Saturday, October 31, 2009

Food Field Trip France: Caveau Des Arches

After Paris, we headed to Beaune, a walled hill town in the middle of Burgundian wine country. We chose Beuane to enjoy the wines and had the opportunity to bike from the center of this city through the wine towns of Pomard to Volnay and onto Meursault via a wonderful, and deserted bike path (this could have been because the weather was a tad cool -- 48 degrees in the sun, but we had come to France in part for this purpose, so we layered up and ended up really enjoying the ride).

Wine caves are prevalent in and around Beaune; we spent the afternoon sipping wine in them and then had dinner in a restored one at Caveau Des Arches ( More on that later.

First was the bike journey. The bike rental place recommended Chateau de Meursault ( and after almost giving up on finding the place, we finally prevailed. For 15 euros each we were allowed to roam around the Estate including through a series of underground caves, some dating to 12th century stocked with hundreds of thousands of bottles and thousands of barrels of of estate wines.

At the end of this eerie, dusty, and really cool maze, we were treated to some very generous pours of wine. It felt like trick-or-treating for adults; each new cave room we entered was set up with another barrel atop of which was placed the next wine to try.

The Mersault area is known for its whites, which actually have the mouth feel of a good red, and a smooth flavor. We normally favor red wines, but these whites were fantastic.

The whole experience was wonderful, but in many ways overwhelming as Beaune is the center of the Burgundian wine trade and the place where wine experts gather to bolster their Grand Cru collections. In fact, there was a conference of sommeliers from New York City at our hotel. We did buy a bottle of wine in town, which we will put in our state of the art wine cellar (cellar=closet in our guest bedroom). We are not quite at Grand Cru collector status yet...

When we circled back into town it was dusk and the temperatures had really dipped, so we were ready for a hearty dinner to warm us up. We had fortunately made reservations at Caveau Des Arches months earlier. The design job merged both ancient and modern accents. The restaurant focuses on traditional Burgundian cuisine, and, as with most restaurants in the country, had several prix fix options.

We opted for a wine with dinner from where else but Chateau de Meursault. We went with a rich red, somewhat similar to an American Pinot Noir, as we both planned on and needed meaty dishes for dinner after our bike ride through some very rolling hills.

We started with the escargot--succulent snails cooked in the traditional rich garlic, herb butter sauce and served with a rustic, crusty bread.

Next, it was onto steak tartare for me with potatoes lyonnaise served in a cast iron skillet. My main course was the paradigm of steak tartares. The meat was a beautiful, deep red color seasoned perfectly to bring out the flavors of this amazingly tender steak. The mixed greens were a nice crisp, tart compliment, and the potatoes were really just gratuitous, but nonetheless excellent, crispy, and full of flavor.

B opted for the duck breast in a wine demi-glace served with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. The duck was cooked medium rare and was exceedingly tender and very rich.

Then came the cheese course. The menu here was entirely in French, so I could not tell you the names or types of these cheeses. Both were soft, and the one in the front of the photo was smooth and tasted similar to a camembert. The latter had much more of a bite to it and I was glad that the waitress explained to eat them in that order.

I went with a molten chocolate cake dessert (knew I was getting chocolate, but had no idea what form it would take due to my knowledge of French being limited to 4 years in high school). The cake was made with dark chocolate and surrounded by creme anglais and also with a rich vanilla ice cream.

B had the creme brulee, which as you can see below was delicately caramelized. It had a great crunch with a rich custard finish.

This three-hour feast enjoyed under the city of Beaune in a wine cave was 85 euros.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Food Field Trip France: Chocolate Interlude

Let me be honest. One of my main motivations for this trip was of course, to indulge in fantastic chocolate at all times of the day. And I think I did a great job at meeting this ambitious objective.

In Paris this was due in the large part to the proximity of the delicious pastry shop below.

This is the spot where B and I started all of our mornings in Paris along with a slew of Parisians stopping by for fresh made, beautiful pastries. I discovered something I like more than the pain au chocolate -- though don't get me wrong, that is still a favorite. It was a flat, custard and dark chocolate chip filled pastry. I never got the name of said pastry, and instead would just point in the morning and say in my best french accent -- one please. I really wish I knew the name and if anyone reading does, please let me know! This was pure goodness in the morning.

