It was kind of like having two worlds colliding when we just decided that the dust had settled enough to try the latest location for Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina. I mean we could almost be called stalkers, because we have been following Luciano Del Signore from his early days at Font D’Amore in Livonia to his breakout restaurant Bacco Ristorante. Luciano is a dynamo, once his creative juices are pumping and he decided to break into the crazy world of the Detroit pizza scene, but not as a copycat, but with his own Pizzeria Biga, which later became renamed to Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina. The word “biga” if you are a Scrabble player or a crossword fanatic refers to the starter for making bread or in this particular case pizza dough; flour, yeast water and time. There are now five locations for Bigalora, six I guess if you call the seasonal location at Ford Field for when the Detroit Lions are playing or anything other type of performances at this venue. I might also add that he entered in the hot food truck industry and offers catering and parties on almost any site and the trucks are fitted with the same Italian wood fired pizza ovens as he has at the restaurants. Very shortly he will be opening up another restaurant where he will partner with the famed Japanese chef Takashi Yagihashi at the new Pernoi in Birmingham, Michigan. It can be a full-time job, just dining at all of his locations.
We ventured to his fifth location in Plymouth, Michigan which is one of the quaintest communities in the Metropolitan Detroit area with a great downtown and the center of the downtown is a big park. The new location is where the old Box Bar was in Plymouth and it was an institution, they had remodeled the Box Bar some time ago and then some years later they decided to retire. I am sure that part of the delay was just good old small town city politics, especially from some of the other restaurants; especially in the games being played out because of parking, but because he was adding a craft brewery as part of the business, there were even less tables and seats compared to the old Box Bar. The dust settled at the new location and we decided to have dinner there, even though it was difficult to find parking, not just because of the patrons, but the City of Plymouth probably has forty of the fifty-two weekends with activities in the Downtown area. We got in and got a table and ordered our food. We started off with the Fried Shishito peppers done with sea salt, and even though they are fried, I would really call them roasted, because there is no oil and they are just great finger food while waiting for the pies and we had it with some of the Focaccia bread which is the Bigalora dough, garlic infused oil, rosemary and sea salt. We each ordered individual pies, which is what is offered and then split the pies. One was the Bacco Sausage with house blend mozzarella, roasted onion, hot peppers and house made sausage. The other was the Napoletana with house blend mozzarella, anchovy, capers and oregano. The only let-down, and it really is not, is that my Bride always asks if the seasonal soup is the old Eggplant Soup from Font D’Amore, which I always called the Garlic Soup, because it was a puree of roasted garlic and roasted eggplant, and she is single-handedly trying to resurrect that dish back on the menu.
I was thinking of doing a special on the Baia Estate Wines from Leelanau Peninsula that along with Arbor Brewery are two other businesses that have partnered with the dynamic Luciano Del Signore, but I think a discussion of his house wines may require a separate focus. My Bride began with a split of La Marca Prosecco DOC NV. The wine is named after the La Marca Trevigiana zone in the heart of the Prosecco region of Italy. This wine was listed as being one of the “Top 100 Wines of the Year” by Wine Spectator magazine in 2007. Since this wine is from the Prosecco DOC region it is listed as using the Prosecco varietal, instead of the other name of Glera. I snuck a wine in under her radar as she had missed it, but as this type of wine was being touted by another wine blogger that I respect, I thought we should try something different, and since Luciano had it on his menu, it was worth ordering a bottle of it, and my Bride like it better than her choice. We were enjoying a bottle of CVNE “Monopole” Blanco Rioja DOCa 2017. CVNE is the acronym for Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana and one sometimes sees it printed or referred to a CUNE, I guess for ease of pronunciation. CVNE was founded in Haro in 1879 and has been family owned ever since. The estate has one-thousand-three-hundred-fifty acres of vineyards, but that only accounts for half of their production, the balance comes from long term contract growers. The wine is pure Viura and is done in Stainless Steel to keep it fresh and floral. Viura is the local name in Rioja for Macabeo, one of the workhorses of Spain and is one of the main grapes used for Cava, and it is found in small quantities in the Roussillon region of France where is offered both as sweet or dry. This wine was very fresh and offered flowers and citrus both in the nose and in the nice finish. We were both pleased with the wine and with our dinner.