By Angele Sionna
If pizza and sandwiches had a baby – it would be the calzone… or its cousin the stromboli. The popular pizza alternatives are sometimes mistaken for each other as they’re so similar and delicious. Calzones are "a stuffed pizza that resembles a large turnover" that originated in Naples, Italy, according to the Epicurious.com food dictionary. Strombolis, on the other hand, they say, is a specialty of Philadelphia and is rolled to resemble a loaf as opposed to the calzones’ crescent-moon shape. Some insist that a calzone has ricotta whereas the stromboli does not. Whatever you want to call them – calzones and stromboli maximize the flavors of the ingredients in different ways then their pizza parents. Here’s a look at some of Flagstaff’s best…
New Jersey Pizza Company
2224 E Cedar #6
New Jersey Pizza Company has by far the best calzones in town. They are created with the freshest ingredients – which are mostly locally made/grown and organic- with flavors that pop to perfection with each bite. The calzones here come in two sizes – regular ($8) and large ($11). The regular is perfect for a filling lunch or dinner at about a foot long, 4 inches-ish wide and an inch or so thick. New Jersey’s calzones include mozzarella and reggiano cheeses and your choice of three ingredients. My suggestions: mushrooms, fresh tomatoes and ricotta fresca. It tastes fresh from the garden and the oven.
The sauce (which tastes like its made with just off the vine tomatoes) is served at room temperature on the side. That’s a little weird at first – but the taste blows you away. The ingredients are perfectly proportioned and delish!
119 W. Phoenix Ave and 2120 North 4th Street
As you’d expect from this popular pizzeria, Fratelli’s serves up calzones as good as their beloved pizza pies. They have several pre-designed “Giant Calzones” ($8.50) on their menu or you can create your own by putting together any 4 fillings plus mozzarella cheese. The Veggie – which has mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, artichoke hearts and mozzarella- and The Big H – with pepperoni, Italian sausage, meatballs, mushrooms and mozzarella- are the ones to get here. All come with Fratelli’s yum sauce on the side for dipping. That sauce is the key to the greatness of this dish… and they’ll even cook you a special calzone with the sauce inside as well as on the side if you’re like me and love it saucy.
1800 S. Milton Rd.
Roma serves up both “Gigantic Calzones” ($9.75) and “Gigantic Stromboli” ($9.75). Yes, those are their official names – and they’re fitting because these babies are huge and filled with toppings galore. The crust is light and airy and just the right amount to hold in all those ingredients. But this big of calzone needs a little more sauce on the side for optimum enjoyment and I’d like to see a little more cheese sneak inside there as well. You can order a calzone with up to four toppings plus mozzarella and sauce or pick one of their menu favs. Good options to try at Roma - the Three-Cheese Calzone or the more unique Pesto Calzone.
Dominic’s Italian Bistro
1850 N. Fort Valley Road
Dominic’s is the place to go in Flag if you’re feeling a stromboli calling your name. And true to definition they are indeed a long, thick rectangular loaf filled with the delight of a pizza inside. If you’re big on sauce, these strombolis ($8.95) are for you, as they’re filled with a nice helping of sauce inside along with the other fillings. The breading on these is more like that of a crusty Italian loaf then your traditional pizza dough, which really adds to the unique flavor. Here I recommend trying Dominic’s Favorite, which is stuffed with sausage, pepperoni, onion and bell peppers. Other choices include veggie or meatball strombolis or a 5 topping design your own option.
*Note: This article originally was published (and written by me for) Flagstaff Live!)