Tag Archives: pizza

Roasted Caprese Pizza_low

NYPD launches summer menu

NYPD Pizza, a locally owned and family operated pizza kitchen with ten locations throughout metro-Phoenix, released its spring/summer seasonal menu today. The menu features Roasted Caprese Pizza topped with fresh rosemary, Strawberry Fields Forever Salad mixed with almonds and Gorgonzola, and a sweet twist on cannoli for dessert, the Strawberry Pizzoli:

Roasted Caprese Pizza
The seasonal Roasted Caprese Pizza is topped with slow roasted, vine-ripened tomatoes and a hint of fresh rosemary. Add delicious smoked mozzarella, a drizzle of sweet and tangy balsamic glaze and freshly chopped basil, and the Roasted Caprese Pizza is a refreshing take on summer.

Strawberry Fields Forever Salad
Back for an encore performance! Mixed greens, fresh strawberries, Fuji apples, sliced almonds and Gorgonzola tossed with tangy, low-fat Zinfandel vinaigrette.

Strawberry Pizzoli
NYPD Pizza has taken its famous homemade cannoli recipe and turned it into a tasty pizza dessert pie. A thin and delicately flaky sweetened pizza crust is topped with NYPD Pizza’s authentic cannoli filling, layered with sliced strawberries, sliced almonds and finished with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Perfect for sharing.

“We selected dishes that are both fresh and sweet,” said Rich Stark, CEO of NYPD Pizza. “Our Roasted Caprese Pizza is topped with fresh ingredients like chopped basil, rosemary and vine-ripened tomatoes, and we are sweetening up our seasonal salad and dessert with fresh strawberries. The spring and summer menu offers a refreshing escape from the heat.”

In addition to its seasonal menu launch, NYPD Pizza recently announced its plans to open two new locations. This spring, NYPD Pizza will open at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 2. This summer, NYPD Pizza will open a new location in the heart of Tempe’s Mill Avenue District on the Northwest corner of 3rd Street and Mill Avenue (222 S. Mill Avenue, #127, Tempe, AZ 85281).

For more information or to learn more about NYPD Pizza’s ten locations throughout metro-Phoenix, visit www.aznypdpizza.com, or follow on Twitter: @NYPD_Pizza and Facebook.

About NYPD Pizza
NYPD Pizza has served more than 2.5 million pizzas to families throughout the Greater Phoenix Area for more than 17 years. Locally owned and operated by Richard Stark, CEO and majority shareholder, NYPD Pizza has ten neighborhood restaurants and is the only pizzeria in the metropolitan area that offers a private-label beer, called NYPD Uptown Amber Ale™, custom crafted by The Phoenix Ale Brewery. NYPD Pizza is the proud winner of the 2013, 2012 and 2011 Phoenix New Times Readers’ Choice award for “Best Pizza Slice.” Carryout, delivery, express lunch specials and catering services are available at all ten Valley-wide locations. For more information please visit www.aznypdpizza.com.

asparagus (1)

The Dish: Asparagus Pizza

This time of year more than any other I like to utilize what’s in season. Spring fruits and vegetables are so delicious and only around for a short time in Arizona. It’s true, you can purchase them year round but they’ll never taste as good as when they’re perfectly in season.

Case in point: asparagus. When it’s right, it’s delicious. When it’s wrong, it’s really wrong. Asparagus hardly needs anything to make it good when it’s perfectly in season. A quick steam, a roast in the oven or a trip to the grill is all these tasty little spears need.

Try this recipe for asparagus pizza as an hors d’oeuvres at your next party or as a delicious lunch on the patio.

You are certainly welcome to make your own pizza dough but I like to keep this recipe quick and simple just like spring. Purchase a ball of dough from the grocery store or your favorite pizza parlor. Stop by and ask if you can buy some of their uncooked dough. Most places will be happy to oblige.

