Last Sunday I had an awesome opportunity to stuff myself silly with pizza while chatting with Crescent Dragonwagon, a James Beard award winning author, and several other Boston Bloggers.
Our lunch spot was Ducali Pizzeria and Bar located in the North End.
Ducali is the name of a soccer team in Parma, Italy with team colors of yellow and blue. There were clever uses of this color scheme throughout the cozy sunlit dining room.
I’m a huge fan of exposed brick in restaurants. It just screams “be comfortable and feel at home here!” for some reason. Either that or it reminds me of living in a loft, which is one of my lifelong dreams.
Crescent was in town promoting her new cookbook, Bean by Bean. She is the author of 50 published books, including Passionate Vegetarian, which was a fantastic resource for me when I was first really learning how to cook vegetarian meals that didn’t include just pasta or a sandwich.
Our lunch included a lovely mixture of apps and pizzas. I love having more than one dish to try. It lets you get to know a restaurant and what they are all about so much more than one dish can.
Carciofi– grilled artichoke served with homemade garlic aioli. I’m a sucker for artichokes so I really enjoyed these.
The aioli was a bit too rich for me, but everyone around me was a fan. In general I don’t care for aioli very often which is strange given that it is comprised of things I love…oil, garlic, and eggs. Maybe it is the texture? It reminds me a lot of mayo. *shudder*
Capprino E Bacca– baby spinach with goat cheese and dried cranberries. I love a big ol’ plate of greens, but this was missing some sort of dressing. I love the combo of goat cheese and cranberries, but without dressing or more of those toppings this salad felt a bit naked to me.
PIZZA TIME! While the apps didn’t totally knock me off my chair, the pizzas were delish. Chewy crust with just a touch of crispy and wonderfully fresh toppings.
Melanzane E Zucchini– grilled eggplant, mushroom, zucchini and
mozzarella topped with fresh goat cheese. This was my favorite of the whole day. I LOVED the veggie combo and the goat cheese was the perfect rich robust flavor that melded everything together perfectly.
Originally I tried to slice my piece in half so I could delicately nosh on a small piece. I took one bite though and snatched the other half.
Rugola -mozzarella topped with arugula, drizzled with truffle oil and topped with shaved Parmiggiano Reggiano. Want to make anything taste better than you thought possible? Add truffle oil. The spiciness and bite of the arugula with the smoothness of the oil paired perfectly with HUGE chunks of savory parm cheese.
I totally caught a few people dipping in just for a few nips of arugula with parm. Sneaky!
There was one other spinach pizza, but I wasn’t able to snag a photo of it. Coincidence..it wasn’t my favorite. Good, but not as good as the other two. Possibly I was spinached out?
Ducali is a perfect North End destination for lunch. Great cocktail menu, beers on tap, and plenty of other menu items to peruse.
While the food was yummy, what was really the highlight of the afternoon was listening to Crescent talk. She is a great story teller (a good quality for an author, right?) and had some wonderful tidbits about finding your voice as a writer. Her passion for her craft is intoxicating. She speaks about writing like it is an old friend. She also has a passion for the subject of her books and let us all in the process it took for Bean by Bean to come to press.
Crescent was kind enough to sign our copies of the cookbook, but it wasn’t just a typical “Best Wishes!” signature. These suckers are works of art all on their own!
Big thanks to Boston Brunchers for organizing and to Crescent Dragonwagon for providing some wonderful inspiration on a Sunday afternoon. And another huge thanks to Ducali for a great lunch and some wonderful leftovers!
*Just a Note: Lunch was provided to me free of charge by Ducali. As always, all opinions are all my own!*
Have a wonderful weekend friends!