Posts Tagged ‘restaurant review’

wolf pizza

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Something fabulous happened to Crockett and I last week. You know how we’re regulars at the Empire? The chef/owner of the Empire is this fellow named Jim Cohen. Jim – Mr. creator of the calamari salad himself – has cooked with Julia Child on an episode of her TV show. He was nominated as the James Beard Best Chef: Southwest. He has been on the Today Show and in Food & Wine magazine. Oh,  and? He knows us.

Small towns are awesome.

I digress. Jim and a partner opened a new restaurant in Boulder called Pizzeria Da Lupo, and we were invited to the soft opening. If you’re unfamiliar, that means you go and try out different menu items and put the waitstaff through their paces. You pay for your drinks and you earn your food through feedback. It’s the first one I’ve ever been to, and it was awesome.

We were early in the rotation, so not a lot of folks were there when we walked in. We went right up to the counter to see what was going on. There’s a gigantic red meat slicer-shaver thingy and a huge pizza oven, a single burner and lots of prep stations. Everything comes off the burner or out of the oven.

The room is positively charming. It’s not huge – I would go so far as to say cozy, even. The floors are gorgeous.

The walls are covered with framed retro art. The piece behind Crockett’s head when we sat down was an italian Vespa poster that looked like it was from the 60s. I coveted.

The ceiling and chandeliers … ok, you don’t really care. Let’s get to the food.

We were seated at a four top by the window. Obviously, that was so our smiling faces would make the place that much more appealing.

‘Ok, give me my phone back.’

They have a limited bar right now – two beers, a handful of wines, and a few liquors. Crockett was hoping for an old fashioned, but they were lacking many of the ingredients. Our waiter suggested a Campari and soda for him, a suggestion at which I scoffed. Not for Crockett, that sour bitter awesome deliciousness. For me, though? Yes indeedy.

We started with two appetizers: proscuitto and toast, and burratta with pistachio, lemon confit and caper agrodolce. The burratta was all about me. I’ve been hearing about burratta for months now and this was my first opportunity to have some. Burratta is a ball of mozzarella with a creamy center. Also, burratta is amazing and can have my babies. Or I’ll have its babies. Hell, I’ll be its surrogate. We got a nice large portion and I ate 3/4 of it. The confit and agrodolce they served it with brought the perfect amount of contrast to the creamy cheese. In general, I’m not a huge pistachio fan, but here they worked. If you go here and eat one thing, make it the burratta. Seriously.See how it’s drippy and stretchy and delicious?

I ate the prosciutto and it was delicious, but clearly I enjoyed the cheese more.

In case that wasn’t clear.

At this point, more people started to come in and they turned the lights down. The pictures are a little fuzzy from here on out, but I’ll do my best. We followed the cheese with.. more cheese. Because, really, why not. This was an endive salad with arugula, more pistachios, and Maytag blue cheese. It had a bright lemony dressing, and was (as you can see), sort of deconstructed. I liked being able to build each bite individually, but we ended up with more endive than anything else. I don’t know if it was a matter of the original ratios or if we just preferred everything else. We ran out of cheese early, too, but that was probably me.

What, I was in a cheese mood.

Crockett had put me in charge of the ordering, and I hit a wall when it came to pizza. There was an option that included shrimp, which was not what I was in the mood for. There was a sausage and rapini option, which I was interested in, but we ended up going classic.

Margarita.

The true test of a pizzeria.

Here’s the thing. The tomatoes and cheese and basil were lovely.

The crust was divine.

See how I ate it all first?

I feel like the toppings got the short end of the stick.

Our waiter had suggested that we order cecina as well. A cecina is a little bread made of chickpea flour instead of regular flour, so it’s gluten free. You could order it with toppings, but the recommended topping included eggplant and that would have caused me to seize and die, so we went for the sea salt and olive oil version.

I wasn’t a huge fan, but Crockett really liked it. He ate the whole dish and has since referred to it as ‘that cozy bread’.

They were in no hurry to pass our table to someone else, so I had a glass of my favorite white wine (Basa) and an espresso.

Both of those were a mere prelude to dessert.

This budino (chocolate pudding cake) was essentially a rich chocolate mousse served on an intense soft chocolate cookie, sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with olive oil. See how I said rich AND intense in the same sentence? That’s because it was both. It was small but any more would have been too much, at least for Crockett and I.

Overall, I could not have been happier with the food, the place, and the service. SO good. I’m so glad we got to go.

tutti fruiti

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Crockett went skiing for the second day in a row (and the second time this season) yesterday, and I didn’t get up until 9:30.

9:30.

I never sleep that late, especially not when I’m alone.  Fortunately I’d put my 1/4 cup stone ground oats in 1/2 cup of water and stuck them in the fridge before going to bed, so I was a lot closer to breakfast than I would otherwise have been. I added 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of pumpkin when cooking it up and it came out delicious and creamy. If only I had the presence of mind to soak my oats every night.

Ha. Soak my oats.

It was still missing something though. Something tangy…

Cranberry sauce. (Not to be confused with my cranberry chutney. Chutney on oatmeal would be a taste sensation, certainly, although probably not a good one.)

After breakfast I started folding clothes, and my goofy girls started hiding their toys in said clothes. After finding the footless (not to be confused with footloose) squirrel for the fourth time, I gave up and took them for a walk.

Cloey found herself a gigantic stick and followed me around with it, whacking me in the legs and not even apologizing.

When Crockett got home from skiing, we had date night.

Whhhooo hoooo date night!

We found Tutti with this little method we like to call wandering-down-the-street. It’s in a neighboring town, Lafayette, and has apparently been around for a little less than a year.

The first thing we noticed was that the furniture is all patio furniture, and there’s a lot of it in a very small room.

The second thing we noticed was the nifty sizing. Each menu item comes in three sizes – wine in 3 oz glasses, 6 oz glasses, and bottles, and beer in 8 oz, pint, and 22 oz glasses. The food comes in saucer/cup, plate/bowl, and platter. They describe it as ‘tasting’, ‘dinner’, and ‘to share’.

We ordered two tasting plates, a dinner plate, a pint of Deschutes Mirror Pond (Crockett), and a 3 oz glass of Elsa Bianchi Chardonnay (so-so).

Through the meal, I had two more little glasses of wine – Crusher Viognier (two thumbs up) and Morse Code Shiraz (good but poorly chosen with my food). I wish every restaurant in the world served half glasses. I got to try three kinds of wine and only drink (and pay for… ok, Crockett paid) a glass and half.

I chose the tasting sizes. First, I ordered carrot and parsnip ‘pasta’ with seared tofu in a lemongrass and ginger broth. It was good (and vegan), but the broth being made with soymilk added sort of a strange sweetness. I would have preferred it to be not creamy at all or to be made with actual milk. The carrot pasta was fun though, and there was a lot of ?spinach? making me feel all healthy and stuff.

My second tasting plate was baked puttanesca. Awesome.

Plus? I got to tell Crockett than puttanesca is named for whores. Spicy, spicy whores.

Crockett ordered a plate of scallops with butternut squash risotto.

I have no idea where the squash was, but man alive did it not matter in the least. I could have lived without the scallops. Hell, I could have lived without everything else on the table, if I’d just had more of this risotto. Because. Yum.

Overall, Tutti was fun. If we lived down the street I could see going there quite a bit – since it’s a 15 minute drive and we have Boulder in that radius as well, I don’t know how soon we’ll go back.

Then? My Christmas tree went up in record time.

Ok, fine. It’s fake, and I leave the decorations on all year round. All I have to do is bring it in from the garage and plug it in.

Happy?

I am.