>> Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Just over this past weekend I went on my first winery tour through Southern California (closer to Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynes Valley). Most of the wine produced there aren’t exported and kept pretty local, so I felt privileged to be able to taste the different varietals grown there, mainly Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. I remember thinking during lunch that I would very much enjoy a pizza to go with my pinot as opposed to the bread and cheese we were served. Now that I’m back in town I can definitely use some thin crust pizza and seeing as it’s Wednesday, what better time then to head over to Famoso. Where they feature specific wines each Wednesday and if you ask nicely, you can even taste them as if you were taking a mini wine tour of your own.
Atmosphere: Casual, laid back surroundings where you place your orders up front then sit back and enjoy the view of Calgary’s 4th street.
Food and Wine: It’s a different and interesting concept at Famoso, reminiscent of a coffee shop. Where you order at the front, take a seat and then your food gets served. It works well for those who are familiar with the menu and know what they want. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the menu feel free to take a seat first before deciding. We were the latter.
After being seated, we were treated to a sample of the wine features that day (coincidentally it was a Wednesday). The server also notified us that with any bottle of wine we also got a free appetizer that evening. We chose the Bruschetta which came with a side of grilled pita. There was quite a bit more tomato than onion, but the dish was very light, I really enjoyed the chewy pitas that the dish was served with.
We decided on two pizzas that evening, one red (tomato) sauce based and one white. The Cappricciosa which came with Italian ham, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and olives was on the lighter end. The artichokes and olives adding that extra bit of tanginess, cutting through the olive oil and cheese, but we did find it a little under seasoned. The Proscuitto Arugula pizza came with a white sauce made from olive oil, oregano and garlic. It was topped with pecorino romano cheese and of course proscuitto and arugula. Both my husband and I preferred this one over the first because we’re garlic lovers and this pizza definitely had a good amount of it! I enjoyed the chewy crust and how thin the pizza was and am looking forward to trying another white sauced pizza.
To end the evening we had to order the Dolce and Banana. Nothing beats caramelized bananas with brown sugar and more caramel with vanilla bean gelato. Vanilla and bananas go together like peas and carrots. The caramel sauce was light and not overly sugary. The bananas were soft with a nice bruleed topping. Great way to end the meal!
The featured red wine that evening was the Seven Terraces Pinot Noir from New Zealand. It was a lightly acidic red, with minor touches of oak and berry notes. The wine was a bit tart with a mild finish. It was a nice complement to the white pizza without overwhelming the taste of the pie.
My Picks: Proscuitto Arugula Pizza, Dolce and Banana
Overall: With the lack of vineyards in and around the Calgary area, the next best thing we can do is aim for wine tasting at a wine store or restaurant. I prefer the latter since nothing truly brings out the greatest in the wine then accompanying it with some great food and vice versa. While on that note, what brings out wine better than food that it was made to go with from the lands of Italy? Famoso is a great place to enjoy both in a more relaxed laid back sort of way.
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria105 2303 4th Street SW