Asparagus Pizza

1/3 lb fingerling potatoes
1 ball pizza dough (homemade or purchased)
cornmeal for sprinkling
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 green onions, thinly sliced and divided
1 1/3 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
1/4 lb (4oz) goat cheese, crumbled
1 lb (8oz) asparagus, trimmed and each spear cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2-3 inch pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Cool. Cut potatoes into thin slices.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle rimless baking sheet with cornmeal. Roll and stretch pizza dough to 16×11-inch oval. Transfer to baking sheet. Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in small bowl. Brush garlic oil over dough. Sprinkle 3/4 of green onions over, then mozzarella, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Top with potato slices and goat cheese. Toss asparagus and 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl. Scatter asparagus over pizza. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then lightly with salt and generously with pepper.

Bake pizza until crust is browned and asparagus is tender, about 18 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Sprinkle with remaining green onions. Cut into pieces.

Photo courtesy of jaxlabrynth.com

La Bocca, WEB

La Bocca Opens North Phoenix Location

La Bocca Urban Pizzeria & Wine Bar added another location last month to north Phoenix, where the restaurant offers a smaller, more intimate experience than its Mill Avenue location in Tempe.

Julian Wright of Fork & Dagger, a bar and restaurant development company, opened the north Phoenix location to tap into a market that is saturated with chain restaurants.

La Bocca offers a wine list with 100 choices stored in an on-site wine cellar. Mark Pope, who

Mediterranean Plate.

Mediterranean Plate.

worked the wine program at Boulders Resort in Carefree in the early 2000s, prepared the wine list at the new location. Pope and Wright trained the servers so that they could expertly suggest a wine from their eclectic list for whatever mood a customer is in. Pope is on the floor, too, making himself available to help out customers with their wine choices.

“What’s unique,” Wright said. “Is we’ve relied less on name brands and went with high quality wines.”

In order to make the wine really pop out there, La Bocca also uses Riedel Glassware for the wine, they make sure that the customer is given the right type of glass for the right type of wine.

“I learned the glass really makes the difference,” Wright said.

Sangria Blanco

Sangria Blanco

The expanded wine list and perfect glass isn’t the only thing different at the new La Bocca, the North Phoenix location looks different too, with a more rustic look and black and white photos emulating European fashion from the ’60s hanging on the walls.

The place is a throwback to the past, Wright says, along with the different interior the north location has an outdoor community patio with a fireplace.

“The place in general has a more sophisticated feel,” Wright said.

La Bocca in north Phoenix is going to be as linked with the local community as the Mill Avenue

location. Wright says that they’re outreaching to the local community and doing charity events with schools, too.

And the community is embracing La Bocca. Wright says it’s becoming the spot where neighbors bump into neighbors as cheers of greetings come from the customers as more fellow customers come on in through the door.

“A lot of them thank us for opening,” Wright said. “They like the new independent place in the area.”

Fired-Pie-Prep-8202#12406D3

Fired Pie delivers with hot new concept

Here’s the beautiful thing about Fired Pie: In less time than a typical commercial break, the staff at Fired Pie can make you a fresh pizza that suits your taste and specifications.

Fired Pie is the latest Chipotle-inspired build-your-own-meal, fast-casual dining concept to hit the Valley. The creation of veteran restaurateur Fred Morgan — the former CEO of Oregano’s — and partners Doug Doyle and Rico Cuomo, Fired Pie’s pizzas take three minutes to bake in a brick oven after customers choose their sauce, cheese, meats, vegetables and herbs.

“The fast-casual concept is really exploding,” Morgan said. “What we’ve been able to do here is create a concept that delivers high-quality gourmet pizza at a cost and convenience that appeals to the customer.”

During a recent visit to Fired Pie, that concept created a taste sensation.
We opted to try a pizza and the Steak & Blue, one of Fired Pie’s signature salads. Signature pizzas include Hawaiian barbecue with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, Canadian bacon, pineapple and cilantro; meaty Italian with tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, salami, capicola and sausage; and tomato basil with two types of mozzarella, tomato, basil and garlic. We chose to build our own pizza with tomato sauce, pepperoni and fresh mozzarella.

Pizzas and salads are $7.75, regardless of the number of toppings.

