E2 = Excellent Eats

Editor’s Note: Since March of 2011, long-time Timbergrove resident Lorraine Cherry wrote neighborhood restaurant reviews under the headline of E2 = Excellent Eats. Following her death in November, Timbergrove resident Jonathan Nassar has stepped up to continue the popular column.

By Jonathan Nassar

I want to take a moment to acknowledge the work, care, and love that Lorraine put into this column, The Timbergram, and the neighborhood. I am sure the little I know of her was only a drop in the bucket. Excellent Eats continues and, with it, I hope to do as she did: to tell you about some of my favorite restaurants around the ever-changing Timbergrove area. I don't eat at fancy or 'happening' places all the time, but I like to give most any place a chance. My taste tends to be open to various kinds of food as long as it's prepared well. I was born and raised in the Houston area, and really enjoy the diversity the city has to offer.

That’s Amore

The area has a lot of new pizza places in the past couple of years, and it can be hard to keep track of them all. I tried to come up with a list of places in our area, and stopped past fifteen. So let's just focus on a couple new ones that I really like, and that are relatively new to the area.

Luna Pizzeria is a casual, family friendly pizza place located on the west side of Yale, just south of I-10, in the strip center in front of Walmart. When you enter, follow the left wall to the front to order, get your number, and they'll bring the food to your table. Aside from pizza, they offer some sandwiches and great salads. It's a Barnaby's restaurant, so expect the same fresh, no-frills quality from the food. The topping options are mostly what you would expect from any pizza place, with some extra cured meat options (think mortadella and prosciutto). The salad is generously sized and comes with big shavings of parmesan cheese. As an extra-local bonus, Luna gets their pizza dough from Angela's Oven in the Heights. My family finds the warm cookie a tough dessert to turn down. The place is meant to be fairly kid friendly - there isn't much space for a kid to move around, but there are board games, card games, blocks, and a free-play arcade. And, fathers: the men's restroom even has a changing table.

Just around the corner from there is Pi Pizza, located on Heights Blvd, also just south of I-10. Here, expect a completely different sort of pizza. Pi Pizza used to be a food truck, that worked and saved to afford a brick-and-mortar location. If you like your pizza without frills, with a focus on simple flavors - this isn't the place for you. Pi Pizza is known for doing things differently. My first pizza here was called the Outdoorsman - it had venison sausage and cherries soaked in port wine syrup. This is where you can get a breakfast-flavored pizza, a saag paneer-flavored pizza, and a mac and cheese-flavored pizza. Pi also offers a selection of appetizers, sandwiches, and salads - it's all very good. I love to start with the fried cauliflower, which come with a side of buffalo sauce, or sometimes my family will just split a big salad. Pi also likes to tout their specialty cocktails and adult frozen drinks, so you might imagine this place is marginally less kid friendly (not that it’s kid-unfriendly either).

There are, of course, several other new places in the area, but if I covered them all I’d be writing about pizza for the whole year. Personally, I know the next pizza place I want to try is Gelazzi - the gelato place, which has frozen take-home Chicago-style pizzas. Yet another style to try!