Tessaro’s will come in the not too distant future, but for now, my cravings lead me to…
Week 2: Mineo’s in Squirrel Hill (2128 Murray Ave-- on the hill a bit before Forward Ave.)
I think that it’s safe to say I have had my share of pizza --- I grew up in Jersey, which has delicious “we-are-right-next-to-New-York” style pizza. In South Jersey, we fold our pizza in half, and we eat each slice in less than three bites, saving all of the crust for last. I’ve lived next to the most popular pizza place in Shadyside for the past two years, stopping by on many a last minute dinner (or late night snack) run. And I’ve been known to eat a stuffed crust from Pizza Hut backwards every once in a while.
I think that it’s tough to compare pizza places --- regions and styles have so much to do with it. I don’t believe that I have a single “favorite” pizza place in the States. However, I will comment that if I was to expand this discussion to an international scale, then the best place in the world that I’ve been to for pizza was Naples, Italy (or “Napoli, Italia!” --- Italian restaurant owner says while shaking his arms and welcoming me into his establishment). As pictured below, I was in Naples last summer and enjoyed a slice in which I hand picked the tomatoes in the restaurant’s side yard (grown in the rich Mediterranean soil), and the chef made the sauce right there --- the freshest pizza I have ever encountered. It was absolute heaven (wipes drool from chin).
Don’t let me get too side-tracked ---- I’m supposed to be talking about Pittsburgh! I went to Mineo’s in Squirrel Hill (also located in Mt Lebanon) for the first time last night with two of my Industrial Engineering friends at Pitt. I had basically fasted all day in preparation, and we chose to order a large plain to share, dining in. Allow me to summarize:
· The pizza comes out hot enough that you can’t touch it with your hand (let alone your vulnerable tongue) for at least five minutes after it arrives at your table --- torture! However, once you do eat it, you realize it was worth the wait (and the fasting).
· This pizza is about 90% cheese (and consequentially very embarrassing to eat). My coworkers suggested bringing silverware, and I stupidly did not heed their warning. Bring silverware; you’ll need to cut the pizza if you want to have a chance at eating all of the cheese, and the plastic silverware that the restaurant provides just doesn’t do the trick.
· The atmosphere is a typical pizza shop --- counter to order, bench seating, very casual and always filled with customers (so I hear, at least).
· Instead of fountain drinks at inflated prices, they have $.85 vending machine soda cans, which I love. I don’t feel like I’m being ripped off just for wanting a Cherry Coke with my cheese (and the aluminum is recyclable as opposed to styrofoam cups).
Mineo’s has very enjoyable pizza at a price that is definitely within a college student’s once a week budget. So, check it out, you won’t be disappointed!
That's me in Italy, pre-haircut, eating the best pizza in the world (and throwing up the typical American peace signs --- very classy)