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E**a's Wood Fired Pizza

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Hark back, dear readers, to a much simpler time in life, when you were in junior high school and wanting a tasty snack with little interesting in your refrigerator and only rudimentary cooking skills at your disposal. But you did have an English muffin, found a can of Hunt's crushed tomatoes in the pantry, a sprinkle of Kraft cheese (any variety will do), and voila, several minutes in the toaster oven -or microwave- and you have your very own pizza! For those of you who are nostalgic for such flavor and memories, I suggest you head on over to Ella's Wood Fired Pizza. You won't be able to taste the difference.

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  1. I think you might be a bit harsh on the taste [but not much]. The pizzas are, however, almost the exact same size as English muffins. Not a good place to go when hungry.

    -JT

    1. Brutal, Steve, brtual. Haven't yet been to Ella's --as if that's likely after your post! -- but I have been duly impressed by two meals at Matchbox. Have you been? The pizzas are quite good, if not 2 Amy's quality; the beers are terrific; the onion rings that come with the mini-burgers are ridiculously addictive (although the burgers themselves are better in theory than in practice -- it's tough to make one-inch burgers medium-rare!); and it's a very convivial, neighborly kinda place.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Marty L.

        I have to say I wasn't too impressed with the pizza at Matchbox. The crust is pretty flavorless and too sloppy in the center for my tastes. I found myself wishing that they had opted to cut it in squares, because it just didn't hold together well enough in slices. There also seem to be too many variables and not enough attention to the basics. The sauce has a little zing to it, but not a particularly good tomato flavor. The cheese was bland.

        All that said, their pizza is not bad, I just don't think I would go out of my way for it. But I agree those crispy onion rings and mini-burgers are definitely worth a stop. And the space is great. Does anyone happen to know what used to be in that building?

        We also didn't like Ella's much. But we went at an off-hour, so I chalked it up to bad timing. Even so, I didn't think it was as bad as microwave/school lunch program pizza (but I reserve this criticism for the absolute worst pizza on earth served at the Woodley Cafe--see link below). But I can understand the sentiment, is there anything more disheartening than substandard pizza?

        I think my favorite in that neighborhood is the pizza at AV. But it's been a while since I've had it. I need to go back soon for comparison's sake. I've always enjoyed their mushroom pizza.

        My favorites in DC--Vace and Pizzeria Paradiso--haven't changed in the last ten years.

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1. re: butterfly

          Your right that it's not school lunch pizza. What's surprising is how much the flavor comes close to that, despite their attempts at making a fancy 'downtown' pizza.

          1. re: butterfly

            butterfly - i'm coming home (to DC) for a woefully short period of time. i dream often of vace (oh the onions so thin! the red peppers so flavorful!) but i have to say i'm intrigued by tales of 2 amys pizza. if i have meal time for only one pizza - is it the roasted red pepper and onion from my youth at vace or should i try the offerings of these amys?

            many thanks

            1. re: reese

              I am a big fan of both Vace and 2 Amys. The pies are so different from each other that it's hard to compare. But if I were coming back to DC for only a brief visit and could eat only one pizza, I would choose Vace. And I would add their oil cured olives to the onions and red peppers.

              1. re: Louise Z.

                sounds wonderful. many thanks for the tip on the olives. my mouth is watering already.

              2. re: reese

                Why not have both? The only problem that I have had with Two Amys is the sauce can be watery on some of the pies- the Margherite for example. And to me it ruins the experience. I usually opt for the pesto calzone when I go and have a slice of someone elses pie. I can remember if they have a white pie but of they do it might be worth a try.

              3. re: butterfly

                I agree.....Matchbox's pizza is not worth all the hype. I dragged a friend a few weeks ago after reading all the hype and was very disappointed. It's wanna-be-fancy pizza that isn't.

                1. re: butterfly

                  I agree re Matchbox and Ella's. Try Alba Osteria at 4th and I NW. It's half price pizzas (any from menu) during happy hour.

                  Not sure what AV is though.Vace I like. Paradiso...is decent but not a favorite of mine.

                  My faves are Pupatella in arlington (my #1 but the rest aren't in order), Vace, Alba Osteria, Pete's (yes, a New Haven chain), and because I'm from Queens...Johnny's pizza (the sicilian or Papa Joe's) in Franconia. Johnny (Awsim) owns several pizzarias in Queens, so his pizza feels like home to me. Oh, the nutella pizza at Osteria Marzano in Franconia is good and has been gettign a lot of press lately.

