This evening after a long day of walking around central Amsterdam, we took the train back to the suburbs for dinner. However, everyone was bushed, the kids seemed quiet, so a last minute change was made to go out for dinner. It was agreed pizza would be pleasant dinner ... and something to compare to my local Chicago experience.
I ordered a gorgonzola pizza because it was outside of any pizza experience prior. The individual sized pizza was about a foot in diameter, with a very light coating of a simple tomato sauce, background white cheese perhaps mozzerella perhaps something else and slices of gorgonzola. These were not thick slices of gorgonzola as any thicker would have taken longer to melt than the background cheese. There was the definite gorgonzola flavor, balanced and well executed. (Though if it were up to me, the entire pizza would have thick slabs of gorgonzola, forget the background cheese, ... I just happen to LOVE gorgonzola.) The crust was medium thickness, nice chewy crust and cooked just right.
What I really think is interesting about this place is their house speciality: Pasta with Whiskey Sauce, which the table next to us ordered. Prior to serving, a very large wheel of parmigiana is brought to the table. The center is bowl-shaped, not for presentation but because this wheel will be used to prepare the pasta course. When ready, the server pours warmed whiskey into the center and ignites it. The cheese is allowed to melt until the flames extinguish themselves. Then a portion of pasta, already dressed in some tomato sauce, is dropped into the middle of the melted cheese and whiskey, then tossed. The pasta-cheese and whiskey sauce are arranged on a serving dish. Then the server carves the walls of the parmigiana wheel to clean them for next use, depositing the cheese scrappings onto the guest's dish. I didn't taste it because it was served to another guest's table, but it did look lucious. However, it was a presentation style I had never seen before.
Forget spinning salads and blade tossing japanese chefs, bring on the cheese wheels!
All the best,
Cathy2 from the Chicago Board
La Trattoria Ristorante
1901 EL Castricum
Tel: (0251) 652-037
Fax: (0251) 671-325