Monday, January 18, 2016

Pizza #3 Bruno's

Chuck, Nicole and I went to Bruno's for pizza on Sunday.  Brunos is truly a neighborhood pizza place less than a mile from my house.  We have been there periodically over the years since we have lived here.  There was one time after a week of VBS that was memorable s - two people had sort of a fistfight in the bar and that experience discouraged us from going for a while.

It is a nice restouarant, though -  very cozy with comfortable booths, oilcloth tablecloths, wood paneling and tiffany light fixtures.  .  When Chuck got the menu he was kind of confused by it but helped by the waitress who assured him that everything here tastes good.  And we found that to be true.

I sat opposite Nikki and Chuck and had one problem - I faced the mirror and found myself transfixed by my face in the mirror.  If you look carefully at this picture, you will see me in the mirror behind Chuck and Nicole.

I ordered my cheese pizza at 7:26 and it came at 7:48.  It cost $11 for 11 inches. The pizza was good - hot, cheesy, gooey, and kind of greasy (that is actually a compliment!) It had a pretty big crust around it and I realized  that I really don't like crust that much.  I usually leave much of it on the plate afterwards so that would eliminate this pizza as the BEST in Margot world.  But it was good.

Chuck ordered spaghetti and meatballs and it was also good.  I thought the noodles looked yellow but was informed that was because they were handmade (!)and he said they were delicious.

Always for me, the waitress and the ambiance are important.  We really like our waitress who even checked on the football score for Nikki (the Steelers LOST) even though she doesn't follow football.

 So, it was a good experience, no fights in the bar or the parking lot and a solid B for Bruno's Pissa!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pizza #2 Plank's Cafe and Pizzeria

Today Chuck and I ventured to planks restaurant in Parsons Avenue to try out their award winning pizza.  

One of our sources for Pizza sites is a 2013 article from the Columbus Monthly listing  the best Pizza places in Columbus and "Plank's Cafe and Pizzeria" was listed.  The article said that they use 100 per cent smoked provolone and "somewhat controversially add sugar to their dough, and the resulting super-sweet pies are the city's ultimate - love it or hat it option."

The only reason that I know that they are "award winning" is that it said so on the menu!.
They did not say what the award was, however.

Anyway, we met our friends John and Marsha and were really delighted with the service and the ambiance of the restaurant.  Marsha and John arrived first and our waitress had already moved them to a table that might be quieter and when we came she encouraged us to make sure the table didn't wobble.  She was older (my age!) and kind of grandmotherly and I liked that she called Chuck "sweetie."

I ordered a ten inch cheese pizza,  an anti pasta salad and a bud light and Chuck order roast beef and mashed potatoes.  Marsha and John got a small salad and a hawaiian pizza.  The salads came first and it's a good thing we aren't rating that - because my salad was a disappointment.  Not worth the money.
Although she did bring 5 pieces of pepparoni - but it was not really anti pasta!

The pizza came within twenty minutes and it was hot, gooey, cheesy and good.  Good enough.
It was sweet and I guess that is where personal preference comes in.  And ultimately I was not crazy about the aftertaste of a sweet pizza.

However, I really liked the restaurant for its charm.  It is old and rustic with barn siding, brick walls, wooden floors and lots of OSU paraphenalia. There were TV's for watching football and I particularly liked the background music which was of my era..  I noticed Marsha moving to the music as she ate and at the end they even played a song by Herman's Hermits!

Chuck loves Planks for the meal that he ate. So, overall I would say NO to the pizza experience and YES to roast beef and mashed potatoes.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Pizza #1 at Mellow Mushroom

All week Chuck has been asking when we are going to go get pizza and tonight was finally the night.  I selected our first restaurant, Mellow Mushroom, for three reasons:
1. It is a rainy night and I wanted to stay on the north end of Columbus
2. We invited Brian and they have Gluten free pizza for him
3. They serve beer

We arrived at 5:30 and quickly were escorted to a comfortable booth that was away from a lot of the noise.  It is a family oriented and very fun restaurant.  There are TV's all over the place and Brian very quickly was interested in watching sports.  We were all struck by the quirky and creative decoration.  I could watch the pizza maker flinging pizza in the air and got a kick out of the mushroom lights in the ceiling. Here are pictures of a large "Hulk" in the middle of the restaurant (which we believe Jackson, my 10 year old grandson would love) and Jim Morrison eating pizza.

Our waiter was friendly and efficient quickly producing the bud lights for me and Chuck and lemonade for Brian.  A bonus - happy hour beer was only $2 - less than the lemonade!

I ordered the gourmet white pizza - "olive oil and garlic base with sun dried tomatoes, provolone, feta, and mozzarella cheeses, roma tomatoes and onions."  The small was $12.50 and enough for me and Chuck to share (along with a delicious small Greek Salad $5.25. )  We placed our food order at 5:31 and had the pizza delivered at 5:54.

I thought the pizza was delicious.  The crust was not too thick and sort of wheaty. The pizza was a good consistency and I liked the onion flavoring with the three cheeses.  There was just enough tomato. I found myself really noticing the flavors and found that I did not have enough words in my vocabulary to express how good it tasted.  But lets say - delicious! (And by the way, Brian's pizza was also very good and cost the same as mine)

So, the first pizza has been eaten and I am very full and I will say.  I would recommend this pizza wholeheartedly to anyone.  Chuck says he gives it an 8 because we are just starting this pizza journey.  All I know is that the restaurant was comfortable and the service excellent. And two people can eat 2 beers, a small salad and a small pizza for $21.75 plus tax and tip!  And you end up satisfied and very happy. (and with that second beer perhaps a red nose!)


Let me begin by explaining my intent in beginning this project.

At the end of 2015 I happened to listen to a podcast describing one woman's quest to find the best hamburger in St Louis Missouri.  She devoted one year to eating TWO hamburgers a week and rating them.  She knew that  - like my  cheese pizza quest - the "best" hamburger is, of course, subjective.  It is all according to your own taste and what you like.  But she did it - rating the various hamburger restaurants   on flavor, price, ambiance, and service of the restaurant. She also weighed herself ahead of time and even checked her cholesteral and then again at the end of the year.  She did not gain any weight as she found that she was more careful in the rest of her eating.  I was impressed and intrigued by all of it.

And so, in the year 2016, I decided to try out tasting and testing pizzas.  But to narrow it down I would stick to cheese pizzas.

  Now I am not by any stretch of the imagination a "foodie" although I like to eat.  I am definitely more gourmand than gourmet. And while I do eat out a lot, I find it is often the same places and the same foods. For example, whenever I go to Bob Evans I get chicken and noodles, Max and Ermas it is the tortilla soup, and O Charley's the wedge salad. So, I am embarking on a plan to try some new places and "mindfully" engage in really noticing the different flavors and textures of various offerings of cheese pizza.

The plan is that I will - mostly with Chuck and anyone who wants to join me - try 50 different restaurants in the Columbus area that specialize in pizza. I prefer to be waited on - so the places that only deliver will be out. And always, beer and pizza really do go well together, so extra points for the places that serve bud light.

I have weighed myself as I am beginning because I am in Weight Watchers - not particularly successful so far, but maybe this pizza project will get me exercising more.  We shall see.

Anyway, I welcome any suggestions from friends about the places we should make sure to  try. .

Margot Connor