Friday, September 10, 2010

Salerno's: Lexington, Virginia

Some of you are well aware I made the cross-country drive from New York to LA, then back to Salt Lake City. As part of this journey I had the chance to stop at some places that I once loved and some that were only a myth to be confirmed real.

This stop in Lexington, Virginia, is one that I once loved. I went to school about 7 miles away in the middle of nowhere and decent food was hard to come by. Salerno's became a staple. I actually ended up working there the last year I lived in Virginia. It was actually really fun.

The menu was rather large, including all sort of cold and hot subs, pizza, salads, pasta, and desserts. My favorites? Oh boy. The chicken ranch pizza, BBQ chicken pizza, roast beef cold sub, and the cheesesteak. Oh and one other: The Nate Special. It is not called the Nate Special anymore, but when it was first invented it was named after it's creator, who happens to be a friend of mine. The Nate Special is essentially a hot wing sandwich. That's exactly what it tastes like.

It is a friendly place to go to and the owner will often come around and chat it up with you as you dine. It's about 45 minutes North of Roanoke on I-81.

115 S Jefferson St
Lexington, VA
(picture shown is Chicken Ranch pizza)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NYC's Pride and Joy

Pizza: New York is known for it. No where else can beat it. Except maybe Italy, but I haven't been there so for now New York is the only pizza worth dreaming about. I wouldn't say I'm a "Pizza Snob," because, well, I'm satisfied with a cheap, frozen one from the supermarket.

It's hard to tell what makes NY pizza top all the rest. Maybe it's the water, maybe the local tomatoes used in the sauce, maybe just because NY is awesome and there's no way around not having great pizza.

I will say this: It's everywhere. I really didn't meet a slice that wasn't exceptional. Actually, wait. There was this place near Union Square that tasted like nothing, but I've tried to forget about it. Grimaldi's, Lombardi's, Patsy's. Even non-New Yorkers have at least heard of these. They are definitely good, but I'd like to share my Top 3 favorite slices in the city.

1. The Margherita slice from Artichoke

Artichoke is known for what they are titled after: the Artichoke slice. It is absolutely amazing. It's like someone dumped a spinach/artichoke dip on top of a crust and declared it a gourmet creation. They also offer a Crab, Sicilian and Margherita slice. I am here to talk about the Margherita. It is almost too unique tasting to describe. So many flavors swirling in your mouth. Parmesan, mozzarella, basil, tomato. You'll just have to taste for yourself.

14th between 2nd and 1st aves
Cash Only/Standing room only

2. Mezza Luna

I found this place because it's right next to my old place of employment. It's just a hole in the wall, but the first time I stepped in there a slice caught my eye. There was a delicious looking Chicken Tomato slice that I couldn't steer away from. It was soon purchased and brought back to make a fine lunch on a workday. I figured it would just be the same amazing pizza I always get but there was one thing about it that actually took me a few visits to figure out for sure. Garlic. Oh man. Never have I tasted the absolute perfect amount of garlic on a pizza. I didn't have to put any on myself, it was just there. On it's own, naturally enhancing the taste. It was so good that I couldn't even tell it was garlic that was making this slice stand out. I've tried a few other slices from this place and they are equally as enhanced. Make a trip over to this side of 14th street, unless you are overly sensitive to garlic. :)

Mezza Luna
8th avenue b/t 14th and 15th street

3. Rocky's Number 2

I'll own up: I usually judge a pizza place on their plain slice. Pure and simple. It's the staple of all pizza. If you can't master the plain slice then why would I try anything else. A friend recommended this place to me when I first moved to the city. He's lived in the city all his life and said it was his absolute favorite so of course I got over there as soon as I figured out how the subway could get me there. It became my favorite plain slice. There is something different about it. I don't know if it's extra thin, but the crust, there's something different about the crust. I think it's more soft. Less stiff and crunchy. Nothing beats a good, inexpensive slice of pizza.

Rocky's Number 2
2nd avenue between 33rd and 34th

Honorable Mention: Two Boots (at various locations).