On Saturday night (well, 5 PM being night), I ate at Piola near Union Square with nine of my favorite people in the world. I'm not one to organize huge eating parties (I prefer to dine with just one or two other people), but I knew all these people and they all knew at least one other person besides myself...to an extent. Well. They'd all become buddies in the end, as required by a law I just made up. Unsurprisingly, the place wasn't very crowded at 5 PM (I did make reservations beforehand just to be safe). The place was decorated for a Mardi Gras celebration, methinks; it looked pretty cool with brightly colored streamers hanging down from the high ceilings. I heard that the seats were uncomfortable, but as I was sitting by the wall on the cushy seats, my bum felt A-OK.
Piola's specialty is pizza. Lots of pizza. About 60 different kinds. Reading over the descriptions can get tiring, as every one seems to say "cheese", "tomato sauce" and possibly "crust". I guess they want to be sure you know what you're getting. The good thing is that even my non-cheese loving friends had something to get, as they have non-cheese pizzas. THERE'S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE! And everything comes out on huge, white plates, huge enough that everything stays on the plate and off the table, while not so huge that the food looks microscopic by comparison or that the table feels too cluttered. Nice.
Their menu lists Margheria and Margherita D.O.C., the only difference being that one has fresh mozzerella and not plain old mozzerella. I went for the fresh and indeed, it is. I'm not sure if I've ever had fresh mozzerella on a pizza, but it definitely made my taste buds happier. Hell, when I was chewing on the pizza, I thought, "Hm, tastes different. A nice sweetness...ohh yeah, it's fresh." Granted, it's not like eating a chunk of fresh mozzerella, but it's nicer than your average cheese. I was disappointed by the few basil leaves as I thought there would be...a bit more, possible scattered all over the pizza and not sitting in a tiny bunch in the center. It's more like a plain pizza with a hint of basil...YES, that's what they should've put on the menu. Gaarh! Well. I'm no pizza aficionado, so please excuse me for my basil gluttony. There was no excess grease running off the slice to remind me of my elementary school pizzas that peed orange puddles of "gonna make your napkin translucent" doom, which is a huge plus. Oh god, what kind of pizza did I grow up with?
(Yeah, I pulled a Slice. Heehee.) I thought that the crust would be crispier than what it ended up being. It wasn't very crispy, nor sadly limp; it was just in the middle. IT'S NEUTRAL.
Ahhh, I am eating food. Yes. These are the photos I like to send to my mum so she knows how gluttonous I am.
"How's it going, Robyn?"
"Oh you know, eating myself to an early grave as usual."
"You shouldn't do that."
"...Yeah, well, what can you do?"
Diana and Patricia ordered the cheese-less Antica pizzas, which came with tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes (and the basil pile).
As for non-pizza items, CJ ordered the fettuccini al ragu. I didn't ask him what he thought of it, but I suspect he would've said something if he didn't. Yay! [thumbs up!]
That damn healthy Mary ordered a salad. This looks pretty nice though, and she raved about the chicken. RAVED. Damn, I'm curious enough to go back to try the chicken.
CJ was the only one to order dessert. Alas, I have FAILED; I wasn't hungry enough to order dessert! THAT IS THE MOST
IMPORTANT TASTY PART OF THE MEAL. Damn stomach, I hate you. Then again, the rest of us were also full...but CJ plowed on. God bless him.
He ordered the apple pie with vanilla ice cream. For whatever reason, I scoffed at the idea of ordering apple pie a la mode--it sounded almost too simple, besides that I'm not a huge fan of fruit pies--but it smelled heavenly. This was not your basic American apple pie; it was like a huge apple tart. Layers of apple piled high in a soft, pastry crust that wasn't quite puff pastry, but more like puff pastry than a regular pie crust. Dammit, I should've gotten dessert!
I can't comment on everyone else's dishes, so here's the bill. Not bad for 10 people, of course. I wouldn't say it's too expensive, but it's not cheap either. It's NEUTRAL. YES. LIVING IN A LAND OF NEUTRALITY. With tax and tip, I paid about $13 for my pizza, which was definitely enough food (I couldn't even finish the crust; I love crust!). If I went here with one other person, I'd share a pizza, a salad, and a dessert if we were still hungry.
Piola is a nice place to go with groups of people. If your friends are more adventurous, perhaps you can split a few pizzas. As I had read online, each one can feed one hungry person, or two semi-hungry people. I would've had no problem splitting a pizza with someone else, as I was pretty full by the end, but they're not that big (I'm kind of small, remember...I mean, my arms are fat, but LET'S IGNORE THAT). I wouldn't be dying to come back here (for one thing, there are so many other pizza places I have to try out), but it's not bad. All my friends seemed to enjoy their meals.
And then we were off to Webster Hall to see Stars and Magnet. It's not food related so that long winded commentary resides on my music blog, if you're curious enough to read it. The concert kind of drained me, hence this not-very-exciting entry (although I hope you found some parts of it interesting).
However, I will mention this music related thing: Magnet is playing at The Living Room on March 21st and I encourage you all to go. I mean, if you live in NYC. And only if you like Magnet. ...Okay, so far I'm not grabbing anyone's attention. If you think you'll like Magnet at all (you can listen to stuff on his website), seriously think about coming; I'll be there. In CJ's words, I "push Magnet like crack," and for good reason; he's awesome. Also, as he's from Norway, he's ALMOST NEVER IN THE US. If you are really interested in going, I might be able to get you a free ticket. Feel free to ask me, but only if you want to go and know you can. Preferably, you like me also. :)