Figs (in Boston)

I know this is a Texas pizza blog, but on a recent trip to Boston I had some unique and delicious pizza that I wanted to write about.  Figs was a small little restaurant in Beacon Hill with an urban look and feel.  The décor consisted of exposed brick and a visible wood-burning oven in the back of the restaurant.  Although I am here to judge pizza, it is always added value when everything you order with your pizza is mouth-watering as well!

The bread that you receive at the beginning of the meal is not your everyday free bread.  It was soft and fluffy with an onion seasoning on top, accompanied by olive oil and an olive tapenade to dip it in.  The only thing about this that was not optimal is that the bread was not warm.

I was with a group of five so we also got three salads:  Tuscan antipasto (prosciutto, sweet glazed onion, roasted red peppers, chunks of cheese, and this amazing carrot julienne), watermelon with prosciutto and goat cheese, and warm bacon and spinach.  I will not go into all the details because the names explain themselves, but they were all wonderful and would be recommended to anyone going there in the future.

Crust:  Very thin, crispy and not too greasy

Fig & Prosciutto:  This pizza’s crust actually had rosemary seasoning that made it particularly tasty.  The ingredients were fig and balsamic jam, prosciutto, and gorgonzola cheese.  Although I am not typically a gorgonzola fan – I loved it with these ingredients and wish there was more of it.  Overall, I liked the unique taste of all these toppings together, but I did think there should have been more prosciutto and less fig spread.  This made some bites exceptionally delicious and others lacking all the different flavors.

Red Sox:  First of all, how could I dislike a pizza with this name?!  It was pretty much the reason I was in Boston.  With that being said, I did not expect this pizza to be my favorite.  It was topped with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and sweet sausage as well as the usual mozzarella and tomato sauce.  This pizza had the perfect sweet and salty taste that the other pizza seemed to lack. Again, this was another brilliant blend of ingredients with a good ratio of all the toppings making each bite more delicious than the next.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at this place.  I loved the thoughtful coupling of the ingredients to make very unique and appetizing tastes.

Home Slice - Austin, TX

Austin is the greatest city in Texas!  I had a fun weekend floating the river, shopping on South Congress, drinking an Iced Turbo at Jo's, and of course eating pizza.  After hours of deliberation about what place to try, it came down to convenience.  We were on South Congress and wanted a bite, so Home Slice became the obvious choice.  Right away, I knew I had made a good decision when there was a 30 minute wait at 3pm on a Sunday.  Luckily this didn't ruin my plan because there is a More Home Slice right next door.  Same pizza + no wait = brilliant!

This NY style pizza is hand tossed and can be ordered whole or by the slice.  It is my understanding that this shop has 6 kinds to choose from each day - the staples and a few specialty pies.    Most people in my group got the pepperoni, which was a big hit.  I wanted to try something different so I ordered the White pie with spinach.  The slice was huge and easily bendable (for those of you who think that is an important aspect).  This pizza consisted of spinach, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, olive oil, and garlic.  It was delicious - not too greasy and lots of flavor.  The crust was good - crispy with good cheese cover to the edge.  The spinach was cooked just the right amount and complimented the cheese and garlic very well.  My only complaint is the ricotta cheese.  It was bland and in large patches all over the slice.  It particularly bothered me because the quantities were big enough that it ruined an entire bite.  I eventually scraped it off.

All in all, I was impressed with Home Slice.  I would love to go back to the actual restaurant and try a few more slices.

Brix Pizza and Wine Bar - Fort Worth, TX

Before I went to Fort Worth (on important business matters - visiting my sister), I did some research about good pizza places to try.  I "yelped" and "googled" - it was like a full time job.  I finally decided to try Brix because the chef/owner is from Italy, and it appears to be somewhat of a well kept secret.  Also there is a wood-fire oven on site, so this place was just too hard to pass up. 

Although the restaurant is in a strip-mall type location, there is a nice little patio that was enjoyable.  When I went to use the restroom, I noticed that the ambience inside was also quite nice - what an American would imagine as a cute wine bar in Italy.

Now onto the food.  We started with a spinach salad that was nothing special.  They were a little generous with the dressing - I regretted not asking for it on the side.  But now onto the main event: the pizza.  We got three different pizzas (Small 10 in).

As all the pizzas had the same sauce and crust, I will discuss them here.  The "homemade" tomato sauce was average.  It was layered very thin and had no distinct taste when there were enough toppings and cheese on the pizza.  The crust was thin with a nice crispy edge.  Although I have nothing against the crust, it was not the type of crust that is particularly good alone.
4 Seasons - I had the biggest expectations for this pizza, so naturally it ended up being the biggest disappointment.  The ingredients that were listed on the menu (mozzarella, baby artichokes, mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers) are not your typical 4 Seasons pizza toppings, but I thought they sounded good and was up to try something different.  First of all, there was not enough cheese!  I, for one, love A LOT of cheese (but I know this is no everyone's preference), so I asked my fellow diners and they agreed that the cheese was indeed lacking.  Another one of my favorite pizza ingredients is artichoke.  This artichoke was dry, and I had a hard time chewing and swallowing the pieces in my mouth - not the best experience.  Also, being a non-traditional type person, it didn't bother me that all the ingredients were mixed (not divided by "season" as many 4 seasons pizzas are) but what did bother me was that all the toppings were clumped right in the middle of the pizza.  This made some bites very bare where others were too much.  Overall, I do not think I would order this pizza again.

Brix Signature Pizza - Now, I used to be a "lots of toppings" kind of gal.  Over the years, my pizza tastes have matured and I actually enjoy a good fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil pizza - which is exactly what this was.  The fresh mozzarella was not "out of this world" good, but I enjoyed it and definitely thought it added to this pizza's signature taste.  The basil was fresh as well which is something that can always make an average pizza into a great pizza.  This pizza also "resonated" better with me because there was an adequate amount of cheese AND the cheese went up almost to the end of the crust.  That detail can never be under-estimated - crispy and bubbly cheese on the edge of the crust!  As you can probably tell, this was my favorite pie of the night.

Spinach and Prosciutto
- I also had high hopes for this pizza because spinach and prosciutto are two of my favorite toppings (and prosciutto is my preferred meat option).  The prosciutto was thinly sliced (which is a plus for me) but tasted more like an average lunch meat than a fancy cured ham from an Italian deli.  The spinach was fresh but seemed dull and was not sautéed or cooked in any way.  There were generous heaps of spinach that were over-powering in certain bites. This pizza was also lacking in the mozzarella cheese department but had way too much parmesan cheese.  The parmesan cheese was not fresh. 

To recap, my favorite was the Signature, followed by the Spinach and Prosciutto, and then the 4 Seasons.  At the end of the meal, everyone admitted that they did not feel full (which is a strange feeling after going out for pizza).  Overall, this place could use some improvement but did have good service and didn’t serve horrible food.  After rereading my review, it sounds very harsh but I have high pizza standards and the point of this blog is to find the best.

And it begins ...

Welcome to my blog (I know that is cheesy but what can I say).  I am excited to start writing about pizza.  I may even blog about other yummy or hilarious things in my life - I will just have to see how this goes.  This week I will be trying a pizza place in Fort Worth as well as a pizza place in Austin.  I haven't decided on the particular places yet.

Just to lay it all out there - my favorite kind of pizza is typically thin from a wood-fired brick oven.  I am a "week day" vegetarian (watch the link below) but still enjoy eating a thin slice of proscuitto or pepperoni.  Don't let this deter you - I will try any pizza deemed the best.