Pizza

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Every September for the past three years, Mellow Mushrooms across the US have participated in “No Kid Hungry” a movement in order to stop child hunger in America. This year marks the 4th consecutive year they have participated in “No Kid Hungry” alongside many other restaurants as well.

Mellow Mushroom was founded in 1974 in Atlanta, GA with its focus on it’s art filled, family friendly environment alongside it’s freshly made stone baked pizzas. This Mellow Mushroom, located on the corner of Colonial and Alafaya has been frequented often by myself, from high school when I was just trying to find a cool spot to hang out to my undergraduate years when I found myself in need of food to cure the hangover brought on to myself the night prior.

Mellow is one of my go-to pizza establishments near campus, with it’s unique pizza recipes, various draft selections, and daily specials – who wouldn’t want to go?

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Spinach Artichoke Dip

We started first with an appetizer. We asked our very sociable waitress what she would recommend, and she immediately pointed towards the Spinach Artichoke Dip which was a favorite of hers. The dish includes freshly sauteed spinach blended with artichokes, mozzarella, parmesan Cheese, topped with shaved Parmesan and served with baked garlic toast. She also added that it would go great with the tomatoes on top as well, which she was in fact right. The dish was very rich and creamy, and each bite wanted you to come back for seconds, this was one of those items where you couldn’t just have one bite.

Gourmet White and the Magical Mystery Tour
Gourmet White and the Magical Mystery Tour

We then ordered our pizzas. While we munched on our appetizers, our waitress informed us that you could indeed select two different bases now with pizzas, that being said we decided to choose two different pizzas for the name of science (I mean Tasty Chomps).

Our first selection was the Gourmet White, with its olive oil and garlic base topped with sun-dried tomatoes, provolone, mozzarella, feta, roma tomatoes and onions. The Gourmet White was delicious – from outward appearance this was your typical pizza, but one could easily notice how much the fresh ingredients impacts the meal as well as the level of craftsmanship shown by Mellow Mushroom.

The various blends of cheese and tomatoes complimented each other well in perfect unison and each delectable bite called for you to bite into it once more.

The other pizza we had was the Magical Mystery Tour, a pesto based pizza with button and portobello mushrooms, mozzarella, spinach, feta and jalapenos. At first glance this pizza looked intimidatingly spicy with its jalapenos which were graciously peppered on top.

However at first bite this was not so, the peppers gave the dish some kick but not too unmanageable by those with an intolerance to spicy dishes. The variety of mushrooms and cheeses came together to give us a very delicious pizza in which every bite ushered forth different notes, starting with the kick of peppers, to the balancing of the mushrooms, and the calming of the creamy cheese.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest
Samuel Adams Octoberfest

But back to the philanthropy! When you visit a Mellow Mushroom location, share your moment with the hashtag #mellowcupcake or #nokidhungry, mellow mushroom will donate $3 to the cause. On top of that when you donate $10 you get a free small pizza and $25 or more gets you that as well as a free T-shirt! Last year 8,661 participating restaurants raised $8.9 million for the cause, this year Mellow Mushroom wants to raise $150,000 this month for No Kid Hungry.

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Check The Location Out!

http://mellowmushroom.com/store/Orlando

Help Donate!

http://www.mmnokidhungry.com/default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

 

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Tampa based Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria has opened its first location in Orlando in Winter Springs this week. It will be open this week for dinner from 5pm-10pm starting this Monday, and starting next week, will be open for lunch as well from 11am-10pm.

The Napoletana style pizza is thin & soft with a slight crisp to the crust; with a nice smokey char to the pizza crust from the wood burning ovens and topped with ingredients imported from Italy or locally grown and organic. Dan Bavaro, the founder was taught by 3rd generation, Neapolitan families.

The restaurant bases their entire menu around a stunning Italian imported wood-fired brick oven, hand crafted by the Ferrara’s; a 3rd generation Neapolitan family. The restaurant also makes its own pastas and sauces, which are sold in stores such as Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie and Costco.

