Tag Archives: pizza

The Casual Restaurant Critic at Pizza Rock, Las Vegas USA

A short visit to the “city of sin” which is such a silly term for the bleached and bland Vegas of plastic malls, outlets full of fake Chinese merchandise you don’t need and fountains of fake breasts bursting out of skimpy outfits in every direction, prompted the Critic to sample some new restaurants along with some perennial favorites.

One of the restaurants falling into the “new” category, at least for this Critic, was one of Vegas’ best pizza joints – Pizza Rock. They have a margherita pizza, Napolitano style and cooked in a 900 degree oven in seconds, approved by the folks in Naples, where it actually received a ‘best pizza’ recognition, no small feat. The Critic had one, luckily it was still available as they only make 73 per day. BetterHalf had a Sausage and Stout pizza with dough that incorporates stout beer (only 23 made each day) which to the Critics tastebuds was a little too sweet.  A Cuatro Carnes pizza for the MiniCritic and the Americano for the CanadianCritic.

The waiter informed the group that this was going to be a lot of food and was appropriately amazed when only two pieces of pizza were left after the feeding frenzy ended.

The pizzas are amazing. Don’t miss this place! There are no photos as the pizzas were devoured before the Critic had a chance to take a picture!

http://pizzarocklasvegas.com/_pages/pr-menu.html

 

Il Casual Restaurant Critic Visita il Ristorante Scatola a Merida

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The Casual Restaurant along with BetterHalf, MiniCritic and NewAdditionCritic  met at the latest pizzeria in Merida, which of late have been popping up all over the place. There was a time when you could only eat pizza at Messinas, then the chains came with their corporate American style pizza, then Boston’s arrive to reaffirm one’s faith in the possibility of a good chain restaurant pizza and then the Italians who were getting tired of sand in their pasta and hurricanes on the Riviera Maya themselves came and said what the hell are all these crappy excuses for pizza and started making the fantastic crispy thin crust version that you can now find all over Merida from El Centro to El Norte (de Merida).

After that run-on sentence, perhaps it’s time for the restaurant critique portion of this essay.

Scatola is the newest of the Italian thin crust pizza places, having just opened the day before yesterday. In fact, there was no one else in the restaurant except for one table and the hosting and wait staff was apparently glad to see someone and made a real effort to be welcoming and friendly. As is always the case in Merida restaurants, a solid training program would make these friendly people much more professional and basic errors, such as reaching across the front of the client to place a glass on his/her left therefore subjecting said client to back, shoulder and arm in face as well as thumb getting dangerously close to food on plate, could be avoided.

The food, mainly appetizers and pizzas, was great. The mushroom appy has real, thick and juicy mushrooms, cooked to plump perfection with chipotle chile and what the Critic supposes is olive oil. Delicioso. The salmon carpaccio is not razor thin and could be a little more marinated/flavorful for the Critics’ taste, but if this is the way they make it here, who is he to argue. Critic prefers the La Tratto version of this dish, where it is thinner and has a little more flavor for some reason. The third appetizer was the Mejillones al Tequila. It seems that mussels are another item that is popping up on menus all over Merida and while these ones are very tasty indeed (and huge), the flavor of the spicy cream sauce of the mussels at Hennesseys are still the Critics favorite. However, the Scatola mussels hold up well in comparison, especially if you can tilt the dish they are in and get some of that broth to dribble over each mussel before popping it into your mouth.

Pizza: The group ordered three pizzas. A vegetarian pizza, which looked really great but the Critic wasn’t in the mood for anything remotely health-friendly; a Spanish pizza, with fresh red onions on top of some ham, olives and other goodies and the BetterHalf favorite: the Cold Cuts Pizza. Pizza de carnes frias, which was a sodium packed treat with delicious and quality cold cuts like jamon (not FUD or BAFAR brands thank you very much).

Now the more careful reader among you might be thinking “How can this pizza be the BetterHalf’s favorite since they just opened the day before?” Well it turns out that Scatola is a chain of restaurants operating under the same name, with locations in Campeche and Puebla, among others, and BetterHalf had eaten at the Campeche location and loved it.

No desserts were ordered as the food was just too filling and there was nothing light and fresh on the menu; mostly cheesecake, creamy things that one would need to leave room for. A sweet clericot was offered for dessert, compliments of the house. Very nice.

A couple of glasses of over-chilled Concha y Toro wine (some confusion exists about which wines are available by the glass) and some refrescos and the food above, came to 900 pesos for four people.

La Scatola is located across from Tacos PM on the Prolongación del Paseo de Montejo, in that part of the city that some new NOB arrivals don’t like to visit because it’s not the “real” Merida. And you all know how the cantankerous Mr. Lawsons feels about that misguided perception so the Critic will not comment further.

Enjoy your pizza!

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What the Heck is a Beachstro Anyway?

It’s a cross between a bistro and a beach, that’s what!

So, as the Casual Restaurant Critic had far too much time on his hands and while surfing the internet for food porn he stopped by Facebook and read about a Beachstro and then read about homemade Rocky Road Ice Cream.

Rocky Road Ice Cream!

“Gotta have me some of that” thought the Critic and away he went.

Turns out this here beachstro is not really a bistro but it is on the beach (between Chuburna and Chelem to be exact) and by golly they have pizzas too so the Critic got hisself some of that as well. They bake ’em fresh right there in a big old pizza oven right there in their kitchen too! And the Critic did taste it and found it to be good. The Rocky Road Ice Cream was tasted and it too, passed the test with flying colors.

Now, Cil (or Sil) and Michael said their crust didn’t work out that well that day but you know what, the Critic’s gonna say it was pretty darn good. It’s hard to eat pizza and drive especially with all the new regulations about what y’all are supposed to and not supposed to be doing while you’re driving, but the Critic did pull it off. Also ice cream eatin’ is a challenge, but he’s got that down as well. It’s getting a Tweet in there between bites that’s real hard.

Here’s their Facebook info:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002413601305

Now there ain’t nowhere to set down and eat right there, but you can get it all to go. So if you are gettin’ just a little tired of eatin’ fried fish for the Nth time on your summer vacation at the beach, well you just go and order yourself some pizza and ice cream.

You can buy the house too, if you want. Ice cream not included.

Rafaellos Pizza

One word: Go!

Well, that (above) was the original post. Pizza, the Casual Restaurant Critic has found, is like wine or your favorite sexual position; everyone has an opinion and they are convinced that their choice is the best. If you like your pizzas with an ultra thin crust, baked to perfection in a wood fired oven to the point where they have little pockets of black charring in some places on the crust, covered with ingredients of the finest quality including delicious meats like Italian sausage, salamis and prosciutto and fine cheeses from Gorgonzola to Parmigiano, then Rafaellos Pizzeria will be your pizzeria of choice from now on.

The Critic has often said that Bostons Pizza makes what is probably Meridas best pizza, and theirs is still a very satisfying option; so much better than the drab, flavorless ultra-hyped pizze mass-produced by Dominos and Pizza Hut, but now this Rafaellos is firmly tied for top spot in the Merida’s Best Pizza category.

The restaurant is tiny and open in the evenings only; there is a small air conditioner that struggles to keep the place cool and the tables are wooden and it just feels like an Italian neighborhood pizza joint, complete with the Italian pizza chef in the kitchen.

The photo below is of the 4 cheese pizza with anchovies. Yum!

Calle 60 at 49.

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