Fastino’s by Saggio’s – Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
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Published on: June 27, 2010

A while back a friend of mine and I were driving down Juan Tabo, an unusual event as, at the time, neither one of us lived near that part of town anymore.  Much to our surprise we drove past what I can only call an eyesore of a building which used to be Popeye’s Chicken.  Being a minor fan of Popeye’s and now having one less opportunity to drive by and think, nah, not in the mood today, I was appalled by the brightly colored and tacky paint job on the building.  Only one solution, I took that moment to refuse to ever enter and/or support the business, with a name like “Fastino’s,” I’m not going to miss anything.

Then the other day, my mom asked me, “Hey, have you heard of that Fastino’s place?  They are ALWAYS busy every time I drive by, are you going to review it?”  So this afternoon I went to Fastino’s for dinner.

Front

The mural on the wall looked familiar, then I noticed something on the sign I hadn’t noticed before, “Fastino’s by Saggio’s.”  Saggio’s?  Really?  I like Saggio’s.  Ok, there is hope.  Their menu is interesting, pizza of course, but also Cajun Lobster Ravioli, Veal Saltimboca, salads and wrapped breakfast sandwiches.  A list of desserts and I’ve completely forgotten about the tacky exterior, or I would have if not for the tacky interior, but lets not judge a restaurant by it’s painter (a little late, but I am back-tracking here).

Pizza and pastaPizza at a pizza place, it’s got to be good.  I’m a fan of Saggio’s, so I order the pizza and sure enough, if you remember Nunzios or have been to Saggios down by UNM, and liked it, you will like this place.  The price is certainly right, at a slice of pizza, Tuscano Pasta Salad and a large soda for 6 bucks, you could easily get two meals out of it.   The crust on the pizza is soft on the inside, but nice and crispy on the outside, a little doughy, a little crunchy, the pizza that I think of when I think of pizza.

The pasta salad is not your standard pasta salad and I am happy about that.  Perfectly al dente penne coated in a mix of olive oil, garlic, parmesan and herbs.  Cold and tossed with ripe tomatoes and broccoli and this is a bowl of flavor and texture that I can be completely happy with.

This was not the only thing on the menu I ordered.  I had to try the meatball baguette as well.  Most of the sandwiches are more of a Meatball2breakfast type loaf of bread with a stuffing in the middle.  This one has meatballs and mozzarella, baked inside a baguette type loaf and served with a side of sauce.   The flavor was good, though slightly undercooked, the dough was a little raw on the inside edges.  I only ate half so I could bring the rest home and solve the problem in my own oven.  The sauce is a a nice smooth marinara with a strong tomato flavor, just of enough spice.

The place is locally owned and operated.  A wide selection of options means you will be able to find something, even if you are a picky eater, like myself.  A list of desserts from Canoli to cheesecake will also satisfy the sweettooth.  Mine was solved earlier at a different place, but that review is coming next week.  Ziti

Oh yeah, the portions are quite large too.  My GF had the baked ziti, again perfectly cooked pasta mixed with a sauce made of marinara and a ricotta mixture was quite good, if you like ricotta.

This place advertises itself as a fast food Italian place and the description fits.  This is an order at the counter kinda place and certainly has a fast food vibe.  With the prices and the good quality of the food, it’s a little easier to ignore the decor and is certainly a good choice for a good slice of pizza.

Fastino's on Urbanspoon


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Pizza 9 – 4000 Louisiana BLVD NE Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
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Published on: March 31, 2010

There are dozens of Pizza places in Albuquerque, so how do you pick which place to go?  Come on over to Food Tasted and I’ll let you know which places deserve your well earned cash!  Today we start with Pizza 9, a local franchise that specializes in “Chicago Style Pizza.”  

StorefrontI’ve never been to Chicago so I can’t claim to be an expert.  I have, however, ordered pizza from Lou Malnati’s before and Pizza 9 is no Lou Malnati’s.  There are several places that serve this kind of “deep dish” pizza, which is just to say a special thick crust cooked in a heavy layer of oil, including Pizza the Hut.  That may not sound the most appetizing, but it’s actually quite good and makes a very crispy bottom, fluffy bready interior.  Don’t go there thinking Chicago Deep Dish, just go thinking, pretty damn good pizza and you won’t be disappointed. 

My mom loves the sausage, which, having been to Chicago before, I have to take her word that the sausage keeps up the tradition of a true Chicago native.  Today, I didn’t get a pizza, I got a pizza roll.  9” of their finest deep dish dough, covered in toppings, in my case pepperoni, and then rolled up like a burrito.  Coated in a sprinkle black sesame seed topping, and baked until GBD (Gold Brown and Delicious).  Flavor flavor flavor.  From the bread to the pepperoni, you damn near can taste the sound of the crunch. 

