Sunday, April 24, 2011

Joe Squared Pizza

Went to one of our new favorite local hangouts a few nights ago for some pizza and a few drinks.  We have been there quite a few times now, but this is the first time we actually ate pizza, and it was awesome, but i will get to that later.  First, i want to talk a little about the place and some of the other things i like there.

Joe Squared has repeatedly been voted Baltimore’s Best Pizza by critics and patrons. Their coal-fired square pizzas feature local and fresh ingredients as do their 17 variations of risottos, salads, pasta and sandwiches. They also have nightly live music, a great bar, and some decent art exhibits by local artists.

Lets start with the bar.  I guess you could classify Joe Squared as a Rum Bar.  Their selection of different rums, categorized in the menu by country of origin, is amazing.  My favorite is the Barbancourt 8 Year, from Haiti.  A full bodied premium "Reserve Speciale" dark rum with a velvety quality that is distilled twice in copper pot stills, then barrel aged in white oak barrels.  Unlike other island rums, Barbancourt is made directly from sugar cane juice, and pressed from hand-cut locally grown cane.  Aged for 8 years.  I like mine with a diet coke, but i am sure it would also be really good in a mojito, or pretty much any way you like rum.

They have a decent draft beer selection  including:  Dales Pale Ale (my favorite here), Bass Ale, Chimay Triple, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, and more.  They also feature a nice bottle selection some of which are:  Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch, Heavy Sea’s Loose Cannon, Hennepin Saison, Laguanitas IPA, Magic Hat No.9, Ommegang Double, National Bohemian (a true Baltimore classic, similar to PBR, and yes of course it comes in a can), and New Grist Gluten Free Beer, as well as some imports from a few different countries.

As far the food is concerned, they have some great options for everyone.  Each week, they feature a specials list with a different signature pizza, potato skin, wings, soup, and risotto.  About a month ago, we had some BBQ Beef Brisket Skins that were to die for, and the wings always look good, (this weeks offering are Fiery Raspberry BBQ Wings) we just haven't tried them yet.

Everything else we have tried there as been delicious as well.  I am a big potato skin fan, and also love breakfast,so the Breakfast Skins, loaded with bacon, eggs, and cheese, are always good, but my personal favorite is the Fresh Breaded Calamari, fried to a perfect golden brown, crispy and delicious.

Now, back to the pizza, which as i stated before, we just tried for the first time this week.  I got there late, so the decision on what to get was out of my hands.  Anne, and our friend Sheri, decided on the BBQ Chicken Pizza with garlic sauce, grilled BBQ chicken, avocado, corn, Vidalia onions, spinach, mozzarella and cheddar.  I have had a few BBQ Chicken Pizzas in my day, but i have never had anything like this.  The addition of the avocado and corn were amazing.  I think the best foods are those which are either simple (Just a few ingredients), or way over the top creations that contain things you would never think to put together, but when you do, the flavors and textures work perfectly together.  This pizza was definitely one of the latter type, the crunchiness of the crust with the creaminess of the cheeses and avocados, and the tangy BBQ sauce with the sweetness of the corn and onions was all together one of the best pizzas i have had in Baltimore.

The great service, friendly bartenders, and eclectic mix of customers, makes it one of our favorite spots in the Station North Arts District.  Definitely worth checking out if you live in Baltimore.

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