#SCBDEvent Recap: Dishcrawl Jersey City

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If you love to eat as much as I do then you’ll want to attend a Dishcrawl event in your area. I was fortunate to attend the debut Dishcrawl in Jersey City. The event took place in the Paulus Hook area, which was new to me but it was tons of fun. The crawl started off at Cityside Bistro where we had mini crabcakes, panisse with tomato chutney, and croque monsieur. My favorite dish was the mini crabcakes.

Dishes at Cityside Bistro in Jersey City Photo courtesy of Mickey Mathis

Dishes at Cityside Bistro in Jersey City
Photo courtesy of Mickey Mathis

Next, we went to the Iron Monkey where we sampled the monkey mac ‘n’ cheese, couscous with veggies, and crab dumplings. The monkey mac ‘n’ cheese has mushrooms and pancetta in it and it was delightful, one of their signature dishes.

Mac 'n' cheese, couscous & dumplings from The Iron Monkey Photo Courtesy of Mickey Mathis

Mac ‘n’ cheese, couscous & dumplings from The Iron Monkey
Photo Courtesy of Mickey Mathis

Our next stop was HopsScotch, which specializes in different beers. We sampled their German bun dumpling, mussel shooter, and grilled cheese with pesto.

Our sampler at HopsScotch Photo of Mickey Mathis

Our sampler at HopsScotch
Photo of Mickey Mathis

After that we finished the crawl at O’Connells where we had a choice of their homemade bread pudding or chocolate cake. I got the chocolate cake and it was pretty delicious.

Dessert at O'Connells Photo taken by Mickey Mathis

Dessert at O’Connells
Photo taken by Mickey Mathis

Interested in coming to the next Dishcrawl? Buy your tickets to the 2nd Jersey City Dishcrawl, here. They are $45 but you get to try dishes from some of Jersey City’s best restaurants like Michael Anthony’s, VB3 and more! But you’ll just have to go to find out!

I loved my first dishcrawl and plan on going to more in Jersey City and Hoboken. Have you gone? I’d love to know what you thought?

Look out for more 4-1-1 on events in NYC & NJ!

Cheers!

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#SCBDFavorite: Delicious Meal For Two at The Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield!

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A week or so ago, Jason and I celebrated our anniversary by having dinner at The Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield, NJ since I was invited to check it out earlier in the week! The Orange Squirrel is centrally located at 412 Bloomfield Ave, not too far from the hustle & bustle of Montclair. Founded by Chef/Owner Franseco Palmieri, The Orange Squirrel
brings your Italian favorites and comfort food to new heights, not to mention everything is made fresh. We were knocked off our feet and are already thinking of when we can go again! I also forgot to mention how great the atmosphere is– the decor is orange and brown and stays on theme.

The Pink Squirrel

The Pink Squirrel

When we got in we were greeted by Chef Palmieri who was greeting guests that came in. He sat us down and gave us menus which we devoured. I decided to start the night off with the Pink Squirrel cocktail which screamed my name and Jason had a Sprite. It was one of the best cocktails I’ve had, it had grapefruit juice in it which can be overpowering at times but it wasn’t because it was freshly squeezed. We were already on our way to foodie heaven.

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Photo taken by Jason Ferrera

Since we still weren’t sure what to get for an appetizer and meal to share, we decided to start off with Squirrel Nuts (shown above) which are crisp truffled potato, cheese puffs and so delicious. They are less than ten bucks to great to start with for a shareable snack before you dig into Chef’s delicious food. After looking at the menu awhile we decided we were in the mood for Italian so opted on getting the Baked Veal Meatballs as an appetizer and the Manicotti to share for dinner. As we waited for our order, the chef sent out theese salmon fritters with an amazing aioli for us to nibble on. A few minutes later, our meatballs came out. I’m not a huge veal eater, but I would gladly eat them again– they were cooked to perfection and had great flavor.

