140 S 11th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
by Mrs. Dine O Mite
Before you read this review I want to say a quick word with regard to pizza. It's no secret that pizza is a controversial and highly subjective item. Everyone has their own personal preference and there are so many styles available that it's impossible for everyone to agree on the single best pizza out there. So, let's just accept that about each other and on to my totally biased review of the best pizza in the world.
Returning to my old stomping grounds in Center City Philadelphia, just steps outside of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, you will find what I consider to be pure pizza perfection.
Founded by a native New Yorker, NYPD Pizza (where the motto really is "In Pizza We Trust"), serves up a mean slice. It's chewy, it's crispy and oh so yummy. I think what I like best is that they'll customize the slice to my liking. some might think my taste in pizza toppings is a little strange: mushrooms out of the can/jar (I hate fresh mushrooms on a pizza a they tend to shrivel up and lack flavor) and ricotta cheese. I then top it off with a generous amount of salt and pepper. The end result at NYPD Pizza is a beautiful specimen.
If your taste is more traditional though, you won't be disappointed. My husband is always satisfied with the pepperoni or sausage pizza and he's been known to go back for a third slice because it was just so darn good.
Unfortunately in Cleveland, you won't find anything on the same plane as NYPD Pizza and there are lots of theories as to why...it's the water, it's the dough, it's the ovens. I don't have the slightest freakin' clue what it is that makes East Coast Pizza so unique. Perhaps it's that on one from the East Coast moves to Ohio and opens up a pizza shop...maybe it would be that simple. The other gripe Cleveland is that it's hard to find just a slice, or place that serves up creative toppings on something that isn't a giant dough ball. I mean, no one around here seems to value the beauty of a thin, crispy, large pie!
So for the time being, all I can do is hit NYPD Pizza every time I'm in back in Philly. Sure there are other pizza joints in the neighborhood, but for me this is the only one I need, and the only I trust to serve up a quality piece of 'za.
**Please note this is not part of the NYPD Chain of restaurants (thank God for that). This is a small, hard working family run establishment...in other words, it's the real deal.
128 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
by Dine O Mite
When we were younger, a family friend used to bring hoagies with him whenever he came back from Philadelphia. To be honest, I always thought it to be a somewhat strange ritual. It's a hoagie. How "special" could it be? It wasn't until we moved to Phillly that we truly understood what it meant to eat a great hoagie.
I was introduced to Primo Hoagies by Mrs. Dine O Mite. She used to rave about the bread. It's always about the bread, isn't it? With a crusty, sesame covered bun (and I do mean sesame covered), the Primo hoagie was always a winner. Some say (like my mother-in-law, a Jersey native) that it's the South Jersey/ Philly water that percolates through the Pine Barrens that makes some of the best pizza and bread dough in the world. That may be, but whatever it is, the bread in Philly kicks ass.
So when we went back for this trip, it was absolutely necessary for me to stop by for a Primo sized Sharp Italian. These shops are dotted all over Philly and South Jersey. It wasn't until we were about to move back to Cleveland that one opened near my house in neighboring Warminster. Mrs. Dine O Mite swears by the Nona's Veggie - an eggplant sandwich with sharp provolone, roasted red tomatoes, and broccoli rabe (which is found everywhere in Philly, but hardly anywhere in Cleveland).
At any rate, most of the sandwiches at Primo's are winners. If given a death row choice, the Sharp Italian would fit the bill for me. Is it the best? I don't know. But I think it's worth a try.
You don't think Primo's is the best? Let me know of some other that I should try. I'm always up for finding hidden gems (or even not-so-hidden).