Dinner 6/22/22

Pepperoni, green bell pepper, and red onion pizza

One of the best pizzas I have had in quite a while. This was at American Flatbread in downtown Salem. They recently took over the Salem location (along with several others in Massachusetts) from the semi-related Flatbread Company chain. Other than the name change, I don’t think there’s much different, but we hadn’t been to this place under either regime, so stopped by for dinner one night last week. To be honest, I had fairly low expectations, and was completely surprised at how good this pizza was. We ordered a large pie and ate almost all of it at the table (Bridget brought home the last two slices and polished them off for lunch a few days later). I am not usually a fan of peppers and onions on pizza, but this combo worked great. Super thin crust, but not cracker-y, good cheese blend. Nobody seems to have great pepperoni anymore, but this was good. Overall, a damn fine pizza.

This particular location has its own small bowling alley as a feature of the restaurant. This came about when the Flatbread Company opened a location in Davis Square in Somerville inside an old bowling alley. They kept the lanes, and it quickly became a very popular place to go for pizza, beer, and some fun. We went to the Somerville Flatbread location a few times and loved it. Because it was so popular in Somerville, they tried to replicate it in some of their other spots. American Flatbread has kept the bowling in Salem, though it’s only a couple of lanes, not an entire “Bowl-A-Drome” style alley. We did not avail ourselves of the opportunity, but since we will definitely be going back for another pizza, maybe we’ll do it up the next time.

Dinner 6/21/21

Greek phyllo pizza with spinach, tomatoes, and Kalamata olives

This Greek phyllo pizza comes from the classic Molly Katzen cookbook “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest”. It’s one of our favorite recipes from that cookbook, and I’ve made it many, many times over the years. Like most of the recipes in that book, it’s a little time-consuming but not really complicated, and very much worth the effort.

You start by layering sheets of phyllo pastry dough, painting each one with a little bit of olive oil as you layer them. Once you’ve got the base put together, you sautee some fresh spinach with onions, garlic, and some lemon juice (I have also done it with frozen spinach, but it’s better with fresh), and spread that mixture on the base, along with shredded mozzarella. Then you top that with fresh sliced tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and crumbled feta. Bake until the edges of the phyllo are cirspy and golden and the cheese is melty.

I’ve got a couple of containered tomato plants in the back yard, and once they start producing fruit, I will be making this again sometime this summer. I’ll be sure to post a photo of that when it happens.

Dinner 7/17/21

Pizza with sopressata salami

This pizza is from Area Four in Cambridge. It is one of my most favorite pizzas anywhere. Area Four makes great pizza all the way around – they do almost everything in-house, and their fermented pizza dough is simply the best. But this particular pizza, which features their own sopressata salami, is just amazing. No other pizza place I know anywhere comes even close to this.

All that being said, Area Four is something of a pain in the ass, as are most of the restaurants that have overpopulated Kendall Square in the last few years. They’re all a little too full of themselves and treat customers like crap. The waitstaff at Area Four always seem disengaged, will bring you the wrong order, spend a lot of time chatting at the bar, etc. I don’t need my ass kissed at a restaurant, but they could make a little more effort. If they didn’t have this incredible pizza, I would have written them off a long time ago. But…you gotta try this pizza.

Lunch 12/22/21

Pepperoni and mushroom pizza

Over the summer and early fall I fell into a habit of ordering out for lunch at work almost every day. We only get a 30-minute lunch break, and we were thick in the middle of a massive project that meant hours on the phone every day, so it was expedient to order takeout so I could stay at my desk and work through lunchtime. Now that the project is done and things are “normal”, I’ve gone back to bringing lunch most days and trying to limit the takeout to once a week. This was last Wednesday’s takeout order.

Pizza feels more like dinner to me than lunch, but I was kind of craving it, and also looking for something different. The community where I work has a large Asian immigrant population, and so there are many Asian takeout options – Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Thai, even Tibetan. A pepperoni pizza with mushrooms was a good change of pace.