Monday, March 28, 2011
We've been Pizza Adventuring for a year now, so we thought we'd take a minute, relax, and go back to the place where, in a booth by the window, Ian and I hatched this blog. That place is House Pizzeria and we can't even pretend that we're impartial here.
This time we decided to get the new special Cauliflower & Ricotta pizza (and we were half-way through it before we even remembered to take a picture). It has roasted cauliflower, a little shredded mozz, black pepper, capers, ricotta cheese dollops, and cracked green olives (really just pitted green olives). It was good. I'm not going to say it's the best pizza I've had there (I will readily admit that I like my pizzas saucy), but the flavors worked very well together; the salty ingredients and pepper balanced the more mild ricotta and cauliflower. And, as usual, the sourdough crust was amazing.
Looking back at the last year of adventuring, I'm proud of it! I'm proud that we managed to get through 42 pizzerias (that's 3 1/2 a month!) and look forward to another great year, there are no shortage of places we have yet to try.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Italo's. Have you heard of it? Karin and I hadn't. Its name was whispered to me by a coworker, and in the weeks before we made it here, I heard the name whispered in the wind, in back hallways. . . or was it all in my stomach?
On the unassuming corner of 6th and Comal in East Austin, where most corners are unassuming, you'll find an unassuming building with a large back patio and a small sign. The sign advises that you've arrived at Italo's Pizza and that you can take advantage of a full bar once inside. We eschewed the bar and took advantage of the pizza.
What you see above is the Oglio y Olio: a garlic and olive oil sauce, feta cheese, green olives, and onions. This was a step in a different direction for us, because we generally stick with red sauce pies, but the flavor combination was intriguing. That promise paid off in spades. The salty goodness pops with every bite. The feta cheese is more than ample - you'll get some in every bite. The crust is doughy but firm enough on the bottom to hold up, with a unique flavor that made the bones edible even without sauce. Oh, and the garlic cheese bread (small cheesey stick pieces of crust) is probably the best we've had. Hear and heed the whisper in the back of your tummy - seek out Italo's.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Before I give my impressions of Reale's Pizza & Cafe as a whole, I'll start with the pizza since that's what brought us there to start with. The pizza was ok. I don't think we had any complaints. We went with The Roasted Pie which is topped with roasted peppers and onions, fresh garlic, and olive oil. The garlic was strong, really strong, punch you in the face strong, which I dig. The peppers were tasty. The sauce was not non-existent, but wasn't distinctly flavored. The biggest comment we had about the crust, which was pretty standard, was that we really wanted some extra virgin olive oil to dip our crusts in.
Regarding the restaurant as a whole, sometimes I wish we took more pictures of place because this place really was a whole package, any one piece of it separate doesn't really work but as a whole I liked it. Reale's Pizza Cafe is an adorable restaurant that reminds me of the kind of place Olive Garden is ripping off. It has the columns and the plants and the prints of classic paintings on the walls. You're likely to see a lot of old people and other interesting people (I think old people are interesting).
|The huge puzzle mounted on the wall behind my table (I have vowed to decorate my entire pizzeria (when I have one) with puzzles).|
The one problem that I had was that the service seemed less attentive than at an Olive Garden. I do know that our waitress was dealing with a large and rather demanding table near us, and I know we're pretty low maintenance (unlike the dude on the other side of us who wanted her to make sure that the calamari wasn't fried *too much* as if otherwise the restaurant purposefully cooks the calamari to the point of rubbery oblivion), but I appreciate when the waitress remembers that I asked for lime instead of lemon in my water and I don't have to hunt her down just to pay for dinner.
I have no idea if this is typical service (the maitre d' was super apologetic that we waited the actual amount of time that they told us we'd have to wait for a table) but I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that while the atmosphere is nice and the pizza was ok (they have a full line of standard Italian dishes that you might check out) great service would be the one thing that takes me from being on the fence about recommending this place.
In total, I would like to try Reale's again to get a solid take on whether I can recommend it or not. It might be great for taking your grandparents out to dinner (unless they're like the horrible people on the other side of us that salted their pizza. Those kind of people should stay at home, in the dark, with their salt shaker). It might be good to take a date to if you're not really trying to impress them with how hip you are and maybe can make up some sort of nostalgic feel-good story about coming here as a kid with your Nana.
*I'm writing this whole thing with a headache, so I apologize for any grouchiness. Such is the life of a pizza adventurer; we try the pizza but most of the time come out with vague feelings about places rather than conclusions.