Margherita, meatball, even mashed potato, oh my! If there’s one thing anyone who has even lived in New York or Connecticut knows, it’s that we know our pizza! No offense to Chicago (I love a deep dish as much as the next pizza fanatic), but there’s just got to be something in the water. The endless list of pizza recipes make it quite possibly the perfect food; the inexpensive-kid friendly-gourmet-eat with your hands-make it any way you like it in less than ten minutes perfect food. And if you’ve ever grabbed a slice out of a window on the streets of New York City, you know, unarguably, that there is nothing better than the remnants of your favorite toppings.
Here in Connecticut, the streets of New Haven house some of the oldest and most well known pie joints. The best? Well, as any local will tell you, this is also one of the oldest and most well known debates! Personally, I like to go with the classic, Frank Pepe’s on Wooster Street. Pizza served on metal trays baked in a wood fired oven with recipes being perfected for almost 100 years! Here, you gotta request the cheese but my suggestion? The awarding winning white clam pizza, a taste of that New England seafood, or for you meat lovers, the bacon, still slightly chewy with the perfect balance of salt and sweet tomatoes. When you’re done, head next store for some truly delicious Italian pastries. If you can fit it that is!
Also located in New Haven, Bar is great for the young or just plain young at heart! Set in a old warehouse building, the funky vibe of this place is reason alone to give it a shot but once you taste their signature pie, I promise you’ll come back for more. Bar serves up it own house brewed beer, signature salad (the caramelized pecans are my favorite part!), and mashed potato pizza. Yes, even pre-pregnancy carbs on carbs made my day! Served either white or red, the mashed potato pizza is a perfect twist on a classic.
(Sidebar: Although Bar was my first experience with mashed potato pizza, I have to give a nod to Fire Engine Pizza Company in Bridgeport. Not only is their mashed potato pizza killer, but the staff was friendly, prices reasonable and the service was fast..yes, hungry pregnant lady over here! And their awesome fire house vibe reminds me of my own favorite firemen; my grandfather and uncle. Fire Engine Pizza, you get five stars in my book!
Finally, the last pizza place on my list is a spot that my family has been going to for years; Colony Grill in Stamford. Colony has always been a staple in my house and you’ll just have to trust me on the go-to. Get the hot oil. Yep, spicy pizza. A trifecta blend of drizzled oil, touch of heat, and the perfect balance of cheese and thin crisp crust. Now, prices have gone up since the $6 pizza I once remember but I assure you the increase is well worth it and you’ll leave full. A few pieces of advice for your visit; order your own pie (yes, you’ll eat it!), don’t ask for anything else it’s a strict pizza place, and lastly, “don’t chip the china.” You’ll understand when you get there!
Now if you can’t make it to any of these delicious dough throwing spots, perhaps think about making one of your own. My pizza stone is great, I think every home should own one. But my favorite way to make a pie? On the grill. A simple way to taste summer all year long and it’s super easy! Here it is:
Grilled Pizza Recipe: I usually use one store bought whole wheat raw pizza dough. Roll it out (don’t forget to dust with flour so the dough doesn’t stick). Brush with oil and carefully lay dough out on a hot grill. Don’t touch it! If you move it too soon it will stick and end up kindling for the next meal. I give it about 4 minutes, you’ll see it start to bubble. Once the first side is cooked to your liking, flip. As soon as you flip the dough, add your toppings. My favorite? A little garlic olive oil (simply lightly brown some chopped garlic on the stove), ricotta cheese, basil, crushed tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella, but you can top with any of your favorites. Remember, the pizza doesn’t cook long so you’ll need to cook meats through or blanch vegetables before adding them to the pie. Once your pizza is topped, shut the cover and turn the heat way down (you want your cheese melted but you don’t want your crust burnt!) After a few minutes, throw that pie on a pizza peel and viola! Dig in!
As an end thought…these are just a few of my favorite pizza places in the area. We are a mecca of pies in different shapes, sizes, and flavors. My first trimester, all I craved was pizza topped with avocado! Most places looked at me like I was nuts, but hey, it’s the kind of food to go crazy with! I’m always looking for a new place and/or great recipe so I’d love to hear your thoughts! Where’s your favorite pizza place?
Finally, I aim to never mix my blog with politics but since the timing seems to fit the post, I’ll make my comment and run. “Forkgate” people? Really? Here’s some food for thought; I eat my pizza with a fork and knife. Not because I don’t have the “New Yorker” in me but simply because it slows me down! That pizza, it’s the perfect food, and I assure you, at any of these fantastic places, you’re gonna want to slow down and enjoy the bites too!
Stephanie a.k.a. The Foodetarian