In the 13+ years we’ve lived in Northern New England, there have been quite a few changes to the food and drink world in the area. On the food front, Vermont has had a substantial improvement in the dining scene, with additions such as The Farm House (which was a McDonalds when we moved here), Worthy Burger, Kismet, and Tuckerbox being notable new additions over the last decade (and the first of these are also great examples of the substantial improvement in Vermont’s beer scene as well). And a few places that unfortunately are no longer with us, such as Five Spice Bistro in Burlington. But a recent trip through the Green Mountains led us to Waitsfield, where we happened across one of our old favorites that’s still with us, mostly unchanged, since one of our first visits to Vermont in 2001: American Flatbread Waitsfield Hearth.
Coming back home to New Hampshire from Cleveland requires a rather lengthy drive across New York State, with two options: the Thruway, or the slightly longer route taking the Southern Tier. Due to some rather heavy snow coming off of the lake, we opted for the Southern Tier route, which resulted in us passing through Corning, NY around lunch time. We decided to stop there, since the location was convenient, and I’ve got a soft spot for Corning since I was born there. Like most of our visits there, we ended up on Market Street downtown, this time giving Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria a try.
Over the 14 or so years I’ve been visiting Canton, MI, it has increasingly becoming a suburb that’s attracting a lot of immigrants, and as a result now has a pretty significant Middle Eastern and Indian population. Along with this, it has picked up a rather large number of restaurants and stores, with some of the most notable growth being in Indian food and groceries (see my 2011 review of Neehee’s, for example). So I’m used to going through strip malls in the area and seeing some new Indian eateries, and this time I was particularly intrigued by one of them: Curry on Crust, which serves "Desi-Style Pizza"
Have you ever had one of those places where you’ve driven by it dozen of times, always saying to yourself “You know, I should check that place out?”, but you never seem to get around to it? Santarpio’s Pizza in East Boston was one of those places for us. For years, every time we went to Logan Airport via the Callahan Tunnel and Route 1, we’d see this pizza place off to the side of Route 1A. You can’t really miss it, since the sign for Santarpio’s (I’ve heard some locals call it “Tarp’s”) on their second story is at eye level when you are on 1A. It’s been there forever, and I always wondered if it was any good. Well, recently I had to pick up my brother at the airport, and his schedule was convenient for doing a pizza run, so we finally went over to check it out.
Our eighth day exploring the Ring Road of Iceland was a rather impressive day, including stops at the famous Jökulsárlón(the “Glacier Lagoon”) and Svartifoss (the “Black Waterfall”, an impressive waterfall in front of a backdrop of basalt columns), along with plentiful hiking and a stop for Jöklaís (“Glacier Ice”) ice cream. It was yet another busy day of sightseeing, hiking, and driving, and we ended up pulling into our destination, Kirkjubæjarklaustur (whose name is ponderous even by local standards, we noticed that most folks call it simply “Klaustur”), at a fairly late hour looking for dinner.
Well, Kirkjubæjarklaustur doesn’t have a heck of a lot to offer. While having some nice features in itself, like a waterfall, and some really interesting basalt columns), Klaustur’s main attraction is location: it’s pretty much the only settlement on the southern coast between Vík and Höfn which offers services, including the ever-present N1 station, a few modest hotels, and the like. Heck, there’s basically three places to eat (the hotel, the gas station, and the cafe). After perusing the menus of each, we ended up choosing the cafe: Systrakaffi (if you were hoping for the N1 gas station, don’t worry, I’ll get to them in a few reviews).
Again applying the adage of “no rest for the weary”, we were barely unpacked and laundered from our trip to Austin when we decided that it would be a great idea to go down to New York for the day. Carol works for Dartmouth, and as part of one of their employee programs, they occasionally offer day trips to Boston, New York, or Montreal for a rather good price ($55 round trip to Manhattan, for example). The catch is that it’s a day trip, so it involved getting up really early, and getting back rather late. But it’s a great way to take a quick trip to New York City for some food tourism and knocking a few more places off of the hit list. Starting out in a remote Dartmouth parking lot at 5am, by 10:45 that morning we were dropped off at Bryant Park, and having a late breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien. But after that, it was time to head down to City Hall, and walk the Brooklyn Bridge.
Arriving in Brooklyn, we turned off of the bridge approach to explore Dumbo (from District Underneath the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). It’s a rather nice neighborhood, with several nice shops, and a particularly nice park by the river (the Brooklyn Bridge Park). But one of the main reasons we went to Dumbo was… Pizza. Grimaldi’s Pizza, in particular…
After a brief period of convalescence from all the meat eating earlier in the day at JMueller and Stiles Switch, we decided to indulge in the other type of cuisine that really makes Austin special: more food trucks!
The nice thing about the food truck scene is that it’s forever changing. Trucks move to new locations. New places show up all the time. Other places close. Yet others convert from trucks to permanent location. It’s never the same scene twice. So this time, despite returning to East 6th Street like last year, the makeup of trucks was almost entirely different (this was made even more clear by the closing of the East Side Drive In collection of carts).
Well, there actually is one food truck in Austin that specializes in Detroit-style Pizza it: Via 313…
We walked. We ate. We drank. We even suffered a bit. But 22.6 miles after starting our journey, we hit the end of the Death March by arriving at Great Lake Pizza.
The interesting thing about “pizza” and “Chicago” is that most people instantly assume that if you are talking about both of these in the same sentence, you’re talking about deep dish pizza. And hey, while I like a good deep dish pizza (although it’s not necessarily something I mentally file with my other pizza thoughts, to me, deep dish pizza and regular neo-Neapolitan pizza are like lasagna and spaghetti; there’s a lot of similarity, but it’s really a different foodstuff…), there actually is quite a bit of excellent pizza activity going on around Chicago that doesn’t involve deep dish. For every Lou Malnati’s or Gino’s East, there’s a decent place in Chicago that’s also churning out a classic thin-crust pizza, and doing a great job at it. One of the best is Great Lake Pizza.
The last six months or so, the usually calm and stagnant Upper Valley restaurant scene has had a few changes. One of bigger segments changing is the pizza scene: since last summer, we’ve had two new pizzerias show up in town, Cantore’s Pizza in West Leb in Glen Road Plaza, and Ziggy’s Pizza in North Country Plaza further down 12A. I plan to review both of these places, but I’ll start with Cantore’s.
Cantore’s opened late last summer, being run by local experienced restauranteurs John Kelley and Vinnie Cantore (by the way, if you were wondering… the owner of Cantore’s is the brother of Jim Cantore, Weather Channel meteorologist and former Upper Valley resident). And while the Upper Valley is literally chock-a-block with pizza places (most having “Village” or “Chef” in their names), Cantore’s is trying to set themselves apart by doing a New York style pizza, and trying to use a better selection of ingredients: better mozzarella, fresher toppings, etc…
The Phoenix area is one of those areas that I visit often enough that I’ve started to have a “hit list” of places that I like to visit every time I’m in town. Sure, it cuts into my exploration of new places, but since I’ve enjoyed these so much in the past, I like to go back for another visit. The list is rather varied, but includes places such as The Chuckbox, Ted’s Hot Dogs, Haji-Baba’s, and Pizzeria Bianco. Indeed, I actually visited all of those places this visit (oddly, Carol hadn’t been to the Chuckbox or Bianco yet!), and they are all still going strong.
But it’s worth talking about Pizzeria Bianco a bit more, since several changes have happened since I last reviewed them…