Chirag Kabrawala and his parttners have full-time day jobs (He’s an attorney and his 3 other partners include a cardiologist, hotel developer, and luxury tour operator), and despite their rigorous schedules, they made time each Thursday evening to meet at a local restaurant for pizza typically (pizza was the “lowest common denominator” because two of his partners are vegetarian and they could all agree on pizza).

Chirag told us, “While exploring for new styles of pizza, I introduced them to pizza cooked in the Neapolitan style; we took trips to Miami, Atlanta, NYC, and even Tampa, where we were fortunate enough to connect (and in my case, reconnect) with Dan Bavaro, who is making Neapolitan pizza that is arguably among the best being served in the United States. Although Dan was very much reluctant to expand his restaurants, we finally (after nearly a year) agreed to become “partners” with him (and not franchisees), ceding most control of the menu and operations of our restaurant, while us 4-partners preserve, enhance and maintain his vision by working in the restaurant nearly every day. ”

“We are cooking pizza in the Neapolitan style, and we’re very much proud to be offering truly homemade pasta and desserts, all prepared before you in our 100% open kitchen, where nearly every seat in the restaurant has a view of all kitchen operations.”

Bavaro’s
1468 Tuskawilla Road
Winter Springs, Florida
(321) 422-3600
http://bavarospizza.com/

Their dinner menu: http://bavarospizza.com/images/dinner.pdf#zoom=100%

A Sneak Peek Inside Bavaro’s

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Owner and Founder Dan Bavaro at the helm
Owner and Founder Dan Bavaro at the helm
Chefs make their own pastas in house
Chefs make their own pastas in house
Imported fine flour from Italy
Imported fine flour from Italy
The oven uses stacks of wood nearby
The oven uses stacks of wood nearby
The oven gets up and above 900 degrees
The oven gets up and above 900 degrees
The wood burning oven is imported from Italy
The wood burning oven is imported from Italy

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Cheesy garlic bread
Cheesy garlic bread
Verde salad
Verde salad
Organico Salad
Organico Salad

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Proscuitto pizza
Proscuitto pizza
Carne Pizza
Carne Pizza
Margherita Pizza
Margherita Pizza

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Lunch Service has begun!

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Mr. Chirag Kabrawala
Mr. Chirag Kabrawala
Panini
Panini
Deli panini
Deli panini
Pasta - Tagliatelle with Vodka sauce - the vodka sauce is addicting
Pasta – Tagliatelle with Vodka sauce – the vodka sauce is addicting
Margherita pizza with sausage, salami, and topped with egg
Margherita pizza with sausage, salami, and topped with egg
El Crudo Pizza
El Crudo Pizza

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There’s a new place in Orlando that will have your personalized pizza ready in just five minutes.

Pie Five Pizza Co. is the place – opening up just outside of UCF on University Blvd.

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You might be familiar with the concept – made popular by Chipotle and Subway.

Order at the counter and the folks prepare it assembly line style as you go down the line. They use a super hot oven to heat the pizza and have it ready for you by the time you finish paying at the cash register.

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At Pie Five, guests can create personal pizzas and a variety of specialty pie choices, all for one price. Typically a pizza, any way, is $6.99. Meaning a specialty pizza or a pizza with anything you want on it – all $6.99. Same goes with the salad. If you want to add an extra side salad and drink, it’s $2.99 more.

They offer 4 crusts (including pan, thin crust, gluten-free & whole grain) and have hand-made salads made from a pizza crust.

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Everything is prepared right on the spot and the entire meal will be ready in less than five minutes. I checked – it was under 5 minutes.

Pizza was good for $6.99, ingredients were fresh, and I really liked the customization. One thing that I thought could use improvement – the crust – a little bit too pedestrian, ho-hum, and if they can update that and make it tastier, it would be a really good pizza. For the price, it can’t be beat.

Blaze Pizza, another “chipotle” style pizza joint will be opening soon near by in the UCF area at the Plaza, so it should be interesting to see how business goes. It’s definitely a food trend to watch- custom pizza joints.

Let us know what you think – have you been to Pie Five? Is it something you’d try? Comment below!

