The more you immerse yourself in food and everything related to it, the better you’re going to be at what you want to do. Just before cutting us loose for the weekend, our Chef Instructor gave us parting words to that effect. Some of us want to open our own restaurants, some want to become butchers or sustainable farmers. And some- or one at least- of us wants to write about all of the above. And for each one of us, he’s absolutely right.
So last night I traded my weekend bowl-of-healthy-cereal dinner for a journey through beloved Italia with my new friend Tina Fey. She’s not the Tina Fey of SNL fame, but she posseses every bit of her wildly entertaining presence and frank humor. It’s a plus. To review why she’ll always be “Tina” in my blog and in my mind, visit here.
We met at Pizzeria Locale for two perfectly executed pizzas: distinctly fresh toppers, well-balanced sauces (one bianche and one rosse) and a classic Napolitano blistered dough crust. Sheer pizza bliss.
And it should have been. As the first restaurant in Colorado to posses a Stefano Ferrara oven in addition to a restored antique (read: fifteen grand!) Belgian prosciutto slicer, and boasting Napoli-trained Pizzaiolo Jordan Wallace in charge… you could say I entered with great expectations.
And I wasn’t disappointed by my first two ventures: the rich Mias spread with creme fraiche and topped with sweet corn, delicate buffalo mozzarella, and prosciutto cotto… and the classic Margherita with San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella. But the sweetest score of the evening? Tina left for San Francisco early this morning so I didn’t have to battle for the leftovers.
As if we hadn’t paid sufficient homage to Italia yet (can one, ever?), we wandered next door to Friuli inspired Frasca– the original restaurant of the same dynamic duo: Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson. Drinks and dolci were all our satisfied bellies could handle.
Splitting a Torta di Cioccolato turned out to be another winner move on my end. Generally I don’t split desserts. Reason, I believe, is obvious. But Tina quickly became preoccupied by a texting conversation with a boy- only part of why she was in hilarious rare form last night- and I was able to eat all of the dessert save two bites maximum. Chocolate cake was layered with passionfruit caramel buttercream and kept company by a small quenelle of dark chocolate gelato. I don’t even know the guy she was texting, but I like him. I got more cake.
My twenty-minute walk back home didn’t really begin to address the calories I’d just eaten. But it did give me time to think more about Chef’s challenge of immersion in all things food. And that immersion will include much more, certainly, than dining at restaurant’s I can’t often afford. But for this weekend, it was a decent beginning.