Disappointment #1: Iggies Pizza
So today, since Iggies is almost literally ten paces from my job, I decided to investigate what all of the clammer over their pizza was about. I viewed their menu online but was not forewarned about the price. Suffice to say, I was startled reading how much I'd have to invest in a standard 8" cheese pizza. But it was easy to see why; Iggies seems to be all about adding a "trendy" upscale spin on an otherwise blue collar meal. I've been to these types of places before and they usually pale in comparison to honest, family owned and neighborhood driven counterparts, especially in the arena of pizza. Anyway, I coughed up $8.50+ tax for an 8" Quattro Formaggi which had obviously spent a smidge too much time in the oven. That may have been the culprit, but I doubt it could explain the sad looking pie. What was supposed to be roasted garlic tasted more like they spread a garlic paste under the cheese, and it overwhelmed the pizza along with the taste of burnt embers. The use of cheese was stingy, at best. For the same amount, I could have bought at least 6 Mama Celeste pizzas from Shoppers and been outstandlingly satisfied. Same size, better value.
Disappointment #2: Blue Moon Cafe
You know, it seems like most places that are raved about in local papers and spoken highly of on AOL City Guide I have a bad experience with. Such was the case at Blue Moon. It could possibly have been the wrong day, or maybe the alignment of the celestial bodies, but I probably won't be going back for a redemptive meal. First of all, eating here is a tight squeeze. Now, I had the unfortunate experience of getting here by 10am on a Sunday, so anyone who's been here can imagine the wait that had already formed. I waited in the cold, in my car, and in the cold again for at least 25 minutes before my name was called. OK, I can excuse that; business is good. Anyway, I am finally seated with my guest and, being the caring and concerned male that I am, I chose the less comfortable of our seating options at the table: the chair next to the door. Mind you, it's a blustery morning outside, so not only did I have to constantly move my chair up for incoming patrons, but I'd also get a nice shot of cold air down my back every time the door was opened. Whatever, I excused this also and chalked it up as part of the experience. Besides, we hadn't eaten yet.
One thing that had already irked me was the unfulfilled hopes of fresh squeezed orange juice that had been a raved about item in the City Guide. It was only 10:30 am and they already ran out, so I had to settle for an iced tea. The major disappointment came when I decided to order a Western Omelette to find that they did not offer American cheese. What? A menu offering omelettes and you don't have American cheese? What kind of establishment is this?!! Needless to say, that was the final and deciding blow. I'd much rather have gone to either of the Double T diners and probably would have saved a couple of dollars as well. City Guide and City Paper let me down on this one, but the experience was educational nonetheless.
Disappointment #3: The Real Thing
Not such a surprise, I'd mainly fault this establishment with not delivering on the expectations of such a bold name. The "Real Thing" was a real disappointment in many ways but, to its merit, was not unlike any other Baltimore cheesesteak (this is a sub shop, by the way). The bread was a little better than the usual flimsy, could-substitute-as-hotdog-roll type of bread that I've experienced. The true test of structural fortitude for any cheesesteak is whether or not it can survive a "to go" trip. My sandwich barely made it home, and within a couple of bites it was ready to collapse on itself, which it eventually did and I wound up eating the rest with a spoon and fork. Not a good experience. I'm from South Jersey, so my cheesesteak expectations are a bit high, and on that note, the Real Thing does not deliver anything beyond the usual Baltimore sub. Next time I'll suck it up for the 45 minute trip to South Street Steaks in College Park for a much better attempt at the "real thing".
Edit: To their credit, though, The Real Thing did not provide nearly as bad an experience as the overly hyped Captain Harvey's. Ugghhh, who keeps suggesting this place? Not only was I served meat from a heaping pile that must have been sitting on a grill for hours, when I got the sandwich home (a 20 minute drive), it was a mangled mess and the cheese wasn't even melted. And to think, I spent $9 on that mess of a sandwich.