I love really good pizza. Give me a crispy thin crust with delicious, flavorful toppings and I’m a happy girl. My hilarious friend Richie would call my kind of pizza “artsy.” I’m only a food snob over two things: pizza and beer. #fancypants
Everyone’s so busy these days, so I think it’s perfectly fine to use pizza dough from the prepared food section at a store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Save yourself some time, hon. However, if you’d rather do the whole scratch thing (I like to…and it saves money, too), it’s not hard at all. Here’s Ina Garten’s recipe. I’ve also made Pioneer Woman’s dough, too. I am the absolute worst at stretching the crust, though, so most of my pizzas resemble Africa. But they are tasty!
Whether you make the dough or not, the key to grilling pizza is to work super fast with a VERY hot grill. Be sure to have your crusts and toppings close by. Just put the crust on the grill, brush both sides with olive oil, grill both sides for a few seconds, add your toppings (I put the cheese on before the sauce like they do at John’s Pizzeria in NYC) and close the top (I turn the heat down a smidge) and grill for about 4-5 minutes. Easy as pizza pie.
What you choose to drink with your pizza depends on your own personal preference or mood and also different things go with different toppings. Check out my friend’s blog Scribbleskiff for some ideas (like pairing spicy, meaty toppings with an IPA…) The pairing combinations are almost endless! And since I have chickens out back, I sometimes top a pizza with a fried egg.
If you’d rather have a pro make your pizza pie, Baltimore has several great spots for delicious artisanal pizza – many new places have just opened in the last year. My longtime favorite is Iggie’s in Mt. Vernon. I love, love, love the Cipolla pizza with onion confit, mozzarella, pancetta and ricotta. Also, the Funghi with mushroom ragu, leeks and mozzarella. Holy schmoly, it’s good.
Not only is the pie amazing at Iggie’s, they also give a portion of their proceeds to a different charity every month and…it’s a BYOB joint. Nothing better than sitting outside on a Sunday afternoon with a friend enjoying pizza and an adult beverage!
Other great pizza in Charm City? The pizzas at Birroteca are very good. (I like the sides and pasta even more than the pies!) Their Duck Duck Goose pizza is ridiculous…it’s topped with a duck egg. Duh. Also, the spicy fennel sausage and mushroom pizza makes me very, very happy. And…Hersh’s in South Baltimore is another place I keep hitting up over and over, too. I took some friends visiting from out of town there and they raved (me, too!). Not only is the food really amazing – the housemade sausage is not to be missed – but the beer selection is kickass and changes all the time. Love the cocktails, too, hon.
I’m also a fan of the pizzas at two of my favorite wine bars, 13.5% (eggplant pizza – and I don’t really love eggplant…) and Grand Cru (the nature pizza and leek + goat cheese are faves). There’s also Joe Squared in Station North and Power Plant Live and Bagby Pizza in oh-so-schwanky Harbor East. The Sweet and Spicy pizza is delish. I’d also recommend you give Tooloulou on Harford Road a try – they have really delicious and creative pizzas. Try their smoked duck pizza – tomato sauce, house smoked duck, caramelized onion, sweet peppers, goat cheese and drizzled with balsamic reduction. The the market pizza, too – changes all the time. YUM. Those of you in the north part of the city, try Earth, Wood and Fire. And I had a very good meal recently at Canton’s Verde. Their housemade burrata is pretty amazing and the Nutella pie for dessert was a nice treat! Gonna go back soon.
Coming soon…Paulie Gee’s in Hampden. It’s gonna be so good. And Charm City Cook Salted Caramel Brownies will be ON THE MENU.
Can’t wait, Paulie!
So, come on…life’s too short for boring pizza. Go for the good stuff. Abbondanza!
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