Mellow Mushroom

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

 

If there is one constant in this ever changing world it is that pretty much everyone likes pizza in some form or fashion. This is evident by the giant frozen pizza section in your local grocery store or by the fact that you cant hardly drive down a commercial street without seeing at least one pizza place. While I enjoy making my own pizza at home I also enjoy going out to a restaurant and getting a really great pizza from time to time. I discovered a great little place that makes excellent pizza a while back on a trip up to Austin TX and then found it again while on a trip to Fl. I was happy to see that it was a small franchise and doing well but was disappointed that they did not have a location in San Antonio. Well I found out recently that is no longer the case and a new location has in fact opened up here in SA. This of course made me very happy and got me out to the north side of the city near Stone Oak just off of 1604 to check out the latest location of the Mellow Mushroom.

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Walking in the door I saw that this newest location was a little bit nicer than the two I had been in before, not that those were bad by any means but you could definitely tell that this was a brand new restaraunt. It still has the same quirkiness of the older locations and even has a statue of the Mellow Mushroom mascot out front (a giant mushroom holding a slice of pizza). The inside is set up nicely with booths along the outer walls and plenty of tables in the middle that are nicely spaced and not crammed together. They also have an outside patio area for those that like to eat outside during the warmer months of the year and for those of you that love beer, you will not be disappointed with the selections at the bar. Throughout the restaurant are flat screen TV’s showing the latest games going on and they have music playing in the background to keep the mood upbeat.

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Now when it comes down to the food they have a nice selection of “munchies”, calzones, hoagies and even salads but the real draw for me is the pizza. They have a number of playfully named pizzas such as the Kosmic Karma, Mighty Meaty, Magical Mystery Tour, or Bayou Bleu to name a few.  You can also choose to build your own if you have kids that don’t like a lot of toppings with you.

This trip I opted to start out with the bruschetta which is pretty amazing. They take a great garlic toast and top it with fresh tomatoes and basil and the drizzle it with olive oil and a balsamic glaze. The combination of these ingredients comes together wonderfully and will hold you over until your pizza gets to the table.

I only mention this because it does take a little time to get your pizza. It is called “Mellow” Mushroom after all. So don’t expect to run in for a quick bite. Sit back and relax and enjoy yourself. The pizza is well worth the wait.

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This brings me to the pizza. I ordered the Mighty Meaty. As you can guess this is a pizza loaded with meat and not just any meat but the best of the best. It has Pepperoni, Sausage, Beef, Ham and Applewood smoked bacon. Mmmm… Bacon… The crust on this pizza is one of my favorites and is one of the few crusts I actually eat at the end of a slice. Usually crust is too doughy and flavorless and ends up pushed to the side when the cheese and toppings are all gone but this one is nice and crunchy and is coated with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkle. The sauce is very flavorful but not overpowering and does not taste liked a generic canned sauce like a lot of pizza places tend to taste. All in all it is one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten and without a doubt plan to eat again.

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Overall I really enjoyed the Mellow Mushroom and will be going back in the near future. It is a quirky little pizza joint with a great atmosphere and great food. So the next time you are in the mood for pizza and want to get out for a nice dining experience go and check them out. You wont be disappointed. They are starting to pop up more and more with quite a few locations in the south east.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

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The Perfect Cuban Sandwich

One thing I have enjoyed for many years is a good Cuban sandwich. Growing up in Florida I have had my fair share of Cuban sandwiches good and bad and even skirting bizarre. I will have to tell you about the meatloaf Cuban sometime.

When I moved to Texas I realized that there was a shortage of Cuban restaurants and not many places offered a really good Cuban sandwich, or at least not a traditional one. There are a few things that go into making a Cuban sandwich great and without those I don’t think it can truly be called a Cuban. First is the bread;  A Cuban is made with a hard crust Cuban bread or you can use a good French bread which is essentially the same thing, just make sure it is a hard crust bread. An 8 to 10 inch piece will make a filling sandwich. Second is the mustard and pickles, it’s just not a Cuban without mustard and pickles and I mean dill pickles not those vile sweet things people try and pass off as pickles. When I make a Cuban I don’t go for the fancy mustard, I grab the French’s plain ole yellow mustard. For me this just brings out the flavor of the meat. Which brings me to the filling for the sandwich. For it to be a great Cuban sandwich it must use two meats, a good thin sliced roasted pork and a thin sliced ham are the traditional choices and to compliment it you need to add a couple of slices of Swiss cheese. If you want it to be a great Cuban you need the Swiss cheese. Now the last thing to make a great Cuban sandwich is that it has to be pressed flat. Some restaurants seem to miss this step and to them I say “shame on you”. You need to press the sandwich in a hot pan on both sides or even in something like a panini press but however you do it flatten it and get it toasty on the outside or its not worth the effort.

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So lets get into making this glorious creation.

Ingredients

3 to 4 slices of Boars Head Black Forest Ham (sliced thin)

3 to 4 slices of roasted pork (sliced thin)

French’s yellow mustard

French Bread (8 to 10 inch loaf)

Garlic Powder

Dill pickles sliced (about 6 slices)

Swiss cheese (two slices)

Assembly

First cut the end off of the French bread at a slight diagonal and then slice it in half down the center so that there is a top and bottom for your bun. Now spread a nice amount of mustard on the inside of both halves and then lay out the meat slices, ham first then pork. Now cover with the cheese and then pickles and then put the top half of the bun on.

Now take a large pan that will fit your sandwich and give it a nice coating of cooking spray and heat to medium high heat. Sprinkle in  a little garlic powder while it is heating up. Once the pan has heated up put the sandwich in and let it start to toast. While it is toasting you will want to use either a spatula or a smaller pan to press it as flat as you can. After it has toasted for a couple of minutes take it out and spray a little more cooking spray and add a little more garlic powder and do the same thing to the other side of the sandwich. You will know it is done when you see the cheese start to melt a little.

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Now remove the sandwich, cut it in half and enjoy. You may add things to your sandwich if you want,  I have even been known to put a little mayo on from time to time or even a few grilled onions to change it up a bit, but never ever remove anything if you want it to truly taste like a Cuban Sandwich. I think if you follow these instructions that you will end up being just as big a fan of the Cuban sandwich as I am.

Enjoy and thanks for reading,

JMW