Thursday, June 4, 2009

TBG Eats Reads: Joey Garlic's Pizzeria

A couple of days ago, m'man Nicka sent me a link to Joey Garlic's website. One of the highlights of my epic 2007 visit to Connecticut was Nick and me destroying a 30 wing platter at the Bidwell Tavern Café, followed by a giant order of quesadillas. A few hours later, Mrs. Nicka grilled steaks for us. (Confidential to Mrs. Bootleg: I'm still waiting for you to correspond with Mrs. Nicka to find out how I like my steak prepared. She got it right on the first try. At this point, I can only assume you KNOW I like it medium-rare and you're just overcooking mine out of spite. Moving on.)

In the span of five hours, we consumed close to 20,000 calories roughly. So, when Nick sends me a menu with only the words "Heaven is thy name" in the body of the email, you can bet it was worth the hour of company time I spent pouring over each and every word.

For the sake of simplicity, I'm reviewing the menu from the Farmington, CT location. Dedicated to the memory of FJM.


Now remember, these are ITALIAN appetizers, nothing small about them, capisce?

Pretentious, but we'll let it pass. Still, I can't imagine "…these are BLACK appetizers…" at the top of a soul food menu. The use of " capisce " seems like pandering, too. Reminds me of those lowbrow men's magazines that throw around words like "muy caliente" to describe the sex appeal of this month's swimsuit model if she happens to be Hispanic.

Crispy Fried Ribs $9.95

Any menu description that begins "My Mom was friends with a Vietnamese woman…" is worth an order on the grounds of unintentional hilarity alone. If fried chicken is on their menu, I demand the description start out with "Hey, wait a minute, I've got LOTS of Black friends…"

Calamari Fritti $8.95

When the menu invokes the name of God, himself, to sell deep fried squid, I think it's safe to say we're all on board. Great calamari IS a religious experience and the description here has me hoping for a greasy, sun-dried tomato pesto sauce-leaking Fed Ex package from That Nicka Family in the near future.

Fried Dough $5.95

Wait, wait, wait…I've eaten "elephant ears" and "buñelos", but "fried dough"? Where's the cutesy food euphemism? If we're going to get all dull and descriptive, start calling hot dogs by their actual content ("beef anus") and get it over with.


Meatball Salad $8.95

Oh. My. God. There is no bigger fan of those enormous "80 grams of fat" salads served in every fast food chain across America than me. And, I am floored that none of them has thought of this before. All this time, I thought blackened chicken was the meat zenith of the nine-dollar, casual-dining salad. I'm now left to wonder what other under-utilized – but, obvious – animal parts are right there, waiting to caress a bed of lettuce.

Crispy Calamari Salad $8.95

Of course! I mean…it's right there!

Sicilian Orange Salad $8.95

"Siggies"? Does that fall under the "n-word" rule in which only Sicilians can use it? And, how come I never heard it used during any of Sophia Petrillo's "Picture it, Sicily: 1898…" anecdotes?

Brick Oven Pizza, New Haven Style

OK, I can't lie…I had to Google "EVOO". In all my years of eatin', I've never seen that acronym. I'm not the restaurateur, Joey, but that sounds a lot less appetizing that "extra-virgin olive oil". What is that…just 15 more keystrokes?

Onion Lovers' Pie $12.95/$18.95

Caramelized onions AND crispy bacon? I found my order. I'm not exaggerating when I say a pizza like this would cost twice as much in California. The server would have to go to the back and "see if the cook could make it", since it's not on any menus out here.

Hawaiian Pineapple Pizza $12.95/$18.95

Pfft…Hawaiian pizzas have long since been passé on the West Coast, Connecticut. If you're going to lift our awesomely edible ideas, put fish tacos on the menu.

