The Brick pizzaria: loaded with toppings on a perfect crust

Some say that pizza is pizza and from one standpoint that is truism. Pizza is almost universally satisfying whether it is served hot out of the furnace of a brick oven, cold from a box from the previous night, gourmet from a pizza kitchen or frozen from Tony’s. But, it really isn’t true in the sense that pizza runs the gamut in quality and the experience can vary greatly from place to another. Whether you like a traditional pizza with a thicker crust, a fold-in-half thin NY style, a layered deep dish Chicago style or some of the more modern offerings, each style has it’s own character and appeals to different tastes.

The Brick Whole
The Cannibal is the Brick’s version of a meat lover. Photo by Doug Deal.

I am somewhat picky when it comes to pizza, although I do have a high tolerance even if I don’t find it great.  However, when I find a place that does it well, I can’t wait to go back. The Brick is one of those that I would definitely rate above and beyond your average pizza parlor.

The first thing I noticed that was a cut above was their crust. A good crust is crucial for a good pizza experience. If it is not cooked correctly or if the dough is overworked, the resultant crust takes a lot away from a pizza, especially if it is too chewy, too dry or under-cooked.

The Brick Slice
The Brick prepared our pizza with a nice thick, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside crust. It is a little lighter on sauce, but loaded with toppings. Photo by Doug Deal.

Lately, I have been into the thinner NY variety, but the crust at The Brick is a more traditional and thus thicker crust. Unlike fast food or delivery pizza, this pie showed no sign of chewiness, sogginess or dryness.  One of the least pleasurable experiences when eating pizza is when the crust is like a glob of gum that ends up making your jaw sore from the effort. The Brick does it right, as the crust comes apart with each nibble, yet remains firm. The outside has a nice crispiness, but the inside still stays soft.  Even with the mother load of toppings that come with a specialty pie that can leave the middle still slightly undone, their crust was perfect.

The Brick Inside
The Brick is decorated like an old mill, with gears around the bar and shafts running the length of the dining room. Photo by Doug Deal.

Sauce was applied lightly on our pizza, even though I usually like more than average. I am sure this can be rectified with a simple request on a future visit. Still, it wasn’t lacking in flavor. Although the cheese was just a simple mozzarella, it was provided in ample quantity and it held together the carnivorous work of art named the “Cannibal”. This pie came topped with large chunks of baked chicken, beef, pepperoni and Italian sausage, leaving no room for vegetables, the stuff I am told real food eats. The toppings were so plentiful that even the stiffer thick crust was unable to take the strain and folded under the their weight while it was hot. It required the use of a knife and fork until the pizza cooled.  Usually, my family of four could easily finish off a 14 inch pizza, but this one got the best of us and we took 2 of the 8 slices home in a box.  All of this fed for people (two kids) for $16.95.

For sides, we kept it simple and ordered a Caesar salad. The salad was nothing special, boilerplate Caesar, but the lettuce was crisp and the dressing was good and fed 2 adults for $6.95. As always it accompanied pizza very well, but you are there for the pizza, not a Caesar.

The Brick Machine Shop
Closeup of the gears that hang above the bar. Even though the building is new, one can imagine an old saw mill or machine shop had once existed here. Photo by Doug Deal.

The atmosphere was provided by an old saw mill motif that gave you the impression that the newly built building was an old factory. Above the bar were rotary gears and rods spanning the length of the room. There were also a bit of weathered metallic adornments to complete the look.

In the back of the restaurant was a stage that was unused at the time, but looks like it would be perfect for a band or karaoke on wilder nights. Service was very good and you got the feel they wanted your business.

Overall, The Brick provided an enjoyable dinner out for a family of four. Not only was the food good, but the value was excellent as we played half of what we usually pay to take my family out to dinner.

The restaurant stated in Milledgeville in 1983, and they just opened their second location here in Macon at 1305 Hardeman Avenue. The restaurant is open 7 days a week, with hours of 11 AM to 10 PM Monday-Saturday and Noon to 9 PM on Sunday. They also offer a bar with hours that extend later into the night.

More information can be had at their website and their menu is online.

