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Aug 20, 2005 10:49 PM

Anything Chow-worthy Around...American Canyon? (A Report (Long))

  • j

American Canyon (or as the locals call it, AmCan) is one of the fastest growing cities in the Bay Area (12,000 population at last count and growing) and bills itself as the "Gateway To The Napa Valley." I suspect most people with food on their mind speed through here to get to the culinary treasures of the Napa Valley proper, or they venture to Vallejo to the south with its wider variety of cuisine selections (though you may have to dig a bit to find the food gems.)

Still, you figure one of the fastest growing cities in the Bay Area would have something chow-worthy...or would it? Here's what I've found so far on my quest to figure out the answer to this "burning" question.

K T Noodle - this place seems to be an anomaly. It's hampered by being in a location that's still trying to find its groove as a retail location (Canyon Plaza). Also, while they do have a few familiar-sounding dishes like Kung Pao Chicken, their menu isn't typical to those who are used to the regular Americanized-Chinese items you'd find at town competitor Peking Express (more on them later.)

It doesn't help that the owners (who are pleasant from what I've seen) struggle with the English language and that the menu is confusing (their take-home menu doesn't have all their available items, and the photo menu of items they show customers is spotty, as it doesn't name and/or describe all the menu offerings available.) I've seen many a potential customer take a look at their photo menu and walk out with only a take-home menu in their hand. Finally, I've never seen it brimming with customers (I can't say what happens during lunchtime during weekdays since I work in SF.) With all that said, it's still plugging along after about two years in business.

The items I've tried so far are good and solid, though not drop-dead delicious. Like their name suggests, you're better served choosing their noodle dishes; I personally like their dishes that feature their 5-spice beef shank. Just this week I had a bowl of their rice noodle soup with 5-spice beef shank and wontons for $7 - the broth was flavorful and just salty enough, the beef was tender and tasty, and, despite a ragged look, the wontons were very good.

The interior is wood-lined and nice, typical of all the buildings in this mini-complex.

Parry's Market/Pizzeria - This restored barnhouse used to house The Fruit Tree Market, a place where you'd see a lot of casino and tour buses would stop I presume to buy the goods inside, up until a couple months ago when the new owners took over.

Now this place is home to your standard super-convenience store market that happens to have a pizzeria attached to it. A sign on the window says "New York Pizza Kitchen" - I did a little research after my visit and discovered businesses in Fairfield and Napa with the exact same name; I'm unsure if they're related or not.

I personally have never had a New York style pizza slice; for me, pizza was just pizza to me until I went to Chicago to visit friends and had a slice of delicious deep-dish at Geno's East. It goes without saying now that I want to try to the best in the pizza world, no matter what the style (without trying to ruin the diet too much heh.)

So does Parry's rank with the best? I ordered what was described as a New York Style Slice for $4.75 - salami, pepperoni, mushrooms and onions - and ended up a bit worried when he took out what looked to be a previously baked cheese slice and started to add the meat. While it was being rebaked in the oven, the owner pulled out a baked ziti pie covered with two huge meatballs and tomato sauce out of another oven for a waiting customer. It certainly smelled and looked good. (Besides the pizza and pasta offerings like the baked ziti, the menu had listings for grinders (more on that below.))

The result? First off, the slice was HUGE. The onions and mushrooms were put on after it was in the oven, which was a nice touch (don't know if that's typical, though.) It was foldable like NY pizza is supposed to be, though you needed two hands to handle this monster. The crust was still nicely crispy and airy, despite the rebaking.

I'm sure this doesn't rank with what you can get at Arinell's, Gioia's, or a few other Bay Area NY-style pizza joints, but it's pretty good IMO, especially if you want to stuff yourself silly (it certainly outranks anything you can get at the nearby Papa Murphy's take-n-bake outlet.)

At least the owner should know what NY pizza should be - he's a transplant from the Bronx via Connecticut (which explains the "Grinders" heading on his sandwich menu; he confided to me that had to add the word "Sandwiches" in parentheses next to it because so many locals were confused.) He also mentioned he owned a restaurant in Fairfield, CA area for 10 years, sold it to go back to NYC to start anew, but he and his wife had grown too fond of the weather here and moved back a year later.

