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Posts tagged ‘pizza’

Restaurant Review: Nick’s Steakhouse & Pizza

Location: 2430 Crowchild Trail NW
Website: http://nickssteakandpizza.com/

After a mixed feeling kind of day, we finally got to try out Nick’s.  Brae had been planning on bringing me here when we just first started dating. Tonight we finally got that chance.  The restaurant wasn’t dead, but it wasn’t super busy either, but it was a Tuesday, so I didn’t expect it to be too busy anyways.

We were promptly seated in what I assumed to be the bar/lounge area and given just enough time to peruse the menu.  I had already looked at the menu before, but still didn’t exactly know what I wanted.  I know Brae wanted me to try the pizza since that was once of the things they were known for, but wanted to try their steaks, which is the other thing they specialize in (I mean, duh, look at their name).  After looking at the prices, I decided I’d stick to a pizza this time and come back another time to try some other items on their menu because a lot of it sounded really good.  Me being me wanted to order an appetizer and guess what, we ordered the calamari.  As most of you will know by now, this is my go to appetizer.

Like the kind of day I had been having, I had a mixed opinion about the calamari.  Having had so many varieties of calamari, I’d have to say that the batter could have been lighter.  At first, it isn’t so bad, but after about half or more of it, it starts to feel very greasy and heavy.  There are two solutions for that: sharing that with more people or make a lighter batter.  However, the tzatziki is one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s not the kind that has an overbearing amount of garlic, but just the right amount for me (I do love my garlic, but I know that sometimes the quantity that I like is often too much).  The pizzas followed shortly after we finished the calamari.

Brae got his favourite: Hawaiian and I tried the Sweet Chili Chicken. I was torn between the Sweet Chili Chicken and Chicken Carbonara, but Brae helped me choose.  I think that was a great choice because it satisfied all the tastes one craves for and chicken carbonara has the potential to be very heavy and rich.  The first thing that struck me was the stringy mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella is one of my favourite cheeses simply because of how well it melts and the slightly chewy texture it has after it’s been melted.  The pizza was simply blanketed in cheese.  Now, some may say that that is too much cheese, but for me, there’s no such thing.  In fact, when our waitress offered us some parmesan, I jumped at the chance to have more melty cheese on my pizza. While it was annoying that the pizza toppings kept slipping off the pizza while it was hot, it tasted so much better that way.  The crust itself tasted almost buttery.  It’s one of the better pizzas I’ve had, but the thickness of the crust and the doughiness are somewhat off-putting.

This is one of Brae’s favourite restaurants and I can see why.  I like this restaurant, it’s good for a casual night out and I would agree to come back here, especially since I would love to try some of the other items on their menu, but would I say this is the kind of restaurant I would choose if given a choice? No.  Restaurants like this aren’t usually in my wheelhouse, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy them when I do go.  It’s homey and the servers are friendly enough.  Besides, it’s one of Brae’s favourites so I can definitely see myself coming back here in the future for sure.  I would rate this place 3.75/5.

nick's 2

Calamari

nick's 3

Hawaiian Pizza (Brae’s)

nick's 4

Sweet Chili Chicken (Mine)

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Restaurant Review: The Pizza Press

Location: 1534 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA
Website: http://www.thepizzapress.com

On our way in to our hotel, we passed this place.  It was, of course, Braeden who suggested we try it out.  After all, it is pizza and what does he love more than that? I didn’t mind since I hadn’t had pizza in a while, but more importantly, I was starving and any food sounded good to me.

We walked in at around 8pm local time and found it to still be quite bustling.  On the door, the hours stated that the place was open until 1am, one hour after the Disney Park closed, a perfect time and place to satiate any late night cravings.  From our vantage point, it was hard to see any details about the pizzas they had on their menu.  Luckily, they had smaller menus on double sided cards for us to peruse.  “The Herald” caught my attention right away.  It was the only pizza on the menu with a white sauce.  It also helped that there were onions and mushrooms on it, two of my favourite pizza toppings; I was sold. Despite not liking tomatoes on my pizza, with the exception of the actual tomato sauce, I decided to go with the pizza as is since that combination was chosen by the chef, I would give it a try first before changing anything because who knew, maybe I would end up liking it.  Braeden stuck to his familiar Hawaiian pizza, only here it was called The Sun and had bacon on it.  Honestly, before I could have cared less for bacon, but recently, after having fried up some pretty good maple bacon, I’m warming up to it.  The great thing about this place is that every pizza is customizable.  It’s clear that the chefs here take a lot of pride and care in what they do.  One in particular, I’m sorry I didn’t catch his name, asked each and every customer about his or her day.  It’s small things like that that make a place special.  Now I’m not saying that it’s not done at other places, but as this had a more fast food feel to it, it seemed different.  Like they actually cared.  He actually asked for details not like many other places where people ask as an automatic opener.

However, what struck me first was the way the place was setup.  Or rather, the theme that the place had.  I suppose the fact that it was called The Pizza PRESS should’ve clued me in.  The place is setup like a newspaper press.  The titles of the pizzas are related to common suffixes added to newspaper titles (ex. The Calgary Herald, The Calgary Sun, The Alberta Gazette, etc.).  Each step we had to take from ordering our pizza to customizing it to paying for it had a different “label” assigned that corresponded with some part of the editing/publishing process.  But what got me the most excited was the fact that there was a typewriter on display right on the counter.  And if I remember correctly, it was right between the two cash registers.

Since it was late, we opted to take the pizzas back tot the hotel to enjoy.  Since it was only a short walk from our hotel, the pizzas didn’t have a chance to get cold.  One bite and I was in love.  I remember thinking and saying to Braeden, “this is how [thin crust] pizza should be.”  The pizza here was vaguely reminiscent of the ones I had in Italy, only that the ones in Italy were more burnt and had less toppings.

