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A cruise, a weekend alone and the brilliance of Pizzeria Mozzza!

July 11, 2009

I dropped my family off in Long beach for a three day cruise. I stayed back to work on promotions for the Next Food Network Star. It was a sad moment dropping them off and knowing I would not enjoy the weekend with them but I quickly decided to make the best of it. I went to Pizzeria Mozza, one of my top few favorite restaurants in Los Angeles. Always hard to get in I was lucky to only have to wait 20 minutes to sit at the bar.

Fried squash blossoms with ricotta cheese. The first time I had these my culinary ego said “the flavor of the blossom will be lost in frying, how silly”. Not hardly! They are so brilliant the way they respect each ingredient and balance the delicate flavors. I think they use a rice flour to coat the blossom and they must use very clean oil. The coating is perfectly crisp and light with the perfect amount of chew. The coating sticks to your teeth briefly like savory gum and then you get a burst of creamy, mild ricotta cheese. After a few seconds your palate is cleansed with a blanket of the full flavor of the squash blossom. A pleasant, bitter, flower pedal finish shows you they know what they are doing.

Beets with horseradish. Wow!! At first I thought there was too much spice. I actually caught myself blowing on my fork on the third bite! Anyone looking at that must have felt sorry for the insane single guy eating at the bar! It was amazing how the flavor of the beet permeated my mouth while a blast of horseradish spice flew up my retro nasal passage and straight into my brain!! Normally spicy foods and red wines are a bad idea. The tannin in the wine and the heat do not play nicely together. The tannin comes forward and you lose the fruit.  I was drinking a killer Barbera which I always appreciate with food. It has a lot of acid for a red which makes it a good food wine. In this case it was a brilliant match. I was shocked. The heat actually softened the tannins and left me with a mouth full of Bing cherries and beet! Very cool! There must be something about horseradish that defies the normal heat rule.

I then had the pizza with bacon, potato and egg (the only one I hadn’t tried before). This is why people eat breakfast all day long! It came with a soft egg in the center. I burst the yolk and dragged it across the pizza. The residual heat of the pizza finished cooking the egg and left me with a rich, creamy egg yolk sauces on the pizza. So tasty! The crust is in the top three I have ever had in my life. You know the chef understands bread because the dough tastes like well developed yeast bread instead of quick simple pizza dough. I love the way they bring the crust up into huge, light chewy pillows yet the center stays thin and crisp. I brought two pieces home for breakfast so that I could still order the meatballs! As usual these meatballs are the best. They are so tender in your mouth you wonder how they stay together on your fork. A perfect balance of what I am guessing is beef and pork. The sauce is a rich red wine tomato sauce and the bread is toasted with tarragon. Very tasty combination.

I miss my family but I am not going hungry!!! If you haven’t eaten at Mozza it is a must!
Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2009 11:07 pm

    It’s so funny to hear you write of fried squash blossoms. That’s my “code word” for the ultimate in foodie-ness (is that a word?) Anyway, I use “fried squash blossoms” to encapsulate kind of out-there food, stuff (ahem) normal people have never heard of and might not even consider food. “It’s a flower, fer chrissakes!” 😀 But it’s the stuff that food lovers enjoy the most.

    So! While watching the Miami episode of NFNS, I re-lived parts of the Great American Food & Music Festival! Many hungry people and servers unable to deliver the food fast enough. Were you thinking the same (only in reverse) when you were at the Shoreline?

    Just that kind of scenario is what concerns me the most about my own recent restaurant effort. Yes I want customers, yes I want to have a busy and bustling restaurant. But, uh, not too busy, if you get my meaning.

    Your brief comment at the judge’s table was brilliant (forgive me, I don’t recall your exact words): the menu was just too complicated to pull off in the time you were allotted, eh?

  2. Amy permalink
    July 16, 2009 12:13 pm

    Yeah. I, too, thought that comment in episode 6 was dead on. The wheels fell off the hors d’ oeuvres cart, but I thought you (Jeffrey) showed great class at the evaluation in general. There seemed to be several problems, but the most critical breakdown seemed to happen during those first two hours. And Jeffrey was right– even though the team was given that length of time to make the hors d’ oeuvres, most of the work for them really should have been done in an hour and a half or less, ideally so the food would be ready for plating in mass quantities throughout the evening. Additionally, everyone would have had time to touch base with one another 30mins prior like you wanted. At least that’s how I imagine it coming together, but I might be wrong.

    But sometimes things just don’t work out, and hindsight is always 20/20. Looking forward to the next episode!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      July 18, 2009 7:57 am

      I appreciate your thoughts. “see you” Sunday night 🙂

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