                  1. re: Foodgeek

                    There's a new place way out in Centreville called Ciao Osteria that is getting some good early love. I tried it for a quick pie after a haircut next door and liked it a lot. The crust was really good. Reminded me of Motorino in NYC (if you've had it, you know that's high praise indeed).

                    One thing I especially like is that their oven (a very interesting one like Pupatella's) cooks pizzas at very high heat, so they come out very quickly. I was amazed, actually.

                  2. re: Marty L.

                    I have not been to Matchbox yet.
                    E**a's is a beautiful place with tasty and carefully prepared soups and salads. It is just so surprising that the crust really does taste like an English Muffin, the tomato and cheese topping is bland, and it's especially hard to believe that any trees were actually cut down to cook this pizza. Also, there is a shocking amount of oil on the pizza, but no corresponding flavor boost. Weird.

                    1. re: Steve

                      I beg to differ with you, Steve, regarding Ella's soups and salads. I thought I'd give the place a chance by ordering what has been mentioned as its strong suit. (No way was I going to order that pizza!) But the special mushroom soup-of-the-day was more tasteless than Campbell's (despite the oversalting), with the oddity of raw fennel crumbled on top. And neither my companion nor I enjoyed our salads -- indeed, he was worried that one of his shrimp was old, given the off flavor.

                      Service was also terrible. Pinot Grigio was ordered - out came red wine. Shrimp salad came out as shrimp appetizer, despite the fact that we had just finished or appetizers. The exchange left one diner with lunch sitting out while the other waited. Water service produced a single glass for two people. And it was hard to get an iced tea re-fill, with the wait staff's "not my table" attitude -- but that may have been for the best, because their tea seemed to be off on the proportion of water mixed with the instant powder.

                  3. Guess it's better to go Monday-Friday 4-8pm happy hour, grab a beer & pizza slices are free...

                    1. Yikes! I haven't been to Ella's yet, but if the pizza's that bad (you're not the first I've heard this from), I wonder why Sietsema keeps mentioning it-- it's in his column in the special food section today. It's also given 2 stars in his new dining guide (Pizzeria Paradiso also gets 2!).

                      1. Thank you Steve for your honest assesment. In all fairness to them however, they do have high quality toppings - just be sure to order your pizza with "no crust".

                        1. It's late on a Sunday night, and District of Pi has already closed their upstairs and can't accomodate an impromptu group of fifteen. But guess who can?

                          Yep, after eleven years I had my return visit to Ella's. The crust is still crappy, the tomato sauce like from a bad jar. Worse, though, is that this pizza is also too expensive. Great location, but an insult to food.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Steve

                            First time I've ever seen a revival of a long-ago thread make sense. BRAVO! Amazing that the place is still around, 11 years later. Someone must be eating there...

                            1. re: Just Visiting

                              It's right across form a metro stop, and the pizza here Yelps well.

                            2. re: Steve

                              Steve: Since Matchbox is also still around and in fact thriving, have you been there recently?

                              We were late to the Matchbox party, finally getting to the new Mosaic District outpost in the fall. Thought the pizza was good -- not Pupatella good, but good -- and the sliders and onion strings were very good. Think we got a salad that we liked as well.

                              1. re: Bob W

                                It's been so long since I've had matchbox pizza. When I did have it, I thought it was not bad. Nothing I felt compelled to order again. I do very much like their mini-burgers ordered no more than medium rare, and I've had them a bunch of times.

                                1. re: Steve

                                  I've experienced that "stale English muffin crust" at Matchbox on Barracks Row. The same thing happened to me when I made pizza using yeast that had expired. The dough didn't proof properly and when I baked it, the crust came out bland and crackery. So maybe rather than throw out the failed dough, they just went ahead and used it. And that's why I stick with the burgers at Matchbox.

                            3. Really, you are going to exaggerate so fully that people who won't even like the place have to defend it? LOL. Ella's isn't terrible, but you can definitely do better. Pi and Matchbox are close by, although I prefer Alba Osteria's pizza (especially on happy hour) at 4th and I.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Foodgeek

                                If you get a pizza without tomato sauce, it's not so bad. That way, it's just the crust which is seriously disappointing and tastes like a stale english muffin. A plain cheese, margherita, or tomato pie, though, is going to be awful. I don't think I can name a lousier pizza. Can you?

                                1. re: Steve

                                  Man, you're making this place sound so appetizing. And hi again (after 11 years? :-))

                                  Consdering how easy it is to divide your oven with a foil wrapped rack and cook homemade pizza on a stone on the floor, I have to wonder why anyone would bother to go out for something like this.