Enjoy planes and Pokémon at the Museum of Aviation

Sometimes when you live close to a museum, attraction or anything that might appeal to a tourist or visitor, it is easy to lose appreciation for it.

Museum Of Aviation Sign
Entrance to the Museum of Aviation. Photo by Doug Deal.

Although I have lived in Middle Georgia for almost 12 years, I have not been to the Museum of Aviation in 5 years. After hearing the rumors of Pokémon being spotted there, my eight year old son and I decided to visit one weekend.

Saving the hunt for Pokémon for later, we first experienced what the museum had to offer in the form of planes and aviation history. Upon arrival, the first thing you see are two cruise missiles along the perimeter fence. These landmarks help you spot the coming entrance to the museum when headed South. Once inside the gate, you can see a large number of human piloted planes outside around the core museum buildings. For those who don’t want to walk, you can see all of the outside planes by driving the circle around grounds.

The A-10 is a legendary close ground support aircraft built around a 30mm Gatling Gun and is as rugged as a flying tank. Photo by Doug Deal.

Right in front of the main entrance to the main building is a B1-B Lancer. The sleek variable swept wing strategic bomber was designed to be a long range supersonic cruising speed bomber to cope with the vulnerabilities of the workhorse B-52 Stratofortress (also on site).  Lancers have 4 turbofan jet engines and are capable of flying at Mach 1.25 (25 percent faster than the speed of sound), but normally operates at close but below Mach 1 under normal conditions. Although not an exceptionally large plane, you get a real feel for the size of bomber aircraft right away. It is a beautiful plane and although conceived in the 60 and designed in the 70s, it looks as modern as any newer aircraft.

Across the driveway is the bone white A-10 Thunderbolt II, better known as the Warthog for its unique porcine appearance. Although the size and general shape of a fighter, it is really a close air support plane designed to engage ground based targets rather than air superiority missions like dog-fighting and escorting bombers or cargo planes. What really sets the A-10 apart is that instead of it being a plane with a mounted weapon, it is a weapon with a mounted plane.

Gatling Gun
The A-10 is built around this 7 barrel 30mm hydraulic machine gun. It can fire at 4,200 rpm and is mounted so that the active barrel (9 o’clock) is aligned down the middle of the aircraft to prevent the recoil from altering its flight. Phot by Doug Deal.

The entire platform was designed to carry a General Electric GAU-8A Avenger 30mm (1.2 inches) Gatling gun. Protruding conspicuously out of the nose of the plane, this 7 barrel hydraulic rotary cannon can fire at 4,200 rpm and is so powerful that the recoil can drastically affect the plane’s flight. Because of this, the gun is mounted off center so that the firing barrel (9 o’clock position, or to the left as facing the front of the plane) is dead center. The eliminates the tendency for the gun to pull the plane left or right while firing and instead will slow it down.  When first designed, the exhaust from the gun was so plentiful that it could choke the engines and cause it to flame-out.

The B-52 is an impressive strategic bomber and can be found outside around the Museum.

Because of the dangers associated with close air support, the plane is built like a flying tank. The Warthog is extremely tough and is designed to be able to return to base with one engine, half a wing and half the tail missing. It can also survive direct hits from armor piercing and explosive shells up to 23 mm. The unit cost for this tough monster was under $20 million each while the Lancer was over $200 million.

Around the grounds are a number of other planes, such as the B-52, mentioned earlier, ECN-135N Stratotanker, F-106 Delta Dart, C-130E Hercules helicopter, and a number of other trainers, cargo, fighter and spy planes that any fan of aircraft would recognize. One could write a novel length article on the details of each one. The trip of discovering to walk to each plane is well worth it in knowledge as well as exercise. I would recommend doing so in the earlier part of the day before it gets to hot or to wait until Summer is over. It is around outdoor exhibits planes that one will find Pokemon and Pokestops by the barrel. More on that later.

Century of Flight Building
The Century of flight building has helicopters, fighters, an ICBM and is the home of a SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. It also can be booked for events. Photo by Doug Deal.

