Thursday, March 25, 2010

When you crave Italian

I rarely, if ever, post topics about food or the restaurants at which I eat mainly because I know readers are from all over the world and really now, who wants to hear about my foodie cravings in / around Los Angeles? Boring. Yawn. Besides, I eat out A LOT and many chefs around town are friends+clients (Josiah from Melisse, Raphael from Jiraffe, etc...) so I have many restaurant favorites where I drool and get crumbs on my clothes. {A blog dedicated to food for another time another day....}

That said, every now and then a restaurant experience warrants a shout out. And not because said restaurant creators looked to Vintageweave to consult and supply merchandising items+displays for their adjacent MOZZA TO GO shoppe, and not because they both have numerous cookbooks that I occasionally sell. Simply because it's pure perfection at every turn.

Enter: Pizzeria Mozza and Mozza Osteria....creations by Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali.

(All photo collages courtesy of the lovely Dishy Goodness blog; I was too busy shoveling the goods into my mouth to stop and hold a camera.)

Course One> Tricolore Insalate. Tossed with fresh Parmesan Reggiano and anchovy dressing. KILLER. Not too salty or tart and dressing was so perfectly dispersed amongst the greens. We devoured it all in a nana second.

Course Two> Cauliflower Gratinate. Boyfriend initially scoffed the idea of a cauli dish, but when it arrived from the broiler and the smell waifed the air, he sang a different tune. Made with 10 gloves of garlic and Spanish onions, this was heaven in a dish. I kid you not. So much so, that I share the recipe below. Truly the best cauli dish I've ever tasted.

Two pies> Me: Gorgonzola dolce, fingerling potatoes, radicchio + rosemary.
Boyfriend: Fennel sausage, panne, red onion + scallions.
HOLY say Nancy Silverton is a bread goddess is an understatement (creator/founder of La Brea Bakery). Boyfriend and I both grew up in the Chicago area, so we know pizza. Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali have created heaven on crust. No other way to describe. No heavy red sauces or white sauces to overpower the ingredients. Just pure flavor combos that explode in your mouth.

Wine: You may ask the Sommelier at Osteria to help with a wine pairing, but the waiters are pretty well versed as well. Recommended Etna Rosso Outis, which proved to be a new all time favorite. (Warning: $80 at the restaurant, around $27 at a wine shoppe; this mark up is typical of restaurants.)

Back when I had much more time, quarterly progressive dinners with friends was a mainstay (progressive dinner=a different course at a different person's home all in the same evening). While time no longer allows, I still enjoy the experience of moving and sampling. So when I come to the Mozza enclave, I tend to eat my meal at Pizzeria Mozza and scoot next door to Mozza Osteria to enjoy wine + dessert at the bar.
Having eaten all over Italy and France, it's hard to find places that really knock my taste buds on the floor. Mozza does it time and time again. And did I mention the service is SO friendly--no LA 'tude.

Reservations hard to come by, but you can usually grab a seat at the pizza counter/bar during non-peak hours. Be sure to stop in Mozza 2 Go to see all of Vintageweave's baskets, pedestal plates and glass urns in the display and merchandising!

Bon Appetito!
La Brea Avenue (at Melrose)
Hollywood, CA

*Cauliflower Gratinate (6 servings)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 Spanish onion, peeled, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices
10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 head of cauliflower, stem removed, cut or pulled into 2-inch chunks
2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a heavy saucepan, preferably 10 inches wide with a 3-to 4-quart capacity, over medium heat and combine olive oil, butter, onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook over low heat, covered, for 3 minutes.

Stir in the cauliflower, heavy cream and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until cauliflower is tender. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the cooked cauliflower and put it into a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Continue to cook until the cream is reduced by half (about 3 to 5 minutes). When the cream has reached a rich, thick consistency, add to the bowl with cauliflower, stir to combine, then place into a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes, until brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve to ohh and ahh.


Meg/ Garden Designs said...

I wanna go! But question: where does one find gloves of garlic? Special variety to grow? I wanna know! xxoo

Anonymous said...

Youa maka me a hungrya!!!

Cheryl ~ Casual Cottage Chic said...

Yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe. We LOVE anything with GARLIC!