Would I recommend coming here? Absolutely.  Would I come back here?  You bet.  The staff were friendly, the food was great, I didn’t have to wait long for my pizza.  They even have beer on tap (not that I drink beer, but it’s still pretty cool since beer and pizza are a classic pairing).  Of the many pizzas I’ve eaten, I have to say this place ranks in the top tiers.  Though it’s not my favourite food, I would still rate this place a 3.75/5.  I can’t say I’d give it a higher rating until I had the chance to dine in.  I guess there is only one bad thing I can say about this place, I can’t stop eating. It’s that good.

Restaurant Review: Via Cibo

Location: 101-104 Country Village Rd NE
Website: http://www.viacibo.com/

Years ago, I went here with my parents and sister after our trip to Italy, but I don’t remember much of it.  The only thing I remember of that trip was getting a macchiato and having my dad say, “That’s even stronger than what I drink.” It made for a good laugh.

This time, I had the fortune of going with my boyfriend, his cousin, and her kids. The best part about this was that we got to share everything family style, allowing us to try out more dishes off their menu. Via Cibo isn’t like your typical sit down restaurant. It’s setup more like Vendome’s is: you order at the counter and are given a number. Once the dishes have been prepared, they are brought out to your table.

Most everyone had a generic drink (soft drink or juice), but I ordered an Italian soda. Since they had cherry, I went for it. Usually it’s my sister who has the Italian soda, but today I felt adventurous. There was a nice balance of syrup to carbonated water making it so that it wasn’t too bland or too sweet.

That evening we ordered a pepperoni pizza for Braeden and two formaggio (cheese) pizzas off the children’s menu (which is actually a meal combo which comes with a drink and gelato) for Cindy’s kids, Keenah and Taye. The pepperoni pizza isn’t like the chain pizza joints’ style of pepperoni pizza. The crust was thin where the toppings were and airy around the edges.  It was garnished with rosemary which set it apart from most other kinds of pepperoni pizza, giving it an almost more high class, refined taste. And the pepperoni tasted like cured meat usually tastes, unlike pepperoni on store bought or chain pizza restaurants, which tastes just like salt.  Cindy and I ordered the Gnocchi and Steak Italiana to share. The Gnocchi was a no brainer as it had been a recommendation from Cindy/a friend of hers.  The Gnocchi consisted of a Gorgonzola cream sauce, pancetta, and slow roasted tomato, garnished with green onion and Grana Padano. I am typically apprehensive about dishes that contain Gorgonzola or any form of bleu cheese because of its strong taste and smell. However, this was not the case with this dish. For those who don’t know, pancetta is essentially Italian bacon, which of course enhanced the flavour of the dish, potentially masking.  Another reason could be that Gorgonzola is a milder bleu cheese than others I have had. One bite of the gnocchi was all it took to send me to cloud nine. If luxury was a dish, this would be it. The richness of the dish made me feel as though I was dining in a high end, expensive restaurant rather than a place serving Italian street food. My only reservation about this dish is the addition of the tomatoes. They did not serve to enhance the flavour or add anything to the dish. The second thing, I’m not sure if this is a reservation or not, but the balance of gnocchi to pancetta was off. I’m not sure if that was originally how it was or if it was because the gnocchi was so good that we were too focused on eating that and not paying attention to the pancetta. The Steak Italiana was something more reminiscent of Italian street food. It consisted of Grilled Steak, arugula, carmelized onion, slow roasted tomato, Grana Padano, and a Pesto Aioli. The steak was perfectly cooked.  The tomatoes had far more utility in this dish than in the gnocchi. There was a nice balance of sweet (tomatoes and onions), salty (steak and Grana Padano), bitter (arugula), and richness (onion and aioli) in the sandwich. The sandwich came with a small salad that provided the acid the dish needed. However, since we got so much food, I wasn’t able to finish the salad on my own. Lastly we got Tuscan fries to share (regular for the kids). The Tuscan fries were aggressively seasoned with rosemary and salt with a hint of white truffle oil, garnished with Grana Padano and served with a spicy aioli. I found the fries to be a little on the salty side, but they had good flavour and crunch.

For dessert the children consisted of Nutella gelato. Brae got the mango pineapple gelato, and I got a pistachio affogato. Turns out Brae loved it so much that after we left, we actually came back later that evening to get another one and came back again the following day. This was my first time getting an affogato. An affogato is  gelato with a shot of espresso. Although I chose pistachio, I feel like coconut or something creamier (chocolate -which they were out of- or vanilla) would have complemented the espresso better because pistachio has such a light flavour that it got lost. The next day, when Brae came to get his mango pineapple gelato, I got the coconut one. It is more like a sorbetto than a gelato and I’m thinking it probably wouldn’t have worked any better.

If I had another stomach I would’ve tried the mushroom pizza they had on special. If their pizza was anything like the one I had at Scopa, I would have died. That pizza is truly the most amazing, delicious pizza I have had in my life. Maybe next time I go they’ll still have it.

Based on my experience this time, I would rate it 4.5/5 and would definitely return. I love restaurants with an open kitchen so that I can watch them cook, but also because I can see exactly how far along they are along with my dish and watch them walk my food out to me. The wait staff was patient and very helpful and friendly. I can’t wait to come back here again another day.

kitchen

Kitchen

cashier

Cashier

cheese-pizza

Formaggio (Cheese) Pizza

tuscan-fries

Tuscan Fries

steak-italiana

Steak Italiana

pepperoni-pizza

Pepperoni Pizza

gelato

Mango Pineapple Gelato

affogato

Pistachio Affogato

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