My Little Pizza: Thick Crust is Magic

My Little Pizza: Thick Crust is Magic

I love pizza. It is perhaps the perfect meal for any and all occassions. On one hand it is completely customizable, seeing as how I have beared witness to interesting dishes including (but not limited to) "sausage and banana" and "peanut butter & jelly & egg salad" pizzas. On the other hand, it can be eaten alone or in groups and, if properly loaded, can represent a balanced meal (provided your topping of choice to compliment bacon is "more bacon"). And since D.C. considers itself a bit of a culinary sweet spot, how could I pass up the chance to check out some pizza places?

 

 

Of course, in my very short stay here in our nation's capital, I couldn't possibly hit up every single pizza joint out there. I have narrowed the list down to five pizza places that I have visited due to word of mouth, convenience of  location at the time, or simply by curiosity. I will rate the pizza places on their ambience, menu options, the taste of the pizza, and price value. And now, without further ado...

 

7th Hill Pizza (website)
327 7th St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

This small little pizzeria is located on- you guessed it- 7th Street and a brisk walk away from Capitol Hill. Upon entering the thin, rectangular restaurant you notice an modern, almost-quirky atmosphere. Euro beats play in the background while pizza boards cover the wall.

 

 

And let's not forget the LEGO-like chairs! Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but I like them.

The menu itself consisted of signature pies with sandwhiches, soups and desserts added in the mix. You can add toppings to the signature pizzas, but you can essentially build your own pizza apart by piling on toppings to the basic mozarella and sauce pizza.


I opted to try the pizza with pecorino, salami and arugula. I expected that the arugula would be mixed in with the salami, but instead it ended up as a last-minute addition after the thin pizza was cooked. While the cheese had a slight rubbery texture, the crust had a nice crunch to it and the salami combined with the arugula resulted in a nice flavor mix. All in all I paid $16-17 for an 8" pizza and a Snapple. Note that the 8" pizza was a little too small for me and so I was hungry enough to go for a coffee and donut run before hitting the Metro.

Ambience: 2.5/5
Menu Options: 3.5/5
Pizza: 3/5

Price value: 2.5/5

Matchbox Pizza Rockville (website)
1699 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

This pizza chain is conveniently located across the street from the Residences at Congressional Vilages where I am staying. I went there on a spur-of-the-moment decision to attend a birthday celebration and did not bring a camera. The inside was dimly lit and a little crowded, but it served to make the place appear as a leisurely hangout spot after work or something like that. The menu didn't rely solely on pizza, but also had  appetizers, salads, desserts, pasta and other entrees. They also had a nice selection of alcohol, if that's your thing.

I was divided on whether to try the four cheese or meat lover's pizza but opted for the latter. The hearty crust generous amout of toppings on the 10" pie easily filled me up, and a 14" pizza served my roommate and his friend. The sauce was not too overbearing on sweetness, which is a personal no-no for me. I was fine with paying $17 for the pizza and soda (not including tip), but I can see the value in splitting (cost and portions-wise) a 14" pizza with a friend. 

Ambience: 3.5/5
Menu Options: 5/5
Pizza: 4/5

Price value: 4.5/5
***Great for groups or sharing***

amazing. And while it was dampened by tomato, I swear the crust tasted better than all the other pizzas here.

Pizzeria Paradiso, Dupont Circle (website)
2003 P Street NW, Washington DC


I know friends and locals who swear by this place. So I checked it out at around noon on Saturday and found it was surprisingly empty. That is, until five minutes passed. The interior had plenty of natural light coming out of the windows that gave way to fairly lit seating in the back. The outside seating looked nice as well.





Antipasti and desserts were available on the menu, but it became apparent to me that pizza and spirits were the stars of the show here. They had basic mozarella and tomato pizzas that you could customize with a plethora of toppings, some you could substitute on the signature pizzas for only a very small charge.