Final note: if you're ever in need of a 33" monster pizza to feed a ton of people, this would be a place to get it.

Zacatecas - this place is actually in Vallejo in the Rancho Square strip mall, but if you walk roughly 30 feet to the north, you'll find yourself in AmCan.

I read on the internet that Zacatecan cuisine is largely meat based, with menudos and birrias typical of that region, and sure enough, this place serves them, though only on weekends. Otherwise, it seems to have your typical taqueria selections (tacos, burritos, etc.) plus some seafood offerings.

I also read that enchiladas are a speciality of the region, though there's no one set recipe that's typical. I hadn't had an enchilada in awhile, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to try one. You can order an enchilada as a side order or as a combo plate (two enchiladas, rice, beans, and a completely disposable small side salad for $6.99). The enchiladas can be chosen either cheese or chicken, and green or red (with red being the more spicier.)

The chips they brought out were nothing special, while the red salsa was more like a sauce, though it did have a nice kick to it. My order came quickly, and as I as sampling my first bite, I realized something - I've had an awful lot of mediocre to bad enchiladas in my lifetime. This was GOOD - a wonderful, spicy chicken filling that left a nice burning sensation well after I was finished eating, accentuated by the red sauce and slight smattering of cheese on top. Even the beans and rice were a notch above the usual. My only quibble is that the chicken was just a tad bit overdone; other than that, I can't complain at all.

The interior is kinda' sparse, with smatterings of artwork, hanging pepper decorations and a map of Zacatecas. The hardwood tables and chairs reminded me of what you'd find at home in a small kitchen, right down to actual napkin holders and grocery-store style napkins.

They also bake all sorts of Mexican pastries and goodies every morning, so there's a selection of those available for your culinary enjoyment.

Other Quickie Reviews:
3-J's Oriental Store - This tiny store, in the same complex as Zacatecas, has a small steam table with a variety of Filipino menu items for sale for lunch. Today, I noticed dinuguan, menudo, pork adobo, and various fried fishes (tilapia and bangus, amongst others) for sale. Their pancit is good; you can order trays of that and the other various items in advance.

Peking Express - Your typical Americanized-Chinese takeout type place, like I had mentioned above in the K T Noodle review. With that said, the owners are pretty personable, the price ($4.75 for three items; it was $4.25 for the longest time) is budget-friendly, and the food quality is decent.

There are a few more places in the area that I want to explore, so this report isn't complete. However, I can say that so far, while there's nothing completely earth-shattering around this growing town, you don't have to resort to the local Safeway or Jack In The Box if you have the need to feed in AmCan.

(All businesses located in American Canyon except where noted)
K T Noodle
Canyon Plaza
3419 Broadway St. (Hwy 29)
(707) 557-2008

Parry's Market/Pizzeria
643 American Canyon Rd
(707) 554-4603

Panaderia Y Taqueria Zacatecas
(Rancho Square Complex)
5201 Sonoma Blvd, Ste. 3
Vallejo, CA
(707) 645-7459

3-J's Oriental Store
(Rancho Square Complex)
5201 Sonoma Blvd, Ste. 17
Vallejo, CA
(707) 648-2713

Peking Express
American Canyon Marketplace
101 American Canyon Rd
(707) 553-8800

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  1. Grinders ... Connecticut grinders ... you just hit my chow hot spot.

    Let's see, that Jarad guy lost weight eatig subway sandwiches. I suppose one grinder wouldn't hurt.

    Thanks for the great reports. I also appreciate the extra info about different things about places, like the mocajetes at the Valejo place.

    Great report. Must have grinder.

    5 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      There was a small lunch place a long time ago in the financial district of SF, owned by a New England couple (husband was a stock broker who showed up to help at lunch), that served grinders. I think they only had grinders. They were wonderful, and that's the last time I've encountered them. They made them to order and put each one in a small plastic bag, probably to keep all the juices and olive oil from running out. Do you know what goes into an authentic grinder? And what area(s) of the country have the real thing?

