I am alive and well in Arizona once again and blessed with a beautiful and healthy grand daughter, Tessa Marie! Rhi and Marvin stopped by on their way to Lisa's wedding to check out their new niece and we decided to go out to dinner. They used their new phones (Galaxy S) to stir up some suggestions from Google Plus for good pizza in our area last night. Great food, good company and a relaxed atmosphere made this dining experience perfect.
You can find this jewel nestled in downtown Phoenix near the campus. We drove through the parking lot and then back into the street thinking we were in the wrong place. Thankfully Whitney and John had already arrived, grabbed a table and told us to come back. The place is quaint and almost invisible from the street. Not gushy or fancy, they offer an outside dining experience under a canopy and an eclectic and understated decor inside. We sat at a large round table with seating for 6. The staff balances a calm and relaxed atmosphere without leaving you feeling as though you have been forgotten or that your food is sitting some where in a window getting cold. I enjoyed my meal so much that I would like to go back this weekend and try something else!
Our waiter recommended a new iced tea that they were testing. A black tea with a slight hint of peach. Generally not my cup of tea (no pun intended). It's not that I don't like peaches, I am just easily overwhelmed when there is too much. Whether it be the scent of peaches (have you ever walked by one of the kiosks at the mall selling all things peach? WOW!) or peach iced tea that just oozes the scent and taste of peaches. All too over powering for me. I declined the first offer to enjoy this tea and went with water. It did not take me long to change my mind however. Marvin took a big sip from his glass and his eyes lit up. It did not take much for my glass of water to be moved to the center of the table to make room for my glass of this tea! This tea is amazing!
Our introduction into what feasts awaited us was an antipasto platter. The menu read Antipasto Plate Market Roasted Vegetables Cured Meat Bite of Cheese. Our platter was delivered with more than a biteful for each of our five dinners. Warm red cabbage, roasted cauliflower, roasted fingerling potatoes, two small wedges of parmigiano reggiano, roasted eggplant, roasted garlic cloves and a few thin slices of sopresso. With each bite your tastebuds were tickled with delicate seasonings and bold flavors. Forget daintiness, we did not bring small morsels to the plates provided but quickly dug in scooping up our bites and bringing them directly to our open mouths. We had eaten most of the platter when I took the picture to the right; who could stop eating it tasted so good!
For dinner we all ordered a variation of the margherita pizza. A light but flavorful tomato sauce, housemade mozzarella, basil, oregano and garlic. Rhi and I shared our pizza and asked for the addition of their fennel sausage. I love fennel sausage and I loved this too. The perfect balance of fennel, herbs and spices. Marvin asked for more garlic on his pizza and John and Whitney each skipped the sausage but asked for a heavy dosing of roasted garlic on theirs too. Each pizza was perfectly sized for a single serving and was delivered atop a plate, pipping hit and ready to dig into. It was not only a feast for the eyes but a party in your mouth as the fresh basil, roasted garlic and delicously fresh mozzarella melded with a that delicious tomato sauce. Bursts of flavor went off in your mouth with each flavorful bite. Not one of us left a morsel on our plates! (And you will notice there is not a picture of my pizza, I was too busy enjoying this delightful dish!)
Our waiter was no different than the waiters all around the world. Once our meal had been finished and he began gathering our plates, he offered up some options for dessert. The majority of us all shook our heads no and remarked that we had home made cheesecake waiting for us at home(I make one amazing cheesecake!). Except for Rhi! She lit up like fireworks on July 4th when he mentioned Flourless Chocolate Cake and got all giggly. Yes, she ordered it! I thought she was nuts.
The cake arrived centered on a white plate and the waiter laid five spoons around it. Family style is their motto at the restaurant and he knew that we would all want to help Rhi with cleaning her plate. Not wanting to take away any room from my fabulous cheesecake waiting at home, it took a bit of coaxing from Rhi to grab a spoon and take a small bite of the most amazing dessert I have ever tasted in my entire life!
I have two favorite desserts that I can rarely turn down; Creme brulee and tiramisu. I have a major soft spot for both of these desserts and have a really hard time saying no when asked if I would like to order one or the other. Until last night that is! I will now begin scouring menus for this flourless chocolate cake so that I recreate this incredible experience of taste over and over and over again!
I ate the first bite too quickly before I realized the array of tastes in my mouth. I allowed a second bite to linger on my tongue, slowly melting and washing my mouth with a velvety softness unlike any I have had before. What totally amazed me was the way in which this delicate dessert wrapped by mouth in flavor that remained long after my bite was gone.
Rhi told us how she had become introduced to this fabulous dessert. She said that it is hard to create a masterpiece such as the one we had shared with her. She had tried a few she told us, most being just a bit dryer, the balance of sweetness and flavor off. She proclaimed that this was the best flourless chocolate cake she had ever eaten! How lucky I was to have had the best the first time out.
I have dined out enough to know that it is rare for a restaurant to provide an extra ordinary dining experience such as we experienced for all the diners present. If you like good food, an atmosphere that allows you to enjoy the food without being pushed out the door, great ambience and a check that does not break the bank, then you must check out Pizzaria Bianco! You can check out their website at Pizzeriabianco.com. They offer two menus, lunch and dinner; my images of the menus were not great so I have just put them into a page so you can easily check it out. Lunch consists mainly of sandwiches and dinner of pizza. Alcoholic beverages are available and you can purchase their special tomato sauce on the premises or order it online. The waiter told us that they recently opened a new site in Tuscon which I will be visiting when I am down visiting Rhi and Marvin in September. I promise to share my experience there as well!