During our visit, both dishes were exceptional. I grew up in an Italian family in New York, eating amazing homemade pizzas that my Italian grandmother spent all day preparing, so I am very discriminating when it comes to Italian food. But I can honestly say that Fired Pie’s pizzas match or exceed the quality of other Valley pizza restaurants, and they even give my grandmother a run for her money. Sorry, Grandma. The quality of the ingredients far exceed the expectations one would have from a high-end Italian restaurant, let alone a fast-casual restaurant. But Fired Pie takes that fast-casual concept to a whole new level.

The great thing for me is that one of Fired Pie’s location is at Park Central Mall, which is right across the street from my Central Phoenix office. And customers are already lining up to take advantage of the three-minute cooking time that makes a Fired Pie pizza a healthy lunch option for downtown workers.

If you do decide to get off the healthy train for a moment, words cannot adequately express the mouth-watering deliciousness of the Fired Pookie, Fired Pie’s soft-baked chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream that only costs $3.

Trust me on this one. If Fired Pie doesn’t have you at pizza, they’ll hook you by Pookie.

Fired Pie has locations at 3049 W. Agua Fria Freeway, Deer Valley Towne Center, Phoenix; 3110 N. central Ave., Phoenix; and one coming soon to Chandler.

For more information, visit firedpie.com.

139871829

Peter Piper names Bruce President and CEO

Peter Piper, Inc. announced the promotion of Charles Bruce, adding the title of Chief Executive Office to his current role as President. Bruce was named President last September and previously held the role of Chief Marketing Officer for three years.

In his role as President, Bruce has been a leading force in the ongoing implementation of the brand strategy that has now generated 40 consecutive four-week periods of same store sales growth.   Additionally, after two years of concepting and extensive consumer and industry research, the Piper Remix initiative finally came to fruition under Bruce’s guidance. Piper Remix is a multi-year project that launched in April of this year and will work to re-image all 139 locations by 2018, creating a modern and contemporary look that consumers will embrace throughout the United States and Mexico.

Also during this time, Peter Piper Inc. signed multi-year, multi-unit development agreements in Dallas, Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas, and Queretaro and San Luis Potosi in Mexico.  They also anticipate signing two new development agreements in Mexico, where they have had a presence for more than twenty years, all of which Bruce will oversee.

“As President and CEO I plan on continuing to build the Peter Piper Pizza brand and ensure it continues on the established growth trajectory and achieves all of our financial objectives,” said Bruce.  “I will also be focusing on attracting additional capital to the brand in the form of new franchisees to develop new markets.”

Prior to Peter Piper Pizza, Bruce was the Senior Vice President of Marketing at North Carolina-based Salsarita’s. He has held executive-level marketing positions throughout the restaurant industry at Captain D’s Seafood, Damon’s, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut. Bruce acquired a love for international business and culture while at Kansas State University, and his tenures at Wendy’s and The Coleman Company took him to more than 70 countries. His extensive international experience will continue to play a vital role in the development of Peter Piper Pizza in Mexico, where franchisees operate nearly 50 locations. Bruce earned his BA in Business and Spanish from Kansas State University and Universidad Ibero-Americana in Mexico.

Peter Piper Pizza is an Arizona-based family pizza and entertainment restaurant chain offering pizzas on dough made from scratch, appetizers, and family-friendly gaming throughout the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico. Peter Piper, Inc. is owned by ACON Investments, LLC.

pep scone

Review: Gluten Free Creations

For those of us who have been ostracized from the underappreciated world of bagels, pizza, cookies and toast, the thought of a gluten-free treat that doesn’t taste like particleboard makes us as giddy as kids. The ever-growing numbers of people suffering with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity are often deprived of comfort foods, party snacks, wedding cake and appetizers. There are more and more gluten free items appearing on shelves, like Betty Crocker brownie mix and Udi’s bagels, but most are expensive and feel stale right out of the package, some crumble due to a total lack of moisture and others are thick and heavy in the stomach. The rare wheatless treat that has a fluffy texture like ‘real’ bread is cause for joy.

I recently stopped into Gluten Free Creations on Thomas, and I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was immediately offered samples of everything bagel, poppyseed muffin and cranberry-orange muffin that were perfectly moist and flavorful. Loaves of bread lined the shelves, and I was pleased to see that they were of the size and softness of wheat bread loaves, unlike the tiny, dense bricks of gluten free bread I find at the grocery store. I was greeted by a pleasant, engaging employee who empathized with my plight and pointed me toward some goodies.