I ordered what I thought was a sausage, buffalo mozarella, and tomato sauce pizza. Instead, I found that they used whole tomato chunks which disappointed me since it isnt  my favourite thing the world. The juices from the tomat made it hard for me to taste the difference between mozarella and buffalo mozarella and made the pie overall a bit soggy. I was about to disregard this pizza entirely until I reached an epiphany: the crust is



With that in mind, I went back a couple weeks later and tried a different pizza. This time, I subsituted the tomato chunks for pesto and topped it with panchetta. Sweet dreams are made of these. No, really. Just thinking about how the creamy texture mozarella and pesto contrasted with the crunchy, flavorful crust makes me want to run out and get one like, now. Even though it is only 8", the thickness of the crust made sure I was full for quite a bit. The modified Paradiso I made costed $16 with a soda, and I didn't have any regrets about my decision to order here again.

 

 

Ambience: 4/5
Menu Options: 3/5
Pizza: 5/5

Price value: 4.5/5 
***My personal favourite. Just remember they use tomato chunks here, not tomato sauce***

 

Faccia Luna (website)
823 South Washington Street
Alexandria, Virginia

I found this place while walking around Old Town a few weeks back. The ambience inside was...interesting. On one hand, I could see they were trying to go for a sleek, modern look with smooth tables and various artwork placed on the walls. On the other, they were playing nostalgic rock n' roll and blues tunes. Suffice to say I was very confused.


The menu had a great selection of signature pizzas and toppings along with three size choices for the pie itself. Salads, sandwhiches, and a surprisingly large pasta menu rounded out the choices here.



I ordered a 10" pepperoni and genoa salami pizza. Once I got the pizza I noticed that it was greasier than Ulysses S. Grant's Cabinet. I ended up using a knife and fork since I was afraid of getting oily goodness all over me. The crust had a nice flavor to it but was weakened by the greasiness and the toppings didn't seem to be of high quality. At around $14 for the pizza and a soda, it was an okay lunch.

 

Ambience: 3/5
Menu Options: 3.5/5
Pizza: 3/5

Price value: 3/5

Vapiano, Chinatown (website)
623-625 H Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20001


Modern and sleek, this mix of natural/artificial light and assorted plants is a surprisingly relaxed location. You could spend time waiting for your order by looking at the myriad drawings on the large chalkboards, admire the small plant deco, or just stare into the streets of Chinatown near the bar.




If you want to order something from this restaurant, you have go through some...interesting steps.

When you go into the shop, you are given a card that you bring to the chef. Then you tell the chef what you would like (pizza, pasta, salads or paninis) and that order is charged to the card. When you're done, you swipe your card at the cash register and pay before you leave.


Despite the comfortable atmosphere, the pizza here falls quite short. The crust was flimsy and chewey, while the sauce was a bit too sweet (ugh). The pepperoni and sausage tasted like they were frozen, not fresh, but the cheese was nicely melted.  Even though the pizza and soda  was only around $12, unfortunately I cannot recommend this place for someone hungry for pizza.

Ambience: 5/5

 

Menu Options: 3/5
Pizza: 2/5

Price value: 2/5


Conclusions

  • Pizzeria Paradiso was my personal favourite. With great topping selection and even greater crust this pizza deserves the accolades I have heard from people I know.
  • Matchbox Pizza is the best value, especially for groups
  • For those who are interested in Faccia Luna in Alexandria or Vapiano in Chinatown, know that there is a Pizzeria Paradiso in Alexandria and a Matchbox Pizza in Chinatown. You'll thank me later.

Metro Music!
For the next couple of blog posts I'll be sharing tunes that I think will make your next Metro ride a little more entertaining. Here are the first few:


Megpoid Gumi, "Rosetta"


Believe it or not, this song is not performed by a real person but rather a VOCALOID program. These voice-synthesizer programs are personified characters such as Megpoid Gumi and the more popular character Hatsune Miku. I find this track appropriate for moments when you step on the Metro, prepping up for a night on the town.


Fatboy Slim, "Praise You"

Catchy and with a nice upbeat throughout, this song can help you relax on the Metro have a stressful workday.


200 Sachen, "Video Raus"


A German pop punk band. I have no idea what they're saying, but I play this song when I'm able to secure an empty on either end of the train and rock out undisturbed.

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