Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pizzetta 211 and my secret list

Oh, Pizzetta: We've got a few favorite weekend lunch spots in rotation these days, and at the top is Pizzetta, located in the outer Richmond (23rd & California). We usually show up for a late-ish lunch with Sophie and grab a table outside. I absolutely adore this place, from the cozy setting to the friendly service to the innovative and carefully executed pizzas.

We invariably begin with whatever the special starter is. Sometimes it's a simple beet salad, sometimes braised Romano beans with tomatoes, sometimes a fiery hot bowl of melting crescenza cheese, served with crostini. Then we get two pizzas. 

Now, before you judge, understand that these are small-medium pizzas, with a rather thin crust. We're decadent but we're not totally insane. (We are a little insane though, now that I'm thinking about our lunches there, which tend to involve several glasses of wine...each. Moving on.)

Last time we went, we got pepperoni (see above), which I usually don't like, but I do like at Pizzetta, and this one, with potatoes, pancetta, greens, and two sunny eggs. I'm overcoming my aversion to eggs. Will wonders never cease?

Their pizzas are perfectly-crusted (crispy and chewy), well-balanced, and imaginative. Just thinking about them now is making me hungry.

After we do a number on the pizzas, we get dessert. They have a fantastic upside down cake, as well as a delicious ginger cake with a pear compote. Last time, we got a berry galette. Now, I know this picture is horrible (hipstamatic can be finicky). But the reason why I am posting it is to show you one of the lovely things about their desserts, which is that every single one comes with, as the husband says, a "hamster-sized" dollop of heavenly whipped cream. True story:

And of course there's cappucino to be had.

Then a stand-off on who gets stuck driving home, followed by a lengthy nap. The end.


About those good ideas:  Awhile ago, a friend of mine gave me a little blank book to use for whatever I like. There were three nice things about this gift. The first is that it was for no occasion, she just showed up with it one day. The second is, it's pretty. And third, I'd been thinking that it would be useful to have a small notebook I could carry with me to jot down my brilliant ideas when I wasn't near my laptop.

The rather painful thing is, it turns out I don't have brilliant ideas. Instead, I have started using the book to jot down words or concepts that either come up in conversation, or in whatever book I'm reading, that I don't know or understand, as a reminder to look them up later. So, instead of being a record of my intellectual gems, it's a running list of my ignorance. I would share some of it with you, but I don't want to get ridiculed.

The older I get, the more I realize how little I know. Every day, I'm confronted with innumerable things on which I should but don't have a strong grasp: world events (some current, some past); economic principles; scientific concepts. I should really issue an apology to all the wonderful teachers I had growing up; it seems I've retained very little.

Why is this? Is my brain overloaded with dull but necessary things, like work and errands (two inescapable hallmarks of adulthood, no?) Can I no longer read, listen, and remember things? Is my mental agility actually getting worse, in spite of my compulsive crosswording?

I think my secret list should help, even if it's only in baby steps. But please tell me I'm not the only one who isn't keeping up.


And finally: I regret that this is not a more photogenic dish, but really and truly, this chicken curry is to die for. It's thickened with yogurt and ground cashews, easy to make, great with rice, and improves overnight. I've been making it for years but have somehow never posted about it. You can find the recipe here, and for once, I have no changes to it!


  1. First, The egg on the pizza looks really good, but I'm completely mesmerized by that hamster sized pile of whipped cream. I want it. On everything.
    I know what you mean about feeling ignorant. The older I get I realize how fascinating everything is, and how little I know about so many things. I find myself constantly saying things like 'in another life I would love to have studied' this or that...so many things, so little time.

  2. I definitely feel like I have so much more I need to learn. I remember when I graduated from college feeling that I really didn't learn as much as I thought I would after four years. But, I think that's normal and wanting to know more is the only way to continually grow as a person. I feel like it's a good thing!

  3. as dollops of whipped cream go, hamster-sized is what i prefer. :)

  4. Egg on pizza is brilliant! Pizetta sounds fantastic, but a bit far off for me. Sounds like a great lunch spot. As for not knowing much, yes, I've come to the realization that most of us spend the majority of our early lives pretending were something we think we are and our lives are spent having that chipped away by others until we're totally exposed.

  5. Sue: Yes, the older I get, the more I find more things interesting--subjects I didn't give much attention to when I was in college. Oh well. ALl you can do is try and learn as you go! Yes, whipped cream on everything.

    Jessica: Agreed, completely.

    grace: right?

    Ben: Yes, it's a bit far for you. But if you ever find yourself in the Richmond, give it a try. I agree totally with your assessment of our transition from cocky to humbled. "Exposed." I love it.

  6. You're definitely not alone in terms of keeping up. I wouldn't know what little I do if it wasn't for my husband who reads like 5 different news sources a day! I actually kinda miss doing homework (never thought I would say that ever). The notebook idea is great!

  7. Yum, I love hamsters..er, I mean whipped cream. (Can't keep my eyes open!). Sounds like Pizetta is the perfect brunch spot.

    And no, you're not alone. The other day, my eight year old asked me if I knew what an obtuse angle was. I had no idea. So she promptly explained and then threw in an explanation about acute angles just to help make me smarter. (In my defence, I learnt all my primary school maths in a different language!).

  8. Connie: I know what you mean about homework--I don't exactly miss it, but I do think I need to be forced on occasion to read about things I don't necessarily find interesting (like food!)

    shaz: If I were a parent, I'd constantly be saying, "Let's find the answer together!" Wouldn't be long before the kid caught on, I fear.

  9. I'm so far behind on world affairs and science (which I studied in college), that I have more or less given up! I love your use for the little book - you're like my Mom, who was a lifelong learner. Brava!

    And pizza, really good pizza, is the staff of life. If you are up in Santa Rosa, try Rosso. Also to die for.

  10. zoom: I'll remember that, Rosso. Thanks!

  11. As I read this post, I am reminded about the lack of food culture where I live (sigh). Pizetta sounds wonderful.

    I have a notebook that I carry around that I call my "random thought" notebook. If you thumbed through it, it would be just that random. Everything from a grocery list, thought, an idea, a menu, a word, a web site, to do lists etc. etc. etc..... You know what's important here is that all those bits and pieces of information, over time tell a story of who you are... where you are/were and what you were thinking at any point in time. Embrace your notebook.


  12. Love Pizzetta 211 and you make it sound even better.
    My brain is turning into to mush - partly due to age. And partly because I have ADD and move to fast.
    Will check out chicken curry recipe...

  13. Velva: Well, you have nice warm weather all year round--I wish I had that!

    ALY: We gotta go there together!

  14. All I can say is I'm grateful there is no Pizzetta around here! That potato and egg pizza is way too tempting.
    I have little lined tablets everywhere around the house AND in my purse. Sometimes I actually go back and read them and wonder what the heck I wrote something down for. Too funny.

  15. Barbara: It is VERY tempting (clearly we cannot resist!)

  16. Pizzetta is amazing. I so totally agree. And I am trying that curry recipe pronto.

  17. I used to not like pepperoni, either, and then I started adding it to my Hawaiian pizza and now I crave the stuff. And now I have a craving.

  18. alittle: Might have to get to Pizzetta today...

    camille: Oh it would be great on Hawaiian pizza!