The experience

Dr. Mom suggested a few places before leaving for work this evening.  After picking up Mina from kindergarten, I let her choose.  She chose pizza at The Shire.  That would be Scalini’s.  Sounded quick and easy and I was eager to redeem ourselves after the pizza experience at Fireside Pies last week and out to save a little dough after our Mignon experience.  So after picking up Benji we were off for pizza night.

Scalini's Pizza & Pasta

We arrived at the Shire and headed inside.  The have a cute little patio but Mina was having none of it since she was choosing everything this evening apparently. The sign said seat yourself so, again, Mina chose a table.  She opted for the 4 top next to the large mural of the Italian countryside.  Benji enjoyed the “lalos” (flowers) in the painting.  Mina felt we needed a picture of the mural for our blog so she took a picture. First she had to scoot all the way across the dining room to make sure she could get the whole thing.  

Benji and mural; photo by Mina

She then decided to make some artwork of her own with the available items on the table seeing as even Ms. Mina forgot the coloring supplies this evening.  The waiter was quick to arrive and we ordered drinks and the Toasted Cheese Ravioli. I was going to go for the Special Garlic Toast with cheese, but it was Ms. Choosie’s night.  The drinks and the appetizer came out right away and Benji was very excited about that.

Table art by Mina

We dug into the ravioli.  Mina was half eating, half paying attention to the princess who sat at the table next to us.  She was disappointed she did not bring a crown like this little girl.  She noted she would have to finish cleaning her “Special Place” when we got home so she could find one.  Mommy will love to hear this.  Benji enjoyed dipping the ravioli in the marinara and sucking it off.  He apparently does not enjoy the texture of ricotta.  Every time some got into his mouth he would spit it out.  I could hear the princess say, “The baby’s spitting” each time he did.

The waiter came for our order.  Mina had already chosen meatball, pepperoni and pineapple pizza.  I got pineapple on half and sun-dried tomatoes and green olives on the other.  I went for the medium.  I also go a Dinner Salad to start.  I overhead the princess order a kid size cheese pizza.  I didn’t see it on the menu but we didn’t have the need for a kids menu this evening.  My salad and some drink refills arrived shortly. Mina’s next choice was a bathroom break.  I didn’t note any changing tables in the men’s restroom but Mina could reach all the necessary items to go the the restroom herself.  I went back to the table with Benji. On the way I noticed so garlic chili sauce on the counter.  The kind you usual see at an Asian restaurant. My inner chili-head grabbed a container.  The princess was amazed Mina was going by herself when we returned without her.  The pizza arrived just as I returned as well.  I dished out some to Benji as Mina returned to begin eating herself.

Pineapple bliss

Benji quickly decided he’d only be eating the pineapples tonight so the next visit by the waiter, I asked for a bowl of pineapple.  When he returned with it, he was greeted with a loud “WOOOOOW” from Benji.  Mina was eating her’s quite well and was pleased with her choices this evening.  I was pleased by my choice of chili sauce.  Suprisingly tasty combination.  I usually do tabasco or red pepper flakes.  This was a nice change of pace.  As we were finishing up, the princess was busy talking about Benji making a mess and generally babbling all dinner long.  Her parents we busy telling her everyone starts out as a baby, etc when Benji pointed at her and said, “Baby!”  The princesses parents were greatly amused.  The princess not so much.

Mina the waitress

Mina the waitress

I coaxed Mina into eating her last few bites by offering Spumoni for dessert.  More wows from Benji when that came and he quickly handed me his pizza plate to make room for ice cream.  At first, Mina just wanted the pink kind but she quickly decided the rest was tasty.  Benji, on the other hand, quickly decided he didn’t like the small pistachio pieces in the the green kind and more spitting ensued as well as more commentary from the princess.  Mina was loving it and pulled the plate over to her side of the table.  There would be none of this if mommy was eating dessert with us.  She said it tasted like “a cotton candy rainbow”.  It was devoured in short order while Benji was using his melted spumoni as “dip-dip” for his remaining pineapples.  I paid up and asked for numerous additional napkins to clean Benji and we made a quick exit.  Mina chose to take the picture of the facade on the way out.

Spumoni Dip Dip


The food

Toasted RavioliPizzaPretty tasty stuff.  They have a wide array of pizza toppings as well as numerous Italian dishes to choose from.  The dough was nicely soft and not too thick.  The sun-dried tomatoes were excellent; very sweet. The pizza had fennel, in the meatballs I believe, which would please my parent to hear.  They swear the reason the pizza at the original Campisi’s is better is because they still use fennel.  Mina’s choice of meatball and pepperoni was quite good.  Even the pineapples were quite good; ask Benji.  The dinner salad was a near clone of the salad at Campisi’s though the dressing was not quite as good, nor were the green olives.  The toasted ravioli wasn’t bad.  Mina enjoyed it, though at $8, I don’t know that I’d order it again. The marinara is quite good here, too.  Again, not Campisi’s, but definitely superior to Fireside Pies.  The spumoni was very tasty.  It came as a slice of ice cream pie, sans crust.  It has tasty pieces of pistachio and tasted, well, like “rainbow cotton candy”.

Spumoni AKA Rainbow Cotton Candy

Rainbow Cotton Candy

The service

The service was spot on this evening.  Quick to take orders and very attentive.  The drinks remained full and the food came out at just the right time.  A+.  The other tables were well served from what I saw as well.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying their dining experience.

The kids

This is pizza so you probably can’t go wrong.  There was no official kids menu that I saw, but the medium was perfect to share.  We probably could have shared it even if Grace was with us.  A large would have definitely been too much.  That being said, bring your own entertainment unless you child can entertain themselves by making artwork out of forks and artificial sweeteners like ours.  The meal pace is quick though and both our kids and the princess had no problems behaving at dinner.  I don’t think you’ll have any problems.  And the kid’s cheese pizza is only $5.

The rest

While looking up the website for Scalini’s, I came to the realization that this is the same place in lakewood that our friends Ashish and Reina (of Sushi Zushi fame) introduced us to quite some time ago.  Who knew?  I guess the name should have given it away but apparently it didn’t stick with me.  I recall enjoying the meal there quite a bit as well.  The Lakewood Scalini’s location has been around for 21 years.

Total Cost: $34.42

Guidelive’s brief “review”

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