Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pizza by the Slice, New Jersey style

Pizza is Naples gift to the world!
Pizza by the piece as the sign says in Lecce, Italy.  This store front
pizza take away, has reviews on several travel sites...


      A version of authentic pizza is offered all over the USA.    But all pizza is not created equal.   And not all pizza across the USA is offered by the ‘slice’.

     Having a slice, stopping for a slice might almost be a daily activity in towns with large Italian American communities.

    What better place to search for the best slice’ than New Jersey?   I chose a small section of Rt 9, which runs North to South  darting in and out of the shore corridor,  south of the Seaside Park area.

I was in NJ for a week allowing me to spread the sampling over several days, but still it was a LOT of pizza to consume.

   There may be more pizza outlets on Rt 9 than there are Wa Wa ‘ s or Dunkin Donut stores, so to narrow the search to a reasonable number of restaurants, I asked the locals for their ‘favorite pizza sources’ for a slice.

 Espo’s Pizzeria Italian Grille 
 629 North Main Street (Route 9) Lanoka Harbor, NJ  www.espospizzeria.com
Located on Rt 9 south of Toms River, NJ

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Pizza is often sold at a counter so you can ‘take it out’, to be eaten at home or more often in your car as you drive off.   The location is in a small shopping center.  They offer tables if you wish to eat ‘in’.  In addition to pizza Espo’s offers subs, cheese stakes, calzone and Stromboli,wraps, Panini's, salads and even burgers.      If a slice will not satisfy your hunger try one of 16+ Italian entrees. 
 
Slice review:   Several ‘pies’ were already made and ready to be heated.    Today I tried sausage.   Each slice is heated in the oven and served hot.  Slices are never as ‘hot’ as a fresh pie, but heated through.
Often pizza can be bland, just cheese on bread.  Espo’s sauce has a nice bite to it, not extra spicy but with a good taste.  Mild Italian sausage is used and mozzarella cheese, the more the better to suit me.   The crust was crisp, browned on the bottom, chewy without the gummy texture found in frozen or packaged dough.  *** Stars


Mangia’s on Rt 37, Toms River, NJ
Advertised as a brick oven pizza I was eager to try this version of a slice.
I was greeted by two very friendly servers. A very nice change to the usual 'what do you want' or worse,  not being noticed at all!   This may be a function of my age group............




Slice review:
I tried sausage pizza here as well (it is my favorite combination of                                                        
toppings.)
Again a large variety of pizza was displayed on the counter.  Each slice was put into the gas oven to be heated.      I was told all the pizzas were baked originally in the brick oven.   I asked that the slice be very hot and it was delivered hot.   The brown bottom of this slice was different that others that I had sampled
that week, leaving the crust crisp on the bottom as well as the circular crust.


JoeyTomato's Pizzia  201 Lacey road, forked River, NJ 08731




Slice Review    I arrived late in the day and did not want to wait for a sausage pizza to be baked, so I tried ricotta and meatballsls, a combination I had never tried before.   This was the first slice I received with a side of sauce.  It gave me an opportunity to taste the sauce.    The sauce had a good flavor that resonated of fresh herbs.   The slice was more like a meal because of all the cheese.

I returned later in the week to try sausage and cheese and to talk with the owner Joey.   Busy owners often have no interest in chatting about pizza but  Joey took the time to tell me about a long tradition of his Italian American family and the restaurant business.    Grandma's pizza is apparently a very popular option in all the pizza outlets in the area I  visited and Joey explained the origin.   I shall be writing a separate post on our meeting and everything I learned about PIZZA.

I sampled pizza at the 3 Brothers on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, NJ and two other sources that I am not reviewing.

1.  Espo’s located at 629 North Main Street (Route 9) Lanoka Harbor, NJ  www.espospizzeria.com     On their menu you find:     “eating well is to live well”.
2,  Mangia located at Rt 37 at Hooper Avenue.  http://www.mangiabrickovenpizza.com/  This site was recommended by hairdresser.
3.  Joey Tomatos on Lacy Road, Forked River, NJ. http://www.joeytomatospizza.com/   was recommended by a volunteer at the Lacy food bank.



                            This video shows you how pizza is made in a very well know location in Rome, Piazza dei Fiore.................just follow the wonderful smell, go in the door on the left and select the type you prefer and the size you want.

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