Below are some of the dessert offerings from the shop.

Also in Paris, and we visited one of the locations of the La Maison du Chocolat ( This wonderful artisan chocolate shop offered a 5 euro petite indulgence of hot chocolate, macaroon, and a sample of their chocolates. This was a fantastic snack break from a day of traipsing around the city. The hot chocolate was obscenely rich and smooth. The macaroon was light and airy with a rich chocolate center. And the chocolates -- two dusted ganache balls, and two fruit flavored ganache (citrus and raspberry) -- were rich with just the right amount of tangyness to offset the chocolate. Postscript: I learned in writing this post, that they have locations in NYC, so I am going to have to check that out next time I am up there.

Our chocolate indulgences did not end when we left Paris; in Beaune and Lyon we switched to wonderfully flaky on the outside, gooey on the inside chocolate croissants. While oatmeal or fruit cups or anything remotely healthy at breakfast was not to be found, these treats were available at every cafe. Lucky us.

Finally, in Lyon on the main boulevard in the Presqu'ile area of the city we discovered a great, English style-tea house: Maison Debeaux ( They had an incredible selection of pastries of every shape and size, as well as over-sized, American-style (think Friendly's) ice cream Sundaes. B & I delighted in the delicious pastry treats with hot beverages (tea for me and cafe au lait for B) on both afternoons in Lyon. Maison Debeaux has an upstairs salon and table service which makes for a relaxed and delicious respite and a great outlet from the cold snap that we hit during the latter part of our trip. Below is a raspberry, chocolate, mocha pastry with raspberry meringues.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Food Field Trip France: Les Papilles

Our last night in Paris brought us to the most unique bistro of our trip: Les Papilles ( We discovered this part wine shop/part culinary paradise when reading a July NY Times article, "Alive and Evolving: The Paris Bistro" (

The bistro is a wine shop by day and a bistro by night. The set menu includes a soup, main course, cheese course, and dessert for 31 euros. Diners select their wine from the plethora available on the shelves throughout the shop and for a small corkage fee (7 euro) enjoy it with the meal. The wine bins on the right doubled as a table for our bread. It was a really interesting and well executed concept and great to peruse the wine selection in between courses.

As for our wine selection, we decided to try another Burgundy since we would be heading there the next morning and ambled over to that section of the shop, reached behind the diners seated there, and made our selection. This 1996 Burgundy was the oldest vintage we drank on the trip, and was more tannic and complex than the night before, standing up well to the hearty meal in front of us.

The soup of the evening was a cream of celery with celery, celery root, lardons, potatoes, creme fraiche, and a sprinkling of herbs. The presentation was great, with the ingredients of the dish served separately and accompanied by a large terrine of the soup base. B and I both loved this rich, layered soup, that really warmed us up after the walk from the metro.

The main course, served in a piping hot copper pot, was a rich, tomato based pork stew with huge chunks of pork, lardons, black olives, potatoes, onions, carrots, and thyme. It was hearty and the non-traditional inclusion of the olives added depth. The pork tasted as though it had been roasting all day and was fork tender. And, I was thrilled that the vegetables were tender, but not mushy -- a fine balance to strike. As hard as we tried, we could not finish it all.

Next, came our first cheese course of the trip. I must say I love this element of dinner. And as dinners stretch for hours, you really have time to savor and enjoy. This course consisted of apple compote, a creamy camambert, and mixed greens in a balsamic vinaigrette.

Dessert was a chocolate ganache (denser than mousse but with that same intense chocolate flavor) and a caramel foam which was light and almost airless in texture, adding a wonderful depth of flavor to the chocolate.

The kitchen in which all of this is turned out is a tiny galley space with two chefs. The owner who we were fortunate enough to speak to, noted that this is the reason for the set menu. And it is the owner and one other server who ably man the dining room.

The all inclusive tab was about 100 euro; dinner for two in a wine shop was priceless!

Food Field Trip France: L'Ardoise

Tuesday night brought us back to our favorite bistro on our trip to Paris in 2003 - L'Ardoise ( Back then we chose this restaurant because it is delicious yet affordable. I had risotto for the first time here -- an incredible rich, creamy shrimp version which opened my eyes to the wonder of this dish and its many variations. So our expectations were high and after spending the morning traipsing around Versailles and early evening hiking up the Arc de Triomph we were both very hungry!