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Pie Five Pizza Co. on Urbanspoon

Jet 10® Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Mushrooms, Onions, Green Peppers, Hamburger, Italian Sausage, Bacon and Black Olives.

Eugene Jetts and his brother John Jetts opened the first Jet’s Pizza in 1978 in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

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Southeast Michigan is also known as the headquarters of some of the largest pizza chains in the United States, including Domino’s Pizza (Ann Arbor), Hungry Howies (Madison Heights), Jet’s Pizza (Sterling Heights), Happy’s Pizza (Southfield), and Little Caesars (Detroit).

The single menu item that Jet’s Pizza has become famous for, above anything else, is their signature deep-dish square pizza.

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Detroit-style pizza, developed in Detroit, Michigan, is a square pizza, unlike the round Chicago deep dish pizza, similar to Sicilian-style pizza that has a thick deep-dish crisp crust and toppings such as pepperoni and olives, and is served with the marinara sauce on top.

The square shaped pizza is the result of being baked in a square pan.

The crust of a Detroit-style pizza is usually baked in a well-oiled pan to a chewy medium-well-done state that gives the bottom and edges of the crust a fried/crunchy texture.

The Jet’s Pizza concept of franchising began in 1990 and has grown to more than 300 franchises throughout eighteen states: Michigan, Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Orlando recently got our first two stores for Jet’s Pizza, one in Apopka and one on the east side of Orlando near Waterford Lakes. We recently were invited to visit and try out their pizza.

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The storefront is rather small and there is seating only on the outside. I’d recommend getting some seating inside for those who don’t want to sit in the hot Florida sun. It’s essentially a take out spot.

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I thought the pizzas had good flavor for a chain, and may be the best chain pizza I’ve had in Orlando.

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The crunchy square pizza crust is different and had nice flavor, though slightly charred from the conveyor belt oven. Joe, the young attendant at the shop on this date, was courteous and attentive, so kudos to him for his good service.

Jet 10® Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Mushrooms, Onions, Green Peppers, Hamburger, Italian Sausage, Bacon and Black Olives.
Jet 10®
Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Mushrooms, Onions, Green Peppers, Hamburger, Italian Sausage, Bacon and Black Olives.
All Meaty Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Bacon, Italian Sausage and Hamburger.
All Meaty
Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Bacon, Italian Sausage and Hamburger.
Jet's Boats® Freshly Baked Pizza Dough Stuffed with Mozzarella Cheese, Pizza Sauce, and Your Favorite Toppings.
Jet’s Boats®
Freshly Baked Pizza Dough Stuffed with Mozzarella Cheese, Pizza Sauce, and Your Favorite Toppings.

The Jet’s boat is similar to basically a calzone, which means “trousers” in Italian, shaped as a folded pizza or a “boat”. It resembles a half-moon and is made of salted bread dough.

Jet's Pizza on Urbanspoon

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Artisan Pizza in just 90 seconds – all served from a food truck.

That’s what Chef Drew Soifer, a long time resident of the greater Orlando area, is cooking up with a new concept in the food truck world – a one-of-kind truck called 900 Degreez.

This converted container truck features a bespoke imported Italian wood-fired oven that can cook a pizza in an unbelievable 90 seconds.

The truck façade features an all-glass panel that allows customers to view the chefs at work. Chef Drew created a menu consisting of artisan pizzas, which includes his specialty, the EIEIO pizza that is a white mozzarella pizza with sliced fuji apples, apple bacon and garlic. 900 Degreez also serves garlic knots, Italian breads, baguettes and other baked goods.

The Margherita Pizza - classic fresh mozzarella, red sauce and fresh basil.
The Margherita Pizza – classic fresh mozzarella, red sauce and fresh basil.

Other pizzas include:

The Greek $11
Spinach, minced garlic, shredded mozzarella and feta cheese.

Hercules Court $10
Sliced Fingerling potatoes, walnut pesto sauce and shredded mozzarella.

The Big Island Pizza $10
Fresh sliced pineapple, sliced ham, red sauce and shredded mozzarella.

Farm to Table $11
Rendered pork, caramelized onions, blue cheese and shredded mozzarella.

