A few weeks ago I posted exuberantly about my copy of The Mozza Cookbook (I've got Mozza on the Brain!). My enthusiasm was illogical -- I'll never have the skill or patience to make most of the items in the cookbook, but dammit, once I heard about this book, I had to have it!
Last week I was fortunate to be in southern California for work and extra lucky to have my wife be able to join me. After my work week was done at the Anaheim Convention Center, we headed for Laguna Beach for the weekend. Traveling down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) we spied a familiar logo: MOZZA. *Ding!* went the bell in my head. We have got to eat here!
After a few decadent dining nights at beautiful Laguna Beach (Friday night at Three Seventy Common and Saturdray night at Sapphire), en route to the airport we stopped at Mozza Pizzeria. On a Sunday. Promptly at 11:25 a.m. There was a line. Who'd a thunk it? As soon as the doors opened at 11:30 we walked in and were immediately asked "Do you have a reservation?" I was taken aback. I knew the Mozza joints were popular, but I did not expect to need a reservation for late Sunday morning dining.
Turned out to be not a problem. There was a table available. It's a good thing that we got there at 11:30, or else we may not have been so lucky -- by noon there wasn't a seat to be had!
Our lunch was great. We didn't hold ourselves back, as it'll likely be a while before we have the opportunity to eat here again. We had (in order) Mozza caprese; pane bianco with extra virgin olive oil; buricotta with braised artichokes, pine nuts, currants, and mint pesto; pizza alla benno: speck, pineapple, jalapeño, mozzarella & tomato; butterscotch budino with Mmaldon sea salt, rosemary pine nut cookies; 2 coffees and 2 cokes.
Wow. Now that's a lunch!
And as good as everything was -- and it was good (the butterscotch budino nearly arrested my breath) -- I got the biggest kick from the Mozza caprese: it was the same item as the picture on the cover of the cookbook! In fact, it looked even better in real life than it did in pictures. Usually a menu's pictures will look better than the food you're served, but not at Mozza. Check out the picture at the top of this blog: the book cover's on the left; my phone pic is on the right.
Not to sound too Top Chef like, but Mozza caprese is a perfect example of simple ingredients skillfully prepared for a truly beautiful end result.
Next on my radar will be Mozza Osteria. Maybe next year.