Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stephen's Taste Test: Stone Hearth Pizza Co.

When I recently visited Boston I had very little on my schedule.  Coming from New York City, Boston was a nice change of pace and I felt relaxed the minute I got off the bus at South Station.  At first I stayed in Allston, a neighborhood I know pretty well after having lived near there for two summers.  Since I had nothing to do, I found myself aimlessly wandering up and down Newbury Street, Commonwealth Ave., and Mass. Ave. pretty frequently while all my friends were at work.

After a few nights in Allston with Caro (read about our cooking adventures here), I went to stay with my friends Lyz and Chloe near the new(ish) Liberty Hotel.  I suppose it's not that new anymore... but it still feels new to me.  I hadn't been back to boston since graduating in May 2008, and it was wonderful to go back.  Fortunately, Lyz and Chloe live right down the Red Line from my alma mater so I made the obligatory stop at Tufts to check out what had changed.  It's strange that so little has changed -- it seems like everything would change in the two years since I had last seen the campus.

More importantly for you readers, I did a ton of gluten free eating while I was in Boston.  After leaving Tufts' hillside campus, I walked over to Kickass Cupcakes in nearby Davis Square.  I picked up a few cupcakes for my gracious hosts (and of course a gluten free one for myself!) and decided to slowly meander over Massachusetts Avenue towards Harvard Square.   Somehow I adjusted very quickly to the low temperatures of the northeast -- by the end of it I had myself believing that 35 and sunny was "warm"!

Regardless, I remember that Stone Hearth Pizza Co. had a location on Mass. Ave. that I was going to pass right by.  Although my partner in gluten free crime and fellow Jumbo, Alison, already wrote about Stone Hearth Pizza Co. (here), I decided to check it out for myself.

I was warmly greeted when I entered the small restaurant.  I asked about the gluten free options available and was told that, in a recent change, every pizza can now be made gluten free.  Even better, my waitress offered to let me try two different flavors on one crust!  I was sadly alone since my friends are all gainfully employed (my loss) but the waitress did me a big favor by offering me that option.

When the pizza was served shortly thereafter, I was pleasantly surprised by its size.  It was the perfect size for one person and I was able to walk out of the restaurant with leftovers.  Half of my pizza was "The Bean" flavor (garlic oil, white bean spread, fresh mozzarella, topped with a spinach/pesto salad -- I ordered it without onions) and the other half was "Chicken Pesto" (sauce, cheese, Bell & Evans oven roasted chicken, goat cheese and dollops of house-made pesto).

 The flavors were wonderful!  The crust was very crunchy but there was definitely a hint of sweetness.  Overall, Stone Hearth's crust was one of my favorites, even though I normally don't think thin crusts like this one.  The crust really complemented the flavors on top of the crust which themselves were terrific.  The two flavors I chose really popped off the crust.  Overall, the pizza was amazing and I was certainly sad to have to leave the restaurant.

Of course, I didn't leave the restaurant until I sampled their gluten free dessert!  Luckily I saved a few slices for dinner so I was more than ready to try one of Stone Hearth's gluten free peanut butter cookies.

I was definitely not disappointed.  The peanut butter cookie came warmed up and practically melted in my mouth.  One of the best parts of this particular dessert was the price -- $1.25!  Can you believe it?  I was shocked when I saw that on the bill.  Only $1.25 for a delicious gluten free cookie?  Amazing!

All in all, Stone Hearth definitely earned a place on my Boston gluten free to do for the next time I visit.  The pizza was wonderful, the dessert was great, and the service was excellent.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -

1782 Mass Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140 (Map)
57 Leonard Street
Belmont, MA 02478 (Map)
974 Great Plain Ave.
Needham, MA 02492 (Map)

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