Kat: Tonight we're having dinner at Piatti in La Jolla, California.
Rich: Sounds good, Kat. At least I think it sounds good. Let's see how it goes...
Kat: The setting's nice. Piatti's is in the La Jolla Shores, a village just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean. The restaurant's crowded and a little loud, but it's a popular place, so that's to be expected.
Rich: Yes, it is nice. We've been here a couple of times before, and it's usually a full house. That can be a good sign, but as we've learned from experience, there are exceptions. Folks are eating, drinking, and seem to be having a good time, though. Let's start talking about the food.
Kat: We both ordered water, and I like that they serve it from a large bottle that's left on the table. That means you don't have to wait for the waitress to refill your glass. I hate being thirsty!
Rich: Yes, that's helpful. And the water's chilled, too, another nice touch in Piatti's favor. I also ordered a Coke. Neither one of us are wine drinkers, and I sensed the slightest disappointment in our waitress's voice when we didn't partake. Maybe I misheard?
Kat: No, I heard it too. Okay, now let's start eating! Bread and olive oil first. Pretty good. The bread tastes fresh, and has a chewy crust that I like. Sometimes restaurants serve bread that's so hard it lacerates the roof of my mouth! I don't like that, and that's not the case here. And the olive oil I'm dipping the bread into tastes good.
Rich: I don't like to dip my bread into the olive oil - I think it's all the herbs and stuff they infuse it with, which I find visually unappealing. I would've preferred warm bread, but agree it's tasty. I asked for a couple pats of butter, which turned out to be very cold and hard to spread, and also a little garlicky. Not sure if the latter's on purpose, but I'm okay with it.
Kat: We're skipping appetizers and salads tonight, and going right for the main course.
Rich: Yes. You ordered the crushed tomato Margherita pizza, hold the basil. The menu listed something called evoo as an ingredient, which the waitress told me was...extra virgin olive oil. Oh, of course. I felt pretty dumb asking!
Kat: Yes, apparently that's a pretty common acronym. We clearly don't watch enough of The Food Channel! Anyway, the waitress was cool about it, but I think she figured out we aren't epicures. Tell me about your order!
Rich: I ordered the orecchiette with grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus, and gorgonzola cream. I asked them to hold the asparagus though, as I have a strong dislike for it. I would have also asked her to hold the sun-dried tomatoes, but get self-conscious about heavily modifying my order. What'd you think of your pizza?
Kat: It was really good. I think it's pretty hard to mess up a cheese pizza, but it's also hard to make a great one, too, and Piatta's has it figured out. The crust is the best part - thin, chewy. How was your orecchiette?
Rich: There's a theme here - you seem to like chewy bread! Anyway, yes, I liked the oreccheitte. I've ordered it at Piatti before, and sometimes I can tell they removed the asparagus after they prepared it, which leaves the essence of asparagus, which is almost as bad as the actual asparagus itself. This time though, the kitchen staff must of noticed I didn't want asparagus before they prepared it. Some of the chicken was stringy and chewy, but I managed to get gnaw through it. And the sun-dried tomatoes actually imparted a very nice, sweet flavor.
Kat: Great recap, Rich. How about dessert?
Rich: We saw a few good looking desserts making their way to other tables, like Bodino di Pane, a warm chocolate bread pudding with whipped cream. Yum! But we decided to head next door to the convenience mart. If I recall correctly, you got Dipping Dots, and I got some bubble gum, Mike & Ike's, and a scratch-off lottery ticket. So would you go back to Piatti?
Kat: Wait. Didn't the clerk get a little irritated when you asked him to make a lottery ticket recommendation?
Rich: Yes, he was counting a huge mound of pennies on the counter, and I think I broke his train of thought. Maybe that's why he handed us a losing ticket! So - would you go back to Piatti?
Kat: Yes I would. Piatti's makes a mean Margherita pizza. Or is it pizza Margherita? Either way, I'm giving the executive chef listed on the menu all the credit. How about you?
Rich: Garlicky butter and chewy chicken? Not enough to keep me away. Yep, I'll go back to Piatti. And the Mike & Ike's were a nice way to wrap up the evening.