Rochester NY Pizza Blog Rochester restaurants LocalEats featured blog

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fat Boys Pizza, Phelps

On my way back from a weekend trip with my wife to Watkins Glen - and let me give a quick nod here to Echoes of the Glen B&B for a great stay - I stopped off for a slice of pizza from Fat Boys in Phelps.
I had intended all along to get pizza in Phelps, but not here. In fact, until I saw it, I wasn't even aware of Fat Boys' existence. I meant to stop at a place across the street, but it wasn't open. There's also a bar/restaurant down the road in Phelps that does wood-fired pizza, but I had neither the time nor the inclination to get a full meal just then.
But this turned out to be a good thing, because otherwise I wouldn't have learned of Fat Boys, which, based on this visit, makes some pretty good pizza.
I got just a single cheese slice (the only other choice was pepperoni), since it was late in the afternoon and I didn't want to ruin my appetite for dinner. I opted to get it reheated, which I've learned is generally a good idea.
The thin crust was pliable but somewhat crisp on the surface, with some crackling near the outer edge. There were no screen marks.
There were some dark brown areas underneath, in a more or less tiger-stripe pattern. The slight caramelization gave the crust a boost of toasty, breadlike flavor and aroma. The reheating may have helped there.
The slice was a little heavy on the cheese, not that I'm complaining about that. There was, though, a "naked" cheeseless gap of an inch or two along the edge.
A bit of orange-colored oil had exuded from the cheese, which I allowed to drip off into the box. The cheese was lightly browned and a little congealed, with a texture that was more chewy than stringy.
The sauce had a fairly thick consistency, and a tomatoey flavor. It had been applied in good proportion to the rest of the slice, and overall the slice was well balanced. It was not heavily seasoned - the flavor profile was pretty much just crust, tomato sauce and cheese, without a lot of oregano, basil or other herbs noticeable.
Fat Boys offers 11 pizza toppings (including anchovies, which you don't often see), and 8 specialty pizzas. They also do subs, wings, calzones, platters, pasta, salads, and more.
I liked this slice, in general. My first concern is always the crust, and this had a pretty good crust. It was well balanced, and tasted good. On the downside, it was a little oily, for a plain cheese slice. I would've liked just a bit more crispness underneath. But it was an enjoyable slice of pizza. I'll decline to give it a grade, which I try to confine to the Rochester area, or at least the 585 area code, and Phelps is out there a ways. But I'd say that Fat Boys is worth a stop if you're in the area.

Fat Boys Pizza, 114 Main St., Phelps
(315) 548-8656

Other locations at 480 Hamilton St. in Geneva (315) 789-1999, and at 74 Fall St. in Seneca Falls (315) 568-8800

Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Bee Hive, Canandaigua

In addition to watching for new pizzerias, I'm always on the lookout for pizza popping up on restaurant menus. Recently I learned of one such example, the Bee Hive Brew Pub in Canandaigua. It's located in a converted train station, which it shares with Twisted Rail Brewing Co. My understanding is that there's no direct connection between the two, but Twisted Rail does make some house beers for Bee Hive.
While Bee Hive does carry an impressive lineup of beer, my sights were set on the pizza. There were several interesting selections to choose from, but I opted for "Ann's Favorite Pizza," which is topped with tomatoes, artichokes, mozzarella and garlic aioli, which is a fancy way of saying sauce. It sounded good to me to begin with, and its identification as a house favorite tipped the balance for me.
This was a personal-size pie, about 12 inches across. The medium-thick crust was dark brown underneath, and slightly oily to the touch. It was firm but not crisp, and the interior was likewise right down the middle, texturewise: not dense, but not puffy, with a moderate chewiness.
Aside from the diced tomatoes, this was a white pizza, in other words, no tomato sauce. As with most white pizza, the cheese played a prominent role, and played it well. It was nicely melted and stretchy, smooth but slightly chewy, with just a bit of lactic tanginess.
The cheese was well complemented by the toppings. I'm guessing that there are people out there who don't like the taste of artichokes, but I'm not among them. Their sharp, almost citrusy flavor works well with cheese, and here it was also well balanced by the background of garlic and olive oil, making for a tasty combination. By comparison, the tomatoes were, if not quite an afterthought, less important. They weren't the rock-hard, flavorless chunks that you often find, but they weren't particularly sweet, and their contribution was comparatively minimal.
As I mentioned, Bee Hive has an interesting pizza menu, with options for both carnivores and herbivores. That's in addition to the rest of their menu, which includes salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and various sides and appetizers. From what I've read, they're particularly renowned for their burgers.
Getting back to this pizza, I enjoyed it, but rating it is a tough call. It was tasty and distinctive, but I can't say it was so good that I'd drive out of my way to get it. I'd have no problem ordering this again, or trying another of Bee Hive's pizzas, but if I'm holding them to the same standard as I would any pizzeria, I'd have to say that this pizza was somewhat, but not a lot, better than average. So I'll break my own rule about not using pluses and minuses, and give this one a B-minus.

