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Tag: pizza (page 1 of 3)

Cibo E Beve

A lovely Thursday afternoon found me making my way to Cibo E Beve. It was a lunch date with Ruksana, a dear friend who happens to be a gifted writer+editor+entrepreneur+list-maker+trip-planner. She was running late from a previous appointment, so I ended up staring at the wood paneled walls, eating a little more of the bread and olive oil than I’d have liked, and drawing up lists of to-make recipes until she arrived.

Menu at Cibo E Beve

The menu at Cibo E Beeve is brief and there are a handful of vegetarian options. I thought that the Winter Fennel Salad (frisee, fennel, satsuma mandarins, smoked bacon, marcona almonds, buttermilk dressing) sounded heavenly. Minus the smoked bacon, of course. I half-thought I’d order it but as the minutes dragged on, I forgot. Winter Caprese (burrata, fried eggplant, heirloom tomato, balsamic, basil oil) also would be awesome, I think.

After Ruksana arrived, we placed our orders. She got the San Marzano Tomato and Cream Soup and the Cibo Beef Meatballs. I asked for the Veggie Pesto Pie (veggies, roasted tomato, broccoli, pistachio-basil pesto, fresh mozzarella). Ruksana loved the food (you can go check out her review on Yelp). The portions were substantial too; she asked for a box for the leftover meatballs.

I was not too impressed with the pizza. It is a large-sized one (probably 8″) and I couldn’t eat more than two quarters. The edges looked (and tasted) burnt and the mozzarella lacked the fresh and creamy gooeyness. The roasted tomatoes added a neat little sour punch although I thought that the taste was more redolent of sun-dried tomatoes. Not complaining, mind you. The pesto felt fairly dry in texture and I couldn’t detect any notes of pistachio in there either.

Veggie Pesto Pizza

Main course done, we decided to split an order of Classic Tiramisu (Pavesini, mascarpone mousse, espresso, dark chocolate). It came in a little white ramekin, pretty and petite. My thoughts? I felt it was very light and smooth in texture, almost frothy and pillowy in its soft creaminess… but too milky-sweet and eggy for my taste. I’d have preferred a darker flavor. In fact, I think I’ll avoid Tiramisu in the future. Every once in a while I turn a blind eye with regards to the presence of eggs in desserts but mostly I feel strongly about avoiding them, so I will simply make a resolution and stick to it… good luck to me!

Tiramisu

Would I go back to Cibo E Beeve again? Not sure. The menu has a few nice-sounding vegetarian options but probably not enough for me to justify another trip. Maybe the next time, I will simply ask the server if the chef can make me a vegetarian dish. Going by how nice the server was (he was attentive, helpful and pleasant), I think I have a good chance. Actually, most of the menu items sound like they can be made into meat-free (even vegan) options. Take, for instance, the Chicken Pesto Sandwich (peppers, goat cheese, pesto, arugula on a sourdough roll). Keep the chicken out and I think it would make for a great vegetarian sandwich. The Ricotta Ravioli Pasta (zucchini, amatriciana sauce) sounds lovely but I wonder if the sauce is vegetarian. I doubt it is. Then there is the Fusilli Pasta on the dinner menu (rapini, sausage, chestnuts, pecorino) that would be great, I think, sans sausage.

Hmmm, maybe I should go check out dinner one of these days.

Cibo E Beve
4969 Roswell Rd
Atlanta GA 30342
404-250-8988

www.ciboatlanta.com

Hearth Pizza Tavern

One of the perils of meeting good old friends and going out to eat is that there is a potential to overeat spectacularly. The conversation is flowing, the jokes are great, the food tastes fantastic… Somewhere amidst all that bonhomie and good cheer, it is easy to overlook the fact that you are on your fourth slice of pizza already, the cheese, runny and warm and rich, is beginning to weigh down your tummy, and it feels like you want to curl up in your chair and take a nap.

Sigh.

Not to fault the food at Hearth Pizza Tavern at all…  It may very well be a testament to its deliciousness (and my lack of awareness, gulp) that I overate at lunch, skipped dinner that night and ate very little the day after. Even my sturdy digestive system (touchwood!) realized that it had to take a break.

All that being said, Hearth Pizza Tavern has an excellent selection of appetizers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and burgers. Too bad that I couldn’t try more items off the menu!