L'Ardoise is a tiny storefront bistro, with about 30 seats packed together in a sparsely decorated space. The prix fix menu is written in French on a large chalkboard which is presented at your table when the waitress determines it is your turn to order. Like most smaller restaurants in Paris there were two efficient and very busy servers handling the entire dining room, which was bursting at the seams with diners.

The amuse bouche was again a wild mushroom soup (popular choice this time of year) and we ordered a Burgundian red this time, but alas I don't have a photo and don't remember the name. It was great though -- lighter and less tannic than a Bordeaux which worked out well for the meal to come.

I started with the escargot served in individual pots and topped with crostinis. The snails were perfectly cooked, but the butter-based sauce had too much parsley and not enough garlic to stand up to the snails, so the earthy flavor overpowered the dish a bit. They were good, but not the traditional Burgundian dish.

B's appetizer was great, so I was glad we were sharing every course. He opted for the wild mushroom and lobster ravioli. The menu here was entirely in French and the Rick Steves' food translator did not help much. As an aside, can someone please write a guide that tells me more than what a baguette or a brasserie means? Anyway, back to the food; the sauce was creamy, the ravioli al dente, and the filling excellent. All the flavors and textures in this dish really came together and it was a great start to the meal.

For my main course, I ordered a special that was not listed on the chalkboard: langoustines (smaller than a lobster but bigger than a crayfish) cooked in parchment paper with butter, thyme, and parsley served over mashed potatoes and what I think was a celery root cake. B and I differ on our views of this dish. I thought it was fragmented with the thyme overpowering the langoustines and the celery root adding zero value in either flavor or texture. B thought it was perfect. I will say that the langoustines were cooked perfectly so that they were not chewy, but tender and quite good.

B ordered the lamb fillet served with potatoes au gratin. We both agreed that this dish was excellent. The lamb was as tender as filet mignon, juicy, and crusted with mint and parsley. The au gratin potatoes were full of flavor, with a cheese crust on top and tender potatoes underneath oozing with a combination of heavy cream and cheese.

For dessert I was thrilled that there was a seasonal option. As I have mentioned before I love figs and this tart was truly out of the park, and was accompanied by passion fruit sorbet. The million layer pastry crust was flaky and buttery and the figs were fresh, beautiful, and so tasty. I fell in love with this dessert. And while I lean toward chocolate in my desserts, this was my favorite dessert of the trip.


B actually went with the chocolate. I don't remember what this dish was called, but it was composed of a dark chocolate ganache wedge of goodness topped with the richest chocolate sauce, chocolate sorbet, and dark chocolate bark. This dessert was also incredible. The meal definitely ended on a high note and the hunger pains we had felt earlier in the evening had more than dissipated!

This meal came to 107 euros all inclusive. And I still highly recommend this restaurant -- the cooking attempts to merge the traditional and inventive, and the ingredients are extremely fresh.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Food Field Trip France: Louis Vins

While we did not make reservations for our first night in Paris (owing to the jetlag and knowing full well we would not be able to wait for the traditional reservation time of at least 8pm), we did plan to eat at Cafe Constant ( This review is not about this restaurant, save for this paragraph:

Cafe Constant is one of Christian Constant's restaurants. It opens rather early by European standards (7pm), is relatively cheap, does not take reservations, and got great reviews on Chowhound. We thought this would make the perfect first night place. However, it was, not just bad, but gross. It made a lean cuisine entree look like fine dining. The plat du jour was a chicken dish that tasted as if it had been cooked three weeks ago and heated up for the evening; the texture was as tough as rubber and the overly buttered mashed potatoes did little to mask the issue. Who wants to hear about bad food, right? So I will stop there and note that both the foie gras and rabbit terrine were decent, but take this as public service announcement to anyone considering this option for their trip to Paris: just don't. There are much better quick, cheap places to eat and you don't want to be disappointed your first night in the city.


Now on to a much more appetizing report. On Monday night, our first reservation of the trip renewed my faith in the Parisian dining establishment: Louis Vins ( We chose this restaurant based on Mark Slater's (the Ray's the Steaks sommelier) recommendation and I can't wait to thank him for his advice.

