Thursday, February 23, 2012

Luca for Luncha

I don't usually go out for lunch and my reasons are trivial, mostly.  For starters, I work on the west side of town and the traffic gets on my nerves... bad.  I don't like the lunch crowd.  I always feel like everyone is moving in slow motion, like they have all day to spend getting lunch. Come on people, I'm busy!  Plus let's face it...  You can go broke eating out everyday for lunch.  Sometimes though, I feel like I just need to get out and get myself a big ol' slice of pizza.
When the urge does hit, you will usually find me bellied up to the counter at Luca Pizza, with a dazed look on my mug trying to decide which topping(s) to order on my slice.  On my most recent trip to Luca for lunch I went with bacon for the topping.  I've been on a big bacon kick lately and decided not to jump out of the groove.  I went with the meal deal which scored me a salad, my slice o' bacon pie and a cold drink.  It's a nice deal.  

The Luca salad is not your typical side salad with all lettuce and a cherry tomato or a piece of cucumber.  In this salad you can count on getting what seems like a vegetable garden in a bowl with huge chunks of carrot, onion, slices of red radish, and cucumber mixed with iceberg lettuce and a good portion of croutons.  If I make a salad at home... it looks similar to this salad.  I love a salad with my pizza.

Luca Bacon slice
Luca serves just about a perfect sized portion with their single slices, at least for me.  It's a decent sized piece that's a little too big for the paper plate they serve it on.   You'll notice the pizza chef's adding the toppings you ordered to a half-baked cheese pizza and finishing it up in the oven before cutting it and serving it.  It comes hot and fresh right from the oven to the counter.  If you order something like cheese or pepperoni be prepared to know who ordered the same in front or behind you on line.  I've seen 2 or even 3 people step up for the same slice before.  The guys at the counter will point you out though so there's no awkward confrontations.
You get a traditional triangle shaped slice that has a thin crust that has a light, crispy bottom but is still very bendable making it easy to fold the piece in half to hold the toppings on and make it a little easier to eat.  There is a good mixture of sauce and cheese and on this day the crumbled up bacon was spread fairly evenly over the slice.  The sauce has a nice tomato-ee flavor that goes well with the light crust.  When I get a salad and a slice I always feel like I've had just the right amount to eat for lunch and the pizza is just surprisingly light on my stomach.  It's not a heavy feeling like I get with most other pizza.  Since I quit soda pop I will usually finish this off with a cold glass of lemonade.  A solid lunch out for a pizza lover.

Thanks for joining me for lunch.  Let's do it again soon...just not too soon.  Haha.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vic's Pizza Redux

OK, so it's been a while since I made a trip down Peoria road to have a pie at Vic's Pizza.  A trivia night at Benedictine University to benefit the women's softball team brought myself and some friends  back into the friendly north end establishment for a pre-contest dinner and a few drinks.  

Where They're Located: 
2025 Peoria Rd
Springfield, IL

Call 'Em:  (217) 522-2464

The Pizzas:  Bacon & Tomato, Sausage & Pepperoni and Buffalo Chicken

The Crust: Thin

Bacon & tomato / Sausage & green pepper
 The Dish:  Vic's was invaded by my 10 person trivia team on a Saturday night, ready to pound some pizza, have a few cold ones and sling plenty of one-liners.  We rolled in just before the dinner crowd (which wasn't too bad) and got our orders in with much patience and understanding from our server.  We kept her on her toes much of the night keeping our drink orders straight and by ordering a pizza that wasn't even on the menu.... which the kitchen still found a way to make.  The Buffalo chicken pizza was not a menu item, but one guy in our party couldn't make it through a meal without having something to dip into ranch dressing so we asked and Vic's kindly delivered.  We weren't an easy group to take care of, so I must say the service we received was awfully good.  We didn't wait long for our pies and we didn't wait at all for fresh drinks.

Josh Cole and Ryan Kuethe enjoying Vic's
How'd it eat?  The bacon & tomato and sausage & green pepper were the first pies delivered to the table, fresh and hot.  They were absolutely slathered with toppings from edge to edge.  I had to giggle a little as we had a few in the party near me who refuse to eat vegetables or tomato as they tried in vain to find a piece with none of each or one that was easy for them to pick the toppings off.  Holding this plethora of fresh toppings together like so much spackle was a thick layer of mozzarella cheese.  Unlike fresh mozzarella this pasteurized version doesn't have a strong flavor of it's own but it does absorb and enhance the flavors of the toppings embedded in it.  This pizza sat on a strong crust that held up well to the heavily laid toppings and delivered them with a nice, subtle flavor of olive oil.  
Bringing together the toppings, cheese and crust was a savory, neutral pizza sauce with a hint of garlic and oregano.  Not one of the top pizza sauces I've had but it was pretty good.  Overall, a fine offering from Vic's.
Buffalo chicken pie
We also enjoyed the thrown together version of Buffalo chicken pizza.  It was a flavorful pie covered with chunks of chicken, loads and loads of pizza cheese and what appeared to be a hybrid mix of tomato based pizza sauce and a pepper and butter based buffalo sauce.  It produced a bold, spicy taste tempered slightly by the gooey cheese and crispy crust.  Not too spicy hot but more zesty than anything.  We enjoyed this little delight so much we suggested it immediately be added to the menu for the enjoyment of others.    

Vic's has bounced back in the last few years and is producing some tremendous pizza once again.  This is good news to me as Vic's was the first local pizza I enjoyed after my move to Springfield nearly 14 years ago.  I'm looking forward to more Vic's pies.

SPP rating:  7.9   

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Easy Heart Shaped Pizza

Here's an easy way to make your valentine a heart shaped pizza this Tuesday.  Or you can take your valentine to Palermo's Sicilian Cucina, they make a wonderful heart shaped pie on Valentine's Day.

Check out this video and stay tuned for our new review of Vic's Pizza on Peoria road.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Public Pizza Menu 2.1.12

The Public Pizza Menu is a feature where I ask local pizza lovers to sound off about their favorites around the Springfield area.
Feel free to throw in your favorites in the comment section of this page or on the Springfield Pizza Project Facebook page.

Jeremy Zumwalt 38 - Chatham, IL

Favorite delivery or carry-out pizza restaurant in Springfield and the pizza you order?
"Gallina's Pizza or Joe's Pizza and the pizza would be pepperoni and green pepper."

Favorite eat-in pizza restaurant in Springfield and the pizza you order?
"Luca Pizza or Gallina's Pizza... still pepperoni and green pepper."

Outside of Springfield... Favorite pizza place and pizza?
"DiCarlo's in Virden. Deep Dish, everything on it."

Quinton Haines 28 - Springfiled, IL

Favorite delivery or carry-out pizza restaurant in Springfield and the pizza you order?
"Papa Johns - BBQ Chicken and Bacon or the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken are excellent for delivery."

Favorite eat-in pizza restaurant in Springfield and the pizza you order?
"Bernie and Betty's - Hawaiian pizza."

Outside of Springfield... Favorite pizza place and pizza?
"First... Angelo's Pizza in Taylorville - Supreme thin crust add anchovy.
Second... Gallina in Riverton - Anchovy, Garlic, and Onions ."