Piece- A Chicago Pizzeria and Brewery

The pizza renaissance or revolution that swept through Boulder and Denver a few years ago really sparked an interest in us to explore some of the original American pizza artisans (which brought us to The Original Frank Pepe Pizzeria, New Haven, CT) and some of our contemporary pizzaioli (Pizzicletta, Flagstaff, AZ). So, it only made sense that we’d end up in Chicago sooner rather than later.

Sean’s quite seasoned on Chicago dining, whereas I’d never been to The Windy City. He suggested we start off our long weekend at Piece for two reasons: #1- It’s a great pizzeria and brewery, winning many awards for its beer over the years. #2- He needed a new t-shirt as his old Piece shirt was stained.

I noticed as soon as we sat down that the menu says “New Haven Style Pizza,” so our September 2013 trip to Frank Pepe’s was clearly a good place to include in our pizza tasting journey.

Beer, Piece Pizzeria

We started off with a couple pints and then discussed the menu. We didn’t stick to our routine of trying the margherita pizza (or in this case, their “red” pizza). We went with a white pizza topped with roasted red peppers and basil.

Piece Pizzeria

Served on a sheet tray, this pizza is reminiscent of Frank Pepe’s and has a similar crackly thin crust, but, it’s less charred. I like that Piece acknowledges it’s east coast inspiration, and it’s clear that it’s doing something right as 2014 marks Piece’s thirteenth year in business.

Cheers to great pizza!

The Boulder Passport: Mateo

Mateo is a restaurant that’s around the corner from my home, yet I hadn’t been in years. Why not? I don’t have a really good answer for that question. All that matters now is the Boulder Passport being responsible for getting my butt in a bar stool on a busy Friday night and getting reacquainted with the place.

I met my fellow foodie friend Laura for a couple drinks and a couple stamps.

Mateo Cocktail

Mateo’s Passport Cocktail has changed. The Passport says you’ll get two for one “First Sign” tails, but they’re apparently spring flavors that are now out of season. The bartender whipped me up this tequila cocktail and I had no complaints!

The Boulder Passport: Foolish Craig’s

Foolish Craig’s is not only a Boulder institution- It’s famous for being featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Their specialty beverage for the Boulder Passport is a Bartender’s Choice Cocktail, so you never know what you’re going to get!

Foolish Craig's

Jimmy, the manager at Foolish Craig’s, has a great idea in that he writes your cocktail in your passport so you “remember” what you enjoyed. My passport says I had a Ruby del Fuego (on the left), which had ghost pepper in it, I recall. Chef’s tail, on the right, was a special of the day and I have no idea, one week later, what it was. But, it was good.

Note to self: start blogging about Passport beverages THE MOMENT YOU GET HOME!

Cheers!

The Boulder Passport : T/ACO

T/Aco has a Pineapple Habañero Margarita as their two-for-one cocktail in the Boulder Passport, and Sean and I found it quite refreshing on a hot summer afternoon.

T/ACO

We enjoyed our margs with guacamole and house made chips- a perfect pairing.

melT: The Almond Drop

I met Melissa Thomas on a progressive dining tour with Local Table Tours. We got to talking about cooking, food blogging, the gluten free trend and just how terrible some of the “healthy” gluten free pre-packaged foods taste. Melissa mentioned that she actually made a gluten free treat called The Almond Drop. She told me that her original intentions were not to create a gluten free product, but it just so happened to be delicious and naturally gluten free, so she found herself right in the middle of the gluten free industry. As she was incredibly friendly, a knowledgable foodie, and passionate about her craft, I told her I’d love to sample them and write a post to help spread the word.

I was expecting a small sample, perhaps one or two of each flavor, so I was really surprised when she gave me four whole packages: Walnut White Chocolate Dried Cherries, Cranberry Chocolate, Apricot Chocolate, and Simply Apricot (a vegan treat). I’m really glad she was generous with me because these things were my nightly dessert for a week or so.

Almond Drops

A combination of almonds, dates, almond butter, unsweetened coconut, and flax has never tasted so good. These little bite-sized balls are sweet enough (agave syrup) to satisfy my sweet tooth, yet wholesome enough to indulge in more than just one, as those calories (140 per ball) are mostly comprised of nuts and healthy fats. I loved each variety of Almond Drop almost equally, and found that having all four in one sitting made for a most satiating dessert.

You can purchase The Almond Drop here in Boulder at Whole Foods and Lucky’s Market. Way to go, melT Foods! That’s a well-deserved product placement.

 

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