Salmon Fritter

Salmon Fritter

 

Baked Veal Meatballs

Baked Veal Meatballs

Shortly after we devoured our meatballs, our Manicotti came out, nicely presented in a small cast-iron skillet. It was the perfect size for us to share. The pasta is made in-house and you can really taste the difference. It was probably some of the best Manicotti I’ve ever had and I don’t eat it as much as I used too. It was so light with a perfect balance of cheese and pasta, melted it in your mouth. I definitely recommend it to anyone and would gladly get it again. I’d also want to try more of the pastas next time I come in.

Manicotti

Manicotti

Another staple you must try at The Orange Squirrel is their monthly dirt tasting for dessert. Chef Palmieri’s wife comes up with innovative flavors every month. When we came in the flavors were Easter-centric with Cadbury in it and more. They were the perfect size for both of us to share.

Photo by Jason Ferrera

Photo by Jason Ferrera

The Orange Squirrel was the perfect spot for Jason and I to celebrate our anniversary and we’d gladly go again. In fact, we were already trying to plan our next visit on the way out. Everything is made fresh, they have innovative specials daily & weekly, and the staff is incredibly friendly. In the mood for tartare, pizza, or chicken pot pie? I suggest you dine at  The Orange Squirrel because you can find them there and won’t be disappointed. Whether you are looking to dine like a king or queen or share some appetizers and cocktails with friends or family, it’s the place to go!

Cheers! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

 

 

 

#SCBDExclusive: Interview with Abbey & Lindsay, Owners of Cake Couture NJ!

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Cake Couture NJ is a home-based custom cake company founded by two Jersey girls from my hometown of Howell, Lindsay Mauser and Abbey Lanz. Last time I was home I had the opportunity to interview them on the company, their cakes, and more!

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SCBD: How long have you been baking and cake decorating?

CCNJ: We’ve been baking as long as we can remember. We started getting into cake decorating by taking classes at Michael’s when they had them locally. Abbey received her degree in pastry from the Culinary Education Center of Monmouth County in 2011 where she performed in pastry competitions too. She’s always been more passionate about cakes rather than general pastry, you can see it in our work.

SCBD: Who came up with idea to start Cake Couture NJ?

CCNJ: We started making cakes for family about 4 years ago and then came up with the name and really started our business three years ago. When we first started it was Abbey and my (Lindsay’s) sister Erin but Erin wasn’t as passionate about it after a while so I stepped in and we’ve been successfully working together since. We feel that our cakes aren’t just any cakes so we felt that Cake Couture was the perfect name for us.

SCBD: What is special about your recipe compared to others?

CCNJ: Well, you can’t really compare us to any other cake or cupcake out there. We’re very creative and are constantly coming up with new recipes to try. We love coming up with new recipes for flavors we like.

SCBD: I’ve seen pictures of your cakes and the artwork looks so professional. How did you learn this?

CCNJ: We learned the most by doing it all the time and through trial and error. It’s all about finding the right temperature, etc.

21st birthday beer cake

21st birthday beer cake

SCBD: What’s a new flavors are you working on?

CCNJ: We are currently working on summer flavors, our latest creation is working on some summer cocktail cupcakes like margarita, and more!

SCBD: What’s the most popular cake flavor order you get?

CCNJ: Our vanilla with vanilla butter cream and red velvet with cream cheese frosting are our most popular.

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Cupcakes with faces of Aunt & Grandma

SCBD: What’s the most unique order you’ve had?

CCNJ: Our most unique order so far was for cupcakes with our client’s grandma & aunt’s faces on them. It took a lot of work but it was fun to do and rewarding at the end.

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21st birthday cake

SCBD: What was your first order? Who was it for?

CCNJ: Our first order was for a 21st birthday at a big banquet hall, we were pretty nervous but it was a success. The cake had pink quilted zebra print on it.

SCBD: What’s a quote you both live by?

CCNJ: “She who leaves a trail of glitter, is never forgotten.”

