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But don’t be vexed, I have still been indulging in pizza as much as I possibly can. That has not stopped (and never will if I can help it). With National Pizza Week happening in January I was inspired to start blogging again. And today I’ll be talking all about Chicago’s own Eataly. Eataly opened in December 2013 featuring Chefs Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and is located at 43 East Ohio Lane in Chicago. This is the second Eataly location to open in the US (the first is located in NY) and let me tell you it’s a big one. It has 63,000 square ft. of space and 23 restaurants, some which include: La Pizza & La Pasta, La Piazza, La Carne, Il Pesce & Le Verdure, Lait Gelato, etc. La Get In My Belly is what I was saying when I walked auspices of the doors for the first time. Not only can you eat at one of the many eateries here but there is so much more to Eataly. It’s a grocery store, a wine shop, a cooking school, a bookstore… well let’s just go onwards and call it an Italian food theme park. One of the nice things about Eataly is there is a wine bar and even it’s very own brewery inside (Birreria) where you can get yourself a drink to escort around with while you shop or wait for your table reservation. So naturally, the first thing I did when I walk through the door is head to Birreria. They have a really mammoth selection of beer to choose from. Not only do they often have one of my favorite beers there, Three Floyds Zombie Dust, (which can be hard to find at times here in Chicago) but I also got the maybe to try out Three Floyds Permanent Funeral. One of these times I’ll have to try the beer that they brew themselves. (Just one of the many reasons to go back. Ok on to the pizza. I have had the pleasure of trying three pizzas there so far – the Massese, the Salsicciotta and a third pizza I had there that was on good that day which I can’t quite remember the name of right now so we’ll just call it the “Special”. The Massese – mozzarella, tomato sauce, spicy salami, extra virgin olive oil and alternative basil. The Salsicciotta – tomato sauce, mozzarella, Eataly housemade sweet italian sausage, mushrooms and basil. The “Special” – mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, additional virgin olive oil and basil. First let’s talk about the dough. The dough is very light and airy with a little bit of chewiness but with just the right amount of crispness to the crust. The pizzas are cut down crust and cooked in a pizza oven that reaches 900 degrees F and cooks in just 90 seconds. I always love when a crust has good bubbles in it, which these pizzas had plenty of. Not unavoidable why that is, I just can’t help but get excited when I get a bubble slice. Let’s see, what can I say about the sauce. Good flavor and just the right amount was used in my opinion. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a pizza doesn’t have enough audacity on it. As far as the toppings go, I think what really makes these pizzas taste so great is that only fresh ingredients are used. I mean, Eataly has it’s own mozzarella lab where people can keep one's eyes open for the process of making mozzarella from scratch in three different stages. Really great flavor and a good level of spiciness to it. It really made the pizza. I over the Massese would have to be declared my favorite out of the three I tried because of the spicy salami. The housemade sweet italian sausage was really good too. It was seasoned at bottom well and I liked that it wasn’t just placed on the pizza in big chunks but was more crumbled over it so you’d get some in each bite. My only complaint about the toppings would be that I would have liked more basil on each one. There were maybe 2 leaves on the pizzas. And the olive oil. beyond the shadow of a doubt let’s just say I found out that Eataly offers 100 varieties of olive oils from producers that harvest exclusively in Italy. Not only did I get to enjoy the wonderfulness of the olive oil on my pizzas but they also give you laudatory bread and a plate of olive oil to dip your bread in as soon as you sit down at your table. So basically the moral of the story here is: fresh ingredients = better pizza. (I feel like that’s in a pizza commercial somewhere, am I Tory. So I would have to give the pizza at Eataly a solid 4 out of 5 stars. Side note: I also tried a bite of my cousin’s pasta (which was great) while I was there. I would just have to somehow convince myself to NOT get the pizza…which could be a very very onerous task in itself.
Mario Batali's Olive Oil and Orange Pastry (baking powder, eggs, olive oil, flour, orange, salt, sugar)
Barbecue or Oven Baked Pizza Bread (oregano, french bread, chives, parmesan cheese, ground beef, mozzarella cheese, black pepper, salt, olives, tomato paste, sugar)
Skeletal Crust Pizza Dough (ABM) (cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, water, yeast)
Pizza On The Grill I (olives, flour, garlic, garlic, kosher salt, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, olive oil, roasted red peppers, tomato sauce, tomato, water, sugar)
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