Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Las Colinas Pizza Makes Me Sad

I'm in Irving, TX this week for a bit of project management training. It's a nice change of pace, good to be a little closer to home, and it's been a good class, but if there's good food here - food with soul and body, food made with love - I've yet to find it. Maybe there's some little diner out there, with good people who make delicious pies or something. There's a couple of days yet, there's still hope.

A couple of small illustrations from two area pizza joints, both highly recommended. First: I Fratelli. The Cookie.

Faced with a night of catching up on all the work I'd missed during the day's training, I opted for in-room dining. Not wanting to brave the downright scary room service here for a second night, I ordered dinner from a local pizza place right up the road. Everything looked good. And, to their credit, the pizza was pretty decent. Thin crust, a little crisp, hand-shaped, good cheese. All in all, solidly competent. But even competent pizza was not enough to redeem this cookie.

Here's what the website says:

Here's what they brought me:

I mean, good lord. They didn't even bother to take it out of the wrapper.

The second try was tonight. I was angling for tex-mex, but the team prevailed, and 6 of us headed out to Fireside Pies. More Pizza, this time in nearby Grapevine.

I'd heard from a few folks that this was a good local spot, a little upscale but not too fussy. And on entering the place, that seemed true: Fireside looks like a dark-wood-and-leather version of California Pizza Kitchen. It's got a delicious brick-oven smell, a small but not entirely terrible wine list, and cleverly named, memorably presented pizzas. But, like the I Fratelli cookie, the pitch doesn't really match the delivery.

The pizzas were giant and despite every attempt at making them fancy, they were almost impossibly greasy. I got a Hot n' Crumbled - sausage, ricotta, and chopped tomatoes, so maybe I was a little asking for the greasy, but as a group we got several different pizzas and shared slices across the table. Despite whimsical names and fancy ingredients each of the pizzas had exactly the same set of flavors - heavy on the grease, a little tiny kick to the sauce, a non-descript but decent crust, a flat sameness. The meatier the pizza, the harder it was to eat, but even the veggie options were without anything light or inviting.

Neither one of these places was bad, exactly. But neither was what they claimed to be. In that, they mirrored this little corner of this most corporate of suburbs, a thin veneer over a generally joyless landscape.

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