February 22, 2009

Respect the Crust

Hey, dude. It's been a while. What's cookin'?

Well, tonight, it was eggplant parm. Pretty good. Last week had this white bean soup with scallions and tarragon. Yum.

Umm, I meant, why no posts recently?

Oh. Duh! Sorry about that. No reason, really. Lazy, I guess. I'll have a few this week.

Good. Otherwise I'll have to keep reading those blogs that actually get some traffic...

Thanks. I think.

Onto more important things. Crust. Pizza crust.

I really never thought I'd have to write something about pizza crust. My wife thinks this is just another example of my food insanity. Perhaps. But I must push on.

We were supposed to eat at Tessaro's on Saturday night, 'cause the wife was in the mood for a burger. Got there at 5:00 and, to our shock, there was a 40-minute wait. [Side note: What is wrong with you people??!! I know they've got good burgers. I know the economy sucks and Tessaro's is a good place to get a quality meal at an affordable price. But the only reason we were eating at that ungodly hour is because we had two 6 and unders in tow. For those childless patrons, might I suggest a martini with a host of olives if you're hungry at 5:00 and then dine at a respectable adult hour, OK?]

So, two hungry kids. Bloomfield. Kid-friendly needed. Good food needed. Pizza? Where? The Strip? Nah. Shadyside? Maybe. Dinette (technically East Liberty?)? Yes.

Excellent choice. An incredible squid appetizer, grilled, with romesco sauce, some charred greens, some little green olives, bits of fried potato. Incredible. My 6-year-old son, whose experience eating fish, with one exception, is limited to frozen, fried forms of various white-meat fish, loved the few bites we were willing to share with him.

He and my 4-year-old daughter mowed on some long, skinny bread sticks and really liked the fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce pizza. The wife and I enjoyed an excellent pie with savoy cabbage, lardons (aka, little pork bits), goat cheese, little bits of sage. The other was, I almost hate to say it, OK. Mozzarella, tomato sauce, anchovie, a few capers, some sliced red chili. It was a little too one-note.

As for the topic of this post, crust. Seated in the corner table were two couples, maybe two years post legal drinking age. At some point I notice, resting uncomfortably on the plate of one said customer, gnarled bits of crust. At the table behind ours an older couple, late 50s, early 60s. As we're leaving, I see on the female half of the duo's plate more gnarled bits of crust.

For a second, I thought maybe we were in a kindergarten cafeteria. You don't like your crust? What, the perfectly charred bubbles of perfectly crisp yet pliant pizza dough turns you off for some reason?

Perhaps you would prefer a Stouffer's with some pepperoni-like bits instead?

Some advice for anybody else thinking of going to Dinette. Eat the crust! It's good. Really good. It's exactly what the crust on a Neapoletan-style pizza is supposed to be. Yes, it's a little charred. But, trust me, it's wonderful. Please. Eat. It.


Troy said...

I'd love to try Dinette, but the reviews on Urbanspoon seem to convey that I can't afford to eat there.

BTW, I always eat the crust . . . that's usually my favorite part.

Fillippelli the (Wannabe) Cook said...

Well, it ain't cheap. But $20 would get you a pizza and a good glass of wine.

On most respectable pizzas, the crust is always good. I've always been a fan of taking excess toppings - be it cheese or sauce or sausage - from the "bed" of the slice, moving it back toward the crust, and then taking a big chomp.

Fillippelli the (Wannabe) Cook said...

And let me add that, if you like - or at least can tolerate Iron City in a can - the tab for a pizza and drink drops to $13 or $14.

So, if you set your max at $20, you could get the fresh ricotta pizza, an IC, and a salumi sampling. Well worth the $20.