Thankful for Langel’s Pizza this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I not only got to enjoy TWO Thanksgiving dinners on the same day but I also got to try out some new pizza on Thanksgiving Eve. Thanksgiving Eve is one of the top five busiest days of the year for pizza delivery and I’m not surprised at all. Everyone is so busy prepping for the big meal the next day that nobody wants to cook anything. This year, Eric and I went to Indiana on Wednesday night to spend the first half of Thanksgiving with his brother Craig. And like everyone else, we didn’t feel like cooking anything for dinner that night either. So we decided to go to this pizza place/bar a few blocks from Craig’s house called Langel’s Pizza.

Langel’s Pizza is located at 2833 Highway Ave in Highland, Indiana. We decided to sit in the screened-in porch area in the front of the restaurant. Unfortunately, we were sitting in the section of a not-so-stellar waitress. All three of us ordered a Gumballhead beer on draft. After what seemed to be a pretty long time our waitress came back with one draft beer and just looked at us. Then she told us that the Gumballhead keg ran out and that one of us will get the Gumballhead beer and the other two will be getting Jinx Proof which was the keg that was replacing the Gumballhead one. We all just looked at each other, wondering why she was the one deciding this for us. What is Jinx Proof anyways? None of us had even had this beer before and how did we even know if we were going to like it or not? So we asked her if she could bring us a taste of the Jinx Proof and told her that we’d decide from there. I went ahead and decided that I would just have the Gumballhead beer since it was already at the table :) After a long time had passed again, the waitress stopped by our table just to tell us that they were still changing out the keg (I graciously offered to share my beer with Eric and Craig at this point because I felt guilty sitting there drinking it in front of them.) Finally she came back with a small cup of the Jinx Proof for them to try. But instead of waiting to see how we liked the new beer, she dropped off the cup and walked away. So we had to wait yet again to simply even order the rest of our drinks. She finally returned and Eric decided to to go ahead and get the Jinx Proof and Craig just went with a Blue Moon. In the meantime our pizza had already shown up….BEFORE the other beers even did!!

Langel's Pizza

So let’s talk about the pizza. We ordered a 16″ thin crust with crumbled sausage and bacon. A fairly simple pizza. When we got the pizza, the first thing I noticed was that the entire thing was covered with the crumbled sausage. No skimping there! It almost looked like ground beef in a way but it had a really good flavor and you could taste it in every bite which I really liked. The bacon on the other hand I felt was lacking. The pizza could have really used some more bacon on there. I liked the taste of the sauce and they used a good amount of sauce on the pizza which is always important to me. The dough was nice and airy and had a good thickness to it. It even had some really nice air bubbles in it (which are always fun to pop). I thought they did a great job on the crust. There was also a good amount of cheese. It was nice and stringy and so oozy that it almost took off all your toppings with it when you tried to take a new slice. So all in all the pizza was pretty good. I would rate this pizza a 3 out of 5 stars. I would definitely go back despite having to wait a lot on our waitress (maybe she was just having a bad night, afterall.. she wasn’t eating pizza.) And in the summertime, they open up the screened-in porch area so I bet it has a really nice atmosphere to it.

The beers finally did arrive but since they took so long, we chose not to stay for a second  round. Instead, we decided to enjoy the growlers of Daisy Cutter we picked up from Half Acre Brewery on our way out to Indiana that we had waiting for us back at the house. It was a fun night of pizza, beer, chopping and prepping our Thanksgiving meal while listening to Gobble Gobble mix 2012 on the iPad!!

(Interesting tidbit: While writing this blog post I was eating… pizza. Shocking, I know! Although it was one I have already reviewed – Panino’s. You can see my review here: https://chicagopizzagirl.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/paninos-pizza-in-lakeview/

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Osteria Via Stato

I kicked off the summer right this year by enjoying my favorite thing for lunch, pizza, in an outdoor patio with some pretty great people. Then, we finished the night off right, at a baseball game. We ate at Osteria Via Stato on State St. in Chicago. We had one of our first nice weekends so naturally I wanted to sit outside someplace and enjoy the weather. Osteria Via Stato has a really nice patio to eat outside in so it worked out perfectly.

