Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wise Guys

"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States"

When you want a good pie, you gotta go some place where they know pizza. Italians are supposed to know pizza. And the Italian mafia are "goodfellas, wiseguys." So a pizza place named WiseGuys (2408 E 53rd) better have some good pizza, or they risk getting whacked.

WiseGuys is another one of the Quad-Cities' style pizzerias that has been around for awhile. Not as long as Frank's or Harris, WiseGuys opened in 96, around the time the 53rd and Elmore corridor was being heavily developed.

As far as I can tell, Wiseguys differs from the others in their crust. It's a little thicker and doesn't have the cornmeal bottom. They do, however, tend to stick to mozzarella and other white cheeses, and they load on the toppings. Not very Italian, but very Quad Cities.

He better be whacking people with that stick

I fully expected a guy name Paulie to take my order in a rude manner and give me the dick eye while I waited. But instead, it was a gangly white teenager surrounded by pretty blonde waitresses picking up their orders. Bummer.

Also sort of a bummer, the lack of creativity in naming the pizzas. I thought maybe I could order the Bugsy Big Boss Bacon or Machine Gun Mushroom. They did have one pizza named the Big Marv which sounds like a pizzafied Big Mac, with 1000 Island dressing, beef, pickles, and cheese. However, I ordered the Inferno- a gut burning pie topped with Italian sausage, pepperoncinis, onions, jalapenos, and hot pepper jack cheese.

The restaurant is no hideout, featuring a salad bar, ample seating and a sports bar-ish atmosphere, but I took our pizza to go, with a side of garlic bread.

Unwrapped it and BAM! My medium pizza looked more like a sidekick than a boss. Richie was expecting an assault on his taste buds, but he didn't seem to find it hot enough. The pizza he uses as his reference point is the Volcano from Poor Boys and I guess this one didn't compare. I have very low tolerance for heat, so I picked my pieces apart to avoid the jalapenos, but I could feel a bit of a burn in my sinuses. Nothing I couldn't handle though.

The garlic bread wasn't nearly garlicky or flavorful enough for either of us.

I liked it. I mean, it's pizza, who wouldn't? It's not the capo di tutti capo, but it's a decent associate. Richie, being the pistol he is, is not from the old country and once again complained that QC-style pizza is overwhelmed with toppings and cheese. I would like to rat Wisguys out for their prices. It felt a little like we were being extorted... more than 30 bucks for a pizza and bread?

If anyone has any suggestions for a good New York style pizza place in the area, give me holler.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Airliner

Dropping in on Iowa City once again, we flew to the Airliner (22 S. Clinton) for lunch.

The Airliner has been around since 1944 when the Rinellas decided to open up a place similar to their favorite Midway restaurant, also called the Airliner.

Since then, it has been the site of many Hawkeye hangovers and hookups. I would liked to have visited when Tom Brokaw was a handsome young co-ed and frequent guest.

This particular lazy Sunday was quite slow, so we boarded the Airliner without a wait and sat in a comfy booth near the kitchen. The lunch special was 1.75 per slice of pizza, which is "famous." The original owners were Sicilians who learned the pizza trade in NY.

They had five ready made pizzas for people who ordered slices. It's hard to judge a pizza by a slice that's been sitting around for awhile. My sister thought it was decent but nothing special. However, I hear their deep dish really takes flight.

Richie and I didn't fly all the way in from the QC for a coach class lunch. There are many other 1st class options on the menu. Many are Italian dishes, but there is also bar food like burgers and buffalo chicken.

Is anyone surprised that my co pilot ordered a burger? He didn't want to utilize the barf bag and try the AirBus challenge which includes eating a 2 LB burger with fixings and fries. So he flew an F-16, a 1/3 lb burger with cheddar cheese, bbq sauce, and two onion rings.

Our stewardess served our food on schedule and we took off for full belly land.
The burgers approach into Richie's stomach was a smooth one. The fries were a bit turbulent and lacking in crunch and flavor.

I got out my passport to try a Greek chicken salad- spinach, Feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, and chicken breast. Came with a carry-on bread stick.

I jetted right through this salad, everything was fresh and tasty.

The atmosphere was pretty LAX for a bar, several games were on the 12 flat screens, but we could hold a convo without shouting. I imagine nights and game days are quite a departure from this, especially with their dirt cheap drink specials.

With so many dining options in the downtown terminal, I'm not sure we would return on our next layover in the I.C. Be that as it may, we left happy, with our bellies full of baggage.