SCBD: What’s Cake Couture NJ‘s motto?

CCNJ: “Made with Love” which we always have on all of our orders and “Edible Art For Magical Moments”.

SCBD: Where do you see Cake Couture NJ in five years?

CCNJ: We have high hopes and would love to be doing bigger events and have it turn into our full time job. We are looking forward to having bigger orders and to be in demand in the tri-state area. We are  working with the Ronald McDonald house on their event in May and donating a cupcake tower to their silent auction on May 19.

SCBD: Last, what do you want SCBD readers to know about Cake Couture NJ?

CCNJ: Nothing is impossible for us, we are willing to take any order. We take our time with every order and are very critical of our cakes. We do consultations and tastings for cakes for any event.

Harry Potter cake

Harry Potter cake

Make sure you like Cake Couture NJon Facebook  follow them on Twitter @CakeCoutureNJ! I’m definitely looking forward to working with them more because they have such a great thing going!

Cheers– let’s eat cake!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

The Brewlight’s On: NYC Craft Beer Festival 2013

So Ladies & Gents,

Small Chick Sara and I are brewing up for the NYC Craft Beer Festival! It is on Saturday, March 30th at 68 Lexington Ave in the big apple. Not only does this exciting event bring out your inner Sir, but gives you access to awesome seminars such as Do You Know Your Craft led by Giancarlo Annese and Sarah Annese from their fantastic site Beer Union.

From the delicious Angry Orchard’s Apple Crisp Cider to Weyerbacher’s Double Simcoe, this festival is taking the tasting of craft beers by storm. Here’s a little history behind the famous craft beer festival of NYC:

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A picture says a thousand words, and since there are so many wonderful things to tell you about this festival, I think you should come and see for yourself!

LOOK AT ALL THE CRAFT BEER TABLES.

That, my friends – is a paradise fit for a Sir.

Now as for the craft beer selection – I have a few down on my list that I must try, but I am also looking for some follower suggestions! Tweet @stephaniirosee and let me know what craft beers you recommend! Click here now and tweet it to me! NYC Festival Craft Beer Selection 2013

Stay tuned for the second post for How to Drink Beer Like a Sir: Raise Your Glass, but in the meantime check out the intro post! How to Drink Beer Like a Sir: An Introduction

Forever brewin’,

Fräulein Rose

#SCBDFavorite: Quality Italian at Cafe Luna in Old Bridge, NJ!

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As I mentioned in my 10th Ave Burrito piece earlier, I’ve been taking a few short & long trips home this month. On one of my short trips home when I was there for basically a day, my mom decided to take me and her boyfriend out to a late lunch. I was craving a tartare (I still am) and really wanted to go to a nice, restaurant that wasn’t a typical bar. Nick, my mom’s boyfriend suggested we go to Cafe Luna in Old Bridge, since he heard tons of great things about it. I checked out the menu, which looked amazing so we did.

Cafe Luna has a great location and is right off Route 9 North, the dining room is spacious and seats were comfortable.Our waiter greeted us and took our drink order. I ordered the sangria, which was good and had tons of flavor. Since we were hungry we decided to order appetizers, we ordered the bruschetta and calamari (on bottom of pic below).

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The calamari (pictured above) was delicious, not as crispy as I’d prefer but it still had good  flavor and breading. The bruschetta was delicious: fresh tomatoes and onions on big pieces of crostini, it hit the spot. For an entree I got the Filetto di Pomodoro (middle), my mom, Arlene got the Anneletti (left), and her boyfriend Nick got the Linguine Nere (right). We all enjoyed our meals and had some leftovers, but they were pretty filling. I really like that Cafe Luna makes their own pasta, which is a rare find in restaurants in that area.

16510_10151263599230588_586002293_nOf course, our meal would not be complete without dessert. We decided to try their homemade tiramisu which was delicious. It had just enough alcohol flavor in it, and it was so light, one of the lightest I’ve had. Heck, I’d go back just for that with cappucino.