      1. re: Mick Ruthven

        I can only speak about my experience with Connecticut grinders. Eating a grinder at Parry's today refreshed my memory.

        There really is no classic formula. Often, a grinder was made on a big loaf of Italian bread and cut into large slices. It could be hot or cold. The hot versions have crispy crusts and are more likely to be on Italian rolls. Cold usually involves olive oil, cold cuts, roasted red peppers or some other type of Italian condiment.

        What elevated it was the large Italian population which had bakeries and genuine Italian delis with either cold cuts and roasted peppers from Italy or first generation Italians who could make great bread, salami and condiments.

        Given that, Parry's lacks the local ingrediants, due to availability ... real Italian bread (not big arond Napa) and a supply of Italian coldcuts. Still, it was good, if not great. I'll be back for the meatball which I suspect will be better than the Italian Combo (lots of cold cuts).

        The roll was nice and cripsy from being heated in the oven, the layer of coldcuts covered with melted cheese, topped with roasted red peppers, and some tomato and romaine. What would a hot cold cut grinder be without mayo. On the side were pickles and pepperoni wich I added to give it an extra kick.

        I was thinking about Connecticut grinders and how they are similar, in a sense, to California tortas wich are huge sandwiches unlike the Mexican version.

        The deal is, Latinos in the US like the local torta. It is a huge, filling lunch for a little money. That also was the roll of the Connecticut grinder which catered to the working class, mainly factory workers. It was a big filling lunch for little money.

        1. re: rworange

          *Cold usually involves olive oil, cold cuts, roasted red peppers or some other type of Italian condiment.*

          That describes the ones I remember from long ago in SF.

          *What would a hot cold cut grinder be without mayo.*

          Did it not have olive oil?

          1. re: Mick Ruthven

            Here you go. Your questions made me curious.


            1. re: rworange

              Thanks, that was very interesting. For the "Grinder (Connecticut, Midwest)" part, I'm from one part of the Midwest (Missouri) and I never hear the term "grinder" until the New England couple served them in downtown SF in the late 60's. But it was so good and left such a vivid memory I'm going to save a note about Parry's in American Canyon and stop by there sometime and get a grinder.

    2. I'd say thank heaven for small favors. A fast-growing California bedroom community is often nothing more than a breeding ground for that virus known as fast food chains, and you're lucky to have what you've found so far. I don't know the demographics of AmCan, but a critical mass of Chinese will bring decent Chinese food, and a critcal mass of Latinos will bring more decent Latino food. It sounds like American Canyon is on the curve, or even ahead of it.

      I don't think it's a negative that the noodle shop's owners speak less than ABC English. I also don't think I've ever seen a picture menu that had pictures of all the food, and it's not uncommon for the takeout menu to have only a subset of of the full menu.

      When I worked in Hong Kong one of my favorite lunch spots (a place called "Satay King") had a nice glossy English menu with pictures of some of the popular lunch sets, but I often got in trouble when I pointed to something on the menu not pictured, because most of the servers could not read English. I assume the KT Noodle people can at least read their own menu.

      Thanks for another great post.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Gary Soup

        Thanks for your comments, Gary. As for the English speaking, I do agree that it's not necessarily a negative, because a great experience and great food can easily overcome any language barriers.

        I just think in this case, it would help their business even more if they were at least able to communicate their dishes better, mainly because of the demographics of the area. AmCan is a highly caucasian area, and my impression is that most of the Asians here in the immediate area are Filipino (a spillover effect from nearby Vallejo) so there's not a huge ethnic Chinese base to rely on.

        As for the takeout menu, I do agree about that for most restaurants it is usually less detailed than the in-house menu. But in this instance, it's somewhat unique - some selections on the in-house photo menu simply have numbers that cross-reference with their corresponding item listing number on the takeout menu (one of which is found at each table), so you have to go back and forth to figure out what menu item a certain photo is visualizing. With that said, not all items on the takeout menu have photos in the photo menu (though I understand you probably don't need individual photos of each variety of congee, for example.)