Inside the buildings or “hangers” are additional exhibits of mostly smaller aircraft. One such building, the Century of Flight hangar is home to the SR-71 Blackbird. This rare and storied reconnaissance plane holds the record for the fastest air-breathing conventional jet aircraft ever built. Capable of flying at 3 times the speed of sound, it could get in an over a reconnaissance target and be gone before coming under attack by defending fighters.

Also in the hangar are several other historic and interesting aircraft. One is a replica of the Epps Flyer hanging from the ceiling near the second floor entrance to the hall.  The contrast between this plane and the more modern ones in the hall is stark. A technological marvel in it’s day, the Wright Flyer looks more like a child’s balsa wood toy than one of the highly technological computer controlled aircraft of today.

Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit
In Hangar 3, you can see a number of historic exhibits, including on the Tuskegee Airmen. Photo by Doug Deal.

In Hangar 3, you’ll find more planes as well as a couple of must see exhibits. One is the Tuskegee Airmen display, which has scenes depicting the training as well as flight operation of the air group. There is also a display of the uniform and a recreation of a mission board with looping recordings playing to give you the feeling of being there. There is also a mock-up of the living quarters provided to these men.

Wright Flyer Recreation
A re-creation of the Epps Flyer hangs from the ceiling of the Century of Flight building. Photo by Doug Deal.

The other must see exhibit is the paratrooper exhibit. Inside is a peeled back shell of the tiny aircraft used to drop troopers deep behind enemy lines. Also, there is a loads of information about the hardships, tough training and impossible missions faced by the paratroopers who were a big reason for the success of D-Day. One account is of the Battle of Graignes. There, a group of 182 American soldiers held back a division of 2,000 advancing German SS troops in the middle of marshes and flooded fields. This two-day delay to the reinforcement of German coastal defenders was key in expanding from the invasion from the beaches and allowed the American liberators to take and hold Carentan, a battle depicted in great detail in the Band of Brother’s series.

The B-29 Superfortress was the model of plane that dropped the two atomic bombs during World War II. The exhibit at the Aviation Museum shows one being loaded by an implosion type Mark VI bomb. Photo by Doug Deal.

Besides these historical displays and exhibits, the Museum also has a number of educational opportunities for children. Starbase Robins is a hands on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program for students in local public and private schools. The program emphasizes teamwork and communication in every day life as well as setting and achieving goals. More information can be obtained from their website or by calling 478-926-1769.

Pokemon Players
Pokémon players congregate in the shade of a small tree as they battle for dominance over a gym. Photo by Doug Deal.

Being the second largest Air Force aviation museum in the country, it is difficult to describe everything available to see or do and the facility has enough to offer for multiple trips, even if to just take advantage of the exercise, as my son and I experienced in our search for Pokemon.

The museum even has posters encouraging combining the popular game with tours of the sites. As it turns out, nearly each outdoor exhibit has in-game significance. Most of the planes and monuments serve as anchor points for Pokestops, but also there are a couple of gyms that museum patrons can battle each other over while walking among the planes. With so many sources of items, a quick trip and walk at the Aviation museum can easily fill your inventory in just a couple of loops.

Pokemon Air Museum
Pokémon activity at the Robins AFB Museum of Aviation is furious. With multiple Pokestops, a quick walk can net many items and Pokémon. Photo by Doug Deal.

If you are looking for some quick experience, you could even park in a quiet spot among the two cruise missiles along the fence and be in range of two Pokestops. If these happen to have in-game “lure modules” installed, with the use of a lucky egg and incense, one can nearly always have a Pokemon to catch and do so at double experience. With such an arrangement, one could level up 1 or 2 levels in the 30 minute duration of a lucky egg item.

When playing Pokemon at the Museum, please be respectful of other patrons, the exhibits and the grounds themselves. Pay attention to where you are walking and be polite. Also, don’t prevent others from enjoying the museum by crowding exhibits and lingering too long.

WWII Fighter
The Museum of Aviation hosts exhibits from all eras of flight. Photo by Doug Deal.

The Robins AFB Museum of Aviation is a nice place to visit, but easy to take for granted when you live nearby. Admission is free, although it survives on donations, which are always welcome. Hours of operation are 9 AM to 5 PM every day of the week and it is only closed on 4 holidays every year. The address is 1942 Heritage Blvd, Robins AFB.