Monday, October 10, 2011

Yet Another Pizza Red

Well I wasn't supposed to be writing about Pizza Red this weekend because Pizza wasn't on the menu but life took a turn and we ended up with Pizza for dinner on Saturday night.

Daughter began feeling ill on Thursday night and by Saturday was full blown miserable, so much so that she willingly gave up a sleepover at BFF's, while wife was beginning to show signs of coming down with something so when the opportunity to take Saturday night off work, long weekend Saturdays being spotty at the best of times, was presented to me at 2ish I said: Sure, I'll take the night off.

My first thought was to dash out and grab a ham for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner but miserable daughter reminded me that I had said she and wife could order pizza for dinner so I changed plans. Instead of Ham and ???? we would order pizza, I'd make a salad and we'd watch a movie. Earlier in the week I'd grabbed a bottle of inexpensive Spanish red and so I cracked the Stelvin and poured it with the pizza.

Before I get into the wine though I have a question: What's with all the Pizza Nazis out there ?

I mean you can't go to any food sight without reading these tomes about how bad the pizza is in Vancouver, or those where foodies wax on and on about whichever new authentic Neapolitan pizzeria has opened in some depressed area of the city . I mean seriously folks, it's Pizza, at it's best it's very good and at it's worst it's awful but really do we need to make such a big deal about it ? The best thing I've ever eaten out of a pizza oven in Naples was bacon and eggs, but that's another story, and while I've had great pizza in Italy I've also had mediocre pizza in Italy, just as I have had in Vancouver . There is no need for the gnashing and moaning, find a reasonable pizza place near where you live, or make your own but stop whining about it.

Our "Go To" pizza outlet is The Firewood Cafe, conveniently located on Cambie at 14th within easy driving distance for while I don't mind occasionally ordering pizza I hate waiting for delivery and having the pie arrive in less than optimal condition. Despite what some people say in their blogs about Firewood I've always found the pizza to be consistently high quality, they have a real wood burning brick oven so the thin crust is nicely crisped and the toppings are of a good quality. If you live anywhere near them I recommend them for your takeout Pizza needs, though they are not a "late night" spot.

Back on point, the wine I served was a Syrah/Garnacha blend from the Carenena region just outside Zaragosa in Northeastern Spain. This is one of the oldest Denominacion de Origen's in Spain and has been producing wine since the middle ages but it is not at the top end of Spanish wine production. The region is best known for early drinking reds made primarily with Garnacha Tinto, a spicy fruity red grape that tends to be low in acidity but high in flavour. The wine we had on Saturday was Beso de Vino a 2009 blend of Garnacha (15%) and Syrah (85%). The label and name are a little cutesy but hey, they've gotta do something to make the punters try it so I'll cut them some slack.

The name means Kiss of Wine and there's a picture of a cartoon bull kissing a glass on the label but what's inside isn't to be made fun of . The wine is very deep coloured, dark and opaque and the nose is full of cherry and blueberry while the taste adds a bit of cocoa, spice and coffee. The tannins are soft but they are present and the acidity shows up at the finish to allow the wine to work well with the tomato/cheese/pepperoni combo .

At $12.99 with wide distribution this cartoonish steer, his name is Antonio, may well end up pairing with a braise or two as the winter goes on. I can easily recommend this wine for everyday drinking, and that's no bull.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Pizza Red - Part Three is a bust

Once again I must qualify this post as we didn't actually have pizza, but we might as well have.

Tuesday night is Choir night for daughter and now that she's been accepted in the uber choir it is a lengthy session, 90 minutes, that doesn't get us home until 7:30 . On nights that wife is able to pickup that means I can make dinner and plate just as the girls come in the door so we still have time to eat before Glee at 8:00 pm, Glee is must watch TV for daughter. Last night, however, wife was unable to do pickup but would be home so I prepped fauxsagna for dinner to be reheated for dinner just past 7:30.

Fauxsagna is made by preparing a bolognese sause and cooking whatever noodle you wish, last night I used rotini but shells or tortiglione or penne are all acceptable. Toss the cooked noodles with sauce then put a layer of sauce in a baking dish followed by half the noodles, more sauce, a layer of cheese (I use a blend of Mozzarella and Romano), the other half of the noodles, more sauce and more cheese. Bake this in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and serve with salad or green vegetable. Fauxsagna has virtually the same ingredients as pizza so the wine should be a Pizza Red.

Last night's wine was a Primitivo from the Puglia region. Puglia is the boot of Italy on the map and is the largest wine producing region in the country, for years most Puglian wines were cheap, simple and of poor quality but in the past decade or so more care has been put into the wines, particularly with the Primitivo grape. Primitivo should produce rich fruity wines that are ready early. The wine I chose for last night was one I had not tried before, and won't again, it was featured in a Vino Italia promo at the front of the store and was reasonably priced but it just didn't deliver. The wine was Primitivo 2009 OGIO $12.99 with wide distribution. Primitivo should be lush and full with mouth filling red/black fruit flavours and a spicy backnote but this wine was dull, overly dry and lacking in any finish.

I have to give a thumbs down to this week's Pizza Red effort, maybe next week I'll actually make pizza .