        I do believe K T Noodle is a worthwhile alternative to the other Chinese place in town - I personally would like to see them stay around.

      2. You go girl! Your chow instincts have zero'd in on the best bets there. Having tried nearly every eating establishment in AmCan, I meant to post but didn't get around to it. Now that it's been at least a year since I last ate at any of them, I'll add some comments and hope that we can get an update from others.

        First the two spots in Vallejo - Zacatecas, I tried it shortly after it opened. At that time the baked goods were brought in from somewhere else, so good to hear that they're baking on premise now. I had a torta of some sort. The bread was good but the meat filling was just ok and kind of sparse. Not as good as I've had from the trucks, but decent. I liked the salsas. One of my friends who lives in Napa is a big fan of the place, says it's better than anything in the town of Napa, and insists that I should try it again. You've found one of the winning dishes, it sounds like.

        I'd not tried any of the cooked food from 3-J's. There was a business called Lechon King (roasted over mesquite, no less!) in that same shopping centerr, but it was never open. I called repeatedly and when someone finally answered the phone, I was told that it had switched to catering only and didn't serve lunch anymore. Is it still there?

        I've been to KT Noodle three times, again shortly after it opened. The soup noodles were fine, broth a bit weak. I was bummed that it had Napa cabbage instead of the baby bok choy shown in the photo. Pan-fried noodles were not as good. I was surprised that it offered congee (jook) and tried the chicken one. It had lovely creamy texture, the nuggets of chicken were slippery, smooth and not dried out at all, and a nice ginger-y punch to it. I got this as take-out and had taken a seat where I could see into the kitchen to watch it be prepared. The cook ladled out some into a small saucepan from a big cauldron --- beats me how they expected to sell that quantity of jook in this area. Anyway, he did it the right way gently poaching the chicken in the hot jook. I saw him taste it and then reach for the powdered chicken base can to add a little more flavor. But I was happy with it.

        When I was there, the woman who worked the cash register and took orders was the only one who spoke much English. I tried to speak to her and the male busser in Cantonese but they didn't understand me. Now, this might be my poor language skills, but I was suprised that they didn't respond in their own dialect, whatever that might be. I didn't hear them speak to each other, so don't know their origins.

        I'm glad you posted on the new Parry's. I drove by there two weeks ago and unfortunately was late to my appointment in Napa and didn't have time to check it out. Baked ziti! It sounds like you'll have fun trying more things from the menu.

        Now for a quick rundown of the other non-chain spots I've tried. I'll start from where Parry's is, heading north on Hwy 29, covering the east side of the road first. Some of these places might not be around any more, so check first.

        AC Pizzeria - average Calif. style pizza with lots of cheese and a bready crust, sauce was kind of tired. But it did have a nice green salad, very fresh and crispy greens, albeit with a packaged dressing.

        There's a card game room next up the road. Don't know if it serves food.

        Wine Country Deli - average sandwiches and goopy salads, best thing I had here was the roasted pork loin sandwich, prices are high for what you get. It seems like a place that depends on tour buses for business or tourists who see this as the first place they can pick up a picnic. Better food lies ahead, skip this one and keep going north.

        Strawberry field - the stand was open when I passed by two weeks ago. I was especially heartbroken to not have time to stop. See link below.

        Palby's - looks like it's still closed. I heard that the owner retired and then passed away shortly afterwards, sad story. The fried chicken was good.

