Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday Night Pizza

If I'm not teaching a class, Friday night means one thing: Pizza Night.

Moving to this pretty little hamlet from NYC, you can imagine the difficulties the husband and I initially encountered finding decent, not good, but just decent pizza around these parts. It took years of sucking it up and buying crappy pizza from crappy chains before my dear friend Erica introduced us to Bellisario's, over at 934 North East Street.

Bellisario's? FANTASTIC pizza. The best around in fact, and I have eaten more than my fair share of pizza around here, so I know what I'm talkin' about.

Bellisario's has real pizza made from homemade dough and sauce, and blood, sweat (lots of that) and tears from owner Nikki and her crew. If you are looking for excellent pizza, every single time, tell Papa John to bite it, Pizza Hut, uh, yeah, no, and Dominos, I mean really? You're ordering from Dominos? Come on now. It's time to grow up a little, right? And let's not even get into supporting the local guy, or gal as the case may be.

Now don't get me wrong - this is not some froofy goat cheese and arugula grilled pizza place (You can go here if you're looking for that). This is authentic pizza with the basic toppings (ham & pineapple is about as exotic as it gets), subs, calzones, and the only Wedgie you'll ever want (as opposed to that underpants-related wedgie, which no one wants).

Size vary from the 10" mini (4-slices-$6.35 and great if you have someone in the family who loves anchovies on their pizza because you just know that anchovies infect the entire pizza and ruin it for those of us with good taste, eh-hem, but I digress) the whole way up to the 20" Killer (16 slices-$13.35). It's economical and tasty, which is sort of a win-win, dontcha' think? Plus, there are often some sort of specials during the week.

Here are the quirks: CASH ONLY. Forget about credit or debit cards (plus, the fees small businesses pay for credit card processing are insane and on a $10 pizza, well, that just won't work). There are no exceptions to this rule, so don't bother. Hit the cash machine before you head over. I'm the queen of the debit card and I make it work, so you can too.

SALADS. Never gonna happen. Nikki wants to focus on one thing, and that's pizza. She doesn't want to whip up some chef salad for you, even if you are a regular customer and beg her just a little bit every single time you go in. Let her do what she does well and don't even think about asking her.

NO DELIVERY. I know that we're in the age of everything being brought right to our doors, but it's really not that difficult to drive right over and pick-up the pizza yourself. It keeps costs down and lets them focus on making the pizza, not bringing you the pizza. The result? Hotter, fresher pizza. And that's good enough for me.

You better not hate the STEELERS. See Nikki? HUGE Pittsburgh Steelers fan. And she's not shy to let you know it. So if you're a fan of the Ravens or the Browns, suck it up and wish her well, because Bellisario's is a shrine to all that is the Steelers. You can put a rivalry aside for good 'za though, can't you? If not, you have bigger issues than pizza my friend.

CLOSED ON SUNDAYS. I'd like to say that even God rested on Sunday, but deep down I'll bet it's probably got something to do with catching Steelers games. But I'm just guessin'.

Bottom line is this: Best pizza in Frederick? Hands-down, no-contest, it's Bellisario's. Give them a call at 301-662-9233 right now and order yourself a little lunch or dinner. You can thank me later.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Look at Me - I'm a Guest Blogger!

Have you had a chance to check out yet? It's a total mommy-blog written by the lovely and talented Jennifer Gerlock.

Today, I'm Jen's guest blogger as she's takes a little bit of vacation time before school starts on Monday (cue sobbing here). Go check out Jen's blog and feel free to comment, y'know, just to let her know how awesome you think it is.

Peace out peeps. I'm headed to downtown Fredrock for some yummy eats on date night. Now, where to go, where to go...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You're Gonna Top Chef, Right?

It has been all over the local media etc. that one of Frederick's own, Bryan Voltaggio, co-owner of Volt on Market St., is in the latest round of the most challenging and entertaining chef show on tv, Top Chef. The chefs on Top Chef? Kick ass. The challenges are ridiculous but really show mad, crazy skill. Just look up the vending machine challenge, would could possibly make me cry for my mommy. I am obsessed.

I'm guessing that by this point, you've given Volt a try. They've been open over a year and even though budget has kept me away for a few months, you do know of course, that food seriously rocks. And that Voltaggio can win, right? I mean, W.I.N. For real. The guy has skills and I am thrilled to watch him show off his talent on national tv.

