Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pizza #30 Donatos

Sunday Addie and Reagan were with us for dinner and we were in a hurry to eat so we went to the very closest pizza place to our home - Donatos.  Donatos is a chain all around Columbus and there is one on Tamarack circle that we have been to a lot over the years.

This restaurant is big and has a lot of tables in it but does not have a wait staff.  Instead you order your pizza at the counter.  We ordered a large cheese pizza, an order of Asiago bread and fountain drinks all around.

As we sat down I notices that it had been upgraded since I had been there last.  There was lots of seating in comfortable booths.  I asked the girls to describe it to me and they said: "fake plants, kind of cold, smells like disinfectant, brick walls, many windows, cameras pointed on the customers, and lights are weird."

Actually the lights were interesting and I liked them - the shades were all collanders and it was very creative.

There is a room beside the dining area that we had often used to have meetings in for church.  There were people there who had children who were literally running and screaming around the restaurant.  We were the only people eating so it was a little disturbing.  Reagan and Addie amused themselves with taking selfies:

I was very disappointed with the service - such as it was.  The pizza came in the pizza box at least 5 minutes before the bread.  She handed us paper plates.  We had to go to the counter to get plastic forks and knives. (yes - I eat the first hot bites of pizza usually with a fork and knife!)

The pizza itself was good but a little greasy.  After all the pizzas I have been trying this year, I found that Donatos was not as good as I remembered - or maybe my taste is becoming more "elevated."  None of us like the bread very much - there was a funny flavor to the cheese.

So, the best part of Donatos for us now is that it is close to home. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pizza # 29 Cucinova

Today Chuck suggested that we try a pizza place that he had been to before and that he had a coupon for.  So with a Prestige Dining Club Card in hand we drove to Sumeno's Italian Restaurant on Sawmill.  And found out that it is no more!  Apparently Chuck liked it - but not everyone else.
So I suggested we just drive north on Sawmill and look for the next pizza place and sure enough we found Cucinova.

When I entered the restaurant I was disappointed to find that it was like a "cafeteria" or like Chipotles.  There is no wait staff - you go through a line and design your own.  The sign on the wall said: "made from scratch and your creativity."  But we were here and hungry and gave it a try.

The problem with me is that I always get anxious because I don't know what to order.  I followed a young woman and paid attention to what she was doing and so I ordered a very particular pizza - the sauce was a combination of basil pesto and garlic.  I had two kinds of cheese - fresh mozzarella and fontina, and carmelized onion.  We ordered a 10 inch pizza and split it and it was more than enough.  We also ordered a salad to split and put in mushrooms, peppers, olives, croutons, cucumbers, and more.  They also had "craft beer" so I ordered a flat tire and Chuck got a coke.

We went to sit in a booth and then they called my name.  And it was delicious - a really great pizza!
It was - of course - hot and fresh and really flavorful.  I think it was the pesto sauce that gave it that special something.

 We sat in a booth and were very comfortable.  However, the restaurant itself is "industrial" with pretty uncomfortable looking chairs. 

This is a chain and I would recommend it - especially for people who want to do it their way.!

Pizza #28 Carrabbas

Carrabbas is not a new restaurant for me.  I first went to it when we lived in Bowling Green and have been to the restaurant here in Polaris several times.  I had lunch with Trixie and she was game to try another pizza with me for this blog.

Even though I have been here, I had never ordered pizza.  And I was very very happy to find that they really have a great one!  In fact, this restaurant has everything I like in a pizza outing.

We met at noon which is often a busy time but it was quiet and very comfortable.  The restaurant has brick walls, carpeted floor, large booths, an open kitchen and a very comfortable vibe. .  There was music in the background and it was from the "Great American Songbook."   All of this is what makes ME happy.
I ordered a bud light and we split a pizza that was half cheese and half sausage  and each had a salad.  I was really happy with both the salad and the beer. 
Just looking at these pictures you can see the excellent  presentation of the  bread, the oil, the beer and the fresh, colorful mixed salad.  All of it was delicious and prepared and served well.

And the pizza was delicious.  It is a wood fired pizza with a hand done crust.  It was tomatoey  the sauce was flavorful and the cheese was rich and tasty.  I really liked this pizza!  And I liked the cheese more than the sausage.