        Lena's Tavern - on Napa Junction Road by the tracks. Owned by Lori Maples, former asst. mayor of AmCan. I liked it best when it first started serving lunch and Lori did the cooking herself. A burger on her homebaked bun was as good as it gets. But unfortunately, her staff and her mother who sometimes helps her out are not as good at timing and I've been disappointed since. The last time I was there, she had stopped making the buns, but they were still served on thick slices of her homemade bread, buttered and grilled until toasty. The meat quality had gone down, had freezer burn and was dried out. It might be worth getting another kind of sandwich or the special of the day just to check it out. Prices are very low. Skip the thick cut fries and ask for a side salad instead. Every time I went in there, Lori had changed something in the interior. Intalled bocce ball courts, then got rid of them and was raising llamas. I heard many a tale from the oldtimers at the bar about what a dive it had been before. For more about Lena's Tavern -

        La Strada - The first time I tried it was for lunch by myself. I don't remember what I ordered, some kind of pasta dish, but I sent it back because it was utterly tasteless. I went back three or four times as part of a group. It's hit and miss, and I tended to be the one who ordered the wrong thing. Avoid the pesto, also seafood. The minestrone soup can be good, and if you like a rich and creamy style of polenta, the version here is maxxed on butter and cheese.

        Hwy 29 Cafe - this looks cute and the daughters of the family who wait on you are as friendly as can be, but in four or five breakfasts and lunches here, I was never sold on the food. I've had soup of the day, steak sandwich, chef's salad, hamburger, pork chops, etc., basically everything that anyone recommended I try, and didn't think anything was that tasty. Huge portions, but a tinned and processed food flavor to most of it.

        Now, turning around and heading south on Hwy 29 -

        Rancho Grande - good taqueria, my favorite thing was the machaca and egg burrito, one of the few that uses real machaca.

        Broadway Market - have only poked my head in, the premade deli sandwiches looked so unappetizing, I moved on.

        Canyon Cafe - good burgers here, they grind their own chuck daily, good biscuits and gravy.

        Taqueria Rosita 2, aka TR2 - very popular lunch spot, lots of atmosphere with red velvet bordello-like decor with feathered lamp shades and piped in salsa music, good chips, mild but flavorful roasted tomato salsa, tried a carnitas chimichanga with rice and beans that was palatable but lacking soul.

        Rooster's Cafe - mostly a drive-through coffee place, but has some sandwiches, buys pastries from several bakeries in Napa, Sonoma and Petaluma for the best from each, worth a stop.

        That's all I can remember - felt good to let it out.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Hey Melanie! Thanks for doing a rundown on the stuff north of K T Noodle! Sounds like I'm not going to miss too much in places like La Strada (which I had heard only so-so things about) and the Wine Country Deli. I can give you some updates on the places you've reported/inquired about.

          Palby's is sort of in limbo right now - I suspect that the new Super Wal-Mart being constructed near there now might be having an effect on any future reopening and/or sale. Also, I just saw some wooden frames up today in the construction area that seemed like spaces where eateries can be setup. I'll definitely keep abreast of these situations.

          Lechon King is no more, at least in Rancho Square; a dollar discount store has taken its place.

          Speaking of Rancho Square, it has become a mini-Mexican-cuisine area of sorts. Along with Zacatecas, there's another Mexican restaurant (Los Jalos, which is about the third try at a Mexican restaurant in that space in the past four years; I have them slated for a visit sometime down the road) as well as a Mexican market (Vargas Market #3, which looks like it's expanding to a yet-to-be-built space in the same center on the corner of Sonoma Blvd. and Mini Drive.)

          Rooster's Cafe is also no more; it has been replaced by something called Pizza King. It opened and started taking orders for pizza a couple of weeks ago, though the "official" opening isn't until September. I saw an ad in a local weekly ad mailer saying that they'll be using "gourmet" ingredients (of course, I plan to see how special their pizza is soon.)

          Like you, I've also tried TR2, but only for takeout. Also like you, I found that my food (in this case, a carnitas burrito) had no soul. I think you can definitely do better with the places in Vallejo.

          Finally, I noticed the "You go girl!" exclamation at the beginning of your post. Just want to clarify - I'm a guy (but I understand - I've got one of those names where the gender isn't plainly obvious) :) :)

          1. re: JojoA

            Mr. JojoA, my apologies for the gender confusion! I appreciate the update - sounds like American Canyon is caught up in the pizza craze too.


          2. re: Melanie Wong

            Thanks for the heads up on this because I never would have found this on my own. I breezed by Palby's and took a right at the light, turning around I ran into the strawberry stand.

