Friday, November 23, 2007

Zella's Pizza @ Hollins Market

The evening before Thanksgiving, Cat, Dog & I ventured over to Hollins market from our abodes in Pigtown. Despite some bad directions from Mapquest, we eventually made it over there. The Hollins Market area used to have some great restaurants like the Cultured Pearl, Tell Tale Hearth and Gypsy Cafe, but they're all gone now, and the site of GC has some odd bear sculpture on it. I had heard of a few new eateries opening in locations of old favourites, including the site of the former Tell-Tale Hearth. We decided to try Zella's Pizza, since we didn't want to have a heavy meal the night before the big pigout!

Zella's was nearly empty when we got there but filled later on with two groups and some guys from the local firehouse. We ordered some draft beers and Ensalata Caprice for starters. While this salad is better in summer when the tomatoes are real, it wasn't bad and the presentation was nice. You may remember that Cat & Dog are both chefs, so it's always interesting to hear their professional opinion (and it's also why I don't cook for them).

After a lot of discussion, we ordered 14" and a 10" pizzas. One had feta, spinach and onions on it and the other was a chicken pesto pizza. The pizzas were very good, hot from the oven and flavourful. In the professional opinion of my companions, the dough could be improved slightly by throwing a little sea salt onto the crust before the toppings were added.
During dinner, a group with a small boy came into the restaurant. A firetruck with its crew pulled up to get some dinner, and you could see the little boy was sooo excited. One of the firemen went over and asked the parents if the boy would like to see the engine. He carried the boy outside, put him in the driver's seat and turned on the flashing lights. Everyone was enchanted with this small, simple kindness that made a child very happy. During dinner, we also saw one of our local drug dealers, Tony the Pony, galloping by on his trusty little brown pony, Cash. (I inadvertently hired Tony to "entertain" at my Preakness Party before I found out he was a dealer!)

We got some desserts, a tiramisu and a cannoli, and coffees. I ordered decaf and Dog ordered regular. They brought his, but not mine, and upon questioning, the server said they don't really serve a lot of coffee and they serve no decaf. Dog's coffee had very clearly been sitting for a while, and was barely warm. The desserts are not house-made and you can tell.
All in all, we liked Zella's a lot and will order from them for carry-out as well as eat-in. The total for three, with beers included was $62.00, which is very reasonable! As we left, and I turned to take a photo, Zella's looked like an Edward Hopper painting, glowing in the dark.

PS... We went back on Saturday for lunch. They were having "issues" with the bathroom and it smelled SOOO bad, we had to move tables. There was also some wretched screaming child, and with the wood floors, brick and glass walls and tin ceiling, the noise just bounced around and was quite jarring.


Julie said...

I love the bit about the pony-riding drug dealer. Only in Baltimore...

Wonderful picture. It definitely has a Nighthawks at the Diner quality to it.

Anonymous said...

Just ate there and it was good. has a coupon. It's good for the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I love Zella's pies. I just moved to the area and so far they have not disappointed.