“Best Stromboli you ever have!” reads the catchy caption at the top of Amore Pizzeria’s menu. That wouldn’t have been hard — I’d never had a Stromboli before entering Amore, which opened last month across the street from National Taiwan University on Xinhai Road. But after one bite of the fragrant, moist and meaty concoction that was presented to me 10 minutes after ordering, I was glad I had ordered it.
And there’s more to Amore. “Best pizza in town!” boasts a sign out front — fightin’ words. But they aren’t merely hyperbole. The homemade dough was rolled and baked into a crust that was just the right thickness, slightly crispy around the crimping and underneath, and chewy everywhere else. Mozzarella and a homemade sauce, infused with Italian herbs, covered the pie.
Amore Pizzeria’s space is plain — so plain that one could easily confuse it, as I initially did, for just another cheap knock-off pizza joint playing off guileless university students wanting a quick bite. Brown is the color of choice here: brown booths, brown tables, brown chairs and brown stools running along a brown bar. A few framed pictures — Michelangelo’s David, a caprese salad — break up the monotony.
Photo: Noah Buchan, Taipei Times
Though the decor is drab, Amore’s amiable owner, James Chen (陳建堂), knows what he’s doing. Having learned to cook Italian food in the early 1980s in New Jersey from an old Italian who ran six restaurants, Chen spent the past three decades perfecting what he does best: pizza.
He shuttered his three New Jersey shops in 2008 following the financial downturn, returned to Taipei after a 30-year hiatus and found the pizza here was not to his liking. “What is this ketchup and sugar?” he says.
Chen uses extra-virgin olive oil in his dough (which he blesses, Catholic style, before quartering it off and rolling it up) and in his Caesar salad dressing (which had a rich anchovy and caper finish). He makes the sausage and meatballs himself from scratch — again, learned from the New Jersey Italian — as he does the pasta sauces.
Stromboli is a turnover pizza similar to a calzone, but its dough is thicker. Chen said calzones are often made with ricotta, whereas Stromboli are made with mozzarella. The base is a vegetarian combination of onion, green pepper, tomato sauce and cheese, to which I added pepperoni and sausage (NT$320).
First, a warning: The Stromboli comes to the table piping hot and doesn’t cool off for quite a while, which can be dangerous. Generous slices of slightly spicy pepperoni and peppery sausage were evenly placed throughout the inside, so that a meaty morsel was found in every bite of bread.
Amore’s 12-inch supreme pizza (NT$480) earns its moniker. I haven’t seen so many toppings — sausage, meatball, pepperoni, green pepper and onion — for a long time. It may be possible that there are too many toppings. A rare case of too much of a good thing.
Earlier this month, Vice President William Lai (賴清德) was elected unopposed to the chairmanship of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). As the chair, Lai is now the presumptive presidential candidate for next year’s election. Even as he became chairman, the global media was sending out signals about the coming fight we face to redefine Lai. As he accepted his new role, he made a statement on independence. He said that he “pragmatically considers Taiwan as already a sovereign, independent country, therefore there is no need for a separate declaration of Taiwanese independence.” This calm statement, DPP boilerplate now for over
When Sunny thinks back to March last year, she laughs ruefully at the ordeal. The 19-year-old Shanghai student spent that month locked in her dormitory, unable to shop for essentials or wash clothes, even banned from showering for two weeks over COVID fears. In April, the entire city locked down. It was the beginning of the chaos of 2022, as local Chinese authorities desperately tried to follow President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) zero-COVID decree while facing the most transmissible strain of the virus yet: Omicron. “Everyone was panicking, no one was ready,” she tells the Observer. By the end of the year, zero-COVID
It’s January, the month of new year’s resolutions and other doomed efforts at self-improvement. And what better way to make more of one’s life than rising earlier to seize the day? At least that’s what the voice in my head says as I hit the snooze alarm for the 10th time at 9:30am. Then it’s time to get up, racked with guilt at my laziness, as if sleeping in were some kind of ethical lapse. It’s not, of course. People’s sleep/wake cycles are inherently varied, and if you, too, are a late to bed, late to rise person, you’re simply a night
A green-hued comet that has been lurking in the night sky for months is expected to be the most visible to stargazers this week as it gradually passes Earth for the first time in about 50,000 years. The cosmic visitor will swing by our planet at a distance of about 42.5 million kilometers. Here is an explanation of comets in general and this one in particular. WHAT IS A COMET? Nicknamed “dirty snowballs” by astronomers, comets are balls of ice, dust and rocks that typically hail from the ring of icy material called the Oort cloud at our solar system’s outer edge. One known