Next, time your in the Monmouth County area and looking for homemade Italian I highly recommend Cafe Luna in Old Bridge, NJ!

Buon Apetito!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

#DealAlert Tacos & Tequila at Tenth Avenue Burrito

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This month, I’ve been going home every so often to clean my room since I’ve moved out since I have time, and to just get my thoughts together. Oh yeah, can’t forget of course spending time with friends & family. Last week, one of my best friend’s, Sam who is in graduate school was coming home for her spring break so we decided we’d hang out since I had time and didn’t mind coming down. I saw her earlier in the afternoon and had to pick a place for us to grab dinner that night along with our friend Katie.

 I was scrolling through Facebook that afternoon and saw that 10th Ave Burrito (which has been featured in Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) had a $10 All You Can Eat (AYCE) Taco Special. That sounded great and since Christie granted the places that have their seasonal liquor license early since the Belmar St. Patrick’s Day parade was the week earlier, they had their liquor license. Going by the beach followed by tacos, tequila, and a three musketeer reunion (what my girls and I call ourselves), what could be better?

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Before we went to 10th Ave Burrito we wanted to see how Belmar looked since Sandy, it was devastating– the boardwalk was barely there. We saw what we wanted and were starving. When we first arrived we were seated immediately, we each took a look at the drink menu and ordered our tequila cocktails. I started off with The Oaxaca Old Fashioned which was served in a martini glass, it was really delicious and a deal for only $7. Katie & Sam each got the Tequila Sunrise ($6) which they loved!

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Next, we ordered our AYCE tacos– Katie & I started with steak tacos and Sam stuck with chicken the whole night. The way the AYCE tacos works at 10th Ave Burrito is that you start off with two tacos of your choice, when you feel your getting low and want to order your next round, you can (any kind of taco excluding shrimp). Sam stuck to chicken but I tried the chicken, fish, and chorizo. Katie tried the chorizo and chicken. We both liked steak best and Sam really enjoyed the chicken tacos. The three of us sort of had a contest of who could eat the most, Katie & I were close but I won.

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We got to the meet the owner of 10th Ave Burrito while we were there. He was incredibly friendly and is constantly making sure everyone is enjoying their meal there. Our waitress was very attentive and was always there when we were ready to order another round of tacos. The tequila cocktails are great and are reasonably priced for what you get. The tacos are delicious and you get a ton of food, especially if  you eat a lot for $10!

I had such a great experience and loved dinner so much that I definitely want to come back when I’m home again soon!

Cheers!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

10th Ave Burrito is located at 801 Belmar Plaza in Belmar, NJ

Celebrate St. Patty’s Day with these Sweets & Specials

Crystal Tavern at Crystal Springs Resort (One Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg NJ) will serve a special St. Patrick’s dinner on March 17th from 5-9pm.

The menu, offered as a 3-course prix fixe($38 or $52 with beer pairings) or a la carte, includes sheep’s milk ricotta and nettle gnudi dumplings with crispy pork rinds to start, followed but a choice of three entrees, from the traditional Corned Beef with Irish Soda Bread and accompaniments to Black Sausage & Mash to Irish Lamb Stew cooked with Crystal Springs’ own lamb that’s raised for them at their Rifle Ranch in Colorado. A Mint Brownie Baked Alaska rounds out the menu and each dish will be paired with beer, either Irish or East Coast American craft beer, including the dessert (served with Mothers Milk Stout from NY). Call 973-827-5996 Ext. 3 for reservations.

Interested in taking a class? Check out these awesome St. Patty’s Day classes provided by Coursehorse:

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Last, celebrate with some of these sweets that’ll knock you off your feet:

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  In honor of St Patrick’s Day, Georgetown Cupcake is offering a vanilla and a chocolate St. Patrick’s Day Cupcake.  Both are only available by pre-order, but will be available in the shop for pickup on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  These cupcakes are vanilla or chocolate cupcakes topped with a light green buttercream frosting and a fondant shamrock.  We also have an Irish Crème cupcake available all month (by both pre-order and in store pick up).  The Irish Crème is a chocolate cupcake topped with a non-alcoholic irish-crème-infused vanilla frosting and a fondant shamrock.

