Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Frank Pepe's

157 Wooster Street
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 865-5762

New Haven is well regarded as one of the best pizza cities in America. I had never been there, so my first stop (and only stop of this trip) was to Pepe's. Frank Pepe is the original, and so I had to give it a try.

The ovens are one of the main claims to fame at this place, besides originating the thin crust pizza. Coal fired brick oven, they run at 650 °F. Notice the crazy long pizza peels, which are used to jostle your pie into position. They hang from the overhead J hook to make life a little easier for the pizza makers.

They serve a salad, and pizzas. Plus, draft beer, which was a major bonus.

Although I was mighty tempted by the white clam pie, my thoughtful server said if it was my first time, I should try the original tomato pie with pepperoni and the fresh tomato pie while it was in season. As I wanted to taste the sauce, I obliged.

The original comes topped with crushed Italian tomatoes, olive oil, grated cheese, mozzarella, and I added pepperoni.

The pizza had a perfectly charred crust, with medium thickness pepperoni cups that curled under the extreme heat. The cheese was well browned, and expertly spread across the pie. Zesty tomatoes kept everything from being too rich, and provided a tangy contrast.

The crust was where Pepe's staked their claim. The perfect amount of char, and crispy bottom made this stand out. Thin and well done, this is how pizza should be.

The fresh tomato pie comes with fresh local "native" tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh garlic, and basil. This pie packed a garlicky punch, and was my favorite of the two. It was fresh, light, and the crust stayed even crunchier.

I got there just before lunch on a holiday weekend's Sunday and I still had to wait ten minutes. From what I have heard, the line wraps around the corner regularly. Plan accordingly.

And be prepared to wait even further once you're seated; you won't regret it.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Goat's Beard

103 North Wayne Avenue
Wayne, PA 19087
(484) 584-4979

Wayne is not somewhere I often find myself, so when I was out that way recently, I decided to try a bar I was told about. The Goat's Beard holds down a cool disjointed corner lot. The inside is upscale(ish) and the outside lends itself to some pretty good people watching.

There is a great beer list, and some nice cocktails. I decided to try both (don't judge me).

The wings were labeled as "buttermilk fried with a 24 hour brine." But they seemed to have changed that up. I was told they were baked off first, and then fried to make them super crispy. Sounded exciting, but also nothing like the printed piece suggested.

The reality is that they were not as crispy as I had hoped. The skin was soft, and though somewhat rendered, there was little crunch to these things. The pickled vegetables were a nice change of pace, however, and I enjoyed them even more than the wings themselves.

I am not a fan of wings that are hairy (due to obvious reasons) and these were among the hairiest I have seen in a while. See below.

The pork and kimchi fries were my other snack on this trip, and a complete reversal of the wings debacle. The fries were perfectly cooked, and smothered with an addictive garlic aioli, bright kimchi, and unctuous pulled pork.

The portion size was perfect, and I could not get enough of the pork swirled with garlic sauce and bites of kimchi. It was a great bar snack.

Check out the crispy bits of pock hidden around the bowl. Fantastic.

All in all, the wings are a definite pass, but this bowl of fries might have me stopping by again, should I ever find myself in Wayne proper. I mean, likely not. But if you're there, go grab a drink and give any one of their fry options a try for me.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Square Bar

250 E Chestnut Street
West Chester, PA 19380
(610) 696-9825

West Chester is a college town, which generally doesn't equate to to great food. But West Chester is also an exception, with some genuinely delicious cheap eats. Square Bar is a hidden gem of a drinkery, but they also offer a surprisingly good cheesesteak.

The bar itself is a huge wrap around, which leads to many conversations with strangers, a sure sign of good times.

I decided to skip the wings this time, because I saw someone eating a cheesesteak. Believe me, it had nothing to do with the "sweat" teriyaki flavored "souce." I'll be back sooner than later to give you a full report there...

Boy, was I glad that I went this route. The meat was very finely chopped (big fan), and the serving was hearty. Extra cheese and fried onions were all this needed, and I preemptively knew that. I usually always order that way.

The gooey cheese punctuated the well seasoned meat, with the soft roll soaking up all of the grease. It was close to perfection. Yes, I did just say that. Nearing cheesesteak perfection. Nowhere near downtown Philadelphia.

Not even an inkling of chewy gristle stuff in there.

And just look at that perfect ratio of meat to cheese to onion to roll.

They use Amoroso's rolls, which do the job just right. You may know that I have a soft spot for Liscio's above all others, but I will give the former a pass here because whoever's in the kitchen here knows what they're doing.

Cheap drinks, good people, and an amazing interior might just make the Square Bar my new spot.