Eating at Eataly

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged….so I apologize. I really have no excuse. But don’t worry, I have still been indulging in pizza as much as I possibly can! That has not stopped (and never will if I can help it). With National Pizza Week happening in January I was inspired to start blogging again. So yay! And today I’ll be talking all about Chicago’s own Eataly.

Eataly opened in December 2013 featuring Chefs Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and is located at 43 East Ohio Street in Chicago. This is the second Eataly location to open in the US (the first is located in NY) and let me tell you it’s a big one! It has 63,000 square ft. of space and 23 restaurants, some which include: La Pizza & La Pasta, La Piazza, La Carne, Il Pesce & Le Verdure,  Lait Gelato, etc. etc…. La Get In My Belly is what I was saying when I walked through the doors for the first time! Not only can you eat at one of the many eateries here but there is so much more to Eataly. It’s a grocery store, a wine shop, a cooking school, a bookstore… well let’s just go ahead and call it an Italian food theme park!

One of the nice things about Eataly is there is a wine bar and even it’s very own brewery inside (Birreria) where you can get yourself a drink to walk around with while you shop or wait for your table reservation. So naturally, the first thing I did when I IMG_2928walk through the door is head to Birreria. They have a really great selection of beer to choose from. Not only do they often have one of my favorite beers there, Three Floyds Zombie Dust, (which can be hard to find at times here in Chicago) but I also got the chance to try out Three Floyds Permanent Funeral. It did not disappoint. One of these times I’ll have to try the beer that they brew themselves. (Just one of the many reasons to go back!)

Ok on to the pizza. After all, that is what I’m supposed to be reviewing from this place right?  I have had the pleasure of trying three pizzas there so far – the Massese, the Salsicciotta and a third pizza I had there that was on special that day which I can’t quite remember the name of right now so we’ll just call it the “Special”.

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The Massese – mozzarella, tomato sauce, spicy salami, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil.

The Salsicciotta – tomato sauce, mozzarella, Eataly housemade sweet italian sausage, mushrooms and basil

The “Special” – mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil and basil

IMG_2917First let’s talk about the dough. The dough is very light and airy with a little bit of chewiness but with just the right amount of crispness to the crust. The pizzas are  thin crust and cooked in a pizza oven that reaches 900 degrees F and cooks in just 90 seconds.  I always love when a crust has good bubbles in it, which these pizzas had plenty of. Not sure why that is, I just can’t help but get excited when I get a bubble slice.

Let’s see, what can I say about the sauce? It was good. Good flavor and just the right amount was used in my opinion. Not too much not too little. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a pizza doesn’t have enough sauce on it. As far as the toppings go, I think what really makes these pizzas taste so great is that only fresh ingredients are used. I mean, Eataly has it’s own mozzarella lab where people can watch the process of making mozzarella from scratch in three different stages . The spicy salami was out of this world. Really great flavor and a good level of spiciness to it. It really made the pizza. I think the Massese would have to be declared my favorite out of the three I tried because of the spicy salami. The housemade sweet italian sausage was really good too. It was seasoned really well and I liked that it wasn’t just placed on the pizza in big chunks but was more crumbled over it so you’d get some in each bite. My only complaint about the toppings would be that I would have liked more basil on each one. There were maybe 2 leaves on the pizzas. Gimme more of that fresh basil, LOTS more!

IMG_2909And the olive oil.. well let’s just say I found out that Eataly offers 100 varieties of olive oils from producers that harvest exclusively in Italy. Not only did I get to enjoy the wonderfulness of the olive oil on my pizzas but they also give you complimentary bread and a plate of olive oil to dip your bread in as soon as you sit down at your table. So basically the moral of the story here is: fresh ingredients = better pizza! (I feel like that’s in a pizza commercial somewhere, am I right?) Which makes total sense though! So I would have to give the pizza at Eataly a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Side note: I also tried a bite of my cousin’s pasta (which was great) while I was there. There are SOOOOO many other things I would die to go back and try there. I would just have to somehow convince myself to NOT get the pizza…which could be a very very difficult task in itself.

IMG_29242nd side note: They also have a book I found in the bookstore in the shape of a pizza called Pizza – 50 Easy Recipes. I must have this book in the near future… therefore, stay tuned for more homemade pizza related blogs!

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Pizza Serio is SERIOusly great pizza!!

pizza-serio

I was first introduced to Pizza Serio in the fall of 2010 by my friend Dale who kept insisting I try it. This brick oven pizza place just opened this past year and is located at 1708 W. Belmont Ave in Chicago. I’ve been there twice since it opened and I can now see why Dale suggested I try this pizza. I have added Pizza Serio to my top favorite pizza places to go to in Chicago. When I saw that Groupon had a deal for Pizza Serio a little while back I was super excited. So of course I snatched it up and this past Friday we went to cash it in.

Pizza Serio has a nice ambiance inside. It has lots of exposed brick which adds a lot of charm to the place and has several flat screens if you’re in the mood to watch a game. The staff has always been really friendly when I’ve been there as well. They even have a second level upstairs that can be rented out for special events.

We started off the night by ordering some Half Acre Daisy Cutter Ale’s. Oooh and I do have to mention that this place also sells my favorite beer, Bells Oberon. Unfortunately, Oberon is not in season right now so they did not have it available to order. Otherwise I would have ordered that of course. Anyways, we then attempted to order the garlic twists but they’re so popular they were out of them that night. The first time we went to Pizza Serio they were testing out the garlic twist recipe and asked us to try them to see what we thought. I’m glad to see they officially made it on their menu because I’m a huge garlic fan and they were amazing. So we skipped the appetizer and just decided to order one margarita pizza and one with spicy sopressata salami. The first night I went to Pizza Serio I tried the spicy salami as one of the toppings and I can honestly say I don’t think I will ever order anything else from there because I loved it so much. It had such amazing flavor. I’ve since then tried to find spicy salami at the grocery store so I can try adding this topping to my homemade pizzas as well, but I have had trouble finding it. Of course I haven’t tried looking anywhere besides Jewel so far so I guess I could be trying a “little” bit harder. I have to admit, it’s a topping that I haven’t seen very often at pizza places so this was a very exciting and delicious surprise to find it on their menu.

Spicy salami

The Margarita pizza had a lot of really fresh tasting basil on top. I would say the pizza tasted like your typical margarita pizza. Although, I expected it to come with sliced tomatoes on it, but it did not. But that’s ok. It was still delicious. The crust on these pizzas were nice and light and airy. The mozzarella was very fresh and flavorful. It really is the closest pizza in taste to NYC style pizza that I’ve had here in Chicago. So if you’re looking for some great thin crust, this is the place to try! I would have to give this pizza a 4+. And I will be going back again very soon. I highly recommend you try it, especially if you’re a fan of NYC style pizza. You won’t be disappointed!

Margarita pizza