Louis Vins is a 40 seat restaurant, with kitchy French decor, a warm ambiance, and a great wine list! We arrived and while the waitstaff did not speak English they kindly offered us an English language menu. We were the only non-Parisians (or at least non-French speakers) in the restaurant and were surprised, but did not hesitate to take advantage of this cheat sheet.

First, we were treated to an amuse bouche of wild mushroom soup and offered the wine list. We chose what I think was the best wine of our trip (and there were many contenders). A 2005 Bordeaux. For the duration of our trip we stuck with wines in the 35 - 45 euro price point and were never disappointed. One of my other favorite parts of enjoying these wines was lingering over a 2.5 - 3 hour dinner, with the waiter/waitress pouring the wine so it lasts throughout the meal. American waitstaff can often be inclined to over pour to encourage ordering another bottle (thus increasing the tip) and/or hurrying the meal.

Voila -- our wine of the evening -- robust, tannic and perfect for the food that was to come.

The menu included on the prix fix options like nearly all in the city and offered about 8 choices each for entrees (in France the appetizer), plats du jour, and desserts for a bargain price of 28 euros. Again we had the benefit of the English language menu, so I can actually detail what was in every dish.

I started with the pesto encrusted goat cheese over field greens with balsamic vinaigrette. The goat cheese was heavenly. I am a sucker for goat cheese anyway, but this was sweet and layered with flavor owing the pesto crust. The tartness of the field greens added a subtle contrast. B chose the jumbo prawns, wrapped in filo dough and lightly fried. These shrimp were perfectly done, with the most delicate wrapping, making for a nice crunch.

For dinner, I had the Cod with chanterelles over mashed potatoes. The cod fillet was generous in size (about 10 oz) and cooked so that it was both flaky and juicy, and the veritable field of mushrooms that accompanied it rounded out the flavor and made for a meaty, earthy, and cold weather-appropriate fish dish.

B ordered the most decadent main dish of our trip: roasted duck wih foie gras surrounding mashed potatoes, and accompanied by salad greens tossed in a vinaigrette. The duck was roasted and de-boned and the combination of the rich, tender duck, with the smooth rich foie gras was delectable and very filling!

Now for my favorite part of any meal: dessert. I ordered the chocolate terrine with Creme Anglais and the same chocolate crunchies (yes I am sure that is the French word) that Michel Richard uses on many of his desserts at Central. It was so rich, like eating the filling of French truffle, so pretty much perfect. B had the baba au rhum which was a moist single-serving cake topped with one shot if not two shots of the rum and yellow raisins.

The inclusive bill for this meal came to about 100 euros. Even with the exchange rate approaching dismal lows (1.47 Euro to every dollar), this was a great value.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Food Field Trip: France – Unexpected and Much Appreciated Food and Wine Finds

All night flight… morning spent wandering around Paris… and finally, lunch. BUT, we wisely (note the sarcasm) decided to leave our guidebook and itinerary matrix (yes, we actually make up a restaurant 'options' matrix for each day – we do work in DC after all) at the hotel. So while B and I fully intended to revisit La Coupole, a bustling bistro on Paris's Left Bank that we tried out on our first trip to France years ago, we could not find it for anything. And given that my French pronunciation skills border on unintelligible, anyone I asked for directions just kind of looked at me with a blank stare or pointed, and in conflicting directions.

So, after an hour of wandering around Montparnasse, with B and I both asserting time and again that yes, this is the street, and then deciding our heated conversation made us look like that couple who always argues on any season of the Amazing Race, we gave up. At that point, our stomachs were not going to take any more wandering around.

This turned out to be a great decision.* We found a quintessential little café with plenty of heated outdoor tables, and settled in for our first of many glasses of wine with lunch (I love the European way of life) and two perfectly buttery ham and cheese omelets. While, yes, we were hungry, these omelets were simply divine. They were served in just the right amount of butter, which in Paris is about a stick of the cultured stuff, and filled with flavorful European ham (not the wimpy American kind) and rich, gruyere cheese. We also ordered a side of fries which were thin, crispy, and delicious.

So what is the name of this great café? I have no idea. Where are the pictures? Sorry. And now you are probably thinking, why do I read this blog again? I apologize and promise full details including names, pictures, and websites for the rest of the meals we ate in France. As noted earlier, this stop was not planned.

