Dining Desperado-The Good, The Bad and the YUMMY

Conquering the country one bite at a time. There are no foods I actually dislike, just foods I prefer. Bread, nuts, cheese, and dessert, are on the supremely awesome list.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Otto's......and the acclaimed Olive Oil Gelato

So I finally found an excuse to make it to Otto's. My family called and said "Hey we are coming" I said "Hot dog, then....I just might make a reservation...and by might I mean Otto's Sunday at 7:45 pm" So on Sunday I found myself in the perfect mood for a hearty meal (to be capped off with gelato of course). We started with a caprese salad (which was perhaps the best tomato/mozz. salad I have consumed), a round of warm olives, and a typical ceaser. Then we got several types of pizzas..which I will have to look up for specifics. Basically, a quatro Stagioni (olives, procuitto, peppers, mushrooms and mozzerella), pepporoni (with a sweet atypical spice), and a pizza bianca (nicely garlicly. We also got a penne pasta with a great tomoto sauce but the pasta itself I found to be too al dente (something I also experienced at Lupa. For Dessert.. a cup of gelato of COURSE. I wasn't hungry for dessert at all. Somehow, without really eating that much, I had eaten too much. But sometimes the body must be sacrificed for the greater good of knowledge. And olive oil gelato was a more than worthy cause. People have been cooing over it for so long, I wasn't about to leave without seeing what all the fuss was about. I ordered a trio of flavors: parmagiano, hazelnut stracciatella, and olive oil. I haven't tried many gelatos in the city yet, but after the first bite I was convinced. This was REAL gelato. Gelato that Don Corleone would have someone get for him if he wanted gelato. Gelato that can be found off the main piazzas in every Italian city. Gelato that you imagine some old Italian woman sneaking the recipie over to America in a lock box. All the qualifications were met: light creamy, and intense flavor per square bite. The hazelnut was good but not my favorite just because hazelnut has never been my favorite. The parm. was fairly intriguing. It tasted exactly like parm..but ice cream at the same time. It was awesome. And the olive oil...I knew it as soon as it hit my tongue. A strange tangy sweet-salty, buttery-dissolving flavor. I kept eating it and trying to pin point it's flavor. It was familiar, yet it fell into no category. I kept trying to liken it to something...but the only thing it tastes like is itself...olive oil. I don't know why this is so surprising, but it is. You hear the name you try to imagine what it tastes like...and you can't. Even now, I'm having trouble recalling the flavor. It is so strange to taste something that is in and of itself. I think it will get better each time I have it. I also think that is why chowhounds rave about it...because it is a surprising and challenging flavor. It keeps you on your toes. It's complex and simple at the same time: the first dessert paradox I have encoutered. I have to go back.