The first time we went with friends (yes, the time we went overboard, at least I did, with the food), we ordered an assortment of appetizers: Roasted Broccoli (we told our server to leave out the salami), Eggplant Chips, Missy’s Intense Hearthbread. The broccoli was roasted to perfection and it jived perfectly with the caramelized onions. The Eggplant Chips felt a tad greasy, not too much. But it is a dish worth sampling in little doses, yes. Missy’s Intense Hearthbread was fairly good. I wish I could remember more but it’s been weeks since we visited, my memory is dim. Yes, I should have written up this post earlier, I know. Lethargy hits and it hits hard.

It was time to order the pizzas. We got the Ring of Fire (sans chorizo), Mom Says, “Eat Your Veggies!” and Leaf Kickers. Ring of Fire has a spiciness to it, courtesy the garlic chili oil, and the cherry peppers lent the pizza a piquant kick. The crust was perfectly crisp, done to perfection. Leaf Kickers had phenomenal flavor what with roasted pumpkin and butternut squash, kale and sage browned butter, pistachios and pumpkin seed oil… oh Yum. It was easily the best pizza we ordered, I think. Mom Says, “Eat Your Veggies!,” unlike its preachy title, is not a veggie-overloaded pizza at all. It comes with spinach, roasted red peppers, broccoli, roasted cremini mushrooms, butternut squash, homemade marinara and Hearth’s premium cheese blend. I think we asked the server to skip the butternut squash since Leaf Kickers contained the same.

Leaf Kickers, Eggplant Chips, Hearth Bread, Ring of Fire, Mom Says, "Eat Your Veggies!"

Most of the Hearth pizzas come with their premium cheese blend that comprises of fontinella, fontina and mozzarella, shredded in-house and blended. This, I learned on my next visit to Hearth a few weeks later. I was meeting Malika Harricharan, noted Atlanta-based restaurant blogger and author, for lunch. This time, I was more prudent. We kept things simple. Malika and I split an order of Crispy Brussel Sprouts. The dish contains pancetta but Malika, in lieu of my preference, asked the server to skip it, so that’s how we got it. Yummy indeed in that roasted-caramelized-burnt brussel sprout style! The balsamic-port reduction added a layer to sweetness.

Crispy Brussel Sprouts

Malika ordered a Mass Pike pizza while I opted for a Simple White with homemade marinara, spinach, basil, roasted red peppers, black olives. It was excellent. It was light (if that’s possible with an 8-inch pizza that contains a blend of three cheeses), fresh tasting and flavorful. And the size was perfect.

Simple White with Toppings

Dessert was skipped both times, so another visit is due. Plus there are so many interesting sounding items on the menu calling my name! Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese, Queen’s Right pizza, Fun Guy…

Hearth Pizza Tavern
5992 Roswell Rd NE
Sandy Springs GA 30328

404-252-5378
www.hearthpizzatavern.com

Uncle Maddio’s

On a friend’s recommendation, we headed to Uncle Maddio’s for dinner. It was a good recommendation, I think. And I can happily recommend this place to other vegetarians as well!

Uncle Maddio’s is a nice little cheery place. We went on a Tuesday evening, there were few diners. I don’t think I have ever seen such an extensive list of vegetarian-friendly toppings at a pizza joint! Caramelized onions, eggplant, black bean corn salsa, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, red onions, grilled tofu and more… There are six sauces to choose from including herb pesto, tomato-basil, tomato BBQ and others! Not to mention the option of a gluten-free crust! And Daiya vegan cheese! Ok, I was excited… 🙂 (Sorry about the annoying light on the pictures below).

What a menu!

We ordered the medium-sized Southwest Baja minus the chicken (mozzarella and cheddar, black bean corn salsa, jalapenos, cilantro, sour cream) on a whole-wheat crust, and a Custom Pizza (gluten-free base, herb pesto sauce, pineapple, eggplant, jalapeno, black olives, roasted garlic, green peppers).

Loved the Southwest Baja! The crust was hearty and crisp, the cheese + sour cream made for a nice and runny topping. The tomato-basil sauce had a fresh vibrance to it with none of the excessive sour acidity that tomato-based sauces are prone to having. Doesn’t that picture look absolutely divine?

