Pizzeria Mozza: In Want of A Wow Pizza

Posted by Foodie Buddha on November 29, 2011

mozza's pizza logo

As I stepped into Pizzeria Mozza I was knee deep in the Los Angeles portion of my West Coast escapade.  By then, my stomach was well-coated with some of LA’s greatest culinary offerings; but, that didn’t diminish my anticipation for this pie.  Stationed just off Melrose Ave, one of Hollywood’s many famed thoroughfares, Mozza is widely cited pizza mecca as this Mario Batali/Nancy Silverton/Joseph Bastianich pizza joint comes backed by reputations steeped in greatness.

Greatness might be an understatement.  Pizzeria Mozza has received lustful and unequivocally reverent praise from the famed Michelin Guide, the LA Times, the gang at SLICE, and just about every other foodie known to you or me.  The bustling atmosphere and oodles of pizza porn further galvanized my about to be realized dreams.

Even on a random mid-afternoon Sunday, the pizzeria teemed with energy.  Tables were full and bar patrons happily munched and drank the afternoon away.  Meanwhile, servers whisked about and Mozza’s crack commando team of pizzaiolos slung dough with the symphonic-like moves of a master Kapellmeister.  I was expecting to be face first in pizza glory just as soon as I could wrangle myself a seat.

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Toscano & Sons: Atlanta’s Westside Italian Market 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on November 16, 2011

toscano & sons

Toscano & Sons Italian Market sits unassumingly in Westside quietly providing Atlantans with some of the city’s most consistent panini.  For the better part of the past five years, the tiny emporium and Italian deli has offered up tasty sandwiches in addition to a variety of worthwhile cheeses, wines, and prepared Italian classics.

When owners Kathy Boehmer and John Reed opened Toscano & Sons back in 2006, Westside was a neighborhood waiting to happen.  Even so, already established eateries like West Egg Café and Star Provisions made for a crowded marketplace.  Yet in the shadow of these more noted restaurants, Toscano and Sons has been chugging along ever since.  Regardless of the dramatic rise in nearby eating options, as a value proposition alone, the pressed sandwiches at T&S easily best anything in the vicinity.

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Marea: A Pasta Gold Mine

Posted by Foodie Buddha on November 15, 2011

marea-crudo

A masterful dining experience is the consequence of a tapestry of constituents woven together to elicit an inspirational reaction.  That’s the type of grandiose impression a meal at New York City’s Marea can leave.  Quietly settled near Columbus Circle’s intersection with Central Park, this Italian seafood restaurant sits as a titan of industry in what is arguably the culinary capital of the world.  For a two-year-old restaurant, that’s an impressive reality.

No doubt a testament to the direction of executive chef Michael White and partner Chris Canon, a meal at Marea is quite clearly the result of the cadre of chefs and servers, the mise-en-scène of the setting, and some very inspiring bites (sometimes slathered in a seduction of lardo and sea urchin).

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A Tale of Two Cheesesteaks

Posted by Foodie Buddha on September 06, 2011

The Mad Italian vs. Slack’s Restaurant & Bar

the cheesesteak at the mad italian

Nearly every longstanding dish from here to Ouagadougou is subjected to hotly contested disputes regarding everything from its traditionalism to its overall quality.  Be it American classics like burgers, Italian staples like Neapolitan pizza, or even steaming bowls of the Vietnamese comfort food phở, these are the world’s civil war dishes.  These are foods so near and dear to people’s hearts that often times one will vehemently deny their own kin’s sanity should opinions reach an impasse.

Amongst the laundry list of contentious dishes here in the states, the war over cheesesteaks is certainly grounds for a verbal fist fight.  With a slew of options up and down Atlanta’s countryside, residents of the 404 have no problem finding a cheesesteak seemingly custom built to their personal specifications.  For the purpose of this here write up, I’m going to compare cheesesteaks from one of Atlanta’s long established ‘steakraunts’ to that of a relative newbie.

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No. 246 Restaurant Review – Decatur, GA [First Impressions]

Posted by Foodie Buddha on August 26, 2011

no. 246 at night

“Luck is the residue of opportunity and design. – Branch Rickey”

If it isn’t already, No. 246 (say it like it’s an area code) seems poised to be the next “it restaurant” in Atlanta and Decatur.  While co-owner and executive chef Drew Belline mans the kitchen and his partner Ford Fry does the business stuff, Atlantans are filling this loudspeaker enclosure of an Italian restaurant like it’s nobody’s business.  Quite the shock if you ask me.  After all, I’ve waited well over two-months to recap my early day visits and we all know Atlanta hangs on my every word.

Just past two full trips, I will go so far as to say that of all the sub-six-month-old restaurants in and around the city, perhaps No. 246 is the one we should be most invested in.  As of today (August 26th, 2011), No. 246 is another small step forward for Atlanta and its love child city of Decatur.  This is not to say that 246 is without its problems (god knows there are some glaring ones); but, the list of places that do not suck has grown just a smidge longer.

