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Posted on Apr 25, 2014 in Featured, Food + Dining

On the Menu: Dine the Blue Highway — it’s far more than just pizza

Story By Adam Hunt

Photography By Chris Redd

Blue Highway Pizzeria has a motto, “Eat well, live well” and to a guy like me, those are words to live by. Those are also the words of the great Native American author William Least Heat-Moons. He wrote an American classic titled “Blue Highways: A Journey into America”. Moons’ body of work is considered to be a masterpiece of back-roads traveling in America and happens to be the Pizzeria’s namesake.

Blue Highway dishes up their pizza in two traditional styles (Thin Crust & Sicilian). The Thin Crust pie is crispy and hand crafted in the old fashioned Neapolitan way. While the Sicilian is a thick crust pan pizza, that requires a longer cooking time for maximum flavor. But as an added bonus, you can get both styles of crust Gluten-Free. Now everyone can enjoy their tasty travels on the Blue Highway. Their pizzas start as hand tossed dough, with select chooses of chesses and tomato sauces; which are all made in house. There are also Vegan sauces available upon request.

As far as toppings go, Blue Highway is more than just your normal fork in the road. There are more than 30 toppings to select from. You can take your pick of fresh crisp veggies like banana peppers, green peppers, basil and black olives. And for the carnivores out there, you have your cuts of genoa salami, ham, bacon and italian sausage. The combinations are endless. But Blue Highway is far more than just pizza.

Around every winding bend and looping curve you can find a dish to wet your appetite. The first on my journey was the Meatballs al Forno, a dish of house meatballs, fresh marinara and asiago cheese. It was served alongside the Blue Highway Salad, a mix of organic garden greens, ripe grape tomatoes, red onions, kalamata olives and toasted pecans.  The flavor of my salad was enhanced by a sweet and tangy Balsamic Vinaigrette; which is one of their many house dressings. Blue Highway offers a Creamy Gorgonzola, a Buttermilk Ranch, Lemon Vinaigrette and the classic Caesar.

These dressings can be applied to the many wonderful salad creations on the Blue Highway menu. Salads like the Micanopy Tossed Salad, a medley of fresh greens, grape tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and red onions. Or something more exotic like the Tuscan Bean Salad, with white cannellini beans, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red onions, olives, fresh spinach, feta and lemon vinaigrette.

The second dish on my road to pizzeria Heaven was a Blue Highway specialty, the Carne Comb. Its a thin slice of perfectly blended meat and cheeses. It is topped was pepperoni, sausage, genoa salami, with mozzarella, parmesan and romano cheeses. And if that doesn’t satisfy your taste-buds, try the Rustica, a finely crafted pie topped fresh parmesan, romano, aged mozzarella cheese, roasted eggplant, garlic, kalamata olives and capers. But if you want walk on the wild-side try the Funghi, a Portabella, mozzarella and Shiitake mushroom pizza, garnished with fancy white & oyster mushrooms in a white wine cream sauce, kissed with hints of fontina and parsley.

Then came the Pastas! The lovely Layla suggested we try the Pappardelle Bolognese, a wide flat pasta covered in a creamy ragu Bolognese. It was by far one of the finest pastas I have ever tasted. I also sampled a uniquely shaped pasta full of character and taste – the Orecchiette. This fine dish is made with sausage & broccolie and is a disk shaped pasta, with steamed broccoli, sweet Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and basil. A fun fact about this pasta is the name. The word “Orecchiette” in Italian means “little ears” and taste explosions from this dish will leave your ears ringing.

Blue Highway also offers an array of sandwiches. The classic Roast Turkey Club, with bacon, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes and roasted garlic aioli served on a fresh baked roll. Or how about The Highway? This sandwich is stuffed with roast beef, caramelized red onions, Vermont white cheddar and a tangy horseradish sauce. All of the sandwiches at Blue Highway are made from Boar’s Head meats & cheeses set atop a house-made bread andserved with butter pickles and a side of Highway chips or Tuscan fries.

Blue also has a one kind flatbread sandwich known as the Piadine. The Piadine is a fresh flatbread pulled from the oven and topped with cool salad mixture of spring greens and your choice of house dressings and meats – turkey, chicken, tuscan bean, parma or lamb.

Now on to the desserts. Blue Highway dishes up a chocolate lovers delight. The Ultimate To Die For Brownie, is a mash-up of freshly baked chocolate peacan brownies, topped with ice cream and a rich chocolate sauce. But the star of the show was a spin on a down south Floridian favorite. Their  Key Lime Tart, a mini version of the Key Lime pie, crowned with a lightly whipped cloud of cream and rested in the arms of delicious house-made graham cracker crust. After the first fork filled bite, I leaned over to Frank and insisted that their tart was the finest Key Lime confection in the City! And I’ve had my share of Key Lime.

As I stated before, Blue Highway Pizzeria is far more just pizza. It is a roadmap to your next culinary destination. It’s dotted with scenic vistas of salads, soups and sandwiches. Or you could pit-stop and climb hilly slopes of the “Small Plate” selections of Blue Highways menu. Maybe even get folded in the valleys of the Piadine flatbreads? No matter what road you decide to travel, I’m sure your trip will be unforgettable.

If You Go:

Locations:

Blue Highway as three locations, in Ocala on 2130 East Sliver Springs Blvd, Micanopy on 204 NE US Hwy 441, and Tioga Town Center 13005 SW 1st Road in Newberry.

Great discounts:

Double point Mondays (see Blue Highway menu for details). Take-out Tuesdays (25% off pizza and calzones (available for take-out only). Family Wednesdays, Kids 12 and under eat half off on the Bambino menu (with the purchase of one regular menu item). Wine down Thursdays ($10.00 off any bottle of wine).

Check out this great recipe from Blue Highway: Key Lime Tarts