Old Fashioned, Fresh Ground Hamburgers

French fries are $1.50 extra WITH a burger?! Several years ago, I took an east coast-based customer to lunch at a local chain out here called Pat & Oscar's. They're famous for their breadsticks. But, when That East Coast Guy found out the breadsticks were sold a la carte, he wanted to get up and leave on principle. Same thing here for me with the fries.

Free Toppings: Fried onions, fried peppers, fried mushrooms, fried egg, chipotle-BBQ sauce, horseradish mayo, gorgonzola dressing, Buffalo sauce, hot pepper relish


Italian Sandwiches

Famous New York "Spiedie" Sandwich $8.95

Can't say I've ever even heard of a "Spiedie". Is it pronounced "speedy"? "Spay-DIE"? "SPUH-Eddie"? And, I'm not quite convinced that Binghamton is famous for anything. First thing that comes to mind when I think of the city? The Mets' minor league affiliate. Probably says more about me than the fine people of Binghamton, though. The sandwich sounds kind of pedestrian, so what am I missing?


Banana, Caramel Cinnamon, Coffee, Hazelnut $4.95



JPinAZ said...

If you had ever watched an episode of Rachael Ray you would have heard EVOO about a thousand times.

Of course, you would have shoved an ice pick into your ear canal as well.

Tom said...

Fried Dough is a staple of the junk food heaven of New York's Capital Region. No fancy name. We like to get right to the point upstate. I also disagree with Wikipedia's contention that "Doughboy" is another name for Fried Dough. A doughboy (so far as I know) is cream cheese, cheddar cheese, scallions, and marinated chicken wrapped up in pizza dough and baked.

Spiedies are also part of the Upstate New York junk food heaven. I was never particularly fascinated with the sandwich. The only upstate treat I miss desperately is the Fish Fry -- which is a 18-inch long piece of haddock deep fried, stuffed on a subroll, and covered in tartar sauce.

And SUNY Binghamton has educated such fine people as Billy Baldwin, Tony Kornheiser, Paul Reiser, and Matthew Michaels.

Tom said...

Also -- the term "grinder" sends me in to a blind rage.

That Bootleg Guy said...

I can't hate Rachael Ray. Easy on the eyes and she can cook. What more can a Black man axe for?

Tom, I'm officially suffering from food sensory overload. I will now dedicate my remaining days to finding a "Fish Fry" and a "doughboy".

And, the word "grinder" doesn't exist in California. It's a sandwich or a sub. That's it. One or the other.

Mark Smo in CT said...

Never heard of that place...seems a tad overpriced/ can probably get food just as good at a million other small family owned the goodness known as Vernon time you visit Nicka make sure he takes you there.

Mrs. Nick'a said...

Cam, I'll start researching prices on dry ice so we can get a shipment out to you. Or you could plan a visit and get the in-person experience (and a steak). I vote for the latter. Though, given how big of a hit the Dunkin Donuts care package was, this one might make me your favorite person ever.

BigShow said...

Bootleg, your first inclination was correct. It's pronounced "speedy." It's a Binghamton-regional sandwich with specifically-marinated skewered chicken/meat on a specific roll (to the point where shops in Binghamton will sell "kits" to take home and make the thing yourself).

Down in NY (at least around the Long Island church carnival scene), fried dough can also be referred to as a "Zeppoli," which is how I would think a CT pizzeria would write it.

ScottDiddy said...

A menu review of a restaurant in New York by a guy who lives in San Diego. Did the wife and kid go on vacation and you ran out of material Cam?

More A's talk!!

Tom said...

The weird thing about doughboys is that I've never seen them outside of this [strike]crappy[/strike] awesome little hole in the wall place in Saratoga Springs, NY. My mom (because she's stubborn and awesome) made it her personal mission to figure them out and she eventually nailed it.

SHough610 said...

Tom, where are you from in Upstate New York? I have family in Tonawanda.

The menu is funnier if you read it in Clemenza's (the fat capo from the Godfather) voice in your head.

Tom said...

Shough -- WAY east. About 30 mins north of Albany.