Spade & Hoe $10
Sliced heirloom tomatoes, Kalamata olives, onions, red sauce and mozzarella.

The 35-foot truck weighs 33,000 pounds, with the oven itself weighing in at 3,500 pounds, so large in fact that Chef Drew was required to obtain a CDL.

Chef Drew says, “As the popularity of food trucks increases, Orlando has experienced unparalleled growth in this market. I believe food trucks will be around for a long time and I look forward to being a part of it.”

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“I decided to open the artisan pizza truck because it made more sense to be mobil versus being at a fixed location. I could have opened in a great location but then I would have had to deal with all the overhead that comes with that. Like rent, electric, water, a much larger staff etc.. In addition when I lived in San Francisco I experienced my first wood fired brick oven pizza and the experience was amazing. The flavor and the texture of something that was cooked in 90 seconds was awesome. Something so simple and flavorful was what I wanted to bring back to Orlando. Our pizza dough is made fresh daily and doesn’t contain any preservatives or stabilizers that are often found at a majority of pizza chain restaurants.”

Chef Drew is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute. He honed his culinary skills with top rated chefs including the late Jean Louis Paladin, as well as Charlie Palmer and Cindy Hudson while working in renowned restaurants such as the 4-Seasons, NAPA restaurant and Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

“Throughout my experiences with the different chefs, they always placed a huge emphasis on the quality of the ingredients and making sure the customer was always satisfied. This rings true with me today. Quality is far more important than quantity,” Drew told us in a recent e-mail interview.

900 Degreez has been in operation since mid April and we can be found all over the Orlando area. The best way to find them is to go on their website at www.900degreezpizza.com and go to the “Find Us” page. There you will see all of their upcoming events with times and locations.

Contact:
Chef Drew Soifer
900degreezpizza@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/900degreez
www.twitter.com/900degreez
www.900degreezpizza.com

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One of my favorite pizza places in Orlando is located, slightly hidden, off of Maguire Rd by the Orlando Executive Airport (across from the Fashion Square mall on the south side of Colonial Dr). Pizzeria Del Dio’s pizza has a perfect, crispy crust and quality cheeses and toppings. I went and visited with my friend, Mike from Watch Me Eat and Chirag!

We ordered half pepperoni and onion / half mushroom and spinach as well as some meatballs to enjoy. Still very good pizza.

Pizzeria Del Dio
3210 E Colonial Dr Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 898-1115
http://www.pizzeriadel-dio.com/
 

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In the fall of 2012, during the US Presidential Elections, this little pizza parlor in Ft Pierce, FL became quite the buzz of the town when owner and registered Republican Scott Van Duzer lifted President Barack Obama mid air in a huge bear hug during a campaign stop at Big Apple Pizza.

This small act led to a huge firestorm of online trolls and posts (both in support and against the restaurant) onto the review site Yelp, many of which became filtered later on through Yelp’s filtering algorithm.

(Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
(Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

“I don’t vote party line, I vote who I feel comfortable with, and I do feel extremely comfortable with him,” Scott Van Duzer told the press pool. In 2008 he launched The Van Duzer Foundation, which helps raise awareness and funds for blood donations.

I dropped by Ft. Pierce to check out Big Apple Pizza on the way home to Orlando from West Palm recently, just a few miles away from the I-95 exit.

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The Big Apple Pizza location was rather spacious for a pizza parlor, and was rather nice. Inside, sports memorabilia hung on the walls as well as a few prominent wall photos including ones with Tim Tebow and a huge framed piece with a letter of thanks from President Obama to Mr. Van Duzer for attending the second presidential debate.

Mr. Van Duzer wasn’t in that night that I visited but I believe his family were running the restaurant that evening along with several local teen employees.

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I ordered two slices: a regular cheese pizza and a pepperoni pizza slice.

The slices came out rather quickly, as I would expect, and tasted pretty good. The crust wasn’t particularly memorable but the cheese and pepperoni were good. It was a bit oily from the pizza grease, but not too oily.
Overall, I would probably come back and try some more of their pizza items and donate to their foundation while I’m there.

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