Month: September 2012

Comet Ping Pong = Best Pizza North of the Equator

Having just one quick year left as a college student in DC, my friends and I are trying to take full advantage of the amazing city that surrounds us. And by take advantage of the city, I mean take advantage of all of the amazing restaurants. DC is an up and coming city when it comes to food, offering the full spectrum of eats; anything from classic American, to authentic Ethiopian, to Spanish tapas and everything in between. Some of my favorite restaurants here belong to ethnicities and flavors that are rarely familiar to the common pallet, but my newest obsession is something everyone can relate to: pizza.

I heard about Comet Ping Pong a few years ago, as being one of the best restaurants for pizza in DC, along with 2Amys. However, after watching about it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and hearing Guy Fieri claim, “If you live north of the equator, there is no excuse not to come here,” I just had to get over there as soon as possible. A week later, I’m sitting at an old-school ping pong table inhaling pizza that is, indeed, the best.

The environment at Comet is truly unique. Exposed walls with peeling paint adds to the personality, and the open space is lively and young. Ping pong tables are open in the back while you wait for a table (which is definitely smart and necessary, as we waited an hour for a table!). The beer list is quite extensive, and so are the pizza options.

Our ping pong table laden with pizza!

I went with five of my friends, which was extremely beneficial because I got to try four very different, yet equally delicious pies:the Steel Wills, The Hottie, the Yalie and The Drive. The Steel Wills had Comet’s signature tomato sauce (which they bottle… I die), wilted spinach, fresh creamy ricotta, roasted garlic, and salty kalamata olives. Salty goodness with creamy cheese and something green to finish it all off? Yes, please. The Hottie was the quintessential pizza- with tomato sauce, gooey fontina cheese and pepperoni- but the cherry on top was the jalapeno pepper rings. Literally this was the perfect, most classic pizza with a kick. I felt like I was at my 4th grade pizza party at the bowling alley. The Yalie was a white pizza with thyme, parmesan, lemon and fresh clams. It was garlicky and flavorful without tasting too fishy. Finally, the Drive, complete with wilted broccoli rabe, garlic, rich melted onions, salty Pecorino Romano and an egg. When you cut into the pizza the yolk spread throughout the pie, creating the perfect creamy dipping sauce. Each pizza was unique and truly amazing, and the crust was not too thin but not to thick, with plenty of char yet still being chewy on the inside. It was sweet and just about perfect.

The Steel Wills

After hearing that Comet offers freshly baked cookies and homemade ice cream for dessert, we couldn’t turn it down. A warm, soft, chocolate chip cookie was paired beautifully with a hearty scoop of salted caramel and praline ice cream. It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal, and wee devoured it in about a minute.

The before and aftermath

Pizza is such a classic American staple, and everyone has their favorite type, but Comet brings the perfect pizza to a whole new level. I will challenge anyone to try and tell me they do not enjoy their pizza, whether you’re a thin crust New York-style fan, or a Chicago-style deep dish fan. Pizza is singlehandedly my favorite food, and Comet Ping Pong definitely makes the list of my top choices, next to Italy. So, in the words of Guy Fieri, if you live north of the equator, there is absolutely no excuse for you to not come here.

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SerenDIPity

Since moving back to DC for a final year at GW, I have already deemed this the best year yet. I live in an amazing apartment with three amazing girls, but the best part about that is how their love of food is almost as strong as mine. We spent our first Sunday at one of my favorite DC restaurants, Co Co Sala, and we’ve been cooking some delicious gourmet meals every week. But, what I must say has been the most important element to our foodie repertoire is our undying love of dips. Salsa, guacamole, spinach artichoke; you name it, we’ve probably gone through at least a jar and have loved every minute of it.

Living a block away from Trader Joes gives my roommates and I ample opportunities to go grocery shopping and discover new products, even if just by chance, which is what our newest obsession was. I must admit, I was not present to witness the serendipity that occurred when Jill and Kate found this beautiful eggplant garlic spread, but the minute they brought it home and served it to me with pita chips, I was in pure heaven.

My favorite part about this spread is its versatility. We dip chips, rice cakes, carrots, and just about anything with a crunch into it. We even used it in place of marinara sauce on pizza last week. Now that’s what I call pizza.

The ingredients in the dip are simple: eggplant, peppers, tomato concentrate, sunflower oil, garlic, sugar, salt, fefferoni peppers. That’s it. No preservatives or chemicals with names I can’t spell, let alone pronounce. But the flavor is so rich and complex. Hearty, roasted eggplant is most prevalent, with sweet undertones of tomato and a hint of spice from the peppers. The spread is rich without being overbearing, and it coats your mouth with flavor, not tomato paste. If you live within 60 miles of a Trader Joe’s, I highly suggest you leave right now and go find this dip, before it’s off the shelves for good.

Now don’t worry; I’m not going to finish this blog post and leave you empty handed. Besides using this dip on pizza I have also been obsessively spreading it on to sandwiches, and my sandwich of choice is perfect for a Meatless Monday lunch. The layers of flavor and texture are complex and diverse. Creamy eggplant dip is countered with peppery arugula, crunchy cucumber and salty feta cheese, all encompassed by toasty pita bread. It is just filling enough to get you through the rest of everyone’s least favorite day of the week. And, oh yeah, its freaking delicious! Here’s the recipe for my Mediterranean Pita Sandwich:

INGREDIENTS

1 whole wheat pita pocket, halved and toasted

2 tbs Trader Joe’s Eggplant Garlic Spread

2 slices vine ripe tomato

4 slices English cucumber

1 tbs feta cheese

small handful baby arugula

DIRECTIONS

Spread one tablespoon of eggplant spread on each side of the toasted pita. On one half, layer the arugula, followed by the tomato, the cucumber and the feta cheese. Top with the other half of the pita and enjoy immediately!