The chewy chocolate chip cookies are best-sellers, and for good reason. I spotted a breakfast sandwich, consisting of an English muffin, sausage patty and egg, wrapped and ready. The woman helping me told me that she could warm it for me to take to go, which I couldn’t resist. But what I really stared at was the peppermint scones. When she saw me ogling, she laughed and explained that they are her favorite things in the store. Since gluten free foods can spoil much faster than those with wheat, most items must be frozen to stay fresh. As I picked up the hard scones, she assured me that when defrosted, they would be plush and moist. When I later let one warm, I found that she was very correct. I think that scone may have been the single most delicious gluten free treat I’ve ever tasted. The light drizzle of peppermint glaze, and the red specks scattered throughout, were just the right amount of sweet to offset the doughy, thick center. While this is a holiday treat, they are transitioning to luscious Maple Walnut Scones, and also have peppermint cookies so I can still have my peppermint fix.

Some of the other items available are cheesecakes, jalapeno cheese bagels, pizza crusts and doughnuts. Dry mixes like buckwheat pancakes, pizza crust and bread mix lined another wall, as well as order forms for custom cakes and cupcakes.

My lovely helper informed me of the Gluten Free Creations Cafétte on McDowell, which serves hot sandwiches and individual cupcakes. I made a trip there a few days later. Located in a strip mall, the Cafétte is easy to miss, just like the Bakery on Thomas, which is hidden behind a barbershop. Inside, there are several tables with classic red-and-white checked tablecloths. At the order counter, I couldn’t decide between a savory sandwich and a sweet indulgence, so I went with the Monte Cristo. I was pleased to find that the bread was not overly sweet, and the well-portioned meats as well as the jam served on the side were delicious. I also took a Cinnamon Roll Scone for later. While the filling was delicious, I felt there could have been a little more of it to level out the rich glaze on top.

Both bakeries carry some products that are also free of eggs, corn and soy, for those who are more sensitive or choose to eat vegan.

As a Celiac, I’m relieved to have found Gluten Free Creations. The food is excellent and the employees are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The breads don’t feel thick and heavy like store-bought brands, and are easily the same price or less for much higher-quality food. Even if you are not gluten-free, try it out. Taking wheat out of your diet can be a great change.

WHERE TO GO
Gluten Free Creations Bakery (retail and wholesale)
2940-b E. Thomas Rd.  (behind Mid-city Barber Shop)
602-522-0659
Hours: Mon. – Fri.: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat.: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Sun.: closed

Gluten Free Creations Bakery and Good Food Cafétte
7607 E. McDowell Rd., #108
480-990-2253
Hours: Fri.: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sat., Mon.: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sun.: closed

pep scone

Review: Gluten Free Creations

For those of us who have been ostracized from the underappreciated world of bagels, pizza, cookies and toast, the thought of a gluten-free treat that doesn’t taste like particleboard makes us as giddy as kids. The ever-growing numbers of people suffering with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity are often deprived of comfort foods, party snacks, wedding cake and appetizers. There are more and more gluten free items appearing on shelves, like Betty Crocker brownie mix and Udi’s bagels, but most are expensive and feel stale right out of the package, some crumble due to a total lack of moisture and others are thick and heavy in the stomach. The rare wheatless treat that has a fluffy texture like ‘real’ bread is cause for joy.

I recently stopped into Gluten Free Creations on Thomas, and I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was immediately offered samples of everything bagel, poppyseed muffin and cranberry-orange muffin that were perfectly moist and flavorful. Loaves of bread lined the shelves, and I was pleased to see that they were of the size and softness of wheat bread loaves, unlike the tiny, dense bricks of gluten free bread I find at the grocery store. I was greeted by a pleasant, engaging employee who empathized with my plight and pointed me toward some goodies.