One kicker - Voltaggio's brother, Michael is in the running as well. I have no clue as to his skill level, but I'm guessing that he got onto the show for more than just the whole brother v. brother thing. I'll bet he kicks a little ass too. I'm hoping for them going #1 & #2 in the finale, 'cause that would be awesome, but who knows how the whole thing will play out.

So, bottom-line - get off your butt and get the Tivo rolling, because Top Chef premieres this Wednesday, August 19 at 9 on Bravo (channel 273 if you're on DirecTv). If you haven't watched it before, now is the time. Cheer on the hometown guy, not because he's from our hometown, but because he's really that good. Really.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Classes, Classes, and MORE Classes

That's right folks, I finally have the ding-dang class calendar up and ready for your registrations, so you should, y'know, maybe register for some cooking classes. Like, TODAY.

Just sayin'.

But really, I (and my minions - don't 'cha just love minions) have worked hard to pull together some classes that I just know you'll love.

I hear 'ya - "What classes oh Chef Christine? Do tell." How 'bout these:

  • Makin' Bacon (you'll get to (wait for it...Make Bacon!)
  • Decorator Cookies
  • Tribute to Julia French Cooking
  • Vietnamese Street Foods
  • Pig Pickin' Good (all about smoking some piggie)
  • The Secret to Sauces ('cause seriously? I RULE at making sauces)
  • Cooking for One or Two
  • Knife Skills
  • Cooking 101 (3 class series btw)
  • Veggie Soups and Stocks
  • Fall Harvest Baking

Whew. And those are just the adult classes for the next month or two. Just wait until you see the awesomeness that is our new after-school program for kids. "Cause you know that they can (should) be cooking and helping you out. Right?

Do me a favor. Take a class. Or tell a friend that he or she should take a class. Heck, take one together. Because I promise, if you like to cook, we are the folks for you. Plus, it's so much more fun when you have a hand in making the meal, right?

Did I mention that we wash the dishes?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Julie & Julia, Again

So, you know how sometimes you wait for something and you get your hopes up and then when whatever it is you've been waiting for finally happens you realize that maybe you were looking forward to it just a tiny bit too much and you're disappointed in the end?

Well, Julie & Julia, was nothing like that.

This movie was awesome. Inspiring. Funny. Really, just the perfect movie for me to see right now.


I love it when that happens.

I took a group of folks to go see Julie & Julia tonight, opening night, as a little customer thank you down at The Kitchen Studio. I hosted a tiny little cocktail hour with a few snacks, including Julia's stuffed mushrooms, which were surprisingly good, a little bit of wine, and the chance for some folks who are all about the food to hang.

I'm going to work hard to come up with the right words to really express what it felt like in the theater, but truthfully, it's late as I write this and I've had a very long camp-laden day, so forgive me.

Tonight was a sold-out show (remind me to tell you sometime about my pseudo-scalping of tickets), which I thought could happen, but wasn't 100% on. Goes to show that you should never underestimate the viewing habits of middle-aged women, eh?

As I was sitting there, drawing parallels between my life and that of both lead characters, Julia Child and Julie Powell, I wondered if it was hubris to even do so. But the more I run it through my head, the more I see that it's ok to see the similarities in yourself to an icon, and even just a writer whose work you adore. After all, I'm not saying that I'm fab like Julia (in fact, so far from it as to be absurd), or an entertaining writer like Julie, but more so that Julia was the age I am now when she started cooking. That she had a husband she adored and who adored her right back, and from there hope to rediscover the ability to work hard and devote yourself, almost exclusively, to a project you believe in. And that Julie finally found the right thing for her, though I struggle on that one sometimes.

I laughed, I cried, I looked for inspiration, and (fingers crossed) may have even found it.

So, even if you're not a cook, see it. Now. It's that good.

And if you are a cook, why haven't you gone yet? :)

Ta ta my sweets, and Bon Appetit.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And the Food-Snobby Winner is...

Trout! Your food snobbery impresses even me, and I've met some very serious food snobs.

I know you'll love the Ruhlman books; they are truly memorable. Just drop me an email at and we'll coordinate getting them to you. Congratulations!

Don't forget that this Friday is the premiere of Julie & Julia! We're hosting a little open house here at The Kitchen Studio and will be venturing to the Westview theater to see the 7:30 show. Delicious, Frenchy-type snacks will be served, so come join us from 5 - 6:45. Hope to see you then!