Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Birthday Dad!

While thinking of a title for this post I realized that I forgot to call my dad to wish him a happy birthday. Sorry Dad. I thought about you all day. It was this day 2 years ago that Bush was re-elected. I remember talking to my dad that day and after listening to the exit polls saying wouldn't that be great birthday present? To be rid of him? As we know, that didn't happen...
I'm not very political and this IS a food blog so enough of that. It was two days later when Sam whisked me off to our favorite restaurant. I thought he was just trying to cheer me up but instead he asked me to marry him. Yay!
I wanted to continue celebrating the anniversary of our engagement even though we are now married (the more reasons to celebrate the better, right?!) so we went out tonight to a new restaurant called Cafe Porta Alba. It's a little pizza joint with a wood fired oven. They are one of only 16 places recognized by the Verace Pizza Napoletana. Yeah, that means their pizza is the real deal. For $8.50 to $13.00 you get your own pizza. I got the funghi, Sam got the margherita con prosciutto. The crust was superior with the blackened blisters from the oven. The red sauce was tasty (imported San Marzanos, baby) and the amount of toppings was just right (i.e.- not overloaded like a lot of American pies). Sam didn't like his as much. It came draped with two substantial slabs of prosciutto and he thought it would be more enjoyable if they were sliced into smaller pieces. Also, the basil was minimal and it's flavor was missed.
To end our meal I ordered the nutella pizza. I KNOW! Resistance was futile. Why have I never seen these paired before? It's like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup- two great tastes that taste great together. The heavenly spread came sandwiched between a pizza crust that had been sliced in half. More like a nutella quesadilla, if you will. They didn't skimp on the nutella which was my one concern. Better than a chocolate croissant.
Next stop, the Local Tavern. Another new place. They were having an open house and we stopped in for a free Furthermore beer. The Proper was quite tasty but we decided to hit the rode without ordering another round when a group of conventioners convened complete with name tags and luggage.
Two doors down sits Maduro a cigar bar which is the only legal place to smoke in Madison. Um, yeah but only cigars and pipes. You'll have to take that stinky cigarette outside. I had my favorite Bell's . It was "on the firkin" and when I queried the bartender it was described as cask-conditioned, blah, blah, blah. A Wiki search didn't help except to explain that a firkin is an Old English unit of measurement. Oh and there are many firkin pubs in England. Yeah, I don't really get it either but MAN was that a delicious beer! Anything that makes my favorite beer taste even better is okay in my book.

Cafe Porta Alba
15 N. Butler St.
Madison, WI

The Local Tavern
102 King St.
Madison, WI

117 E. Main St.
Madison, WI


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