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Monday, September 28, 2009

Fingers Wings and Other Things (Conshohocken) - Spicy Wings

The texture is that of a "crispy" wing. Some people aren't too crazy about the well-done wing but I like them. I think it gives the wing some character on the outside before getting to that juiciness held on the inside. Perhaps some "crunchy" bits of fried skin along a few of the edges nearing the bone. - 3.5

The sauce is the next step up from Mild, and below the category of Extra Spicy, and Nuclear. For the sake of consistency, I'll try keep these all in the spicy/hot realm. The sauce is based in the Louisiana Hot sauce like Frank's, or Texas Pete's. This particular sauce seemed like it was on the salty side. Perhaps a good portion of butter is used in there but it was pretty distinct saltiness. Not a bad sauce but most of it had to be mopped up from the bottom of the basket. Certainly not a real "wet" wing. I would actually consider this a mild sauce, so I'm guessing that they must use Crystal, or butter crazy mix for the actual Mild wing they serve. - 2.5

The flavor is decent. The actual chicken with the crispy outside, along with whatever sauce I could mop up was tasty. The saltiness just made me want to drink more beer but the overall flavor came together nicely. Perhaps it's just me though...I tried some straight Frank's and Texas Pete's when I got home and they both seemed "salty" to me. Hmmm. - 3

Edibility was nice. I downed 9 of these badboys while my cousin took care of the other ones in the 20 count combo we ordered. I kept coming back to them and the flavor wasn't "in-you're-face" heat. In fact, it was so tolerable that neither one of us asked for blue cheese, which I usually get with my wings. The cuz was scared to order the spicy because he's not a huge fan of hot stuff but if I was ordering again, I would go with the Extra Spicy for some a little bit of burn on the lips, which is always expected when I order hot wings. - 3.5

Overall, I enjoyed them. I wouldn't say the wings are the best I've ever had but they're decent enough for mentioning...definitely above average. As a side note, if I were rating their chicken tenders, they ARE the best I've ever had. They use a light batter, which leads to a flaky, crispy outer shell of the tender. The Irish Fries are really good too. - 3

Total Score: 3.1/5

This place recently started bringing in some craft beer for my fellow beer enthusiasts out there. Out of their 12 available drafts, 3/4 of them were decent gateway beers for those just getting started into craft beer. They had Flying Fish, Dogfish Head, Sly Fox, Victory, and Yards to name a few. They will fill growlers too, which would make FWOT the 2nd place that I know of outside of The Boathouse that will fill growlers.

FWOT's website:

Fingers, Wings & Other Things on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Okay, okay...I get the point. Wings are coming!!!

Alright, I believe my balls have been thouroghly busted on not having any wings reviewed yet. I've been making promises for too long. I've got at least 5-6 places picked out that I'll be reviewing.

Wings will be rated on:
- Texture
- Sauce
- Flavor
- Edibility
- Overall

If anyone has a "go-to" wing place in the city, or the Philly suburbs, kindly send me the suggestion. Expect something to be up within the next week.

- Mike

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mr. D's Pizzeria Steaks & Subs (Wildwood) - Cheesesteak

Appears a 10" steak roll with a nice helping of chopped steak, onions, and cheese covering the interior of the roll and rising up to the top with a nice packing. - 4

The roll is from a New Jersey Bakery, called, DeLuxe Italian Bakery. It's actually better than expected, being as good as most of the Philly rolls I've had, and certainly better than most of the sandwich rolls you get in South Jersey. Semi-hard outer shell of the roll gives way to the spongy interior that soaks up the goodness inside. - 4

The meat is of thinly sliced, and chopped ribeye steak. It's lightly seasoned with herbs and pepper and is cooked just enough to remain juicy without a greasy, oil slick left behind. This is some of the better meat I've had...and it's a good helping, as well. - 4.5

The cheese is properly mixed, and melted throughout the sandwich, acting as an adhesive to keep the steak, onions, and bread together. - 4

