Pietro’s on South St.

I had been dying, and I tell you dying… to try the coal-fired pizza at Pietro’s for the past three years.  My co-worker from my old job always used to tell me I had to go there, and I never had the chance…. that is until the day of the Dirty Heads FREE concert in Philly!

Dave and our friends Matt, Tim, and Mark braved one of the hottest days of the summer to go to the concert.  The Dirty Heads put on a great show- I mean, it was FREE… how could it be bad?!

Dave and Matt enjoying the show

Tim and I having fun at the show

Trying to stay cool!

Our whole crew!

After a long, hot, and fun day, Mark and I discussed our dinner plans and Pietro’s on South Street was the winner.  I obviously couldn’t have been more excited to be going to a pizza place with 4 hungry dudes.  I knew we’d be able to order a little bit of everything!

We started with a Caesar Salad which was fab.

We picked 3 pizzas:

Pietro’s Classic 
Smoked mozzarella, prosciutto, baby arugula

Piccante 
Spicy ham, aged provolone, crushed red hot peppers, Italian tomatoes

Special of the Night
Chicken Sausage, Spinach, Tomatoes, and fresh Ricotta Cheese


We all pretty much couldn’t decide which we liked better!  They were all really really really really good.  I think if I had to pick one, I’d say the Pietro’s Classic, I loved the combination and the heaping arugula ontop had a great crunch and made it all taste so fresh.

Leftover Matzo

I have THREE BOXES of leftover Matzo from Passover.  What should I do with THREE BOXES of Matzo?  I’ve already taught you how to make this delicious treat… but now what?

Luckily, Dave somehow wasn’t sick of this stuff yet, so we made Matzo-Pizza this weekend.  This batch we made with spicy Cherry Peppers as the topping, but the beauty of MP is that you can do whatever you want with it, just like regular pizza!  If you haven’t tried this yet  and you’ve got some boxes around your house too… go ahead… do it!  It’s actually really good!

Matzo-Pizza w/ Cherry Peppers

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
1 Sheet Matzo
2 Tablespoons Pizza Sauce (or marinara is fine too)
2 Tablespoons Shredded Mozzarella
1 Tablespoon Shredded Parmesan
1 Hot Cherry Pepper, seeded & chopped
Italian Seasoning & Red Pepper Flakes
Directions:
1.  Preheat conventional oven or regular oven to 400.
2.  Place the matzo on a small sheet of foil.  Top with sauce, then cheese, hot pepper, and seasoning.  Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes, checking to make sure it doesn’t burn.  When the cheese is melted, take it out and enjoy!

Dave putting together his piece of Matzo-Pizza ... go Flyers!

You know what else we love to make with Matzo?  FRIED MATZO… or as some people call it “Matzo Brei”.  My Mom has already helped out our surplus of Matzo by cooking up a few batches of this stuff.  Here’s a basic recipe for it.  It’s basically Matzo soaked, then cooked with egg.  You can top it with sour cream & jelly, or I like to top it with Salt, Pepper, and lots of Ketchup!

I also think I’m going to try to grind it up in the food processor and use it as bread crumbs until it’s all gone!

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Dave and I often joke about how I want to move… anywhere.  Everywhere I visit, I come back saying “I could really live there”!  One city I don’t think I could ever live in is Chicago.  It’s not because of the wind, rain, and snow.  It’s not because their baseball team(s) suck, or how far it is away from the beach.  It’s because I could NEVER get used to eating their pizza!

I am a thin-crust pizza fan all the way.  I almost never get pizza unless I know it’s got a super thin or even cracker thin crust.  It’s just not worth it to me otherwise!  One of my new favorite pizza restaurants is Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza inWayne.  Although the generic sports memorabilia on the walls gives it away, you can hardly tell this place is a chain.  It’s just that good.

Their pizza has a crispy thin crust and is served “well done” as the signs around the restaurant warn you.  Although I would kill for a pie from Anthony’s… their Italian Salad is what really gets me comin’ back.  This salad is served for two in a big wood bowl with tongs.  You can also order it with gorgonzola cheese which comes in a heaping pile ontop, just ready to be mixed in.  The Italian dressing is mixed in but very light.

I love the chick peas in the salad, and OBVIOUSLY the blue cheese!

Another favorite dish at Anthony’s is their wings.  Wings?  That’s surprising at a “fancy” pizza place… right?  Anthony’s wings are no ordinary wings.  They are not fried, but roasted in their Coal Oven, then smothered with a mound of caramelized onions.  They are not spicy or buffalo flavored, they are just simply seasoned to perfection.

