May 28th, 2009

Pizza crawl part I (Updated)

Joey pizza at Joey’s in Wynwood

All that buzz about pizza in Miami led Frodnesor of Food for Thought to organize a pizza crawl around various (many relatively new) pizza joints in the city. Last night D and I went to the first crawl, where in the company of 13 other diners we tasted the pizzas of Joey’s in Wynwood, Jonathan Eismann’s Pizza Volante in the Design District and Andiamo.

At each spot, we ordered four different pies that we split into 16 pieces (one slice for two people) so we could all get a taste and have enough room for the 12 pizzas we’d try during the night.

First stop: Joey’s

The pies: Here we ordered the margherita, the Joey (tuna, spicy salame, gorgonzola cheese, capers and spinach), the carbonara (bacon, eggs, mozzarella and asparagus), and the dolce e piccante (figs, gorgonzola, honey and hot pepper).

For me it was a tough call between Joey’s and Pizza Volante at the end of the night. I really enjoyed the flavorful crust and the interesting topping combinations at Joey’s. I think many of us didn’t expect to enjoy the Joey pizza (pictured above) with its combination of strong flavored toppings. I was pleasantly surprised by combination of the tuna and the spice from the salami.

Despite warnings from a fellow diner not to order it, the dolce e picante was a nice choice. I think liking this one will highly depend on my mood, for the figs and honey make it quite sweet. The margherita was okay, not bad, but not exciting. And I can’t say much for the carbonara because I got the last, tiny slice, which had very little in the way of toppings.

Next up: Pizza Volante

Bianca pizza at Pizza Volante

The pies: Here we had a choice of five pizzas so it was easier to determine which to order. The group largely favored eliminating the traditional margherita and going with the margherita di bufala D.O.P., the bianca (fontina, local mozzarella, goat cheese, arugula and thyme), the cacciatorini (tomato, local mozzarella, grana, California pepperoni and guanciale) and the Volante 100. This last one is described on the board as “all ingredients are grown or produced within a 100-mile radius, excluding flour in dough.” Yesterday, it was topped with dandelion greens, mixed tomatoes and organic aurugula.

The question of which one I liked better between Joey’s and Pizza Volante was mainly complicated by the Volante 100 pie. The freshness of the toppings (the tomatoes were sweet and the dandelion greens delicious) left me wanting more and wondering what surprises I may encounter on a given visit. And the concept is an interesting and welcome one.

That’s not to say I didn’t like the other pizzas here. On some pies, however, the very thin crust was too crisp for my taste. We later found out from one of the diners that they were testing a new dough recipe last night so perhaps it’s a matter of time. D really enjoyed the bianca (pictured).

Last stop: Andiamo

Popeye pizza at Andiamo

The pies: We had many more choices at Andiamo but it was fairly easy to choose the four pies we’d try. They were: the popeye (spinach, roma tomatoes, ricotta, mozzarella and basil); the genovese (rosemary potatoes, pancetta, caramelized onions, mozzarella and gorgonzola); the soprano (italian sausage, brocoli rabe, parmesan and mozzarella); and the puttanesca (salami, kalamata olives, hot cherry peppers, tomato sauce & mozzarella).

My beloved Andiamo – I am (was?) a fan – fell on my scale after having tried the previous two places. The bread-like, thicker crust seemed a little overpowering and one couldn’t really compare the quality and freshness of the ingredients. The popeye, a long-time favorite, was my favorite pie among the four last night, though I’ve had better popeye pies in previous visits to Andiamo. Many at my table liked the genovese but I was turned off by the overpowering garlic. This could have just been the slice I got, though.

With effort I took a bite of the two final pies of the night. Neither the soprano nor the puttanesca stood out to me, and the soprano in particular was very salty.

We were the first ones to leave the crawl for we had two hungry labs at home to feed and walk, but we truly enjoyed the evening. Was there a best pizza for the night? Not for me; I was torn. But I’ll be heading back to Joey’s and Pizza Volante for more.

Check out Miami Dish’s recap and much better photos here.

~~~~

Updates: Frodnesor recaps the night and other South Florida hounds chime in on the boards.

Update2: Recap from Good Happenin’s.

Joey’s Italian Cafe
2506 NW 2nd Avenue, Wynwood
305.438.0488

Pizza Volante

3918 N. Miami Avenue, Miami
305.573.5325

Andiamo
5600 Biscayne Blvd.
305.762.5751

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16 Responses to “Pizza crawl part I (Updated)”

  1. Wow…it sounds delish, I’ll def be trying some of these soon and I’ll let you know my feedback. Great post!!!

  2. I stopped by Pizza Volante on my own yesterday and enjoyed a bianca. Now I have to get back to try some others. Very good.

  3. this post made me hungry!
    I heard about a lot of pizza joints competing for hearts and minds in Brickell, including Pie Ducks and a São Paulo-tradition pizza joint that I forget the name of.

  4. Victor – I’ve heard a lot about pieducks but haven’t been yet. Have you tried it?

  5. My favorites were Dulce and Bianca.

    I would also agree that Andiamo just isn’t the same anymore. The consistent tasting pizza seems to have disappeared however it is still decent.

    I do like that I can get Bira Moretti at Andiamo to compliment any of my pizza choices.

  6. One more thing, did anyone notice but me but at Pizza Volante you can get a Budweiser for $1.00 (bottle or can) as long as you are eating. One of the few still beechwood aged beers out there. I went with the can, it’s pizza after all.

  7. Hey Paula-Did you bring the dogs some ‘za?

    With all due respect to Frod and his blog, I started the pizza wars (with this post and on Chowhound). And it IS a war!
    http://dailycocaine.blogspot.com/2009/05/racks-is-not-italian-for-boobsor-is-it.html

  8. Thanks for the props Paula, but your pics are good too….looking forward to the next crawl!

  9. Yum. Can anyone go to these pizza crawls? I’d love to join the next one.

  10. Oh, and did I read that right? $1 beers? I am so there.

  11. I was surprised at the Dolce pizza too after being warned about it when I stopped at another bar for a cocktail prior to meeting up. I couldnt see eating more than a slice though, maybe two. Also, it wasnt just your slice. That Genovese was LOADED with garlic!!

  12. BM – OK, good. I mean I like garlic but it was like my palate hit a garlic wall.

    Rach – See more info about participating in the pizza crawl here: http://www.foodforthoughtmiami.com/2009/05/pizza-showdown.html

  13. […] the other chowhounds think: Mango and Lime Frodnesor’s Food for Thought Miami […]

  14. It was great meeting you guys the other night at Pizza Volante. Our margherita’s pizza crust was definitely not crispy, so I think they’re still working on the consistency thing. We also had the Enzo panini, which was really quite good, but the plating left something to be desired. Two small panini halves on a giant white plate could use a little something on the side. We’re going to let some time pass and given it another try. I have faith that with time, they’ll go from merely good to great.

    Keep us posted on Pizza Crawl II since we’ve been on a bit of a pizza kick lately. If you’re into DIY pizza, try Peter Reinhart’s dough recipe. Crazy easy and amazingly good. We’re currently grilling ours on a pizza stone with better-than-Pizza-Volante results. http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001199.html

    Casey (& Paul)

  15. Casey – Great to meet you too. I’m glad you commented since I realized I never got your names. You can find out more information on the pizza crawl at the Miami Chowdown Google Group. Hope to see you guys again.

    PS: Thanks for the recipe.

  16. […] worked the same as last time, except with more people we needed more pies. We ordered six at each Anthony’s and Pizza […]

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