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Monday, January 4, 2010

Pizzaaaaaaa

Examiner.com: Make a resolution: Volunteer to help others

It's been a long time since I had good pizza. Korea isn't exactly known for its Italian fare -- prevalence of Pizza Hut and Dominos's notwithstanding -- and we usually ordered from the mediocre 5,000 won ($4.34) selection at Pizza School.

First thing you should know about Korean pizza: it always come with corn. Order pepperoni, order veggies, order cheese -- your pizza is going to be topped with corn.

Pizza School reminds me of New York pizza, which New Yorkers claim is the best in the world but I always find disgustingly greasy, gooey and too cheesy... but don't tell any of my northern friends that!

My favorite chain pizza place in the DC area is Ledo Pizza, which Oprah featured as one of the best pizzas in America. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that best friend Gayle King attended my alma mater, the University of Maryland, right down the road from the original Ledo. No, I'm sure they're unrelated... ;)

Thin crust, sweet tomato sauce, minimal cheese = perfection.

Besides the chains, DC has a bunch of fantastic pizza places: Ella's Wood Fired Pizza is perfectly crisp with tons of interesting combos and 2 Amys reminds me of real Italian fare.

Yesterday, Lauren and I had lunch at Matchbox, one of Chinatown's newest and most popular places serving amazing wood-fired pizza. Walking through the entrance, you're greeted by a long bar and a roaring fire. The restaurant extends through several winding levels in what was once a Chinese grocery store.


The menu is inventive and complex, ranging from basic salads and New York Strip to bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits. Pizzas are the highlight, all made fresh to order and cooked in the huge wood-fired oven downstairs. Just the smell of baking pizza is enough to make your mouth water.

I ordered the veggie pizza -- "cremini mushrooms / spanish onions / roasted poblano peppers / roasted garlic / mozzarella / fresh herbs / fingerling potato crisps" -- which was delicious, although I could have done without the potato. It had a strong garlic flavor and the poblano peppers had just the right amount of sweetness to complement the cheese (applied sparingly, thankfully) and mushrooms.

I didn't eat this ... naturally ... but a missing camera = pictures from Matchbox's website

Tons of veggie options, an extensive wine and beer list, good service -- Matchbox is a winner.


(Note: Matchbox doesn't take reservations so get there early or be prepared to wait an hour or more for a table. This place is popular!)

What's your favorite kind of pizza? I like a little cheese, a little sauce and lots of vegetables on a thin, crispy crust. Mmm...

photo credit