napizza (pizza al taglio) / little italy – san diego, ca

There was a time, around college or so, that I didn’t eat pizza. I got sick of it. The smell of pepperoni made me feel ill and I just wouldn’t touch the stuff. That’s what the college years imparted on me: a lack of love for the grandest of college food staples. I did eventually rekindle my love of pizza slowly but surely and now I’m uber picky about what kind of pizza will cross my lips. If you try to take me for a $5 pizza at Little Caesar’s or some other unknown place, I will secretly kill you with eye daggers and curse you forever. Jake and I have had our fair share of pizza around town with a few places in constant rotation and I think it’s safe to say that Napizza will be the latest restaurant to pass the test to get into our precious pizza rotation.

I was invited to come and check out Napizza in Little Italy. I’ve been wary of going places Downtown so sometimes its hard to get me to go down into this area, but I’m sure glad we made it down.

You can order whole of half pizzas at Napizza, but I think the fun comes in seeing the styles of pizza slices all laid out before you. There’s something about actually seeing a slice with all of it’s topping rather than just reading the description of said pizza.

Jake, T and I oohed and ahhed over the slices for a bit before actually making some concrete decisions on what to eat. Luckily we were there before the rush since we kind of stared at the slices for awhile before each picking different slices to try.

After we placed our order, we got some drinks and grabbed a table while we waited for the slices to be prepared for us.

I noticed that near the drink dispenser, they had this jug of cucumber lemon water for their guests. Thoughtful!

There were also these rolls of customized masking tape. I wasn’t sure what you’d use these for though… maybe taping up your leftover box of pizza?

Before we get into the pizza slices, let’s talk a bit about their crust.

The crust at Napizza is unlike any other pizza crust I’ve had. I could (and did) easily eat the crust alone. It’s crispy and crunchy on the top and the bottom but the inside of this puffed up looking crust is light and fluffy. They let their dough rise for an incredible 72 hours with a small amount of yeast to create a dough that stands up to their longer cooking time (30 minutes). The flours, olive oil and other ingredients are shipped in from Italy – all to help create this pizza dough!

[daily special slice // margherita// bapo – red potato, crispy bacon, sprinkled with fresh mozzarella and classic zucchini velvet]

All of the slices are squares, making these slices pretty easy to share. We’ve got one slice of the daily special, one of the Margherita and one of the Bapo – one of their most popular slices with red potato slices, bacon and a “zucchini velvet” – sort of like a zucchini sauce laced on top.

Of these three the Bapo was the winner here among the three of us. The combination of all the toppings and flavors paired with that crunchy, fluffy crust was very delicious.

The margherita slice was also really excellent – very simple, but so good – the crust really just makes and outstanding difference in all of these slices. Continue reading “napizza (pizza al taglio) / little italy – san diego, ca”

isola pizza bar / little italy – san diego, ca

Isola Pizza Bar is a new joint that’s joined the little community of Little Italy. Chef Massimo Tenino is the owner, the restaurant named after his grandmother. His heart and soul has been put into this place as he told us about how he build and designed the place from the ground up.

[hanging lights]

These kick ass lights hanging above us was one of the first things I noticed when we entered and sat down in the restaurant. Chef Tenino told us that they were asparagus canning jars that he turned into lights for the restaurant. It felt so much more personal to know he had a hand in all aspects of the restaurant – it really is his baby.

[wood fire oven]

The restaurant also only featuring one cooking device – the wood fire oven. Everything is cooked in that oven, from appetizers and pizzas, and it serves as the heart and cornerstone of the restaurant.

Jake and I were also very impressed with our service and with our waiter, Alex. Alex was so on top of everything and very good at recommending dishes to us. He really sold us a lot of the dishes and was so passionate about the restaurant and it’s food – it was so refreshing to see! Attention to detail and service really makes your visit feel so much more welcoming and enjoyable.

Here’s a smiling Jake starting to enjoy one of our appetizers.

[focaccia with spicy olive oil]

This is the dish you get started off with – some simple focaccia bread with a flavored olive oil. The olive oil is flavored and seeped with chilies – they constantly are making new bottles and storing them away week after week to ensure they have a batch for their patrons. This olive oil had been working it’s magic for about 8 weeks. The spiciness of it kind of snuck up and hit me. I didn’t taste it at first, but after a few moments the rush of heat and flavor came through – surprising but very tasty.

[prosciutto wrapped tuscan melon]

Jake is in love with Tuscan Cantelope. He spotted this on the menu and just had to order it. The prosciutto was thin and draped over the melon instead of wrapped. Taking one bite gives you the sweetness from the perfectly ripe melon with the slight saltiness from the prosciutto. A perfect bite!

Continue reading “isola pizza bar / little italy – san diego, ca”

dinner and a show at anthology / little italy – san diego, ca

I was recently invited to Anthology to try out their newest menu items by Chef Todd Allison. I’d always been interested in going to see a show at Anthology. This proved to be a stellar way to try out some new eats and to catch a show all in one.

Anthology is set up with three different levels – the main floor near the stage, a second level with just a few booths, and a top level. There’s also an upper level GA admission area with no view of the stage and monitors instead.

Laura and I arrived well in advance of the crowd and snagged some nice seats up front on the floor, near the stage. Getting there early was nice since we were able to chat and eat most of our food before the show began. The waiters are pretty good about letting you have your space when the show begins and only come by to check on you when necessary.

I had picked a date arbitrarily and we ended up seeing a band called the Robert Glasper Experiment – a mixture of jazz, soul and a little hip hop all thrown into the mix. I can honestly say it was like nothing else I had heard before with the mixtures of genres all rolled into one. It didn’t quite make me a new convert, but I enjoyed seeing them and experiencing something new. I’ll leave the music reviews to others.

[Sake Steamed Black Mussels – Ginger, Mint, Basil, Hearts of Palm]

We started off with these steamed black mussels, which our waiter told us were locally grown from Carlsbad. I had never had mussels before, but I was feeling adventurous – and I’m glad I was because I ended really liking these! The flavors of the ginger, mint and basil all showed through giving them a really deep and wonderful flavor. The mussels reminded me of oversized clams – similar texture with a nice, sweet flavor.

Continue reading “dinner and a show at anthology / little italy – san diego, ca”