For this adventure we teamed up with Austin Yankee, a cousin adventurer. Where we explore pizza, she explores wine. This week, we teamed the two up in a South Congress shindig - Enoteca Vespaio. Speaking of South Congress - don't try to get here on a First Thursday when it has been raining. Just don't. The fact that I had a good time on this adventure after the hellish journey to get here is a huge testament to the pizza and our adventuring partner. *end rant*
The bad boy you see above is the Salsiccia: housemade fennel-pork sausage, tomato sauce, roasted peppers, mozzarella & pecorino romano cheese. He was the rock star of our show. Excellent cheese and sausage, combined with a tasty-but-floppy crust, made him the object of our affection for the evening. The only things that bugged me about this pizza were the normal issues with thin crust pizza and lots of meat - the sauce and grease from the sausage mixed together and made the crust sag quite a bit. The good news is, the taste of that amalgamation is fantastic!
The wine that Ms. Yankee paired this pie with proved her expertise. Karin happily proclaimed that not only was the wine drinkable (rare for her), but that it enhanced the pizza.
Now let's talk about the Lardo. Makes you think of a fat kid, right? In this case, only partially right.
Wikipedia tells me that lardo is "a type of salume made by curing strips of pig fat with rosemary and other herbs and spices." The lardo is the translucent strip you see there. It's accompanied by a backup band of garlic, rosemary, arugula & shaved parmigiano reggiano.
Culinarily (made that one up), this pizza is a fine work. The interplay between the pure fat of the lardo and the peppery arugula was worth holding in your mouth and thinking about. And the crust? It was oddly nothing like the crust on the Salsiccia. It was doughy, more structurally sound, and tasted like the best breadstick you could ever eat.
As a pizza, however, I think this misses the mark. I would have preferred to eat the ingredients as a salad with the dough on the side as a breadstick. This certainly doesn't serve as a knock on the restaurant, though. I give big kudos for the experimentation in the kitchen, and would love to come back here with a date and try some of the other pies.
A big plus to the service, too - top notch!