pizza + beer = the best grown up snack of all time. when i was a teenager, i remember thinking that my life would be so awesome when i could just kick it with my friends, a six pack and a piping hot 'za. unlike most adolescent fantasies about the coolness of being older, this one was actually right on! truly, nothing makes you feel like all is well in the world like a frothy mug of suds in one hand and a oozy slice in the other.
dock street brewery opened in west philly a couple years ago. i've been there quite a number of times, and overall, it's been a mixed bag. my complaints are usually aimed at the service (ranging from "just okay" to "seriously unacceptable") and not the hand crafted beers or the offerings of the menu. in fact, i've never had a bad beer there, and their vegan options, though limited, are consistently good. this past monday, though, was unarguably my favorite dock street experience yet. let's review:
it was a warm and easy monday. ryan and i both had the day off, and spent the first few hours of the afternoon cleaning the kitchen and shopping for groceries. most people despise grocery shopping, but i find it really soothing. anyway, off to a good start. but suddenly we realized that it was 4 p.m and we hadn't had a proper meal yet! even though our kitchen shelves were well stocked, we decided to treat ourselves to a late late lunch out on the town.
we chose dock street because ryan said he'd had a week-long itch for pizza that simply had to be scratched. oh, and because spring time afternoon beer drinking rules, too. an awfully pleasant bike ride later, we were cozily seated in the airy dining room of the brew pub. unlike so many of my other visits there, the place was nearly empty and it was a refreshing change from the normal overwhelming din and clatter. the lofty ceilings (which sometimes escalate said din to headache inducing wall-of-sound), let the afternoon light zip around, and the atmosphere was super relaxing. the server came over right away and she was sweet and attentive throughout our whole meal. even the decor and seating has come so far since the dock street first opened (intimate, low wooden tables and chairs banquettes where there used to be cold, metal, high top seating, and actual art on the walls instead of vast expanses of white!).
we each ordered beers: i got the rye ipa, which i have enjoyed many times before. ryan ordered the hop garden, and both beers were so delicious. dock street really nails their brews every time, which is to be expected, since they are all being made barely fifty feet from where we were sitting! "unfiltered and unpasturized," as they make a point of noting on the menu, these glasses were filled with pure, 7% - 9% righteousness:
while there is a specifically vegan pizza on the menu, i just wasn't in the mood for it that day. so i did something i've never done, and now i can't figure out why it took me so long. i ordered a non-vegan (but still vegetarian) pie off the menu, but asked for crumbled tofu instead of cheese. oh foolish me of the past - why didn't you think of this before? it changes everything. so what i got was the greek pizza: black olives, sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, toasted walnuts, tofu-instead-of-feta and hold the mozz, with a big old pile of salad greens on top! the greeks may have invented democracy and gay sex, but that all pales in comparison to the holiness of this pizza.
dock street's pizza is famous and for good reason. it's out of the brick oven and on your table in seconds, the toppings are always generous and fresh, and the crust is transcendentally thin in the middle and hearty and chewy at the edges. i ate the entire pizza (hey! it was the "small" one) and easily could have wrecked half of another. i find myself frequently griping about the lack of good food in my neighborhood, but i guess i need to shut my mouth, or rather, stuff it full of more pizza a la greek.