Pizza RollThe roll comes with a side of ranch and even if you don’t dip your pizza in ranch normally (I’m a dipper), it really makes a huge difference.  The cheese is melty and hot, even after the drive home and round of pictures to make sure I get just the right image for you, my loyal readers. 

The pizza roll is loaded with tons of flavor, even it it’s not entirely a traditional pizza flavor.  The tomato sauce is simple and tasty. The last time I ordered a pizza from this place, I ate half the thing on the way home, while driving.  It helps that I was STARVING, but it’s a pretty damn good pizza. 

CheesecakeNot in the mood for a rolled up pizza? Not in the mood for “Chicago-Style” deep dish pizza? Fear not my friends, you are in luck!  They have thin crust, calzones, gourmet pizzas, sandwiches, spaghetti and more.  One offering which I was advised to try, but have yet to head is the Combo, a Beef and Sausage pizza with Au Jus, maybe next time.  The desserts are pretty standard for a pizza place, chocolate cake is usually on the menu as is Tiramisu and Cheesecake.  It’s a nice soft style cheesecake, but certainly not made in store, still good though.  

All in all, I am happy to have this local Pizza place nearby.  This is not your high end pizza, but especially for the price, the pizza roll hits the craving every single time.  Though it may not be the best pizza in Albuquerque, but a great takeout option that beats most of the chain stores any day.  (this location has no seating, other than the picnic tables outside, shown above). 


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Boston’s Gourmet Pizza – I-25 and Jefferson Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
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Comments: 3 Comments
Published on: March 27, 2010

Storefront

A short while back a good friend of mine was talking about a dessert she had recently discovered, and made the claim it was the best dessert she’s ever had.  Having been invited by her to a different place for lunch, I sat there appalled and disappointed that there was no dessert waiting for me at the end that day.  Fortunately, today had a different outcome, we decided to go to Boston’s. 

Located just North of I-25 and Jefferson, it’s convenient for anyone passing through town, and familiar spot as this chain is located all over the country. 

The place is filled with jars like the ones they often make in magazines, for a cheap gift to give a friend around Christmas.   I wonder if the jars were at any point edible because I am sure they are long past that point.  I do enjoy the food related decor, rather than the random unrelated junk most places have.  jars

Dessert time.  I order this thing called the Boston’s Hot Brandy Cream Pie.  Ok, so this just isn’t fair to begin with, Boston Cream Pie is one of my favorite desserts, OF COURSE I have to give this a try.  The picture is eloquent, perfectly drizzled with a stream of chocolate, the slice of cake sitting on it’s side and perfectly clean.  That’s not what I got, but I am glad for what I got.   

DessertFirst off, it looks like twice the normal portion I was supposed to be given.  I’m Ok with that.  Not being on it’s side, the chocolate on top is what got slightly carmelized and oozy goozy.  I’m Ok with that too.  You can’t see it in the picture, but on the back side of the cake, the chocolate that had melted and oozed behind turned into this thick fudgy syrup.  The butter brandy sauce in the front, is, in a word, amazing.  I could get a glass full of this stuff and it still wouldn’t be enough.  The cake around the edge is slightly dry and crispy from being put through the oven, so it soaks up the sauce like a thirsty fish.  I’m sad to say that sauce disappeared WAY too quickly.  I was about halfway through by the time it was gone, and I had realized it was going fast so I was going easy on it.  So I guess maybe with a normal sized piece it might have lasted.

This cake didn’t last.  I was down to the last few bites when the thought ran through my head, maybe I should order another one?  Yes, it’s THAT good.  I don’t want to know how many calories it contains and I highly suggest you don’t look it up either.  Go to the gym and just stay there for a few hours, it will all work itself out in the end. 

As I was going through the pictures I had taken, I saw one that I completely forgot about. Oh, that’s right,  I ordered lunch before I had dessert.   That dessert pushed all thoughts of this underwhelming Fooddish out of my mind.  It was off of their Healthy menu, except for the sweet potato fries, I was supposed to get rice, but seriously, which would YOU choose?  If you are trying to lose weight, like I am supposed to be, don’t bother with Boston’s.  Their Pizza (which I didn’t have today) is good, especially their Ultimate Pepperoni.  But the healthy side, the veggies were undercooked (I like them crunchy, just not THAT crunchy), the sweet potato fries are good, but like most places, their sweet potatoes grow in a frozen brown paper bag.  The chicken was dry and though it did have a grilled flavor, that was about all it had. 

If you are going to go to Boston’s, get the pizza or pasta.  With a TON of excellent choices on their menu, the Healthy choices offered on the last page.  All in all, you don’t pick this place for the heart healthy tastes.  They also have a bar, so if you just want to go have a drink, hang out with friends and maybe snack on some great bar food, they’ll have something for everyone, well, almost everyone. 


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