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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Make Pizza, Not War at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

Recently I declared a War on Vegetarians.  I've got nothing against them personally and I am sure that most of them are very nice and someone has to take care of all those cats but vegetarians drive me crazy!  Just try going out to dinner with them - Want to go to Flemming's Steakhouse?  Gross!  Um, how about Roys of Hawaii or the Fish Market or The Marine Room???  No, no, and no!  Ah, let's get some Mexican food!  No, there's lard in everything there.  Sushi?  Forget it.  Pasta, you can eat pasta!  No, I'm allergic to glutton.  So where?  Oh God, please, not Ki's!  

Of course, going out for pizza is nearly impossible with a vegetarian. They're bound to find a billion reasons why they can't eat there.  Unless you take them to Sammy's Woodfired Pizza.  What?  That's right!

The other day I was trapped into dining with a vegetarian and I braced myself for the worst.  Could Sammy's satisfy both vegetarian and meat lover? 

In case you didn't know, Sammy's has been around for 23 years so it's easy to forget that they once were one of the most hip places to get an unusual pizza - this is back when gourmet pizza seemed like a contradiction and items such as Thai Chicken Pizza and Chinese Chicken Salad were fresh and innovative.  Of course, times change and those items fell out of favor and were removed from the menu but due to customer demand Sammy's not only returned the classics but spruced up their dining rooms and even added handcrafted cocktails at some of their locations.

Additionally, they have a ton of vegetarian and glutton free options so you don't have to sacrifice your dinner just to keep them happy.  But can you really keep both sides of the war happy?  Let's see.

We started with the Chilled Roasted Vegetable Salad, made with organic spinach, fresh mozzarella, edamame, artichoke, yellow tomato, red bell pepper, red onion, fresh organic basil, lemon, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Of course the vegetarian gave it a 10 and I had to admit it was very tasty, a nice tang to the dressing and lots of flavors and textures. OK, it was really good.  And look at how stunning the presentation is.  I wasn't expecting that from a pizza house.

Next up was a really crazy volcano sized mountain of greens.  They call this salad the Red Quinoa and its made with golden beets, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, wild arugula, parsley, almonds, mint, scallions and topped with a citrus chili vinaigrette.  Now I don't expect meat lovers to have any clue what quinoa or kinwa is but vegans are all over this like it's better than a rib eye steak.  I don't know, could a grain mixed into a salad really be any good?  I was skeptical.

Heck, I was wrong again!  I really dug this salad.  Hey you, Mr. Vegan, stop smirking.  Even meat lovers should check this salad out as it was not only tasty but oddly enough it was almost hearty, a description that never goes with a salad.  It also saves well in the fridge as a leftover for a couple of days, which is also weird but it's true.

Time for some meat.  Or more specifically, chicken meatballs done up with an Asian sauce with a side of housemade pickle slices.  Oh yeah baby, these were good balls!  Well that didn't quite sound right but you get my point - a nice appetizer.  And the pickles were so good that you might want to hide them from the vegetarians.

Time for some pizza.  Here's the classic Thai Chicken Pizza, one of the most popular pizzas at Sammy's.  It was good, a bit undercooked on the crust but perfect when I brought the leftovers home and heated it up.  By the way, you DO know the best way to reheat pizza, don't you?  You simply put it in a frying pan on medium heat, cover it while it's heating back up.  The result is crispy crusty bottom and piping hot top.  It was good at the restaurant but even better at home heated my way.

The vegetarian picked the Burrata and Pesto pizza and dammit if it wasn't better than my meat option!  The cheese was thick and the pesto gave a nice complexity to the flavors and melded well with the fresh tomatoes and man oh man did I just say that the vegetarian pizza was better?

So in the end perhaps my War on Vegetarians was a bit too George W.  We CAN all get along if you dine at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza.  So the next time you're stuck dining with a crazy picky vegetarian know that you can win both the battle and the war just by going to Sammy's.  With great vegetarian options that even meat lovers will appreciate, there is no way everyone doesn't go home happy.

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