The chewy chocolate chip cookies are best-sellers, and for good reason. I spotted a breakfast sandwich, consisting of an English muffin, sausage patty and egg, wrapped and ready. The woman helping me told me that she could warm it for me to take to go, which I couldn’t resist. But what I really stared at was the peppermint scones. When she saw me ogling, she laughed and explained that they are her favorite things in the store. Since gluten free foods can spoil much faster than those with wheat, most items must be frozen to stay fresh. As I picked up the hard scones, she assured me that when defrosted, they would be plush and moist. When I later let one warm, I found that she was very correct. I think that scone may have been the single most delicious gluten free treat I’ve ever tasted. The light drizzle of peppermint glaze, and the red specks scattered throughout, were just the right amount of sweet to offset the doughy, thick center. While this is a holiday treat, they are transitioning to luscious Maple Walnut Scones, and also have peppermint cookies so I can still have my peppermint fix.

Some of the other items available are cheesecakes, jalapeno cheese bagels, pizza crusts and doughnuts. Dry mixes like buckwheat pancakes, pizza crust and bread mix lined another wall, as well as order forms for custom cakes and cupcakes.

My lovely helper informed me of the Gluten Free Creations Cafétte on McDowell, which serves hot sandwiches and individual cupcakes. I made a trip there a few days later. Located in a strip mall, the Cafétte is easy to miss, just like the Bakery on Thomas, which is hidden behind a barbershop. Inside, there are several tables with classic red-and-white checked tablecloths. At the order counter, I couldn’t decide between a savory sandwich and a sweet indulgence, so I went with the Monte Cristo. I was pleased to find that the bread was not overly sweet, and the well-portioned meats as well as the jam served on the side were delicious. I also took a Cinnamon Roll Scone for later. While the filling was delicious, I felt there could have been a little more of it to level out the rich glaze on top.

Both bakeries carry some products that are also free of eggs, corn and soy, for those who are more sensitive or choose to eat vegan.

As a Celiac, I’m relieved to have found Gluten Free Creations. The food is excellent and the employees are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The breads don’t feel thick and heavy like store-bought brands, and are easily the same price or less for much higher-quality food. Even if you are not gluten-free, try it out. Taking wheat out of your diet can be a great change.

WHERE TO GO
Gluten Free Creations Bakery (retail and wholesale)
2940-b E. Thomas Rd.  (behind Mid-city Barber Shop)
602-522-0659
Hours: Mon. – Fri.: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat.: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Sun.: closed

Gluten Free Creations Bakery and Good Food Cafétte
7607 E. McDowell Rd., #108
480-990-2253
Hours: Fri.: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sat., Mon.: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sun.: closed

pizza.jpg.jpg

Back East Pizza and Beef Joint Opens in Scottsdale

K.I.S.S. A Back East Pizza and Beef Joint, the Valley’s newest Chicago-style fast-casual restaurant, is now open! The new concept, presented by The Venue Scottsdale, is a sleek pizza eatery hailing its convenience and classic big city food. K.I.S.S., which stands for “keep it simple stupid” is properly titled for its straightforward ingredients, will be located in a newly built space next to The Venue Scottsdale and the soon-to-be two-story lounge, V&V. K.I.S.S. is located at 7117 E. 3rd Avenue.

K.I.S.S. will feature Chicago and New York styles of pizza offered whole or by the slice along with Italian beef, Italian sausage and grinder sandwiches, Chicago dogs and antipasto salads. The full menu can be seen at www.kisspizzajoint.com. The 900 square foot eatery is complete with just nine bar seats at granite countertops and an interior replicated with the look of a typical back east sandwich shop.

The “pizza and beef joint” will be open Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday – Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.

K.I.S.S. is dedicated to bringing the unique taste of Chicago-style pizza to patrons, using a process to create the same composition of water used in Chicago pizzerias. The unique water-filtration system also plays a role in the flavor of the hot dog and Italian sausage as both are immersed while cooking.

“We are extremely excited about K.I.S.S. and the opportunity it brings to not only The Venue Scottsdale, but also to the Old Town area,” says David Twigger, Director of Sales and Marketing for The Venue Scottsdale and K.I.S.S. “The eatery will serve the local community, offering simple food with a flare to dine-in or to-go.”

