Saturday, November 8, 2008

The 'Boli, Baby!

I really like pizza, or anything that resembles pizza. On my maiden voyage to New York City, I discovered New York thin crust in Penn Station, of all places. I thought I had caught a little Italian heaven, and if I passed by a pizza joint that day, I had another slice. That was when I had a fast metabolism.

In Chicago, where I grew up, it’s all about stuffed pizza, where each slice of the delicious monstrosity houses what must be a pound of cheese. So when I moved to the East coast, and someone told me about something that sounded like a pizza entirely encased in dough? I had to have it. So I’ve tried plenty of it - from the company cafeteria (gee, surprisingly not good) to local pizza joints. But it didn’t make it into my stable of comfort foods until I moved to Lancaster.

My husband and his friends, all Millersville alumni, would talk about the Sugar Bowl and its Stromboli with reverence, like it was legendary. I thought they were just reminiscing about the old times when we were all faster and smarter than we actually were, and when the Stromboli was bigger and more decadent than it actually was... Then I found out that the Sugar Bowl still existed!

Enter the Sugar Bowl, and it’s your regular cafeteria-looking college scene with the plastic utensils, Styrofoam cups, where the furniture is virtually indestructible and easy to clean, you get my drift.

The menu is fairly extensive, and you can get pretty much any kind of meat you want in it – even turkey! Vegetarians will be happy, too, with an array of veggies to choose from. I ordered a small “Regular” – Ham, Salami, and Pepperoni ($8) and a large “Regular” ($11) to go.

After a good ten minutes, they placed a large pizza box and medium pizza box in front of me. I cocked my head and peeked in. I thought the small was the large, and when I opened up the large pizza box, I almost passed out. Here was this enormous Stromboli that was baked to golden perfection sitting diagonally in the box.

I sped home in order to preserve the heat and crispy shell of the dough (on a subsequent visit, I found out you can have them half-baked). These things are massive and they’re delectable. The meat is lovingly swaddled with a good amount of mozzarella cheese in fresh dough they’ve made that day. The cool thing about the Sugar Bowl Stromboli is that they put the sauce on the inside, along with everything else. It makes for a considerably neater eating experience, and it also keeps the dough crispy on the outside. And the dough is great. It maintains its structure without being too thick, tough, or chewy, but it’s thin enough that it isn’t the only thing you taste. It also manages to keep everything contained, but with the inevitable dribble of grease. The melding of the cheese and meats on the inside is positively a heart-attack waiting to happen, but it’s scrumptious. Next time, I’ll add some spinach so I can feel better about it.

So now I’ve got Chicago for Stuffed, New York for Thin Crust, and Millersville for Stromboli on my list of pizza-like comfort food. Not bad company to keep.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lina;
I have been a regular reader but never was able to post a comment.
I must commend you on your fine blog,I eagerly look forward to all your posts.Besides your writing style what I particularly admire is that you patronise local and family run businesses,plus you dont have any of the know-it-all/snobbish attitude,that I sadly find in some food bloggers.
As a relatively new transplant to Lancaster County, I have
learnt a lot about the various hidden gems around Lancaster.
Being a new mom and having another one on the way,I don't think I will be able to go to all the places
you blog about,but I know I will be vicariously visiting them,through your posts!
Best Wishes
Amy Thomas
PS:BTW- My husband works with you & we met briefly at Saigon Cafe

Lina Bierker said...

Thanks, Amy! I'm so encouraged by folks like you who let me know you're enjoying my articles and blogs. Congratulations on your new one on the way!