Friday, October 27, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - sometimes there's nothing better than traditional bacon and eggs

I post a wide variety of #foodporn on here. Quite a bit of it people would consider fancy. It's not the stuff mom used to cook. I've noticed a big trend here in Windsor of more gourmet foods showing up everywhere. Words like Aoili, Bechamel, Carcuterie, and Quenelle show up on more menus every day. This isn't a bad thing, in no way. But sometimes you just want something "normal".

To me, there's nothing more simple and basic and normal, than Bacon and Eggs. This is comfort food at it's finest as long as it's cooked right. That's the kicker though. Pretty much any place that opens before 10am serves meat, eggs, and potato, but so few actually get it right.

For those few weeks, I was living back at my parent's place taking care of my dad we made a new daily habit. That was going to Pete's Place. Personally, I like my eggs "over medium" which to me means flipped over, yolks still liquid and all whites cooked through without being overcooked and having crispy bits. I like my bacon a bit under crisp, you can bend it but eventually, it will break. I like my potatoes with a bit a seasoning salt. Pete (yes the owner and cook of Pete's place is named Pete) nails this every time. 

As an added bonus, it's cheap. Really cheap if you get there before 11am. A plate of bacon and eggs before 11am is under $5. That's unheard of nowadays. I will fully admit it's not the fanciest place. It's pretty much the Wikipedia page image for a greasy spoon and they don't even take debit. It's exactly the kind of place you expect to find a great plate of eggs.

You can check out Pete's for yourself at 381 Wyandotte St. East. Right across from the big park in front of Water World near The Barn. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - Etta's isn't just for breakfast.

I've mentioned Etta's Greeklish Eatery on #FoodPornFriday before. More than once I think. There's a good reason for it. It's one of my favourite places to eat, for breakfast. Their Meatlove Casserole is one of my favourite things to eat in this city. Well, last night we did something crazy. We went to Etta's for dinner.

The dinner menu is very different from the lunch and breakfast menu. I was actually quite surprised. I assume it's probably a different cool in the afternoon. Actually, hold up a second. A correction: the adult dinner menu is different. The kid's menu is identical. Not that my kids really cared, but it's worth noting.

The night menu was much more Greek than the menu we had seen before. Greek enough that I couldn't pronounce most of the stuff on it. There was your usual gyros, souvlaki, opa, grape leaves, greek salad, lemon rice soup, etc.  Then there's a bunch of stuff I've never heard of like Pastitsio, Moussaka (actually this one sounded familiar, but I didn't recognize it by description) and Kokkinisto.

I went with the Kokkinisto which is what you can see in the #foodporn picture above. It was some amazingly tender beef in a tomato sauce over rice served with roasted potatoes and green beans (seasonal veg). The beef part was amazing, the red sauce was good. I found the rice a bit plump, but okay. The potatoes were good, but not Thansi's good.

To go with it I passed on the Lemon Rice soup and got a bowl of some amazing ham, bacon, cheddar and potato soup. You know me well enough that should have been the obvious choice between the two. It was amazing. The soup was even better than the Kokkinisto.

Between the soup and the beef dish, I was very happy and very full. The kids tried Orzo, my wife got a Gyro and my mom tried the Pastitsio (a meat sauce and ziti baked dish). Everyone left full and we even had some leftovers. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - Just what is Windsor Style Pizza?

A Large Meatlovers from Capri Pizza

Today I have a practical #FoodPornFriday post all about Windsor Style Pizza.

A Queen take out Pizza
from Windsor Pizza
Nine times out of ten when I post a picture of Windsor Style Pizza and mention that I'm having/enjoying Windsor Style Pizza I will get at least one comment asking what exactly Windsor Style Pizza means. I've answered that question now at least 20 times, maybe as many as 50 times. It doesn't matter how often I answer it, I'm certain that the next time I post a picture of Windsor Pizza on some social media site someone is going to ask me: What's Windsor Style Pizza.

So that's why today's #FoodPornFriday post exists. So that the next time someone asks me this question I can just provide them with a link to this blog post. Instead of typing out the same answer over and over I will just have to share this link. So let's get to it:

What is Windsor Style Pizza?

Small 2x Cheese Peperoni Sausage
from Armando's
Though it seems many people don't believe it, Pizza in Windsor Ontario is unique. Most people have heard of Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza or New York style pizza. Some people have even heard of Detroit Style Pizza (it's square). But it seems that Windsor Style pizza is something only people from Windsor or people who have been to Windsor know about. 

Now that's starting to change. If you Google Windsor Style pizza you will find quite a few articles. There's a great one titled How Did Pizza Become One of Windsor, Ontario's Hottest Exports? and another great one about Volcano Pizza titled: Volcano Pizzeria: A look into one of Windsor's most famous pizza palaces. Check them out if you have time. 