Osteria Via Stato is known for its Roman style, cracker thin crust pizzas that are cooked in a brick oven. The size of the pizzas are small enough to order one for yourself. I tend to finish the whole darn thing when I go. Shocking… I know. Some of the types of pizzas I have tried there are the margherita, the sausage and the pepperoni. I will say, out of those three, the margherita is definitely my favorite. Some other types of pizzas they have there that I would love to try sometime are the four cheese pizza and the prociutto americana pizza, both of which are white pizzas.

Osteria Via Stato Margherita Pizza

Osteria Via Stato Pepperoni Pizza

Previous times I have been to Osteria Via Stato, I have tried the caprese salad and the plate of house marinated olives as an appetizer. Both were really good. It helps that I am a huge fan of kalamata olives! This last time that we were there, I ordered the margherita pizza for my lunch. There is something about the freshness of the basil that I just love. And the ratio of cheese to sauce is just right. Normally I don’t get all that excited about a cracker thin crust pizzas in general. I usually prefer a thicker crust or deep dish. But I have to say, I did enjoy this pizza very much. Paired with a Half Acre Daisy Cutter beer, it was delicious. And the great thing about the thinness and size of these pizzas is that if you are with a group people and all order different pizzas, they are great for sharing if you’d like to try more than one type. I would give this pizza a 3 star rating.

 

Pizza Serio is SERIOusly great pizza!!

pizza-serio

I was first introduced to Pizza Serio in the fall of 2010 by my friend Dale who kept insisting I try it. This brick oven pizza place just opened this past year and is located at 1708 W. Belmont Ave in Chicago. I’ve been there twice since it opened and I can now see why Dale suggested I try this pizza. I have added Pizza Serio to my top favorite pizza places to go to in Chicago. When I saw that Groupon had a deal for Pizza Serio a little while back I was super excited. So of course I snatched it up and this past Friday we went to cash it in.

Pizza Serio has a nice ambiance inside. It has lots of exposed brick which adds a lot of charm to the place and has several flat screens if you’re in the mood to watch a game. The staff has always been really friendly when I’ve been there as well. They even have a second level upstairs that can be rented out for special events.

We started off the night by ordering some Half Acre Daisy Cutter Ale’s. Oooh and I do have to mention that this place also sells my favorite beer, Bells Oberon. Unfortunately, Oberon is not in season right now so they did not have it available to order. Otherwise I would have ordered that of course. Anyways, we then attempted to order the garlic twists but they’re so popular they were out of them that night. The first time we went to Pizza Serio they were testing out the garlic twist recipe and asked us to try them to see what we thought. I’m glad to see they officially made it on their menu because I’m a huge garlic fan and they were amazing. So we skipped the appetizer and just decided to order one margarita pizza and one with spicy sopressata salami. The first night I went to Pizza Serio I tried the spicy salami as one of the toppings and I can honestly say I don’t think I will ever order anything else from there because I loved it so much. It had such amazing flavor. I’ve since then tried to find spicy salami at the grocery store so I can try adding this topping to my homemade pizzas as well, but I have had trouble finding it. Of course I haven’t tried looking anywhere besides Jewel so far so I guess I could be trying a “little” bit harder. I have to admit, it’s a topping that I haven’t seen very often at pizza places so this was a very exciting and delicious surprise to find it on their menu.

Spicy salami

The Margarita pizza had a lot of really fresh tasting basil on top. I would say the pizza tasted like your typical margarita pizza. Although, I expected it to come with sliced tomatoes on it, but it did not. But that’s ok. It was still delicious. The crust on these pizzas were nice and light and airy. The mozzarella was very fresh and flavorful. It really is the closest pizza in taste to NYC style pizza that I’ve had here in Chicago. So if you’re looking for some great thin crust, this is the place to try! I would have to give this pizza a 4+. And I will be going back again very soon. I highly recommend you try it, especially if you’re a fan of NYC style pizza. You won’t be disappointed!

Margarita pizza

CPG found out 2 weeks is too long to go without making a pizza

This weekend I decided to make another pizza, because well, why not? I had the time and I love pizza. Since I’m on my garlic kick right now (really, when am I not) I wanted to add garlic powder to the dough again. Well, I guess going 2 weeks without making a pizza was a little too long for me. Because I made some vital errors in my dough making this time. First I’ll give you the run down of what I put in the dough.

