Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Apizz... and photos

I had a delightful dinner at Apizz last night with a group of colleagues from work, which I will write about shortly. But first, a note on photos: Yes, this blog needs photos. Yes, I'm working on it. Basically, I'm working up the nerve to start taking pictures of food in restaurants, which I still think of as weird and somewhat obtrusive. But I'm going to start soon, I promise-- I even brought my camera with me to Apizz last night, but I didn't remember it until about halfway through the meal and by then I just thought, ahh, screw it. In any case, watch this space...

On to Apizz: Our group of 12 arrived and was escorted to our reserved "private room" downstairs. It was actually essentially a little nook in the small passageway on the way to the bathroom, but it was partitioned off with some artfully placed curtains, and it actually worked as a nice little area for us. The night proceeded at a leisurely pace; it took a while for the waiter to arrive, and he took our drink orders and delivered the wine before we even began ordering food. I partook of a nice bottle of prosecco (which I LOVE) and a light white wine-- a trebbiano, I believe, which was very good, light and flavorful. Once we placed our orders, they brought bread baskets, filled with hearty peasant bread with a chewy interior and a crackly crust. Although I do like a good creamy butter or a fruity olive oil with my bread, this basket was accompanied by a small tray of two condiments. One, we deduced, was some sort of warm tomato sauce (I passed), and the other I determined was a sweet ricotta, which was delicious. After I polished off a piece of bread, I ate some more ricotta straight from the dish. It was really good... and, frankly, I wanted to get something in my stomach, as the wine was beginning to slosh around in there...

Our appetizers soon began arriving, thank goodness. We had ordered a couple of plates of antipasto for the table. Based on the menu description (Antipasto: marinated eggplant, roasted peppers, bresaola, mortadella, buffalo mozzarella, ricotta salata, olives), I had imagined a bountiful tray overflowing with goodies. What arrived was a rather restrained platter of a few select pieces of each item. I quickly nabbed both pieces of eggplant from our plate (read: there were two...small...pieces), in addition to a piece of mozzarella, a piece of ricotta salata, and a bunch of olives. All were truly delicious, although I've had better buffalo mozz in my life (dear Apizz, was that REALLY buffalo mozzarella? Or just regular mozzarella? There may be a dirty little secret in there somewhere...). By the time we were done with the appetizer course, I had even polished off the small pile of roasted peppers on the antipasto plate. Now, I never eat roasted peppers because they are essentially impossible for me to digest. These peppers were tender and sweet and scrumptious, and I regret every last pepper I ate, as I have been burping them nonstop since last night. Still, and it's almost 24 hours later. Annnnnnnyway, my colleagues seemed to enjoy their appetizers as well; I had a taste of my friend's Apizz margherita, and it was fresh and light and really tasty.

Once the appetizers were all done, the plates were cleared, and our entrees arrived next. Several people at my table had ordered the whole fish of the day, which was a roasted sea bass. They raved about the fish, which came with lemon and an herb-olive oil mix to drizzle on top, and also polished off the gratis accompanying arugula salad. Others at my table ordered the meatballs, which was literally a dish of two enormous meatballs in sauce without pasta (and yes, cue the "those are some big balls!" jokes here), and the handkerchief pasta with crabmeat. I got the Insalada Verde, which was a large (very generous!) pile of arugula along with some halved grape tomatoes and "parmesan crisps," a kind of baked parmesan cracker. It was lightly dressed with a delicious vinaigrette, and overall it was one of the best salads I've had recently. I was also really pleasantly surprised at the salad's size; at $12, it wasn't cheap, but it was certainly enough for an entree-size salad. For me, at least.

My only regret about the dinner last night was that I didn't get a chance to try the desserts. My group was getting antsy and wanted to move on to karaoke... I mean, given a choice between delicious Italian desserts and sketchy Tuesday-night karaoke, I know which one I would choose, but unfortunately I was outnumbered. But I was full from all the food and sleepy from all the wine, so perhaps it was best that dessert was postponed. Plus, it gives me an excuse to return!

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