*One nonfood issue that would continue to irk me at all the little cafes in Paris: the bathroom set-up. The urinal is placed in the open (!) between the men and women's toilets. Now, I may be a prudish American, but I never got used to this and always approached the situation with my eyes focused squarely on the floor.


Liquid Dessert: After lunch, now really full, but fighting to stay awake we headed up to Montmartre. We had read in the NY Times travel blog section of a wine festival happening that weekend. This was a great decision and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon wandering around booths stocked with French wine, cheeses, and pastries, and sipping excellent French champagne for 5 euros a glass.

(No idea what the black cheese, hockey-puck pastry things are but they were very popular)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Too Stuffed to Dish (Yet)

We are back from France and while I promise I will supply all the juicy details of fabulous meals in Paris, Burgundy, and Lyon, I cannot even think about food right now (seriously). By our last meal Saturday night in Lyon both of us had overdosed on delicious dinners filled with all sorts of animal parts, rich sauces, and creamy cheeses, stretching for hours; our stomachs couldn't handle it anymore. We literally had to battle through our chocolate mousse on our final night– I know, I know, tough life.

Note the fat cherub below – that is how I felt for most of the trip (fat , happy, full of wine) minus the holy part.

Restaurant reviews and lots of mouth watering pictures to come later this week. But for now it is safe to say you will not find me at any of the DC French offerings anytime soon (or for at least a week : )).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

One More Before Au Revoir

In preparation for our France adventure and in especially good spirits after a week of chaos at work we were both on vacation, we decided on a distinctly non-Parisian fare before our trip-- Mexican.

About three years ago we discovered Guajillo ( pronounced Wa Hee Oh). It is a great little Mexican place in the adjacent space to the new Ray's Hellburger. The walls are two-tone tangerine orange with a soaring ceiling painted the color of the sky complete with puffy clouds. The food is a combination of Mexican and Tex-Mex and they make an excellent house margarita. And one more quirky touch, all servers are men, and all appear to be gay. Weird -- especially odd for a restaurant filled with white Arlington yuppies; but it works.

On Fridays, Guajillo serves an excellent spicy, white cheese dip in addition to their fire-roasted salsa. I admittedly fill up on this every time and end up with a lot of leftovers, but it is worth it.

Tonight B had the steak fajitas, which were served over a bed of charred green onions. The steak was tender and cooked medium. I had one of my old stand-bys: the queso fundido (the other being the shrimp and goat cheese enchiladas) with chorizo. The queso fundido is an excellent mix of chorizo, cheese of course, mushrooms, onion, peppers, and fresh pico de gallo. Both dishes were served with homemade corn tortillas (And owing to the aforementioned cheese dip I have lunch tomorrow).

As usual, to cap off the meal, we ordered the sopapillas with ice cream. The vanilla ice cream with raspberry sauce was gooey and delicious as usual, but the fry cook butchered the sopas, which were charred shells of what is usually fluffy goodness.

Alas, not a bad meal to leave the country on. Dinner for two with a margarita for me and El Sol for B, with tax and tip was $62.

Guajillo on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Paris Preview

We leave for Paris this Saturday (and then head onto Burgundy and Lyon) so this blog will be on hiatus during a week filled with wine, fois gras, escargot, cassoulet, among other delights. I am very excited!

Last Saturday we were treated to a delicious preview of what is no doubt in store by our foodie friends who are also the best cooks and most gracious hosts. They wowed us with an onion, olive, caper, and anchovy tart, french onion soup oozing with gruyere, pork loin with green peppercorn sauce, and a beautiful plum tart. I was too busy eating, drinking, and talking to take pictures (sorry!), but needless to say it definitely made me very excited for that type of rich, earthy food!

One day to go. I promise a full food field trip report when I get back!

Friday Fall Feast - Pumpkin Beer and Roquefort Stuffed Pork Chops

This past Friday night was perfect for a fall meal -- a slight chill was in the air, the leaves are just starting to turn from bright green to muted yellows, and Dogfish Pumpkin Head Ale was on sale at Wholefoods. Plus B was off on Friday, which always makes me happy as that means a great dinner will most certainly be in my future.