Bee Hive Brew Pub, 20 Pleasant St., Canandaigua

(585) 919-2471

Open 11 a.m. - 1 a.m. daily

Friday, December 5, 2014

Atlas Eats

One place that's been on my to-do list for some time now is Atlas Eats in Irondequoit. For whatever reason, they only offer pizza on Sundays, and since I don't live near there, it's been difficult to work it into my Sunday schedule. But I was downtown on a recent Sunday, so I made a short trip up Clinton Avenue to check it out.
I chose what was effectively a Margherita pizza (though I don't think they call it that), with red sauce, cheese and shredded basil. Like all the pizzas here, this was a personal-size pie, and came unsliced (I sliced it later at home).
The underside was a dark, mostly uniform brown, and deeper brown along the edge. It wasn't particularly crisp, but it was firm, and neither soggy nor oily. There was a light dusting of flour underneath.
On olfactory inspection, a pleasant, toasty, breadlike aroma greeted my nostrils. The crust was medium thick, with a chewy texture and a few bubbled spots near the edge.
For all its simplicity, this was a flavorful pizza. The tomato sauce had a fresh, bright flavor, and the cheese, though not heavily applied, was tangy and sharp; not overpoweringly so, but enough to balance out the other components. I'm not sure what kind of cheese they used - I suspect it was a blend - but it was a good example of how a pizza doesn't have to be heavily laden with cheese if the cheese has some flavor.
I like basil, and I wouldn't have minded a bit more, but there was enough here to add flavor. It was wilted just enough to mellow it a bit, but not dried out or burnt.
As I indicated, Atlas Eats is not a pizzeria as such; they only sell it on Sundays. But they do offer breakfast and lunch Thursday through Sunday, as well as some very good bread. On a prior weekday visit (before I knew they had no pizza during the week) I bought a baguette, which was excellent. And pay attention for their "Edible Atlas" Dinner Series, when they put together some terrific meals; currently upcoming is a "tour of New Orleans" featuring Cajun and Creole cuisine.
As for the pizza, it was very good. I'm not putting it in the top rank of Rochester pizza, but it was better than average, with a good crust and flavorful, well balanced toppings. So I'll give it a B.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Product Review: The Original Survival Bar

Readers of this blog will know that I do a lot of hiking. In fact my weekend day hikes in the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier have led me to visit a lot of the pizzerias I've reviewed on this blog.

So I was happy to accept a free sample of The Original Survival Bar, from Hallelujah Acres. While I typically go on day hikes of five to ten miles, that's enough to want an energy boost along the way, without getting filled up or weighed down.

This would make a good choice. A 2.4 ounce bar provides 300 calories, with 13 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and a modest 30 mg of sodium. It contains no added salt, refined sugar, preservatives, or artificial flavors or colors. It's 100% organic and vegan, and contains "living enzymes," which means absolutely nothing to me, but I presume it's a good thing.

OK, so it's good for you. How does it taste?

I shared a bar with my 11-year-old daughter and we both liked it. It's got a chewy but not sticky texture, and is sweet but not cloyingly so. In terms of the flavor, I wasn't surprised to see that the first two ingredients are organic almond butter and date paste, or that it also contains raisins and sesame seeds. Imagine a combination of ground nuts and dried fruits and you'll have a pretty good idea of how it tastes.

Hallelujah Acres makes a variety of supplements and other vegan and organic products, which are easily found online. As an avid hiker, I can say that the Survival Bar makes a good alternative to the bags of trail mix I've often stuffed in my cargo pockets, which usually end up spilling out and/or getting stuck together. It's lightweight, convenient, nutritional, and tasty.