I am over half way through my 50 pizzas and I have learned along the way that the whole of the dining experience matters to me - as well as the pizza itself.  Carabbas really was a great meal for me - quiet, comfortable, excellent salad, bread, beer and pizza.  I recommend.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pizza #27 Rubino's

Fred and Gail Taschner recommended this pizza place to me because they had read that it was supposed to be really excellent pizza.  It was a first time for all of us trying it.

Rubin's is a beloved Bexley institution known for its thin crust, cheap prices and cash only policy. 
It has its own fame as the writer Bob Green referenced it in his memoir Be True to Your School. 

We found it to be unique in several ways.  The first being - of course - that it was cash only and I was happy Gail gave me the heads up on that.  Second, the prices were very reasonable.  It is a long time since I paid 75 cents for a pop at a restaurant.  We also like the family ambiance with a Ms Pac man on the floor as well as a F-14 tomcat.   I got a kick out of the way Fred's water was served:

 I ordered  a salad which was mostly iceberg lettuce and  cheese pizza and Chuck ordered spaghetti.  Fred ordered pepperoni pizza and Gail ordered spaghetti.  It came quickly and all was delicious.  The pizza had a thin crust  with a great flavor.  It was not overly sauced and had good quality cheese on it.  I ate every bite. Everyone else enjoyed their meals.

There was only one problem with Rubino's for us.  It is a small restaurant and a family place.  It is noisy and when we were there a toddler with an ear piercing scream made our trip less than perfect.

In all, it is good pizza and a very good value.

.  But alas - no beer served and no credit cards allowed.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pizza #26 Hounddog's 3 Degree Pizza

Chuck and I went with Kerry Baker to a pizza place that was new to us and familiar to her - Hounddogs 3 Degree Pizza which is located on north high street.

There is so MUCH I like about this place!  First of all there is parking behind the restaurant.  It was confusing because much of it said "reserved" but the waitress assured us that we could park there.
Second, the ambiance is pretty interesting.  They have wood floor and shiny wood tables that are all very different. They had brick walls, loud music and interesting art and decor. 
And the big surprise was that they have a happy hour that extends to 9 PM where beer is $1.50! Pretty great, I would say.  And. on reflection, I cannot even comment on the quality of the service because when the beer is $1.50 you don't really care.   Kerry and I ordered "Lasagna Bites" for an appetizer mainly because we had never heard of them before and wanted to try they out.  They were delicious and it was exactly what they said - lasagna deep fried into a spicy mouthful!
The pizza was very good.  We ordered a pizza that was half cheese and half with bacon, olives and mushrooms.  We chose the "Smokin' Joes" crust that was hand tossed with special garlic butter and their mildly sweet tomato and basil sauce.  It was delicious.  Often when we go out, I feel like my companions pizza is better than the plain cheese.  But the cheese pizza was sweet, cheesy, flavorful and just crunch enough in the crust.  Kerry liked it too!

So, this restaurant for me was a real find!  I absolutely recommend it and will be going back again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pizza #25 Brio

I am aware that most of the time we do not think of Brio as a pizza place.  But it is an Italian restaurant and surely they would have pizza.  That was the thinking that brought me to lunch with Trixie at Brio at Polaris.

There are two Brio restaurants in Columbus that I go to - at Polaris and at Easton.  My favorite is to go to Easton on a spring or summer day and eat outside and watch the kids in the fountains.  But Polaris has the advantage of being in a mall, so that I will have an opportunity to buy something along the way to eat.  As I did this time....but that is not the point, is it?

The restaurant  itself is nicely appointed. .  It has both carpet and wood floors and outdoor dining as well (it was hot the day we came). I like the pillars in the restaurant and the plants and what we decided to call the "Tuscany Gold Walls."  It is kind of noisy but but there is sort of a festive air to dining here.

It turned out that they did NOT have Pizza Pie - but they do have pizza flat bread.  I ordered that with a insalata (chopped salad) which was a lunch special.  I ordered the Margherita flatbread with fresh mozzarella, vine ripened tomatoes and basil and Trixie got the sausage, pepperoni and ricotta flatbread.

The good news about the salads was that they were 130 calories - the bad news is that they were bland and mostly iceberg lettuce.

The pizza was good  and cheesy and you could taste the basil flavor.  The flat bread was like eating it on a cracker.

Our biggest disappointment was the service which was slow as we found ourselves waiting for coffee and a box (Trixie could not finish her meal.)

So, my pizza and salad and service rating is kind of low for this experience.  But I have been here many other times and had wonderful meals.