NàRoma Pizza Bar

Do you remember that episode in the first season of Futurama (which I am currently marathoning on Netflix) where Fry finds out that he’s a billionaire due to interest accrued in his bank account over 1000 years and then he buys the last tin of anchovies for $50 million? Well, it inspired me because I’ve never eaten a pizza with anchovies on it before. I didn’t even know if pizza places still had them as an option because I’ve never ordered them before. Of course, this would happen at 1 o’clock in the morning so I had to stave off the inspiration until the next morning. Enter the new challenger: NàRoma Pizza Bar located in the hip Locke St. of Hamilton.

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 215 Locke St S, Hamilton, ON

NàRoma is one of those places in Hamilton that consistently gets rated as the one of the top places you’ve got to visit. It was a toss-up between NàRoma and Earth to Table Bread Bar, but Bread bar did not have any mention in their menu about anchovies except in their caesar salad. Both located on Locke Street but would have to be an adventure for another time.

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When eating here, you have two choices: order by the slice at the counter, or pick your own pizza. The premade slices are great if you want to grab a quick slice on the go. Their website boasts authentic Italian pizza, but I have never been to Italy so I can’t judge.

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They have some set pizzas with very fun flavour combinations and you can also add or take away ingredients to your liking, both meat and vegetarian options. I swear, the menu is extensive. The waitress was super friendly and helpful. I informed her of my anchovy pizza virginity and asked for suggestions. At first she suggested the Napolitana pizza which comes with tomato sauce, black olives, anchovies, and chilli flakes, but try as I might, I just am not a fan of olives. She said that anchovies pair well with red tomato sauces and with my affinity for spiciness, we settled for the Calabrese: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, cacciatore sausage, and hot pepper oil, adding anchovies on half of the pizza, just in case I didn’t like it.

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Calabrese, Coppia size ($17)

Being by myself, I don’t know why I didn’t order by the slice or something, because even though I saw that their smallest size, Coppia, came in 12 slices and served 2-3 people, I still ordered it. I thought I was a beast. I thought I was sooooo cool. It was huge. I did manage to eat a third of it though, which I am proud of.

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Latte ($3.90)

I also ordered a latte because I thought it was the thing to do. In my mind, coffee doesn’t go very well with pizza, but they’re both Italian (right? or is that espresso…). She also asked me if I wanted some dipping sauces. It’s like she knew I was a sucker for sauces. I ended up getting the creamy pesto and the spicy Caesar. They were both very nice. The pesto didn’t really taste like pesto to me, but the Caesar was very garlicky and right on. Unfortunately, I didn’t know they cost about a dollar each until I got the bill.

Get to the point, Judy. How were the anchovies? Was it horrible? Did you throw your pizza at the waitress and pee on the floor???

Because usual “hate it or love it” opinion on anchovies, I honestly thought I wasn’t going to like it. I’m usually pretty sensitive to salt, but wow oh wow! After comparing the anchovy slice and the non-anchovy slice, the anchovies definitely bring a whole new dimension to the pizza. I had the slice with anchovies first, and the second one just didn’t have as much POW to my mouth. It elevated the other flavours to a whole other level. I think it’s safe to say that I will now include anchovies in my pizza repertoire.

The rest of the pizza was great too. The cheese wasn’t a soggy mess.  The base was thick, but not dense and made for a nice solid base for the toppings. The sausage was great, nice and meaty, and the chilli oil was actually quite spicy! And I am not averse to spice! However, the crust was dense, but not crispy, which was a downer for me.

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Nutella Slice ($2.50)

I always have room for dessert. This was basically a pizza base, warmed up (the bottom was toasty and crispy!), with a generous spread of nutella, topped with some cannoli cream filling, and sprinkled with icing sugar. It was a great way to end the meal. You can also order these in bigger sizes to share with a group. Yummy yummy!

I wish I had gotten a pizza with fancy cheeses, or the margherita pizza which I’ve always wanted to try, or something with a lettuce (like arugula!) on it because those are on my pizza bucket list too. I guess that’ll just be another reason for me to come back to NàRoma.

I did not pee on the floor.

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East Meets West

Growing up in Canada, when you go away, you begin to miss things that you take for granted while in Canada. You miss the comfort of not worrying about lizards crawling up your snatch every time you go pee. Is someone going to try to grab your purse when you’re not paying attention? (Trick question. You should always be paying attention.) So, especially if you’re younger, you start wishing you were back home, in the comfort of air conditioning (or rather at this time of the year, heating). Not having to wear sandals in the house because the people are too dirty to clean their house properly. So, we find the closest thing we have to home and we cling to it.

In Vietnam, it was Parkson Place. It was clean. Like, shiny clean. With actual clothes on racks, albeit ugly clothes. There were staff, and even a cafe. On the top floor, was an arcade and food court. And a bowling. How many times did we go bowling in those three weeks? I lost count, but I know that my score just kept getting progressively worse instead of improving. But my tolerance for Heineken improved, so worth it? Heineken is the only decent beer available there.

My brother’s favourite meal was KFC. Yes, you can groan now. All the choice in the world, and food you can’t get halfway around the world, and you go for KFC. Though, I’m not going to lie, I also partook in the finger-lickin’ goodness. There’s just something so satisfying about tasting familiarity in a place that’s so very outside your comfort zone.

There were also some Vietnamese renditions of American classics that weren’t half bad. Of course, we just wanted to try it to see what it was like. The pizza wasn’t too bad, it was just.. different. Everything we did in Vietnam, just felt so (surprise, surprise) Vietnamese. Not hating on my culture, but there’s only so much I can take.

The spaghetti actually came out better than expected. It was really just a tomato sauce with carrots, that tasted a bit watery, but some people I know have made worse spaghetti sauce. So, A for effort, Vietnam. A for effort.

Eat More Amato

An unassuming front that can be easily passed by, make sure you don’t because the pizza here is both innovative and delicious. Located on College St near Kensington Market, they specialize in thin crust pizza that caters to both vegetarians and meatatarians alike. I’ve always been a big fan of thin crust pizza on the sole fact that it forces the establishment to make sure they do damn well on the toppings, and boy did they ever.

Yo, click me to enlarge. I dare you.

The interior has a bit of a dive feel but their are so many different flavours to choose from. The slices are so big, that my associate and I decided to each pick one and then split them half-half. Me, being who I am, I pick the craziest, most delicious looking one, for something I haven’t tried before. The other chose a classic-style, Hawaiian. It was rather good, crispy, and the tomato sauce was delish, though I’m not a big fan of cooked pineapple.

My pizza, I think it could have been called the Madonna or something. All I know, is that it is so fucking good. I need to go back there sometime soon, but it’s about a 25 minute walk or something from my school. It’s quite a bit closer to U of T campus though. So let me try to remember what was on top of this glorious piece of gastronomic dubloon. Green onions, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, mozzarella, feta…? A great medley of textures and flavours all giving me the greatest party in my mouth. If my mouth were the Renaissance, it’d be like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Da Vinci eating this pizza in the Vatican. Art history, it’s cool for analogies.

Hanging out with my friend for the day, we passed by a box labelled “free records.” I love free stuff, so clearly, I had to grab a couple. Not that I own a record player or am even remotely interested in listening to them, but the typographic detail on the back and that fantastic loose line drawing called out to me. I still need to decide what I’m going to do with them. :D