The menu, created by Chef Anthony Crocenzi, pays homage to the traditional Italian beef found around Chicago’s famous sandwich shops. Born and raised in Chicago with over 10 years of full-immersion into the downtown culinary scene, Crocenzi’s goal is to replicate the unique flavors of Chicago where he grew up.

For more information visit www.kisspizzajoint.com, follow K.I.S.S. on Facebook or call (480) 945-5551.

luxury movie theater lobby

Luxury At UltraLuxe Scottsdale Theater

Going to the movies will never be the same thanks to the newly remodeled luxury theater UltraLuxe, owned by San Diego-based UltraStar Cinemas. Located on Indian Bend Road and the 101 in Scottsdale, the renovation of the former United Artists theater was completed by DeRito Partners, an Arizona brokerage firm specializing in retail.

The grand opening was Nov. 16 with former Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzales serving as the guest of honor to cut the “film” to open the theater.

The theater, know as UltraLuxe, is located in the Scottsdale Pavilions Shopping Center just behind the new Diamondbacks spring training facility in Scottsdale. It will feature 11 auditoriums showcasing state-of-the-art Pure Digital Cinema, which UltraStar Cinemas describes as the crispest motion picture technology available. Each house will have stadium or luxury VIP seating in high-back reclining chairs.

UltaLuxe also will include special D-BOX enhanced motion chair technology, which moves the seats with the motion of the screen. For example, if there is an explosion in the movie that occurs on the left side of the screen, the seats move to the right to simulate the blast — creating a true movie experience.

There will also be five “Star Class” auditoriums, which will include seating reserved for guests 21 and older, special VIP viewing rooms with extra large leather chairs, menus and a call button for servers. Menu items include flavored popcorns, hummus, pizza and a selection of panini sandwiches. Specialty coffees, Italian sodas, beer and wine, and desserts will also be available in the Café and Star Class auditoriums.

If these delicious incentives and exciting amenities don’t get you into the theater, maybe the affordable prices will further entice you. Ticket prices are $7.50 for an adult matinee; $9.75 for an adult evening ticket; $7 for seniors and ages 12 and under; $8.75 for students and military with I.D.; and $5.50 for “early bird” tickets to the first matinee showing of each movie. 3-D, D-BOX seats or star class auditoriums add $2 to $8 to each ticket price.

close up of salad

Tomaso’s Sibling Restaurant, Tommy V’s, Strives For An Italian Tavern Vibe

Tomaso Maggiore has been the king of fine Italian dining in the Valley since the 1970s. Now, his Tommy V’s Osteria Pizzeria is offering a slightly more casual, but still exquisite, alternative to his signature restaurant, Tomaso’s.

“… Tommy V’s felt like a neighborhood dining establishment — a place to relax in after a long, hard day.”

Located right next door to Tomaso’s in Phoenix, Tommy V’s provides a comfortable, vibrant atmosphere and food that is to die for. From the moment I walked inside and saw the bar hopping with people, even on a Thursday, Tommy V’s felt like a neighborhood dining establishment — a place to relax in after a long, hard day. My companions and I couldn’t wait to see if the food would measure up to the wonderful atmosphere, and we jumped right in and ordered appetizers. We decided on the crispy calamari with pepperoncini, watercress organic tomatoes and citrus cream, as well as the osteria board. Osteria means “tavern” in Italian, and the osteria board features roasted tomato and pepper relish, crisp ciabatta, roasted garlic flat bread, bruschetta, artisan meats and cheese, and warm country olives, which our waitress told us were “world famous.” They certainly were delicious, as was everything else on the board. There was something for every taste bud.

After we had finished off every bite, our salads came. The chopped salad was divine, and about as unique as a chopped salad can get with mozzarella and hearts of palm. My personal favorite, though, was the Osteria, with baby greens, organic tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette.

Finally, it was time for our entrees. The specialty, of course, is pizza, and we chose two: shiitake wild mushroom with porcini, cremini, scallions, fontina, mozzarella and truffle oil; and the Let’s Meat, which includes sausage, salami, pancetta, scallions, tomatoes and mozzarella. Both pizzas were equally scrumptious and we simply could not choose a favorite. It is practically a guarantee that any of the other eight pizzas on the menu will be just as delicious.