Southwest Baja

I think we did quite well with the Custom Pizza as well. I liked the gluten-free crust. I would order this one any day, really. It was thin and crispy, had a nice bite to it. All the toppings except the eggplant worked great together. The menu simply says ‘eggplant’ but what they actually serve is breaded eggplant. It felt too greasy, too heavy. Wish they’d used roasted eggplant or caramelized eggplant instead. Oddly enough, this pizza was smaller in size (7.99″, I think) than the Southwest Baja. I can’t recall if we asked for the Individual size but that’s what we got. Or so I think.

Custom Pizza

All in all, a nice little place! Can see myself going back to sample some of the other toppings/sauces/cheeses, especially the Daiya vegan cheese. Btw, our bill came to a little over $25. Not bad at all, I think.

Uncle Maddio’s

Uncle Maddio’s
2955 Cobb Parkway, Suite 290
Atlanta GA 30339

770-955-5223
www.unclemaddios.com

Eating at Antico

Antico Pizza is a little pizza joint nestled in Midtown, pretty close to Georgia Tech. Antico prides itself on serving Neopolitan style pizza, true to the grain. We went over for dinner this week. It is a real small place situated on Hemphill Avenue. There isn’t much parking available but a nice policeman showed us where we could park on the street.

For a Friday evening, Antico was bustling but not too busy. The order line was short and it moved fast. There is limited seating but the ambience doesn’t exactly say fine dining, so people finish their pizzas and clear out fast. I think we were in and out in less than half an hour ourselves. The crowd is young and hip, many students and young professionals included. I think Antico is a BYOB place; I saw people bringing in bottles of wine. The seating is almost communal, you share long wooden benches with other patrons. Rolls of brown paper are placed at the tables along with bunches of forks and spoons (or knives?). Don’t look for plates, there are none! You can either choose to make a plate out of the brown paper or simply fold the pizza sideways and eat it. Didn’t I say that it isn’t fine dining? That being said, Antico has a cheerful atmosphere, people are talking and laughing. And I am a fan of communal dining. Many years ago, P and I dined at Bhagat Tarachand, the veritable institution in South Mumbai, famed for its delicious vegetarian Indian cooking and its shared seating arrangements. Simple food, cooked in the age-old authentic style, eaten by thousands of families over the years, sharing tables and sitting next to each other… surely, there is something to be said for tradition?

Back to Antico… unless you are familiar with Italian culinary terms, it would be good to look up online what ‘sopressata,’ ‘salsiccia,’ ‘carciofi’ etc. mean so that you don’t end up ordering the wrong pizzas!

What did we get at Antico? Pizza Verdura and Pizza Pomodorini. Verdura has a topping of broccoli rabe, mushroom, pomodorini and garlic. Pomodorini comes topped with fresh cherry vesuvian tomato, bufala, garlic and basil. Seasonings (P picked them up from the counter) included red chilli pepper flakes, minced garlic, sweet-spicy pickled red peppers.

The pizzas arrived fast, each one on a large metal tray. If there is one thing that I believe a pizza should be it, it is HOT. The perfect pizza is hot to the point that the cheese is runny and melting, and the crust is lightly chewy without being too crisp or crunchy. These pizzas came at the perfect temperature but they ran cold quite soon, I thought. Maybe it had do with the sizes.

Verdura had a slight hint of bitterness, possibly due to the baked rabe flavor. P had asked if they could make it for us sans mushrooms but they said that they couldn’t. I wonder why… The pomodorini tomatoes were perfectly baked on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside. I also liked the slight sharpness lent by the baked garlic. The pizza is large enough to suffice for two hungry people. Ok, not if they have an appetite like the kind P has!

It is worth noting that the cheese used in this pizza is very unlike the kind you find at the regular pizza joints. It is very light and sits easy in my tummy. Not my usual experience after eating a pizza, I assure you.

I must acknowledge that it is most likely that the buffalo mozzarella used in this pizza contains rennet. I think most cheeses imported from Italy are not strictly vegetarian.

Pomodorini is a simple yet delicious pizza. Unfortunately, the taste of basil was lost. Maybe the high heat of the wood-fired ovens destroyed it?

Each pizza cost $20. They were delicious alright but I don’t think they justified the cost. Light cheese, fresh ingredients, bursting with flavor – ok, ok. But a tad expensive, I thought.

Dessert? We skipped the delicious-looking cannolis and semi-freddos displayed so attractively near the order counter. Another visit needs to be made to sample them! What we had instead was delicious Southern-inspired gelato! Details in the next post…

Antico Pizza
1093 Hemphill Ave
Atlanta, GA 30318
404-724-2333
www.anticopizza.it