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Sweet Revenge, in the West Village will be offering a special Black & Tan cupcake for St. Patty’s Day! Can’t go wrong with a Guiness draft or Chocovine to go with a cupcake!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

Luce {Eclectic Italian in Caldwell}

While this area has no shortage of Italian restaurants, picking out the ones worth your time can be a challenge. Luce definitely rises to the top of this list, distinguishing itself with a creative menu and attentive kitchen and staff. A fixture on the Caldwell restaurant scene since 2001, Luce revamped its image and menu in 2011. They brought in Executive Chef Steve Saragnese (formerly of Babbo in NYC and Vetri in Philadelphia) to shake up their traditional Italian fare. Saragnese now serves an eclectic twist on Italian classics, showcasing a keen appreciation for flavor combinations and fresh, seasonal ingredients.

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When I had dinner at Luce last week, I was impressed with the number of specials tacked on to their regular menu. The favorite that stood out was the butternut squash ravioli. Pillowy and light, filled with silky butternut squash purée and swathed in a nutty brown butter sauce, and topped with parmesan and crispy sage, it’s the perfect cold-weather pasta dish. The flatbread we tried was also a special, and hit all the right notes with creamy fontina cheese, peppery arugula, and crispy bacon. The flatbread was sprinkled judiciously with truffle oil, such that it didn’t overpower but elevated the whole dish. The Toasted bread with provolone cheese and roasted red pepper purée also delivered a serious flavor punch. What it lacked in beauty it made up for in taste; the sharp provolone and the tangy red pepper purée balanced perfectly, and the bread had a nice crunch. The eggplant caponata that comes with warm bread at the start of your meal is also a real standout, setting the tone for a flavor-packed meal.

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Luce offers an ample entrée menu, complete with standouts like Berkshire pork chop, filet mignon, gingered tuna, and wild Scottish salmon.  For our dinner, we tried the grouper, accompanied by whipped potatoes and garlic spinach. The fish was flaky and tender, and  served with just the right amount of creamy, garlicky sauce. We also tried the shrimp, served over a risotto with garlic spinach. Everything was cooked and seasoned beautifully no complaints from out table! For dessert we had Luce’s homemade brownie served with espresso chip ice cream and an espresso chocolate reduction. Rich, dark, and chocolaty- it hit the spot.

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Everyone at Luce, from the owners to the kitchen to the staff are warm, friendly, and helpful. Prices are reasonable considering the quality of the ingredients and the attention to detail. Though they don’t have a liquor license, Luce provides a wine list and will place an order for prompt delivery to your table. If you haven’t tried Luce, or haven’t been in years, give it a try- you’ll be impressed!

Curvy is Bella Tips: Spiced Shrimp with Veggies over Jasmine Rice Recipe

Hi everyone I am Fay I am owner of Curvy is Bella a fitness blog for girls and I am designated  health and fitness guru for Small Chick Big Deals! I figured it was about time I posted and shared my tips and tricks with everyone and today’s healthy lunch came out to good not to share. I would say once a week I go to Columbus Market in NJ for fresh fruits and veggies and Bottom Dollar Food for everything else. Of course, sometimes I treat myself to items from Trader Joes, Wegmans and Acme but I like to save money and eat as healthy as possible and I have found you can do that at Bottom Dollar Food as long as you know what you are looking for! The Spiced Shrimp with Veggies over Jasmine Rice recipe I am going to share is quick, easy and is great to eat after a nice workout at the gym.