Volcano is where the whole thing started. It was the first pizza place in Windsor and it set the standard for everything that came afterward. Every single 2nd generation pizza place (many of which are still around to this day) owe their success to Volcano and most of them were opened by previous employees of Windsor's first Pizzeria. 

There are many places in Windsor where you can still get Windsor Style Pizza. Armandos, Franco's, Koolinis, Acrata, Capri, Antoninos, Riverside, Roma's, Rivera, Naples, Sam's, Winsor Pizza and probably 20 more I'm forgetting about. Personally, my favorites are Windsor Pizza, Capri, Antonino's, and Armando's. 

What makes Windsor Pizza Special?

Medium Bacon and Scallop pizza
from Sam's
Windsor Style Pizza has a thicker doughy crust that should be crusty on the bottom but soft in the middle. This is middle thickness, not deep dish at all but not the flat style you see at many wood oven places. The sauce is a spicy sweet arabiata style. Differing levels of sweet and spicy are one of the main things that set various Windsor pizzerias apart. Toppings go on top of the cheese never under (sometimes if you get extra cheese that goes on top, usually part way through cooking). 

There are a few idiosyncrasies in regards to ingredients. Pepperoni (often just called sausage, whereas what most people would call sausage can be found as Italian Sausage on many menus) is sliced, never full circles. Sausage (Italian Sauage) is a local brand that is usually small balls and rather fennely. Mushrooms are canned and are usually Success brand. Vegetables and other meats are usually roughly cubed. Additional fennel and sometimes oregano can be found either in the sauce or sprinkled on top (some places like Antonino's have shakers for you to add your own once you get your pie).

The pies themselves are oven baked. I personally have no idea if there's such a thing as a Windsor Style Pizza oven, or if all pizza places use the same style but I do know that pretty much every place I stop in for pick up has similar looking ovens. The important part though is that they use an oven, the whole wood-fired thing, while good, isn't Windsor Style. 

Random slices from Koolini's
The biggest Windsor Pizza secret for years was the cheese. The mozzarella comes from a local shop called Galati Cheese Company Ltd. This was an industry secret for a long time and was what caused many "Windsor Style Pizza" places that opened out of town in London or Toronto to fail. They had the recipes from the Windsor places but couldn't get exactly the same ingredients. Now the Galati secret is out and you can now see all Windsor Pizza places with signs stating "Proudly serving Galati cheese" prominently displayed.

So yes, Windsor Style Pizza is a thing. A big thing for the people who love it. If you don't belive me just check out this article: Sask. couple orders beloved Windsor pizza for long-distance Super Bowl delivery, where a Sask. couple paid $140 to have an Arcata pizza flown out there for their Super Bowl Party.

Note not every pizza place in Windsor does Windsor Style Pizza. May people consider the Caboto Club to have the best pizza in town and it's a thin crust wood fired style pizza. One of the best pizzas I've had comes from the newly opened Downtown Pizza Co and they also don't serve Windsor Style. I just wrote about their pies last week

Friday, October 6, 2017

#FoodPornFriday at the Downtown Pizza Co.

Walk in the Woods

A week ago my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the Friends, Family, and Foodies preview night at the Downtown Pizza Co. so I thought I would talk about it for today's #FoodPornFriday post.

This is the latest restaurant by Mark Boscariol who also owns Snackbar-B-Q and the Willistead. It's right downtown at 255 Ouelette Ave. where you used to be able to find Chanosos.

As expected they specialize in gourmet pizza. This isn't Windsor Style pizza though. Instead, you will find both white and red sauce wood-fired pizza on very tasty sesame seed crust.

During the event, my wife and I got to try two of their pizzas and both were fantastic. 

At the top of the page here you can see my wife's Walk In The Woods. A white sauce pizza with honeyed mushroom, mozza, fior di latte, parmesean, roasted garlic, thyme and sesame crust.

Over to the left there, you can see my Mario & Luigi. A red sauce pizza with genoa, calabrese, hot capocoolo, roaster garlic, green olive, chili flake, fior di latte, mozza, paremesaen and seaseme crust. 

Along with great pizza, the Downtown Pizza Co. also has a great craft beer selection. I was very happy to see that they had at least one beer from pretty much every local brewery. You could get Walkerville, Brew, Frank, Craftheads and even GL Heritage from Amherstburg.  In addition, they also brew their own beers. 

That night they were featuring the pizza and beer and a couple mixed drinks so that's all we got to try. It's worth noting that their menu also includes salads and a selection of excellent sounding sandwiches.  They also sever fresh made soft serve ice cream.

Overall I was very impressed. The beers were great. The pizza was even better. I happily welcome Downtown Pizza Co. to the city core and hope to be back there often.