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Isabella's Brick Oven Pizza and Panini

Photo: , License: N/A, Created: 2011:06:29 20:27:22

Isabella’s Brick Oven Pizza and Panini

221 S. High St., (410) 962-8888,

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Next time you want to skip the heat of cooking but aren’t up for grilling, stop by this Italian carryout in Little Italy for some delicious pizza cooked in wood-burning ovens, just like Gwyneth Paltrow does it (except not in her garden and not in London). Stocked with lovely Italian groceries—dried pastas, candies, interesting sodas—and serving brick-oven sandwiches too, Isabella’s does have a seat or two for dining in, but this summer evening we had packing to do at home so we sat outside and people-watched while three small and tasty pies baked for us. The crust was substantial yet still airy and nicely chewy, made with good olive oil, and topped with a slightly sweet and very fresh-tasting sauce and mozzarella. The King Richard ($14.99) came with chunks of handmade meatballs, herbed sausage, pepperoni, and slivers of ham; the quality toppings offered bright flavors—think the opposite of “meat lovers.”  The garden pizza ($13.99) came with grilled eggplant, artichoke hearts, and marinated mushrooms—less common pizza veggies, and a welcome break from canned black olive slices. A dovetail of the two, and our favorite, was the pizza Pavion ($14.99) with spicy soppressata and rapini (otherwise known as broccoli rabe and incredibly hard to cook right based on personal experience). The combination of the peppery greens and rich sausage along with slices of garlic was a pure delight.

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