Overall, I enjoyed this sandwich. If you find yourself in Wildwood and you need some comfort of home by enjoying a properly done steak sandwich, this will be enough to satisfy. Mr. D's claims on a sign out front of their establishment, & on the cover of their menu, "Voted Best Steaks at the Jersey Shore" though, I could not verify when, or by whom. Well, I suppose this could count after the fact as the possible reigning king. I've only had a few down the shore that could come close to touching this one. - 4

Total Score: 4.1/5

A great recommendation made to me by valued blog subscriber LMc1381

Mr. D's Phone #: (609) 522-2026

Mr D's Pizzeria Steaks & Subs on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Frank's Famous Pizza (Rio Grande, NJ) - Pizza

Appears a large, 18+" with a thick, outer crust and a massive pooling of mozzarella cheese covering the entire pie. Some large pockets of CO2/steam bubbles trapped in the dough pop up at a few random spots. Based on aesthetics alone, it looks like it could be living up to the hype machine. - 4

The crust is interesting. To me, it smells and tastes just like a fresh loaf of Italian bread from a really good Italian bakery. That's not a bad thing but not what I was expecting, either. No cornmeal, or semolina used in this one. Looks like it's the 'ol straight flour method. The underside of the crust shows that there are a few spots that near char on the bottom(good!)but the overall thickness of the pie doesn't allow that crispy goodness to seep more than an 1/8" past the underside. Based on the small indentations found on the underside of this pie(and the lack of a rotating track oven in the establishment), I'm guessing that they use a "pizza screen", which is a nifty little device that you place the stretched dough on before placing it in the oven. It prevents the dough from charring too much against the hot oven, and allows air flow, so that the moisture doesn't collect on the bottom, leaving a crispy underside. The good part is that they've achieved the aforementioned by using the screen. The "possible" bad part is that the airflow of heat gets pushed towards the outside of the pie...hence the juicy, bready outer crust that puffed up like an Italian loaf. The other thing that I'm getting out of this crust is that it has had a long fermentation time. This is not necessarily a bad thing either. Some feel, as I do, that this gives some pizza & bread a bit more character & flavor. The other side of that sword is that with longer fermentations(not counting a slow rise fermentation done in a cold box), more CO2 builds up in the dough, leading to a thicker end product. If that's what Frank's was shooting for, then they've achieved their goal. It's certainly not the boardwalk style, grip & flip, quickie ferment, Neapolitan flatbreads that are found just one town over. - 4

The sauce is so-so. I'm a bit of a sauce snob, in case you haven't figured that one out yet. I expect something to really jump out. While it tastes freshly made with highlights of crushed plum tomatoes and paste as a thickener, it's really lightly seasoned, and a bit "ho-hum" in my opinion. You could pick up a can of Red Pack Crushed Tomatoes, or 6-in-1 and virtually have the same sauce with very little effort. - 2.5

The cheese...well, they aren't holding back. It actually is a quality cheese. I'm guessing a part-skim mozzarella that is flavorful and gooey. It seems to overwhelm the mediocre sauce but I'd rather have a heavy handed helping of the cheese than an abundance of so-so sauce. - 3.5

Overall, I was expecting a bit more based on the recently won award of the 2009 My Fox Philly - Best Pizza in the Jersey Shore. While I thought it was a good pizza, I certainly won't be running back to get some, or be thinking about it while I'm away from the shore. Frank's was virtually off the map until they came up on the radar this year and won the MFP award, which is based off of user reviews. Nothing personal against Franks(& I'm not calling it a rigged affair) but I just don't get it. Some of the comments that led to Frank's receiving the award:
-"Absolutely the best pizza i have ever eaten in my life!!!!"
-"I used to live in New York and nothing compares to the pizza from there or so I thought. Frank's Famous Pizza is the like being home. I had actually stopped eating pizza until I ate at Frank's. Its all about the crust and they make it right and you can tell all the ingredients are fresh and high quality. I recommend Frank's to everyone!"
-"Their pizza is by far the best i've ever had!!"
On that note, sometimes you need to call a spade a spade. I can honestly report that Frank's is not the best pizza I've ever had, contrary to the exuberance and enthusiasm shown by the voters on Ironically enough, of the 40 posted ratings(out of169 reviews)I happened to check, only 1 voter had ever voted in more than this category. I'd say that falls under the guise of suspicion in anyone's book & I'm not a believer in conspiracies. If I happen to be driving by, I'll gladly grab a slice to go but I wouldn't go out of my way for it like the reviewers would lead you to believe you should. - 3

