Last night, Pere and I met up with a couple of friends over at a local Italian place called Nellos for pizza and beers to celebrate my birthday. No fancy dinner planned this year as we just spent last weekend in Las Vegas.
Before I go any further, for those of you not familiar with Arizona, the pizza scene here is abysmal. I have yet to find a pizza place that even comes close to the plethora of neighborhood pizza shops we had back East. That said, of the places I've been, Nellos is one of the best. Nellos does pretty good wood fired, thin crust pizzas. They also do deep dish, although, I think that their thin crust pizzas are much better. I had a pint of Stone IPA to start the evening. Nellos has it on draft, which is one of the reasons I like going there.
We decided on three pizzas to split between the six of us. A deep dish Numero Uno topped with Nello's homemade sausage and mushrooms, a Thai Chicken thin crust, and a spinach and garlic thin crust pizza. The sausage on the Numero Uno was great, very flavorful with just the right amount of spiciness for the pizza. The crust was a bit mushy, which is my main complaint with Nello's deep dish.
I tried the Thai Chicken pizza next. As a frame of reference, consider that I think that my version of the Thai Chicken pizza is the best I've ever had, so you can take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt. Nello's version is ok. They use red onion on theirs which at times has been a bit overpowering, but not tonight. The red onion was well balanced with the chicken. They go pretty light on the peanut sauce, so overall, the pizza isn't as flavorful as it could be.
The spinach and garlic pizza was next. I really enjoyed the flavors in this one, although the crust was a bit softer than a thin crust like that should have been. The spinach wasn't overly watery (usually a result of using frozen spinach and not draining it well enough), and there was A LOT of garlic on the pizza, which I love.
I finished off my meal with another Stone IPA. All in all, it was a pretty good night made even better by the fact that I didn't have any dishes to do afterward, and someone else picked up the check (thanks guys)!