Baltimore: Iggies

Thanksgiving Day started kinda grungy.  I came out of the bathroom to find Nana ranting about the disgusting state of the kitchen while scrubbing down every reachable surface.  Sadly, she wasn't exaggerating.  I didn't have a kitchen back in my undergrad dorm days, but now I'm glad I was never exposed to all the drama that comes with it.  Mysteriously missing eggs, moldy surprises waiting to be discovered, month-old containers of suspicious liquid hidden in the abyss of the fridge, stray pots holding what might skeptically have once been edible...UGH.

Just thinking about the horrors of that kitchen still gives me chills.

We cleaned what we could and then got to cooking.  From that point on, everything was heavenly.  Never underestimate the morale boost a clean kitchen can bring.

Nana, who suffered a six hour bus ride from hell to join us for Thanksgiving, handled all the cooking.  While she did send my sister a grocery list that we took care of before she arrived, Nana somehow managed to lug not only turkey, but also potatoes, avocados, tomatoes, onions, challah bread, canned corn, caned cranberry sauce, tortillas, mayo, salt, pepper, ground cinnamon, cookies, kitchen utensils, AND a box of ziplock bags with her all the way from New York.  Oh, and festive napkins and paper plates too.  She's certifiably insane.  I love that girl.

With our groceries combined, Nana was able to concoct a late night carne asada fries dinner on Wednesday, an all day Thanksgiving feast of turkey flautas with cranberry sauce, cup-a cup-a cup-a bread (I would die for these), and three kinds of mashed potato tacos (also to die for), and then a brunch consisting of challah french toast, scrambled eggs with veggies, and potatoes on Friday.  Whew!

To give Nana a much deserved break, after some halfhearted Black Friday shopping, we met up with the two East Coast representatives of the Chang Gang for dinner at Iggies:


A good friend of mine in Chicago recommended that I check out Woodberry Kitchen and Iggies while I was in Baltimore.  Unfortunately, you need to make reservations for Woodberry a few weeks in advance, but hey, one out of two isn't bad.

Iggies is an interesting mix of gourmet pizzas and casual dining:


You take your pick from the chalkboard menu, place your order at the counter, find a table, and then wait for your name to be called.

We decided to start off with two pizzas.  This is the Diavola:


It was topped with spicy sausage, tomato ragu, mozzarella, fontina, parmigiana, asiago, black olives, and hot peppers.  It already had a slight kick to it, but the Changs dumped heaps of hot pepper flakes (they actually unscrewed the lid of the shaker) onto their slices and still claimed it wasn't spicy enough.

The pizza of the month was too much for mushroom lovers like my sister and myself to resist:


I couldn't for the life of me remember for what it was called or exactly what was on it.  Complete fail as a food blogger, I know.  I could, however, recall with exact detail the meatiness of the mushroom medley, the richness of the cheese, and the fragrance of the oil.  

Luckily, I have a little sister who is apparently a better Internet researcher than I am.  Somehow, she was able to dig out Iggies' November pizza of the month notice.  So thanks to her, I can now tell you that the pizza was called Selvaggio and it was topped with four different kinds of mushroom (beech white, royal trumpet, maitake, and cremini), roasted garlic, mozzarella, gorgonzola, and rosemary oil.  Just listing the ingredients is making me salivate...

Two pizzas turned out to be not enough for the five of us, so Nana went and ordered the Alice:


Basil pesto, mozzarella, fresh tomato, garlic spinach, goat cheese, and parmigiana...I never knew a pizza could taste so light and refreshing.  Even with all the cheese.

Great crust, quality toppings, all in all, a damn good pizza place.  If I lived in Balitmore, I would definitely be knocking on Iggies' door at least once a month.

Good food aside, the most enjoyable part of the meal was hands down playing mind games with the Changs.  They tried to sneak some money into my bag, but were ratted out by Nana.  With the battle lines drawn, the rest of the meal was spent trying to sneak the cash into each other's bag or hood or pocket, trying to find the hidden money, and then getting it back to the enemy ninja-style.  Only Chinese people would like this game.  (Nana is an honorary Chinese.)

In the end, we took the money.  But the nervous twitching and the incredulous expressions on the Changs' faces every time we convinced them that we'd given it back (when it was actually still in my pocket)?  Priceless.

While Iggies was probably the tensest meal the Changs have ever had, it was by far the most fun I've had in quite a long while.  So thank you, P and J Chang.  You made my night.

And thank you, Katie for recommending Iggies!


Iggies
818 N Calvert St
Baltimore, MD 21264
(410) 528-0818
http://www.iggiespizza.com/

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