Friday, November 29, 2013

Foodie Friday: Grimaldi's Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

Who can even begin to think about food, after the feasts we all had yesterday?! Me, that is who. But in all seriousness, if you're like me you may be hitting the stores, and mall hardcore today for some {hopefully} impressive Black Friday deals. And since I am assuming you didn't bring a to-go container filled with copious amounts of leftover turkey to eat between stores, may I suggest you hit up your local Grimaldi's Pizzeria. There are three in the Tampa Bay area, alone!

Last week, I was invited to try their menu at the Westshore location with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, and let me just say they prepared quite  the spread for us to sample.

Before we were served, the General Manager, Randy Bartoe, discussed a little bit of Grimaldi's history with us. I wish I loved my job as much as Randy clearly does. You could tell he was passionate about pizza, which in my opinion is never a bad thing to be passionate about, really. He informed us that most everything was made in-house, or specially made for Grimaldi's. As an example, their pepperoni is distributed by Hormel, but specifically for Grimaldi's, only. He also explained that their coal ovens at each location were designed just for them. And my favorite little "tidbit from Randy" was a concept. He explained that rather than being a pizza joint with other menu items that were just so-so, they focus on what they know, so they can be the best at it. I loved that, and whole heartily agree. Also, I don't actually recall Randy saying, "pizza joint" -- I may be paraphrasing, but you get my point.

House Salad: Romaine Lettuce, Red Onion, Cherry Tomatoes, Oven Roasted Sweet Red Peppers, Mushrooms, Sicilian Green Olives, Vinaigrette Dressing
Now...on to the food! To start, we shared the House Salad, Mediterranean Salad, and a personal fave, the Antipasto Plate. I love salad, and generally eat it four, or five times a week. Of the two we were served, I think the Mediterranean, was my favorite. A bowl  filled to the brim with Romaine Lettuce, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives {the real deal, pits and all}, Feta Cheese, Red Onion, Vinaigrette Dressing. How could I not love it?

Medterrian Salad

Have you been to an "Italian" restaurant and ordered an antipasto salad/platter, only to be disappointed with slices of what taste like pre-packaged deli lunch meat and cheese that could have been bought yourself at the grocery? I have, and it's a sad day for my palate when that occurs. Fortunately, Grimaldi's Antipasto Plate is spot on; Fresh Mozzarella, Oven Roasted Sweet Red Peppers, Genoa Salami, Olives and Fresh Baked Bread. Their Mozzarella is hand-sliced, and fresh, as well. Mozzarella makes my heart, and stomach very happy.

Antipasto Plate
We could have stopped with salad, antipasto and the red sangria I was drinking, and called it a night. But oh no, we had
Red Sangria!

To start our pizza smorgasbord, we were served a Regular Pie. Don't let the name fool you, as there was nothing just regular about this pizza! I am learning in my culinary travels that less is sometimes more, and that was apparent with Grimaldi's Regular.

Added to the other half of our regular pie was a classic, pepperoni.

White Pizza/White Pizza with Spinach and Tomato
Next, we were served the White Pizza; a generous amount of hand sliced mozzarella, with garlic and a blend of olive oil, and seasonings. Yum!

Are you keeping track of all the food?! After Regular, Regular with Pepperoni, and White, there were more varieties to try.

Pesto/Pesto with Artichoke
Up next was my favorite of the night -- Pesto with artichoke, and sun dried tomatoes! Oh mah was delish.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Last on our pizza pie "tour" was my second favorite, a special, Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Frank's Red Hot, Sliced Celery, Gorgonzola, and Grilled Chicken. Had I not been bursting at the seams, this may have been my favorite, since you all know how much I love Buffalo Chicken! I also enjoyed the addition of celery to this pie.

After all the food we consumed, I wanted to cry I was so full. But then someone mentioned cheesecake, and somehow, I dug deep and magically found a bit of room within me. Listen, there is always room for cheesecake! Generous in size, moist, and flavorful I do believe I have found a new place to get my cheesecake fix.

We were also served cannoli. In all honesty, I have never been a fan of this dessert, anywhere. The filling was good, but I was all about the cheesecake. Those who ate the cannoli raved, so you will just have to take their word for it.

I already can't wait to dine again, and bring Jason, and friends along!

Grimaldi's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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  1. We have been to a Grimaldi's in Vegas and it is amazing!

  2. Mmm pizza! It was great we can't wait to go back.

  3. that was so much fun & so much food! Tasty photos

  4. I love the pizza at Grimaldi's!! I went to NYC over the Summer and didn't get a chance to go so when we got back to Tampa we visited the location at Citrus Park Mall. Best Pizza Ever. Great food, great post!! :)

    Train Healthy Be Wealthy

  5. Oh yum! This all looks so scrumptious!!!
    xo TJ

  6. Yum! This place looks amazing. I would definitely snag a piece of the pesto one!

  7. Holy cow! Everything looks so delish! I'm salivating.