Sunday, March 7, 2010


Uggghhh. Why is the light so bright? And how can these kids have so much to say, so enthusiastically, so early in the morning? Put in a late night in NYC, but with little hesitation I say it was totally worth this morning's slo-mo feebleness.
We were a few minutes late for our 9 pm reservation at Otto Pizzeria and Enoteca. Noemi, our sometime foodie accomplice, was waiting for us at the door with a huge smile on her face, excited about the eating adventure we were about to take.
Otto is loud and crowded, but friendly and hospitable as well. Despite being late, there was none of that NYC 'tude, we did have to wait a little- but were seated before our drinks arrived from the bar (blood orange bellini for me).
Otto is Mario Batali's take on pizza, and pizza is just about my favorite thing to eat in this wide and varied world. My tastebuds were greedily anticipating a full frontal assault. We started with an assortment of Verdure, the trio of olives were meaty and nicely brined Other delicious culprits were the broccoli with pecorino. However, the brussel sprouts in a vinegary glaze stole the verdure show.
Next up, pizza and pasta. We chose 2 pizzas: Funghi and Taleggio, Pane Frattau. OK, here we go- thin crispy crust, the size of a dinner plate, totally delectable. The Funghi Taleggio was a white pizza that featured perfectly sauteed mushrooms and tangy Taleggio cheese. It was nice and savory, and would have been fantastic were it not served alongside the Pane Fratta. I guess I'm a pizza traditionalist because I loved the tomato sauce base, it was full of herbs and spices and just wonderful, the layer of melted pecorino was sharp and almost cheddar-like in flavor. But the sunnyside up egg shining happily in the center made it really special. Let's pause for a moment here and zoom in on the scene. Me alternately sipping my bellini and savoring pizza heaven. Noemi with her Negroni on the rocks, in a gorgeous silky blouse-might I add, enjoying her pizza. Hub, and his red wine, tentatively approaching his slice of Pane Fratta due to a bad experience he endured involving a fried egg pizza in Dahab, Egypt many years ago. Thankfully, he now has a delicious experience to replace the gut churning memory.
OK back to the meal. The Penne Puttanesca was flavorful- but not overly anchovied, a good thing for me. Blah, blah, blah...Dessert. The menu featured a large and exotic selection of gelato. I foisted my sweet tooth on the table and ordered the salted peanut, burnt caramel, and taking a chance- the olive oil. Salted peanut- good. Burnt caramel- good. Olive oil-phenomenal! In that dollop of gelato there contained several wondeful flavors; sweet, fruity, olive oil, creamy, unexpectedly amazing! Hub declared it was the best part of the meal, and he's not known for his sweet tooth.

The morning after may be as rough as the oatmeal I made the kiddles for brekkie. The sun is much more blinding than that sunny side up egg that graced the center of last night's pizza. And the pickings from my pantry are much less interesting than Mario's options. Yet, last night's lofty meal was well worth this morning's tumble.

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