Spiced Shrimp with Veggies over Jasmine Rice

Spiced Shrimp with Veggies over Jasmine Rice

Ingredients:

  • Jasmine rice (or any rice of your choice)
  • One fresh tomato
  • Half of an avocado
  • shelled shrimp
  • coconut shreds
  •  normal household spices

Instructions:

  1. To start cook rice to brand specifications, I use jasmine rice from a local asian market and it takes about 15 minutes to make. 
  2. While the rice is cooking in a small pan put a little water, 7 shelled shrimp and spice them to your taste. I put cayenne pepper, regular pepper and a dash of Mrs. Dash (salt free)
  3. During the cooking of the rice and shrimp get out your tomato and chop it as small as you’d like. While on the cutting board spice the tomatoes (again this is to your taste but I used cayenne pepper again and a little garlic salt)
  4. Once shrimp are red and cooked clean them off and peel them (if you don’t it will give an unwanted fishy taste to your meal)
  5. Rinse out your shrimp pan and put tomatoes, coconut shreds and pealed shrimp and cook for five minutes. 
  6. After that is done mix rice (there will be left over so I just put it in a container for another lunch) tomato mix and shrimp together and top with sliced fresh avocado and enjoy!

All of these things I used today were left overs from salads throughout the week! Getting creative with your meals helps save time, money and wasted food from having to be thrown away. Hope you enjoyed this quick meal once I get more comfortable I plan on submitting at least once a week to Small Chick Big Deals and feel free to check me out on Curvy is Bella  🙂

-Fay

Overnight Pizza: The Gluten-Free Edition

When I first told my friends and neighbors that I was having two gluten-free New York style pizzas delivered to my front door from Chicago, IL, they were in complete disbelief. I mean, can you really blame them? The idea of having a pizza, whether it be gluten-free or not, delivered anywhere in the world via Fed-Ex sounds completely crazy, right? But the idea actually exists and is pulled off extremely well by the folks over at City Pizza Overnight.

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I have to admit, throughout the process, I was quite nervous about ordering these pizzas. I’ve never ordered food on the internet before, and sometimes you just hear the craziest stories! But Adam, the owner of City Pizza Overnight, really works with you to make sure you get the full experience! I think I can speak for Sara, Elizabeth, and I when I say that he really went above and beyond in making sure we were comfortable throughout the entire process. Especially in my case, I mean anyone who is able to work with my allergies and gluten-sensitivity without getting frustrated deserves an A+ in my book!

In addition to the excellent customer service, the delivery was quick and easy! We even knew exactly when our pizzas were arriving via e-mail and the pizza arrived right on time! We didn’t even have to sign for it, which is a huge plus for anyone who can’t be around for the pizza’s arrival.

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In my case, the pizzas arrived at 3pm, so I had to freeze it for a few hours before digging in! I received two pizzas, one regular and one pepperoni. My family and I decided to try the pepperoni first, because it’s been a really long time since my gluten-free mother or I have had a pepperoni slice! Once dinner time came around, we popped the pie in the oven, and 10 minutes later we had ourselves a mini pizza party!

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The pepperoni pizza was delicious! It felt like I was eating a regular pepperoni pizza slice! Unlike the homemade gluten-free recipes I’ve tried, you can’t even tell it’s gluten-free! Out of the two, I think the pepperoni pizza was my favorite just because it felt like the old non-gluten free times. The only thing I disliked about it was that it was really greasy (especially compared to the regular) but even that wasn’t a HUGE problem for me. It was expected, actually!

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The next up was the regular, which I tried with my boyfriend Luke this past Sunday. For the purpose of this site, I tried mine plain and with garlic powder. My boyfriend, on the other hand, decided to get creative and slather bacon all over his pizza. Regardless of our different concoctions, we couldn’t stop raving about how delicious the pizza tasted! He even argued with me vehemently about saving a slice for my mom. He wanted to eat 5-6 slices, it was that good!

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Overall, my experience with City Pizza Overnight was nothing but excellent. The service was fast and easy and the pizza was delicious, even days after delivery! I am already recommending City Pizza Overnight to my friends and family and highly considering ordering again next time I have a small get together!