We started out with cocktails on our patio (bundled up in fleece jackets) and really enjoyed the Dogfish Head Pumpkin Beer. It has a well-balanced, full bodied flavor with just the right hints of pumpkin and spice. At 7% alcohol and $2.50 a bottle retail it is both more alcoholic and expensive than most pumpkin beers, but well worth it. B is a bit of a beer purist (no flavors) and he loved this one, noting that it did not taste artificial at all.

B had a great dinner in store. Boston Bib lettuce with a quick balsamic vinaigrette dressing and Parmesan shavings to start followed by rosemary (yes, we used our herb garden again) and roquefort stuffed pork chops, complimented with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes (for which our Kitchen Aid mixer is a Godsend).

The recipe, available at, is described as "an easy autumn recipe great for special occasions." B had made this dish once before last winter and I had loved it and still do. The key is to get a good thick cut (1 inch) bone-in pork chop. You make the filling (a combination of rosemary, homemade bread cubes, onions, shallots, rosemary) ahead of time and chill for at least fifteen minutes (allowing time to enjoy the aforementioned beer). Then you stuff the pork chops, pan sear them in butter for two minutes a side and throw in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

And voila...a hearty, delicious fall meal. I highly recommend it for easy entertaining or even a special weeknight in.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The end of balcony basil, the beginning of two great Pesto feasts

While we moved into our Arlington condo last fall, this was our first season as balcony gardeners. We started slowly with a mini herb garden of basil, rosemary, and parsley, and were delighted with a bumper crop of basil. (Note this basil needed water and pruning just about every other day -- so not low maintenance, but excellent to have on hand all summer)

As we slipped from summer into fall this past week we noticed that our basil plants would soon suffer from the cold and wanted to take advantage of their bounty.

So we turned to one of our favorite cookbook authors -- Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa). Her pesto recipe ( is delicious, calls for 5 packed cups of basil (yes this is a lot, but worth it) and the addition of walnuts to round out the flavor. And voila, 8 ingredients processed with the help of a Cuisinart food processer and the sacrifice of our basil, the perfect pesto is complete (and you will see below, our basil is finished).

The two plants yielded two batches, so while we enjoyed one right away, we will get to fondly remember our basil later this fall when we take the other batch out of the freezer. I recommend linguini (whole wheat or regular works fine) and some freshly grated Parmesan to round out the dish.

B & I completed our meal the right way with a fall fruit tart from Quail Creek Farms ( and while your at this website scroll to the bottom and check out their holiday items for pre-order - yum!), that we picked up at the Arlington Farmer's market that morning.

Their tarts, while a bit pricey at $5.25 per slice, our splendid -- creamy custard, flavorful crust and really fresh fruit including my favorite fall fruit -- figs (which always make me want to be back in Sonoma this time of year when figs are sold on the honor system on the side of the road... but I digress).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Z Pizza -- More than your money's worth!

So yes, I have lived here for over four years now, and have not ordered a pizza for three and a half. Anyone familiar with DC knows Italian American food is not its strong suit. And while the Italian store has excellent pizzas, they don't deliver. So I had all but given up on pizza delivery due to the cardboard flavor, soggy crusts, and cheap tasteless cheese.

But then time got away from B & I one night and we needed a quick dinner delivered, because we were admittedly being lazy. Friends had suggested Z Pizza (, a CA based chain, and we decided to try one more time to find a decent pizza.

I was immediately intrigued by the ease of ordering online and the option of a whole wheat crust -- not bad. It being a California-based pizza chain (with no pretense of authenticity), we opted for the American -- Organic tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, red onions. We ordered online and were told about an hour.

A half hour later there is a knock a the door and the most attractive pizza man I have ever seen is standing there with our pizza. I got a bit flustered and had to have B sign the order slip. It was such a surreal experience, attractive, model-like tall, dark, and handsome white guy -- seriously when does that happen?! The breathy tone in which he emoted for us to "please, do enjoy your pizza" made me feel like I was in the type of movie that isn't shown at AMC ; ). Don't worry; this is a PG blog-- the story ends here.

The pizza itself was good -- not great, but definitely worth the $22 including delivery and tip. The crust had a good texture, crisp yet chewy and the toppings were plentiful. I would definitely order again and cross my fingers for the same pizza delivery man.