In my house, Thursday night is date night. A night where my husband and I leave the animals at home and spend time together. This, of course, generally involves food. Thought I’d start writing about the third love of my life – food.

Tonight we went to Coal Fire Pizza, a small chain in Maryland.

We started with the Sweet & Hot Pepper Calamari. Like most calamari it’s breaded and fried. Unlike most calamari, Coal Fire tosses their calamari in a light sauce with a mix of sweet and hot peppers. The calamari soaks in the sauce and takes on the flavors of the sweet and hot peppers. This dish was executed beautifully. The calamari itself was cooked perfectly and was not chewy at all. The sauce. Don’t even get me started. Sweet and spicy. Amazingly light. It didn’t make the calamari soggy at all. And the dish bit me back gently. Absolutely fabulous.

Next we moved onto the pizza. I mean, they have other food there, but their claim to fame is the pizza, so sign me up.

Our waitress explained that Coal Fire offers a choice of three sauces for the pizza. Classic, which is a traditional tomato sauce. Their signature sauce, which is sweetened with honey. Then they have the spicy. This is sweetened like the signature sauce, but with a kick. Given our choice of appetizer, you can probably guess we picked the spicy sauce. We ordered our spicy sauce pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms.

The pizza is pretty incredible. The crust is very thin and crispy just the way I like it. The coal fire they use to bake the pizza leaves a sexy, smoky flavor in the crust. As we all know, pepperoni can be greasy. There’s no helping this. The nice thing is, the crust did not get sogged down with nasty grease. It stayed crispy throughout the entire meal. The toppings were generous without being overpowering. The cheese was great. They make their mozzarella on site every day and slice it instead of shredding. It’s not too thick, not too stringy, not at all greasy (outside of the pepperoni, which as pepperoni goes was very flavorful and not as greasy as other places). The spicy sauce? Not spicy. Very flavorful and a little sweet (I usually don’t like sweet sauces but I did like Coal Fire’s), but not spicy. I’m glad we have leftovers because it’ll be a great lunch tomorrow.

I’ll definitely be returning to Coal Fire. If you live in Maryland, see if you can find one. There are only three locations at this time, but they are opening a fourth. If you don’t live in Maryland…Come visit. 😀

Breakdown for the evening:
Food: A

Overall experience: B. The food and initial beverages came out quickly. The waitress gave good descriptions of the food and knew her way around the menu. Refills were slow to arrive (my glass was empty for a good 5-10 minutes and the place wasn’t that busy) and the waitresses don’t bus the tables throughout the meal. I don’t want the empty appetizer plate and empty beverage glasses on the table with me while I’m eating. Personal preference.

{August 18, 2011}