a few of us gathered wed. night for a clandestine meeting at the tiny and adorable pizzetta 211 on 23rd ave at california.
we started our meal with a tiny bowl of mixed olives, a farm salad made with very fresh organic greens and a suppossedly balsamic vin, tho we all thot the acidity of the vinegar suggested rice rather than balsamic, and an heirloom tomato, feta and basil salad. the tomatoes we perfectly ripe and the riot of colors was a feast for the eyes.
for main courses we began with the belfiore ricotta, redwood hill goat cheese and tomato sauce calzone and the tomato, mozz, and basil pizzetta with white anchovies. the pizzetta has a very thin, crispy crust with fresh sauce and delicate white anchovies. the calzone had a very flavorful thick crust, cooked well, it was "the cheesiest", again the brilliant tomato sauce a perfect counterpoint to the creamy cheeses.
we ordered the Rosemary, fiori sardo sheepcheese and pine nut pizzetta next and were all delighted with the combination of rich flavors. the scent of the rosemary waifted around the table as we lingered over our slices.
dessert was so lovely sitting on cake plates at the bitsy little bar that we couldn't resist. first up was the specail of the day, an almond polenta cake, not too dense, full of almond flavor and the gentle crunch of just the right amount of polenta, accompanied by soft whipped cream and ripe, sweet sliced strawberries.
the other cake was a sharfenberger chocolate flourless cake which put other flourless cakes we'd had lately to shame. the ground nuts added a welcome hit to the dense texture and the flavor of the dark, fragrant chocolate was well balanced and not overpowering as sharfenberger can sometimes be.
we also enjoyed the saffron biscotti with a glass of vin santo to dip into. tho the flavor of the saffron was undetectible the cookies were quite good and were eaten up quickly.
we had the pleasure of sipping an 8 year old zinfandel with our meal which was mellow and full of bright berry flavors. this bottle was brought in by one of us, i didn't check on the corkage.
they do offer wine (a wine, name unmentioned) by the glass and by the bottle ($16).
the space is tiny, seating 16 at tables and 4 at the counter. the kitchen in open lending a feeling of great intimacy to the space.
they do have about 4 tables outside on the sidewalk, each seating 2 or 3. you could tell by the way the staff greeted people as they walked in this is definately a neighborhood joint.
we enjoyed every morsel and will definitely add pizzetta to our list of hidden treasures to remember.
211 23rd ave at california
My sister brought me a bottle of Vin Santo (made in the village where they were staying on their honeymoon) and the best cantucchi (sp?) from Florence to go with it (my sister and her husband are chowhounds who had to try several bakeries -- all recommended -- before they found cantucci worthy of schlepping home). They are addictive little munchies!
Does anyone know a place in the Bay Area where you can get cantucchi?
re: Melanie Wong
Emporio Riulli does have great cantucci (& lots of other fantastic baked goods) and so does Il Canutccio on 16th St. btw. Guerrero & Valencia. They get them from sometwhere in North Beach. I asked where once, but I've forgotten. My husband and I became addicted to biscotti (& Vin Santo) in Italy, too, so now I usually just bake my own. We feel deprived when we don't have them around!
Thanks for posting Rochelle - I fell down on my duties by being last to arrive and not doing the post! I had hoped you had taken the menu home because I couldn't remember what exactly was on the pizzas.
There was also one pizza that had eggs and some kind of ham on it - I thought that was odd when I saw it on the menu, but a table next to us ordered it and it looked delicious!
I loved the rosemary pizza and also the chocolate cake. It was nice of them to let us linger and meet too.
It's definately a nice little neighborhood place, I would have loved a place like that years ago when we lived in that neighborhood.
Thanks for suggesting it!
That was such a satisfying meal of simple foods prepared perfectly. The calzone was merely okay, a little on the bland side, although all the flavors were so fresh and clean. Everything else I absolutely adored. The rosemary pizza had such buttery rich flavors from just those few ingredients.
Celery and I were next to the table that got the prosciutto and farm egg pizza. The way we were drooling over it, you'd have thought we hadn't eaten yet. That's my next order.
This place is not cheap, but I respect their commitment to quality ingredients and handcrafting which is noted on the menus. The menu changes weekly and there's also a hand-written sign with the salad of the day and cheese plate of the day.
The corkage was $10 which is a bit high for bistro glassware, not stems. But the 1993 Ridge "Pagani Ranch" Zinfandel was just the right thing for the setting and was absolutely delicious with the food here. Total bill came to $21.50/person for the 4 of us.
I'll remember to bring a jacket the next time I come, in case the only seat left is the bench under the tree outside. (g)
Aaaaahhhh!!!! Don't tell too many people about this place - I'll never get a seat in there for lunch!! Great salads, cheeses and cracker crust pizzas. My wife doesn't like the cracker crust, but I say whatever, and have one for myself. Unfortunately, they are single size and addictive, so if I cant share one, I cant get a salad because its too much.
Once again, shhhhhhhh.
You've been holding out on us!!! Steven, where's your civic duty? These pizzettas really show what a difference using great cheese can make.
If you feel guilty not eating the whole pie, these meet the good-eaten-cold-for-breakfast test. We were there for almost 3 hours. I went back to a piece that had cooled off and it was still tasty.
re: Melanie Wong
Didn't mean to hold out - I thought about posting awhile ago on 211, but it seems to polarize with different people. Out of the 4 people that I've taken or advised to try it, 3 have not liked it as they were not fans of the cracker crust (including my wife). So, after that rather tepid response, I figured forget it, I'll enjoy it myself. Glad to hear I'm not crazy in my (personal) positive attitude about 211.
re: Melanie Wong
the menu was very clear and easy to remember when it came to wine. it said wine: glass $x bottle $16. period. no explaination of any sort which i found lovely. don't apologize and don't do more than you can. with food that good i wouldn't mind an inexpensive little chianti, which, by the way, i believe can cure almost any ill!