I love food. I love cooking it. I love eating it. I love reading and watching stories about it. So I suppose it makes sense that I also enjoy writing about it. Whether I am cooking at home or dining out with my husband, we try to keep things as local and healthy as possible. We also love to experiment with varied cuisines. This is where I choose to share my cooking and dining adventures (and misadventures). You are welcome to pull up a chair and join me. There's always room for one more!
I have been waiting for Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza to open a location in Orlando. I read about them online when I was searching for coal or wood fire pizza places so I subscribed to their twitter feed and facebook page and waited ... and waited ... and waited. Well today was the day they finally opened their doors and I dragged Marty down to check it out. We were not disappointed.
Because it is cooked in an 800 degree coal fire oven, the pizza is crispy and has a wonderful charred but not burnt taste. The ingredients were fresh and ample. They actually put whole miniature meatballs (made on site) on our pie. We also sampled their chicken wings which are baked, not fried, to perfection in the same hot oven. They were flavored with olive oil & fresh rosemary and served with grilled onions and focaccia bread.
Since it was their first day, service was a double team affair with seasoned staffers from other locations showing the ropes to what will be the local crew. So it is hard for me to adequately evaluate since the girl we dealt with will only be around until Sunday. What I can say is that if this local crew follows the lead of the trainers, we will be well served because our server/trainer was knowledgeable, helpful, attentive and very willing to accommodate. The only fault I could find would be the fact that the manager was as invisible and uninvolved as the servers were attentive and engaging. You would think that on your opening day, the manager would be making the rounds, thanking people for coming in, asking them if they enjoyed their meals etc. To the contrary we couldn't even figure out who of the few "in charge" looking people meandering about actually was "in charge". None of them spoke to a single customer at any of the tables while we were there. They had better make a better effort in that regard because sadly in this day and age it will take more than just good food to keep folks coming through the doors. They need the whole package if they have hopes of surviving and it gives you pause when the person most lacking a spirit of service is the Manager.
For dessert we tried a cream puff from Beard Papa's. This is a place that Marty has been wanting to try for a while so since it was in the same general vicinity, we made it a twofer and gave it a whirl. In this case, neither of us felt that the reality lived up to the hype. The premise is that you choose your shell and filling and then they fill your cream puff for you per your choices. Reviews made it sound like the resulting pastries were mind blowing. Frankly, they were nothing special at all. Don't get me wrong - it was a tasty cream puff but nothing out of the ordinary. In fact the filling was a bit surprising in that it was more like a soft serve ice cream than the custardy, pudding like filling I was anticipating. I had the chocolate eclair shell with the dark chocolate filling. It was pleasant but average. Marty chose the cookie shell with the strawberry filling. It was fine but again nothing to write home about. Whereas, we would make the drive back down and take the calorie hit to eat the pizza at Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, we will not be going back to Beard Papa's. It is not worth it.