” because, um, that’s all that is wrong with the world.).
This thing was awesome. It might be a tad small, length wise, if compared to what we can get in Philly, but make no mistake, this thing si PACKED with meat. Is it more like a cheesesteak hoagie then a cheesesteak because it has lettuce and tomato on it as well as the cheese and steak? Probably. But honesty, I could not care less, because this cheesesteak was fantastic.
Let’s start with the steak. Chopped sirloin. A little different then the usual meat used, which is a thinly sliced ribeye, but it’s cooked tender with a 10 spice mix. It’s a kind of taco spice that works deliciously with the jack and chipotle house sauce. Have no doubt, this thing is cheesy in all the right ways. It sticks with the meat, not like a weird cheese “sauce” you see sometimes, and it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the roll either. I was a little thrown by the lettuce and tomato on the bottom (nice and fresh too), but it gave the cheesesteak a nice bit of texture. Finally, the roll was chewy but not too chewy, and really fresh. Those Atlantic City rolls are no joke!
Wrapping this rambling review up: if you find the Tony Boloney Moustache Truck anywhere you are, go grab some food! If you find yourself in Atlantic City, wander on over to 300 Oriental Avenue (by the new Revel Casino) and go grab some grub. This place is awesome and while I wish I lived closer to them, I’m kind of glad I don’t, because I really can’t afford bigger pants. My hat is off to the Tony Boloney guys! Go now! Go!
Last July I finally got to get down to the Jersey Shore. Say what you will about those twits on tv, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the shore, as well as the eats you can find there. Here are a few shots I took on my getaway.
When I get to Ocean City, my car immediately drives to Manco & Manco’s Pizza (formerly Mack and Manco’s). This place has been around since 1956 and as far as I can tell, they haven’t changed a thing. The sauce is sweet, the toppings are plentiful, and you can still watch them make every single one (drooling is optional, but usually happens anyway). The large pies are the size of a buick and the kids who work there are always right on top of things. You might have to wait a bit for a slice or a pie, but the people watching makes the time fly. My dad used to complain about the price, but let’s face it, the days of a 99 cent slice are over. You get what you pay for at Manco and Manco, and I am quite alright with that! I cannot wait to get back down there for a slice of awesome! Hit up Manco and Manco on Twitter at @MancoMancoPizza
I am also a sucker for a great club sandwich. In North Wildwood, there is an old school diner, complete with fun old ladies with a little attitude and a stand when you check out that sells postcards and a full range of lifesavers and gum, called The Vegas Diner. You know a diner has something going on when it was voted Best Diner 12 years running! The breakfast is awesome (and served till 3pm) but I have a soft spot for their Club Deluxe: Turkey, Ham and Swiss Cheese! A lot of times when you get a club sandwich, it’s all lettuce and tomato and slim on the meat. This thing is brimming with turkey, ham and swiss, along with some lovely fresh lettuce & tomato. They throw in some fresh coleslaw, a pickle (yeah, I ordered extra mayo, which you can see on the plate in the corner of the picture) AND a plate of fries! It couldn’t get any better if you made it yourself, and the price is quite reasonable. Quite possibly the best club sandwich I have ever had! I can’t wait to get down there this year! (PS: try the homemade desserts!)
Back to the Ocean City Boardwalk. After stuffing my face with pizza, I walk off the calories by walking towards Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard. I can take or leave most desserts for the most part. When I was a kid, I used to think water ice and popsicles were a cheap substitute for ice cream (yeah I had kind of an attitude, whatever). A step above ice cream is frozen custard and Kohr Brothers does it just right every single time. I managed to get there twice the last time I was down the shore. The first cone I got was a chocolate and vanilla twist. Smooth, creamy and chocolatey good with vanilla to smooth it out. It’s flat out fantastic!
I also like to take have a different kind of custard sometimes, beyond the chocolate and vanilla. This time I went with the chocolate and mint twist. Awesome minty flavor and chocolate fantasticness. Of course to take this monstrosity to the next level, I had the thing covered in chocolate jimmies. Some people call them sprinkles. Those people would be wrong. They have always been jimmies and they always will be jimmies. And they will always be the perfect way to top a delicious dessert involving ice cream. Some people go for rainbow jimmies. I can take them or leave them, but chocolate jimmies, well, they rule all.
So now that winter is slowly crawling to the finish line, these tasty summer foods are waiting for me and you, to help your getaway make it’s way to legendary status. Come see them, they will be happy to help out!