Dough Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups of flour to start
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. of sugar
1 can of Coors Light
1 Tbs. of yeast
and garlic powder (not exactly sure how much)..

Now I say I don’t exactly how much garlic powder I put in because I simply took the shaker and went to town. I’ve noticed in my pizza making experience that if you want to be able to taste a certain flavor in your dough, you kind of have to use a lot of that ingredient. So if I had to guess, I’d say I put in maybe 2-3 Tbs. of garlic powder. Then, I let the breadmaker do its thing. The whole time the dough was being prepared, the scent of garlic filled the whole condo. It was definitely going to be noticed in this one! :)

Now as I checked on the dough in the beginning, I could already tell that I needed to add more  flour. I could tell the flour to liquid ratio was just not right. I’ve made my own dough enough now where I could tell just by looking at the consistency of it that I needed to add more flour. So I went ahead and added probably another cup’s worth right then and there. When the beeping went off to tell me that the breadmaker was finished and my dough was ready I opened the lid and said “Oh no.. ” I could immediately tell that the dough was too sticky. Apparently I needed to add a LOT more flour than I had thought.

Have no fear, I just got out the flour again and went to work on working more in to the ball of dough I had. And soon enough, the dough was much less sticky and ready to roll out on to the pizza pan. I did have to cut the dough in half now though since I added so much more flour, there was just too much of it and I wanted more of a thin crust for this pizza. Good save Linds!! Gave myself a pat on the back for rescuing the pizza dough, because otherwise I would have been very sad. Lindsay without her pizza is not a pretty sight.

Now on to the pizza toppings. I loaded up the base with sauce. Just my usual Ragu pizza sauce this time. (One of these days I will get around to making my own sauce. I promise.) Then I added pepperoni, left over italian sausage from dinner a few nights before, and mushrooms. I shredded mozzarella (seriously, I can never remember how to spell that one and spellcheck always yells at me) and cheddar to top it off. In the oven my garlic-y pizza went at 385 degrees for 19 minutes.

homemade garlic crust

When the pizza came out, it was perfectly cooked. Lightly browned, melted cheese and a slightly crispy crust on the bottom. The first thing I noticed when I took a bite in to this pizza was the consistency of the dough. It definitely had a different texture to it than my dough usually has. Almost like it was more spongey and it wasn’t as light and airy. I am not sure if it was the amount of garlic powder I put in to the dough that changed the consistency or it was the flour I was adding to the dough after the dough was already made. But, I will say that the pizza still tasted quite good. It was just a different kind of crust. So I was happy with the end result. You could certainly taste the hint of garlic in the dough. And the italian sausage was really flavorful. I guess there is something to be said for being more careful about measuring  though :)

garlic powder crust

Paisano’s Pizza in Virginia

Two weekends ago I was out of town yet again. This time I was visiting my brother and his family in Virginia. I promise I will start reviewing more pizzas in Chicago now since I’m finally going to be home for a few weekends. I mean I AM “Chicago” Pizza Girl after all. Anyways, it was a Friday night and of course when you have out of town guests and a lot going on, nobody really wants to cook right? So we opted for a nice quick and easy dinner and ordered Paisano’s Pizza.

Since my brother Bob and his wife Kim are vegetarians we decided to get some pizzas without meat. I know.. this is a change for me since I usually order meat toppings. But, I like most veggies on my pizza anyways, so it was fine by me. On one pizza, we ordered mushrooms and tomatoes and on the other pizza we got onion, green peppers and olives. I typically don’t like onion on my pizzas. But I said I would at least give it another shot (for the blog of course)!

Paisano's olive and pepper pizza

So there we were, the siblings all together again. My cousin Steve, who now lives in Virginia as well, came over to join us for dinner too. The pizza was your typical thin crust pie. It reminded me of something you might get from your average college town actually. I liked the crust. It was very light and airy. Great for dipping in ranch dressing. I have to say, I gave the onions a try on the one pizza and I am still not a big fan of them. But.. I didn’t hate it. I ate the whole slice. I enjoy onions in lots of things actually. I like red onions in salads, sometimes on sandwiches, grilled onions on bratwursts or hot dogs, in pasta, or soups, etc. But for whatever reason, I have never really been a fan of onions on my pizzas. Oh well, at least I gave it another shot. And while we’re on the topic of toppings I’m not a huge fan of, I must say I wasn’t a lover of the green peppers either. This is not one I usually order as a topping. If I had to switch it out with red peppers, I would be fine with that. I love red peppers. The mushroom and tomato pizza was very satisfying though. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the pizza. I could easily go back for more.

