Sunday, April 24, 2011

Baltimore Pizza Club-in-Exile: People's Pizza

Baltimore Pizza Club-in-Exile
People’s Pizza
Cherry Hill, NJ

In recent months, pizza club has been haunted by the ghosts of pizzas past. Not necessarily our own past, but rather the past of the collective pizza unconscious. Apparently New Jersey is an epicenter of this pizza unconscious; I’ve been hearing mythic accounts of People’s Pizza, in Cherry Hill, for many years without ever verifying that it exists or is any good. In a highly unlikely coincidence, some Pizza Club members were driving through New Jersey this past weekend, right after I received yet another People’s Pizza tip from a friend and former Jersey-ite: “the best pizza in the known universe” was his daring claim.

After a long afternoon in the ivy-clad sepulcher of Princeton University, we were ready for some straight-up no-nonsense pizza. We were immediately impressed by People’s Pizza’s welcoming environment (lots of windows for watching cars go by), friendly employees (like, really friendly), and cool jams.

People’s has an extensive menu, with pizza-by-the-slice, specialty pies, and other exotic things that we sometimes couldn’t identify. We ordered a cheese pizza as a baseline, and then ventured into the eggplant primavera (fried eggplant, tomato, mozzarella, and white sauce).

We decided to order some garlic bites to tides us over as we waited for our pizzas to be cooked in the revolving oven. We thought why knot?

Perhaps it was the novel setting, but we felt like we were definitely getting something that is rare in Baltimore. The cheese pizza was thin-crusted and floppy, with very prominent, sweet-tangy tomato sauce. The crust was good around the edges, but too thin in the middle to balance the otherwise well-proportioned sauce and cheese. Oil was a problem for some, but a solution for others: “the oil makes the pizza just slide down my throat,” Dan reported.

The eggplant primavera was, in retrospect, an injudicious choice; it was just too much stuff on a pizza. The eggplant and mozzarella were fresh, but the fried eggplant slabs were overpowering - our group would have preferred thinner slices or strips as a topping. The white sauce fit well with this ensemble, however, as red sauce would have added a dissonant note.

To the claim that this is the best pizza in the universe, we rejoin that this is at least the best pizza in Cherry Hill. The service was an 8/8.

We gave the cheese pizza a 6/8
the eggplant received a 4.5/8

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