Total Score: 3.4/5

Frank's Website:

Frank's Famous Pizza on Urbanspoon

Goodnight Irene's (Wildwood) - Margherita Pizza

Appears a 12" round pie that is covered with a thin layer of crimson sauce, a few dollops of whole milk mozzarella, and a small scattering of finely chopped basil. The crust is a light, golden brown around the edges. - 3.5

The crust is a light golden brown both around the outer rim, and the bottom of the pie. It's a tad "airy" around the outer crust with a sweeter tasting dough that reminds me of a tasty French bread, nearing the tang of a sourdough. The outer rim has a mild crunch to it, as do parts of the flatbread pizza nearing the middle. The 500+ F oven cooks it enough before reaching the crispy, crackly pies that are highly sought after- 4

The sauce is just ok on this one. To me, it doesn't taste like a whole lot has been done to it in terms of blending with herbs, sugars, or much of anything. In my opinion, it's like it was a pre-blended tomato sauce from a can. Not a terrible thing but it's missing some big components that move pizzas into the league of the big boys. - 2

The cheese, itself, is good. It's a whole milk mozzarella which is tasty. The only problem is that there just isn't enough as shown by the photo. - 2.5

Overall, the pie is aliright. It's not going to make you drive over to get it but it's a good snacking pizza, which is made in-house. They claim that it's a "wood-fire pizza" but this an electric oven with wood chips added to the flame for flavoring. Look...go to this place for the great beer selection and expect above average bar food. - 3.5

Total Score: 3.1/5

Be sure to ask about their special pies when you're there.  They now have Chicken Teriyaki Stir-Fry Pizza on certain nights, which is really good!

Goodnight Irenes Webpage:

My Beer Advocate Review:

Goodnight Irene's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Oaks Italian Deli and Pizzeria (Oaks) - Pizza

Appears a large, 16" pie with some doughy bubbles risen towards the outside of the dark, golden brown crust. A scattering of sauce and cheese are mixed throughout. - 4

The crust is golden brown on the bottom, and more towards dark brown along the edges of the crust. As it gets closer to the crust's edge, it becomes crispier, much like that of a crusty, artisinal bread due to the brick oven that they use. The center is that of your standard thin, pan pie...perhaps a bit more done than typical(a bit of a charred marshmallow shell) but it's like you get 2 textures in one pie, which is a good thing, IMHO. - 4

The sauce is nice. It's of a crushed tomato base but there's something a bit fruity and tangy about this sauce that I enjoy. It's almost like an "apple" & wine-like flavor that seems to grow on me. It could just be an unrefined sugar that they use...or it could be a touch of apple brandy, or a wine mix that I'm getting. Hmmm. The mystery remains but the flavor retains. - 4

The cheese is decent enough. According to the proud signs, they use Grande cheese, which is the choice of several pizza parlours that I've visited. I'm guessing that they use the whole milk mozzarella, or the 50/50 blend with the provolone. It turns a nice golden brown and stays together well, especially as the pie warms. - 4

Overall, I probably give these guys a huge portion of my local business when I'm grabbing a quick dinner for the family, or having company over. I trust the pizza, as it's consistent, and good enough for anyone to enjoy. - 4

Total Score: 4/5

Oaks' Phone Number: (610)666-0280

Oaks Italian Deli on Urbanspoon