            Sad news, this is the last year at this location. The lady at the stand didn't have great English, so take this for what you will.

            There was a sign on the stand asking if anyone had 5 acres where they could plant their strawberries. From what I understand, they may have a location just up the dirt road from where they are currently located. There is some sort of water availabily problem. Somethng about seeing if the neighbors will lend them water. The name of the owner, I think was on the back of the stand. The name was Choua Saephan. But I guess the strwaberry stand next to Palby's is easier.

            Anyway, the point is the stand will be elsewhere next year, possibly close by.

            The strawberries at $1.50 a basket are still bite size. The are a little tart, acidic with a touch of sweetness. For another $1.50, they were selling big bags of cherry tomatoes of various sizes. These wer good too. Stunning onions and garlic were available. Shound have bought some.

            Thanks again.


          3. JoJoA, my man!

            You have a knack for finding great little places.

            I was after the grinder, but the pizza sign got to me. The place LOOKS like a NY Pizza joint down to the sign – “Pizza - $2.50 a slice.

            No kidding that was one large slice. For take out it was put in a small pizza box … and it barely fit. I went with plain. Each additional topping is 40 cents which is what brought your total up. I salute you for eating that slice with all the toppings. One slice is enough for two, IMO. It really has to be folded or eaten with two hands.

            There were big cans of Saporito Pizza Sauce, but I’m thinking the sauce gets doctored up. There was a nice fresh garlic flavor to the sauce. The crust is great, crackly crispy right out of the oven, it stayed crisp for the few hours it took me to finish the slice (really big, really. I’d eat until full and resume later).

            But let me clarify this is NOT a cracker crust pizza, just crispy. There was a nice bready quality to the outer crust, and it hit me that it tasted like nice fresh Italian bread. The chef, Piero was tossing dough on a floured counter. This REALLY looks like a NY pizzeria without ANY California influence. Not a designer take on the look either … genuine.

            Table had shakers of dried Italian oregano, parmesan, red pepper flakes and garlic salt. Next to the pizza sauce cans were big cans of 7/11 ground tomatoes.

            This isn’t your top of the line NY Pizza which Gioia emulates. This is your nothing fancy but very good and satisfying NY neighborhood joint.

            I can’t remember the last time I saw a clams casino pizza (clams onions, garlic, bacon)

            Other specialty pizzas include:

            Cosa Nostra – chunks of tomatoes, garlic, basil and just a hint of anchovy and hot pepper.

            Bianca – ricotta and mozzarella cheese topped with fresh tomatoes, no sauce.

            There’s no California nonsense here. No broccoli or blue cheese. Basic pizza toppings here – sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, salami, bacon, olives, anchovies, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes and fresh garlic. As wild as it gets are pineapple, chicken and jalapeños.

            The specialty ‘California’ pizza has ricotta, ham, pineapple, mozzarella and no sauce. What this has to do with California … I have no clue.

            There’s also Stromboli and calzones. Soup is pasta fagioli

            Besides the ziti mentioned there’s baked lasagna, ravioli and pasta. They can be ordered with meatballs and sausage. If this isn’t the classic red sauce place, I don’t know what is. Pasta is Barilla.

            Oh, and about that 33 inch monster pizza … It weights 10 pounds. Think of those little round boudoir tables you buy at Mervyns. It’s bigger.

            The monster pizza was the hook that the owner used at his Fairfield restaurant Tropeano Pizza. Piero came to Fairfield, CT and the Bronx by way of Tropeano, Italy where he was born.He seems partial to towns named Fairfield. He also had a restaurant at one time in Napa. There was an article about his old location on the wall. I mentioned I was from Waterbury, CT and was interested in the grinders. I would have read more of the article, but Piero called out “Miss Waterbury, your order is ready”.

            I’ll write about the grinder in response to another post in this tread. There’s a little article about the place in the link below.

            It is right off highway 29 at the American Canyon Road stop light. The yellow market can be seen from the light about 1/2 block away.

            They also have a take and bake option. Great Find, JojoA.