Can you see the chicken wings hiding under this blob of caramelized onions? MMM

Finally, onto the star of the show… the pizza.  I’ve already marveled over the crust, let’s talk toppings.  The pie we ordered on this occasion was the Meatball & Ricotta pie.  Ricotta cheese on pizza is one of my favorite toppings to get, and the meatballs I’ve never tried!  They were delicious and a welcome addition to my repetiore of pizza toppings.  We also obviously had to order the Long Hot Italian Peppers on it too, because nothing is good if it’s not spicy, right Dave?

Our pizza tonight: Meatballs, Ricotta, and Long Hots

You should check out Anthony’s website and see if they have a location near you!  It’s awesome!

The Tomato Bistro

Who doesn’t love a great deal?  I do!  I recently purchased a Groupon for The Tomato Bistro in Manayunk.  The Tomato Bistro is the newly renovated “upstairs” at the Couch Tomato.  The deal was $25 for a FOUR course meal for TWO!

I felt like this would be a perfect time to mention- until about five months ago, I have hated, and I mean HATED tomatoes my entire life!  It’s actually just raw tomatoes that get me.  The seeds, the goo in the middle… it’s disgusting!  Everything ordered in a restaurant, sandwiches, salads… I always had to request “absolutely no tomatoes please”.  When the kitchen would forget (this happened often, since who doesn’t love a good tomato??) someone else at the table would have to pick them off for me, since I couldn’t bear to touch them.

Thankfully, I recently forced myself to try a cherry tomato on a big bite of salad with a friend of mine in Philly.  I could hardly taste it but decided then and there that I was over my fear of tomatoes, and have been eating them ever since!  It took some getting used to but I do enjoy them now, and even choose to include them in my sandwiches and omelets!

The Tomato Bistro 3rd Floor

Now, back to the Tomato Bistro!  One of my close friends, Allie (who is my inspiration for starting my blog) was the perfect date for the four-course evening.  When we arrived at the restaurant, we decided to sit on the third floor.  The atmosphere was bright and happy but cozy, perfect for our date.  Along with our wine, the waitress delivered us a small cup of their Tomato (duh) Bisque and a few cheese croutons.  It was an unexpected nice touch and it was so yummy!

Sample of Tomato Bisque

For our first course, we were able to pick any three items from their small plates menu.  Allie and I decided on trying the Crab Crepe, the Cornflake Chicken, and Popcorn Mac & Cheese.  Everything was so good we couldn’t decide what we liked better.  Allie also convinced me to try grilled artichokes- one of the only things i don’t like to eat these days.  Turns out, I was pleasantly surprised and wished there was more of it!

Our Three Tapas

Crab Crepe:  Leeks, Carrots, Jumbo Crab, Dijon Cream

Crab Crepe

Cornflake Cicken:  Artichockes, Prosciutto, Cornflakes, Caramelized Onion, Ricotta, Arugula

Cornflake Chicken

The Popcorn Mac & Cheese is actually not listed on their online menu!  Weird!

Popcorn Mac

Crispy Artichokes:  Baby Long-Stem Marinated Artichokes, Olive Tapenade, Lemon Aioli … we ate this one too fast to snap a picture!  DUH!

Next, we got to pick a salad and a pizza.  The decision was so hard, but we finally decided on the Prosciutto Di Parma Salad & the Mushroom Pizza.  Neither of our boyfriends eat mushrooms, so we jumped on the opportunity to be able to order them.

Prosciutto Di Parma Salad:  Arugula, Red Onion, Olives, Piave Cheese, Prosciutto, Grapes, Lemon, Olive Oil

Prosciutto Di Parma Salad

Mushroom Pizza:  Garlic Oil, Assorted Mushrooms, Goat Cheese

Mushroom Pizza

I didn’t love the salad, but the pizza was to die for!  The thin crust was perfectly crusty without being burnt, and the goat cheese tasted amazing with the mushrooms.

We also got to choose a dessert, but we had already talked ourselves into (or I talked Allie into) making a stop at Whirled Peace, the DIY Frozen Yogurt place down a block or two.  We did try Tomato Bistro’s Lavender Scented Crème Brûlée.  It was a perfectly tiny little dessert for a bite or two, but the garnish was pretty strange, don’t you think?

Creme Brulee

Overall, the Couch Tomato’s new sister restaurant “upstairs” Tomato Bistro was delish.  Maybe it was the creative tapas, maybe it was the crispy crust pizza, or maybe it even is the FREE vallet service (so clutch in Manayunk, for this non-paralell parker!) …  but I think it’s my new found respect for the TOMATO!

By the way, you can find my awesome date Allie’s food blog here!  She started it over a year ago, and has some amazing suggestions and recipes.  ENJOY!