Other than the pizza, our party also ordered eggplant torta, a baked multi-layer dish of eggplant, cheese fondue and pasta. It was wonderful, but the table favorite was the butternut squash ravioli. The ravioli consisted of not only roasted butternut squash, but also amaretto cookies, toasted almonds, and the key ingredient, parmigiano sage sauce.

Finally, we knew that we had to make room for dessert, which promised to live up to the high standards set by dinner. We didn’t think it could get any better, but we were wrong. Our party selected tiramisu and cannoli, and fought over both until the last bite was gone.

The next time you’re craving some fine Italian food, but not feeling quite fancy enough for Tomaso’s, stop by Tommy V’s. It will not disappoint.

If You Go:
Tommy V’s Osteria Pizzeria
3223 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
(602) 955-8900 | www.tomasos.com

Pizza Parlor

The Parlor Turns An Old Beauty Salon Into A Pizza Paradise

There are no hair dryers, manicure stands or various grooming products to be found at The Parlor, a new gourmet pizzeria in Phoenix, but the ghost of them remains.

The Parlor now occupies the long-time site of the Salon de Venus on 20th Street and Camelback Road. The co-owner of The Parlor, Nello’s Pizza scion Aric Mei, salvaged as much as he could from the old beauty salon for use in his new eatery. Using the wood from the original roof, Mei created a new bar, tables, wall treatments, a host stand and the front doors. From the steel of the salon’s old sprinkler system, Mei constructed a wine storage, fireplace, door handles, bar pendants, bench supports and various other items.

Mei took his recycling efforts one step further. When he found out that a restaurant across the street was being razed, he purchased the contents of the building and outfitted The Parlor with its booths, bar, kitchen equipment, faucets, sinks, flush valves, shelving and speakers.

His efforts at sustainability didn’t end there. Committed to utilizing solar technology on the restaurant, The Parlor installed a thermal solar system that supplies the building’s hot water. Mei says he has the plans and The Parlor has the dedicated space to eventually have a 10-kilowatt array of solar panels on the roof.

The resulting look is simple and streamlined without being oh-so-trendy. Hipsters, power lunchers, couples and families all have a place at The Parlor.

But enough of that; what about the food? In a word — great.

The Parlor combines simple and gourmet ingredients to create seemingly simple dishes that boast complex tastes. We started our evening at The Parlor with its meat and cheese selection appetizer. The meats are primarily ham, prosciutto and salami, paired with an array of hard and soft cheeses and served with grilled rosemary flatbread.

For the next course, we dove into the salad selections. The table settled on the Parlor Insalata with mixed greens, feta cheese, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, crispy chickpeas, pepperoni and oregano dressing.

The Parlor also serves sandwiches and burgers, and like the décor, they are deceptively simple. For example, The Parlor’s version of a club sandwich features duck breast, apple wood smoked bacon and a red wine tomato jam. The Parlor also offers a limited but imaginative selection of pasta dishes. The pappardelle Bolognese has a hearty meat sauce and tender but firm noodles that had everyone raving.

But of course, the stars of The Parlor are the pizzas, which range from the exotic (wild mushrooms with goat cheese and truffle oil) to the familiar (pepperoni). The crusts are light and crunchy — the perfect foundation for the rest of the pie. We chose the salsiccia pizza, which is topped with a special Parlor sausage, grilled radicchio, sage and saba, a type of vinegar. The combination of ingredients was delightful and quickly won over my dining companions. We also ordered the pepperoni pizza just to see how they executed the pie.After all, as any chef will tell you, it’s the simple dishes that are the easiest to ruin. The Parlor hit it dead on. You can also create your own pizza from a list of toppings. I put together goat cheese, rock shrimp and prosciutto for my pizza. My companions opted not to try my creation, which was fine with me because I loved it and got to eat it all by myself.

If you have room for dessert, make sure you pick The Parlor’s chocolate cake with Italian cherries, vanilla cream and chocolate sauce. Hey, if you ate a whole pizza, you might as well grab dessert.

    If You Go:
    The Parlor
    1916 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
    (602) 248-2480