Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mangia Chicago Stuffed Pizza

1700 E. Palm Valley #300
Round Rock, TX 78664
(512) 238 - 6300

3016 Guadalupe Suite 100
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 302 - 5200
Other locations, too.

Maybe I'm a nerd; maybe I'm a forward thinking visionary. I don't know which, but I embrace technology. In the information age that we exist in today, it's full of things that will help make our lives easier and better. Take communicating with friends and such. I can keep in contact with those closest to me with quick emails, IM conversations, text messages, and phone calls. It's great..whether the person is across town or across the country, I feel like we're still involved in each other's lives. However, as much of a technogeek as I am, I realize that it still can't replace that awesome face to face interaction. So, I love it when I get a chance to hang out with Mariah for dinner so that we can catch up on all of the personal nuances we can't quite convey in an IM chat. Plus, we get to write about the experience as well.

So, last week sometime, Mariah and I opted for dinner at Mangia's. I jumped at the suggestion since it's my most favorite pizza place in town. Now, before anyone jumps out with hard set protests about pizza places that are near and dear to their hearts, do note that I said it's my favorite. I made no mention about quality and taste, although I do think Mangia's runs high in those regards. It's probably my favorite because it's super kid-friendly and my son loves it. However, my son used to drive me CRAZY with his interesting kid-like way of eating pizza. Instead of eating it front to back (or even back to front) like everyone else, he would start at the top, with the cheese and toppings, and work his way down, even licking the sauce of the crust before discarding the hollow shell of the crust. Now, I don't know if it's the addition of the extra crust in Mangia's stuffed crust pizza, but ever since he had their stuffed pizza pie, my kiddo has started to eat pizza the way that I've always dreamed he would...front to back. I'm sure other parent-type foodies will appreciate how such an event can cause a very fond place in your heart despite just how silly it is.

Anyhow, Austin and I met Mariah at the Mangia's down on Guadelupe finding no issues with parking or locating our beloved M. We were promptly seated and a quick order for appetizers was placed. I talked Mariah into joining us in an order of the Basil-Cheese Torta. That thing is just awesome. I mean, come on...basil, cheese, pine nuts, and sundried tomatoes all in one dish? That's like some of the best stuff in the world in a single recipe...the only thing that wasn't listed was love. M made a comment about it being too salty, but I disagree. I could taste the saltiness, too, but think that it really drew out the flavor of the sun dried tomatoes quite well.

Mariah: No I made the comment after watching your child attempt to put more salt on something that I thought was already salty enough. That child REALLY likes salt! No the torta was great. It even came out in a bundt ring of congealed goodness. Not the healthiest thing on the planet, but it sure tastes good.

The service time between app and entree was very well timed, too. Didn't feel like I was left hanging after finishing the app, nor rushed and crowded with the pizza being thrust at us. Plus, it provided plenty of time for us to do that catch-up I was mentioning. I got to hear about all of the cool stuff happening to Mariah lately and upcoming plans and such. I talked about work, Austin (my child, not city), and even told Mariah some more of the fall out since Miss Stunning decided she wasn't worthy of that title.

Mariah really perked up when I mentioned Miss Stunning. Well, not when I mentioned her, but when I talked about the stuff that happening after her departure. I went to a psychic. I know, I know. I saw Mariah roll her eyes when I mentioned it too. But, it did began a good long conversation about just how fun it was to have a reading, and that the results pretty much matched the expectations...getting a chance to talk to a complete stranger about the happenings in my life. What emerged were not so much predictions of the future (emanating from the mysterious nether as my psychic assured me), but rather with food for thought about my life and what had recently transpired.

Mariah: Yeah I admit it, I totally rolled my eyes when he mentioned it. I mean, come on, he went to a psychic! But then he explained how, being Vietnamese, its kind of a custom to get a reading at Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, in the hopes of glimpsing what the coming year holds for you. In the context of tradition, I guess one little visit to a psychic for entertainment purposes can't be so bad.

The pizza arrived and lived up to my expectations. We ordered two wheat crust was a single topping cheese pizza. The other was a stuffed crust pizza with pineapple and Canadian bacon. I really to like the wheat crust at Mangia's. The crust is rather gluten-y, which makes for a stronger crust that is able to hold up to the amount of cheese and good stuff that Mangias packs into their stuffed pizzas. Yet, the crust still manages to maintain a flakiness that you'd find in a lot of other crusts that immediately soak through from sauce.

Mariah: Growing up in Chicago, I'm used to a pretty high standard of "Chicago style" deep dish pizza. And while Mangia's is fresh and generally good quality, it doesn't hold a candle to the pizza I grew up on. For those of you that might not know, Chicago style deep dish, is a thick bready pizza covered first in cheese then toppings and then finally covered with sauce. Its kind of an inside out pizza. And while Mangia's is fresher and probably far healthier than the versions of my childhood, their deep dish just doesn't have the same disgusting clog-your-arteries, rib-sticking goodness of other Chicago Deep Dish style pizzas. But I guess if you want that, you should go to Chicago. If you want good, less greasy fare that's MUCH closer to home, than Mangia's is the way to go.

Somewhere along the way, Austin was even able to show Mariah exactly how smart he is. I pulled out the homework journal, and my little Kindergartner began to dazzle us with his artistic ability drawing rhinos and writing a little story about it. Hmmm. Austin didn't get a chance to demonstrate his new found ability to read to M, though. Guess we'll have to save that for next time.

So, dinner was ended with a quick trip to Amy's Ice Cream down the road and a drive up and down Guadelupe while M and I listened to a CD recording of my visit to the mysterious psychic. Good times.

Mariah: Yes, he is being totally honest. The psychic recorded their session! I had to listen to it. I wanted to know what a psychic reading was like. I was burning with other worldly curiosity. And I have to tell you, when I listened to it, I was severely underwhelmed. He did a "reading" of Lee, which basically was him guessing things about Lee's past and personality. And lets be honest, anyone who's half way astute can do that. Such gems as "You had trouble reconciling what your father taught you" or "You were a loving child" or my favorite "You've had a hard time finding romantic acceptance". Christ, everyone has those issues! The one thing I thought was funny was this psychic was POSITIVE that Lee has a gluten allergy. He said "stick to rice and corn." Well Lee isn't allergic to gluten, he's allergic to rice and corn. Ha! Take that psychic. I could only stomach about 20 minutes of it, and that was because I was eating some fine fine Bailey's flavored Amy's Ice Cream. But the whole situation left a bitter taste in my mouth.

As always, I'd like to thank the ladies for yet another chance to contribute to this awesome blog.

Mariah - 8
Lee - 8
Austin - 140,000 million thousand