What is so nice about staying in a new city for a few weeks is that you start to weed out the restaurants a bit, you talk to people, become (just a little) a local. We’re finding casual lunch spots that are absolutely superb, that we probably would have missed out on if we were only visiting for a few days.
One of these such spots, Mellow Mushroom, was recommended to us by our friend Cris, and is a regional chain in the Southeast. There is definitely a relaxed, laid back, and funky vibe to this quirky pizza place, and the food was fantastic.
To start we ordered a half order of fresh pretzels, with garlic oil and parmesan. It turned out they simply made pretzel shapes with their pizza dough, baked them, then brushed on garlic oil and gave ‘em a good shake of parmesan cheese. Simple, but super delicious. Like garlic knots or breadsticks, but way cooler when in the shape of a pretzel. We’ll definitely be making these when we get home!
We shared a small Kosmic Karma pizza, which was topped with marinara, mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, roma tomatoes, feta, with a swirl of pesto. This pizza was terrific. The toppings worked wonderfully together, and we both loved the chew and flavor of the crust.
Plus, you can’t really go too wrong with a place with lime green tiles and murals of cartoon greats in the bathrooms!
One of our other favorite lunches was from Zunzi’s Express, on York Street. It is a carry-out only spot (typically with a line out the door), but they have some cafe tables beside their building, so we grabbed a few chairs and ate right there.
We split The Godfather sandwich (that picture is just of half of it!), which was ridiculously good and definitely substantial enough to share (though I think we each could have polished one off it was so delicious!). A delicious soft french loaf is stuffed with lettuce, tomato, grilled chicken, smoked sausage, and topped with the most delicious sauces. We pretty much just said “Yes” when they asked us if we wanted their sauces on it. No idea exactly what they were! We’ll definitely be going back and splitting one more of these in the coming week.