Paisano's mushroom and tomato pizza

I would probably give this pizza a rating of 3. Bob and Kim seem to be big fans of this pizza. But I’m thinking that maybe they have just been away from Chicago for too long now to remember what really good pizza tastes like. (I mean, it has been about 4 months now since they’ve moved)  :) Kidding Bob, love you! To be fair, it did hit the spot and I did enjoy it. In fact this is my second time eating it since we ordered it the last time I visited as well. And I would order it again in the future. Ordering pizza was just one of the many things that made this trip to Virginia a great one!

Oh, and on a side note, some of you will be happy to know that they do deliver beer. It says so right on the side of the box! Enjoy.

Pangea’s Pizza Pub in Traverse City, MI

Since I have been doing this blog, I feel like whenever I’m out of town I have to try and find a pizza place to blog about. Soooo, that’s exactly what I did. This past weekend I went to Traverse City, MI for a wedding. I have never been to Traverse City before and I have to say it was a really pretty area. Our hotel was right on the beach and the downtown area was only minutes away. On our way out of town on Sunday, we stopped for lunch at Pangea’s Pizza Pub located at 135 East Front Street Traverse City, MI 49684. It was right in the middle of the downtown area next to several really cute little shops, cafes, etc.

We decided to order a medium pepperoni and bacon pizza with a garlic butter crust. I don’t know if you can tell by now what toppings are my favorite. :) I tend to always get very similar toppings. I know, I know. I should probably starting changing that up a bit huh? Of course when you know what you like.. why not stick with it right? I have to say, when the waitress suggested the garlic crust it didn’t even take me 0.5 seconds to decide if I wanted this or not. I was sold and very much looking forward to it. When the pizza arrived, well…just look at it!

Pangea's PizzaPangea's Pizza up close

You can see from the picture that the crust was covered with lots of yummy, delicious garlic butter. It almost reminded me of eating Crazy Bread from Little Caesars, but so much better. The cheese was perfectly melted with just the right amount of light brown coloring around the edges. The bacon pieces that were covering the pizza were actually nice size slices and not just tiny crumbles of bacon. So I really got a nice sense of the bacon flavor when I got a bite with bacon on it. It was a good amount of pizza for lunch. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do love my Chicago style deep dish pizzas. But sometimes, I just want a regular sized slice of pizza. Not something that was going to make me go in to a food coma. This pizza wasn’t too filling but definitely did the trick. I was full when it was time to leave and had leftovers as usual.

Now for the sad and disappointing part of the story. Yesterday, I reheated this pizza for lunch thinking “Oh my god, I can’t wait to taste that awesome buttery, garlic crust!” Well, when I pulled the pizza out of the microwave at lunch, it had turned in to a mushy, soggy looking mess. I was so confused at first because I had never really had something like this happen to my pizza before when reheating it. I took my fork and lifted up the bottom of the crust and it just flopped around, very flimsy-like. I was so sad. At first I thought.. do I tough it out and just eat it? I had been looking forward to it so much. I tried to pick it up  by the end of the crust at first but no such luck. It kept folding and toppings were sliding off on to my plate. Next, I tried cutting it with a knife and fork. I actually had a few bites. The flavor was still very good. I will admit. You could still taste all the garlic on the crust. But the texture was just too slimy and soggy for me. So I pushed my pizza aside and didn’t finish the rest. So sad. I’ve never really had any pizza mishaps like this before so I was very thrown off my game. So I guess I would have to rate this pizza as a 3. When eaten fresh, this pizza was very very delicious. Good sauce, cheese, toppings and I don’t think I have to mention again how much I loved the garlic crust. I think it would be a pizza I would definitely have every now and then. Of course I don’t live in Traverse City, but the next time I’m there, I would definitely stop in for another slice for sure!

Pangea's Pizza Slice