pricey pie

Photo by Anne Jansen

I recently attended a conference in New Orleans where I stayed at the Sheraton on Canal Street. Overall a good experience, but the in-hotel restaurant — the Pelican Bar — was pricey. Pictured: 5 Cheese Pizza. Delicious (a little Domino’s-ey when it comes to the cheese), with a really tasty red sauce. Fluffy, light crust (and I’m usually not a fan of crust) and yummy meltiness. Good ambiance, but slow service. Still, not bad for a hotel restaurant. Not bad at all.

friendly surprise

photo by Anne Jansen

Yesterday, I arrived in Boca Raton, Florida, where I’m attending a conference. I dined at our hotel’s restaurant, Umbria (no website) where I was surprised to find delicious food and a friendly waitstaff. I ordered the Margarita Pizza, and it was pleasantly cheesy and flavorful (the basil was fresh and yummy!). Our waiter was kind enough to indulge my non-alcoholic fancy-drink request and brought me my ADD (Always-Designated-Driver…my ginger-ale-with-a-splash-of-lime-and-cranberry-juice concoction). It’s always interesting to have different places make this drink for me, since they all put their own twist on it; I was not disappointed when my drink arrived looking dressed for the tropics with a squeezed lime and three maraschino cherries topping it off. Overall, this was a pleasantly surprising dining experience where our hotel restaurant impressed (rather than disappointed) me.

photo by Anne Jansen

fun lunch

Photo by Anne Jansen

There’s no place quite like the Surly Girl when it comes to a unique dining experience. The décor is a wonderful blend of cowgirl and skeleton, but it’s the food that ultimately makes me love the Surly Girl. During my most recent visit to the saloon, I tried their super-yummy japapeño poppers…or at least, a new twist on an old fried favorite. These “poppers” (pictured above) are jalapeños cut in half and stuffed with a blend of cheeses that made my mouth water just looking at them. And eating them…YUM! Of course, I also had one of my favorites: the Surly Girl Pizza (pictured below). With its dried cranberries and walnuts and the balsamic vinaigrette drizzled on top, it’s an original and delicious twist on pizza. Seriously, if you haven’t gone to the Surly Girl, it’s worth the trip.

Photo by Anne Jansen

a “tucci” of italy

photo by Anne Jansen

In the small town of Lake Oswego, Oregon, there is a fancy little Italian restaurant called Tucci. The margherita pizza, pictured above, was wood fired and baked to perfection. Fresh basil and tomatoes gave it its great flavor, and the crust was light and tasty. The ambiance in Tucci is warm and cozy, and the waitstaff is fun and generous — they brought us this dessert (which I believe is the Chocolate Polenta Cake), compliments of the house. It was flavorful and unique, and plated beautifully. Tucci turned out to be a great little place for a quiet evening meal.

photo by Anne Jansen

pizza yum yum

photo by Anne Jansen

After two years of trying different kinds of pizza in Columbus, I’ve discovered the answer to the great question of what pizza parlor is the best in town: Adriatico’s New York Style Pizza. Located near the intersection of 10th and Neil, Adriatico’s (which is so good that it doesn’t require a website) is one of the few pizzas that has a delicious crust — one I actually find edible (I’m picky about crusts). Their thick crust, or Sicilian, pizza has a light and almost flaky crust. Their menu boasts 18 different toppings; 4 different sizes (including small/personal, medium, large, and Buckeye); 3 different thicknesses (x-thin, regular, and Sicilian/thick); 4 different specialty pizzas; and a host of salad, sub, and pasta dinners. Even my husband, who’s notoriously picky about his pizza, enjoys Adriatico’s pizza.

tried and true

photo by Anne Jansen

I’ve been eating at Cam’s for two years now, and this flatbread — the Greek Vegetable Flatbread sans kalamata olives — is one of my favorites. It’s light and crispy at the edges, but warm and melty everywhere else. Sadly, Cam’s is closing on August 27 (so if that link stops working, that’s why) so I will no longer be able to enjoy a flatbread as I conduct office hours in the haven of this hidden cafe. But until then, it’s delicious flatbreads and my other favorite, the Blueberry Yogurt Spill….

creative fusion

photo by Anne Jansen

This eccentrically decorated restaurant was a definite surprise. In Columbus, OH, where many restaurants feature well-recognized and often heavy dishes, Spagio‘s light dishes were a real treat (especially in the hot and humid summer weather). The Tomato Basil Pizza (pictured above) was made with Spagio’s wheat crust, which was airy and mildly sweet in flavor. The tomatoes were fresh and juicy, and the cheese was nicely balanced giving it just the right amount without overdoing it. Perhaps most surprising was the lemonade. Our server informed us that they change their lemonade flavor regularly, often serving mango lemonade but sometimes getting more creating and serving flavors like Pomegranate Strawberry Lemonade (today’s flavor, pictured below) and Watermelon Lemonade (currently in the works). It was a refreshing beverage, with a nice tart kick to offset the sweetness. You can definitely expect more posts on Spagio in the future!

photo by Anne Jansen

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