Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fort Worth Spring Break Adventures: Pizza Snob

I wasn't even trying to go for pizza this time. We had an unexpected lunch to ourselves (the kids were off to the botanical garden to feed the fish) and I've been craving Smashburger. The Austin and Waco locations recently closed, but I was hopeful for the Fort Worth location. It was closed. The natural course of things, therefore, was more pizza.

Pizza Snob

The first thing we noticed when entering Pizza Snob is that the layout and menu emphasize build-your-own pizzas. Build-your-own-pizza as an option is a business giving you enough culinary rope to hang yourself. The more toppings, the more non-standard the toppings, the more likely you are to end up with a mess. Pizza Snob only allows 4 toppings on a pizza, so they are doing their part to prevent pizza abominations (though I'm sure the practical concerns of an overloaded pizza are also in play), but with options like potstickers and salsa verde there are bound to be both stinkers and flavor symphonies coming off of the line.

We opted for one "novelty" pizza and one standard. I confess that I am not a very good follower of my own rules. At any new pizzeria I like to try a standby (like a margherita, marinera, or pepperoni pie) and a "specialty". For the latter, I like whatever seems to be unique to that pizzeria. Pizza Snob seems obsessed with its alfredo sauce and I just couldn't bring myself to order it. I am a biased woman and I don't want cream, mayonnaise, ranch sauce, or alfredo gumming up my pizza. If I were a local, I'd eventually give it a try, but I'm not risking it on a vacation when there are more reliably edible options.

Which brings us to the pizza pictured above... the "Thai Potsticker". I loved everything Thai on it and could have done without the potstickers. It had Asiago, smoked mozzarella and smoked provolone cheeses, garlic chicken sausage, sweet chili sauce, cilantro and “Hot” honey in addition to the potstickers. The cheese was greasy and salty, cut by the sweet and spiciness of the sauces. Adding in a very present garlic flavor, each bite was nice.

I love loved the crust. It came out soft throughout but with enough firmness to hold up. Perhaps it was the lack of sauces, but it only started to sag when we were almost all the way through. It reminded me a bit of a cross between a traditional pizza crust and a flatbread.

Alas, there were also potstickers on the pizza, which could have been left off without losing anything. When everything on a pizza is soft, the last thing it needs is overcooked pasta wrapped around a relatively mushy and tasteless filling (or at least tasteless against a background of chili sauce and smoked cheese).

Our second pizza was the "Galic-Buttered Meatball" which had (list directly from their website) "Rosey Goat Cheese (w/blend of Mozz/Provolone), Garlic-Buttered Meatballs, Shredded Parm, Olive Oil, and Fresh Basil". I forgot until this moment that there was goat cheese on it. It was lost in the buttery savory tsunami of the rest of the pizza. I'm sure it contributed, but I couldn't pick it out of the other flavors. It was still a good pizza and there's nothing wrong with transporting garlic butter into my mouth on a good crust.

This is right on the TCU drag, so I'm not sure how convenient it would be to get to while school is in session, but I'm glad we made the trip.

Bonus pictures:

Their order call system is an old BINGO call board, which I loved

A+ to this employee working that robotic-looking gas oven. He got some great leopard spotting on our pies without burning them.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fort Worth Spring Break Adventures: Thirteen Pies

I didn't come here expecting to pizza adventure. In fact, I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to be eating out at all (my grandma is a cook-at-home-then-eat-leftovers-forever kind of gal). But she offered to watch the kids and give Adam and I a chance to get out by ourselves, so we took advantage.

Thirteen Pies

It was #1 on Yelp and I was hesitant. The menu seems to contain some ingredients that are there purely for the pretension (i.e. truffle oil on a pepperoni basil pizza, which I couldn't bring myself to try, so I hold on my principled disdain of it without hard evidence that it is, in fact, a pizza abomination). But, it also had some delicious looking stuff. So we went. I wish I knew I'd be blogging this at the time, because I would have taken more photos. I loved the interior decor of Thirteen Pies. It's dark, deep wood and leather with an open kitchen area and two big wood ovens with vents ascending through the ceiling.

The gimmick is that there are 12 regular pies on the menu and a mystery 13th pie (though this turned out to be more of a chef's special posted on the wall than a true mystery like The Thing from Southside Flying Pizza where you don't know what you're getting until it arrives). The current 13th pie was cuban sandwich inspired and very very tasty. (and here again comes my want of additional photos, because I'll have to try to remember the ingredients by memory) It had pulled pork, ham, ricotta, gruyere, mustard, and bread and butter pickles. The pork had maintained its moisture and, as the heart of a cuban, put my mind in the right place to enjoy the rest. The bread and butter pickles were a great choice to add crunch and a little bit of sweetness. They offset the salty ham and general savoriness of the rest.

My nitpicking suggestions for this pizza, my husband assures me, would take this pizza further from its cuban roots, though I argue farther into deliciousness. I wish it had been more mustard forward (which can be done, I've had pizzas at both Pinthouse and House that perfected the balance on a mustard sauce), I wish the cheese had been more there flavor-wise. My husband argues that the cheese in a cuban sandwich is always just there. Again, these are nitpicks. We enthusiastically ate this pizza.

Next we tried the "Straight", which is a plain mozzarella, basil, and pecorino pie. You know my opinion on aged cheeses shredded on a pizza: If it needs to be there, it should be on the menu and come that way. This needed to be there and was really the star of this pizza. The sharp lemony flavor of the pecorino worked with the milder sauce and mozzarella to create a bite with layers of flavor to experience. I had to balance taking my time and enjoying it with wanting as much of this pizza in my face as possible.

For dessert we went with the zeppole, which are fried dough balls. They were served with a tart jam (the waiter wasn't sure whether it was cranberry or rhubarb) and honey. It was a great way to end the meal (though, to be nitpicky again, because I can be, if I were to be a place that insists on turning wagyu beef into meatballs, I might also be the kind of place to spring for varietal honey to be super-fancy).

I don't know why I'm still so contrary about Thirteen Pies. Everything we had was delicious and the atmosphere was great. If someone took me here on a date I'd be impressed. Maybe someone else can check it out and find out whether or not their meat parade (named "Crumbled Meats") needs truffle oil or not.

P.S. I am reminded by their Twitter profile that the service was fantastic. Attentive, friendly, there when I needed them, not there when I didn't need them.

Next up:
Pizza Snob
Canne Rosso (which now has a location in Austin)