            Parry's Market/Pizzeria
            643 American Canyon Rd
            (707) 554-4603

            Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 10 pm
            Sunday: 12pm – 9 pm


            6 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              Thanks for filling in all the details, RW! I admit I had to order and run that day when I dropped by, so my time to talk and notice things was a bit limited.

              I've never been to NYC so I had nothing to compare it to in my mind, but something struck me about the place and the owner as being genuinely east coast (save for it being in a barn, of course.) I'm glad that this feeling I had was verified by someone who was in the know.

              I'm actually surprised I finished that slice - I generally don't stuff myself to that degree these days - but it was the first pizza slice I had had in two months, and I was going to enjoy every single bite of it that day :)

              If people are interested in dropping by, there may be some traffic issues as you get there in the near future - the city of AmCan is finally getting around to improving the traffic flow on American Canyon Rd (thank goodness!), a project which is due to finish up in the summer of '06.

              1. re: JojoA

                It was the same thing with me with the piece of pizza. I don't eat it that often and when I saw the size of the piece I planned on eating a bit and freezing the rest for future meals. Yet it was good and I kept working on it. I suspect this is really good pizza without the fanfare. In other words, a slice you can just enjoy without evaluating.

                1. re: rworange

                  Today I had my fantasy football draft in a league I've been in for quite awhile. There's always a potluck during the actual process of drafting, which provided the perfect excuse to bring along and sample a couple more items from Parry's - the baked ziti w/meatballs and the lasagna.

                  The conclusion: both of these items are simple solid-tasting, hearty stomach-filling fare. If you order the dinner-sized selections (from $10 - $12), you get bread and a salad, the latter of which is a step above what similar institutions would normally give you (the lunch-sized portion is roughly half the price and I assume half the size, and comes with bread only.)

                  The owner said the dinner-sized portions were meant for one person, but the baked ziti could easily feed three to four people; the lasagna came in a smaller portion, but was much denser than the ziti and could easily serve as dinner for two people.

                  Also, I guess I don't remember ever having lasagna before with eggs as one of the main ingredients - that proved to be a nice surprise taste-wise.

                  A side note to sports fans: the owner, along with articles and other items related to his past restaurants, has a ton of sports memorabilia on the walls (souvenirs, sport cards, posters, etc.), but most of it related to baseball, and specifically the SF Giants and Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda. From all appearances, the owner has a strong relationship with Mr. Cepeda, and Orlando's favorite pizzeria had been the owner's Fairfield restaurant before he sold it to move back to NYC. This proves to be a nice reading and viewing experience while you're waiting for your order to finish cooking.

                  1. re: JojoA

                    From my understanding, eggs in lasagna is a Southern Italy thing. Were they ground or sliced?

                    1. re: rworange

                      That's a good question - both my sister-in-law and I found fairly large egg-white chunks (roughly pinkie-nail-sized) in our lasagna. My educated guess is the egg was sliced rather than ground.

              2. re: rworange

                The meatball grinder is the one to get here – simple and delicious – housemade meatballs, red sauce, lots of melted mozzarella on a crispy roll hot from the oven. The half grinder not small.

                The stromboli is as long as a baquette, twice as wide, the pizza dough wrapped Danish-syle around a filling of ham, salami, pepperoni and mozzarella. A half pint of red sauce comes with it. I only used this for a taste as the stromboli was delicious enough naked.

                Cheese flowed from openings on both ends. True to its volcanic name each bite oozed cheese with the hot pepperoni adding extra fire to the molten center. There was a little oily sheen on the bottom of the stromboli.

                Some corrections to my last post. I had 15 minutes to read the article about the restaurant where Piero came up with the idea of the monster pizza. It turns out he is from Danbury and not Fairfield, Ct. He was born in Tropeani, Italy where, like Piero most families have the name Tropeano.

                Piero is not much of a talker. Didn’t get a good answer about calling a pizza with ricotta and pineapple a ‘Californian’ other than the ricotta is made in California and the next state over is Hawaii.

                I left the restaurant as Piero was stirring a huge pot of sauce with a large wooden paddle.