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Cibo e Beve Restaurant Review – Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA [First Impressions] 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on August 24, 2011

chicken pizza at cibo e beve

Hot on the heels of Double Zero, Cibo e Beve has landed in Sandy Springs.  Yet another take on Italian food, Cibo and D0 give Sandy Springs not one, but two Italian restaurants attempting to appeal to the more food conscious and palate sensitive diner.

The restaurant is headed by executive chef Linda Harrell and comes branded by the Benton’s bacon of design studios, one Ai3.  For Harrell’s part, things seem a little rough around the edges at the start.  But with promises of grandeur and a few other factors going for it, Cibo seems worthy of at least a mention.  As most of what’s out there on this place is regurgitated “wannabe media” dinner PR information attached to pictures of food, we may as well talk about what’s what.

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WestSide Pie Restaurant Review – Westside, Atlanta, GA [First Impressions]

Posted by Foodie Buddha on July 27, 2011

the sign at westside pie

I checked out the very new Westside Pie pizzeria last week and needless to say, I wasn’t running home to write them up.  Owned and operated by part of the team that brought you SLICE, that two-headed Downtown pizza chain, you’ll find Westside Pie at the foot of the Apex Midtown apartments on the outskirts of Westside (sometimes called West Midtown).

I don’t know much about owner/operator Karen Smiley other than she hails from Savannah and has something to do with the aforementioned SLICE.  There seems to be more to the ownership arrangement, but even so, Smiley is the one who is front and center.

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The Most Annoying Restaurant Review Ever 21

Posted by Foodie Buddha on July 20, 2011

inspired and thus restricted by CHOW, apologies on tense shifts

torrisi italian specialties

100 miles or more is a long way to travel for crazy delicious food cooked to perfection; but, according to some article whose whereabouts escape me, food focused vacations are on the rise.  That spike is directly related to the increased popularity of things like foodie culture, artisanal dishes, and the need to bask in the presence of the latest bad boy celebrity chef whose mug is as identifiable as Brad Pitt’s.

Few cities are worthy of such a commute, and it stands as no surprise that New York City is one of them.  Great restaurants dot the five boroughs of this metropolis like acne pocked Jessica Simpsons face back in the day (hell – it’s probably still there).  Heck, great restaurants are seemingly ubiquitous, so getting noticed is a tough job.  While other cities are consumed in food trucks, deconstructed dishes, and burgers from a wannabe gastropub, NYC’s attention span is short lived and symptomatic of ADHD.  Still, for those that do make waves, unctuous praise or a harsh scalding comes fast and furiously.

In 2010, Torrisi Italian Specialties, a quasi eponymous culinary mash-up, opened in New York’s Little Italy to the delight of critics and fans alike.  A sammie shop/Italian deli by day, by night, this small-seat vestibule of an eatery morphs into a not so hidden gem of addictive flavors and OMG moments.  At least, that’s what it did for me during my one meal there.  Festooned with hanging charcuterie, open-faced pantries, and tiles … lots and lots of tiles, Torrisi seems like a gem.

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Double Zero Napoletana Restaurant Review – Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA [First Impressions] 7

Posted by Foodie Buddha on June 24, 2011

the interior at double zero napoletana

Let me lay the groundwork for a shinning example of a faux pas.  Restaurant provides you with an abridgement of pizza history, aromatic fluff words and descriptors worthy of a James Cameron romance flick.  In accordance with strict guidelines for Napoletana pizza, said restaurant will not serve sliced pizza or pizza in to-go boxes.  A quick glance at the to-go menu results in a head scratcher.  Right smack dab in the middle is a section dedicated to pizzas that recounts what I just mentioned. 

[A subsequent chat with their PR maven confirms that there is no to-go option for the pizza]

This type of slip up  is a perfect example of the experience I had at Double Zero Napoletana.  A cursory glance might leave me feeling okay about the meal.  However, in the moments after, I found myself somewhat frustrated by the details … namely the price point, a few culinary mishaps, and some general oversights in the attention to detail.

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Bruce Logue To Open New Italian Restaurant [Openings] 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 22, 2010

 

Chef Bruce Logue, the esteemed champion of La Pietra Cucina, is moving on to bigger and better things.  After spending the last couple of years trying to make it work in the location that just won’t go away, Logue is scheduled to cut ties with that albatross of a location sometime after January.  My understanding is that he’s looking at Grant Park, but that’s 100% rumor at this juncture.  The Atlanta native, who has spent time at the famed Babbo, may just be ATL’s best chef.  He’s certainly one of them.  I am not exactly sure what the exit strategy is for LPC … I don’t know if they are closing, keeping Logue on for an extended time, or what … but I’m sure that info will all come out in the not too distant future.

My understanding now is that this has been put off indefinitely.

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