I am not sure, if it was National Pizza Day or International Pizza Day, as I was getting bombarded with photos of some great pizzas on February Ninth. Now when I was growing up, pizza was still a novelty, believe it or not. In my old neighborhood in Detroit, we had a sit-down pizzeria, and then there was a pizza carry-out place that used to hand you the pie over the top half of a screen door, and eventually they bought all the buildings on the corner and eventually the neighborhood had another sit-down pizzeria, and there was a carryout joint across the street from my Uncle’s gas station and unfortunately only the latter is still in business. Now Detroit is actually famed for their” Detroit Style Pizza” and I have been spoiled, and Detroit created two blockbuster international chains that are going strong. I mention all of this, because there was a fourth pizzeria, that was not actually in the City of Detroit, but was in the suburbs, but it was across the street from “our park” and became part of the neighborhood. The restaurant was Roman Village and they are still in existence. I mention all of this, because my Bride had a problem with her car, we took it into the dealership and eventually found out that the catalytic converter was failing, and thankfully it was still under warranty.
I dropped my Bride off at the dealership and told her to drive over to an Italian restaurant just down the road from where she was and that we would have a pizza, and I think that hit the right note with her. We went to Antonio’s Piccolo Cucina Italiana and that is the name that the son of Roman Village calls his other locations, though only this place has the Piccolo, because the building is much smaller compare to the other locations, and yes, the original location is still open and extremely busy. The business is located in a building that used to be another Italian restaurant that my Bride and I have gone to, where the waiters would sing opera in between waiting on tables. I was a cheap date as we split an Antipasto Salad and an Antonio’s Special Pizza which was loaded, just the way I like a pizza, and we only substituted Anchovies for Italian Sausage. By happen chance, we (I) ended up chatting with the owner’s Mother who was checking up on us, and we had a great chat about Roman Village, and later on, we found that we had been comped by her for our desserts.
I got to the restaurant first and got us a table, at 25% occupancy, all of the booths were already occupied. There was also a sheet of paper on the table that has been mandated, that we have to give our information, in case the restaurant that evening becomes the center of a virus outburst and I am always tempted to write down the name of the governor’s husband, because she does not use his last name and to write down the phone number of the governor’s office. I know that I am such a bad boy, but I couldn’t wait to remove my mask and order a glass of wine. I had a glass of The Hess Collection Winery Chardonnay Shirtail Ranches Monterey County 2018. We have enjoyed The Hess Collection since our visit to Napa Valley years ago. They planted in 1978 and 1982 was there first vintage and then they were noted for Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but the land was actually recorded as being used in wine production since the late 19th Century. The Hess Collection Winery now has wineries and facilities in Argentina and South Africa, as well as other parts of California. The Shirtail (Creek) Ranches of Monterey County is a three-hundred-fifty-two-acre estate and all the fruit is used for a label that is used exclusively for the restaurant trade. Only five percent of this wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in new oak, while the balance is done Sur Lie for about six months in Stainless Steel tanks. A medium bodied wine with notes of green apples, I found this wine to be a bit sweeter than I had anticipated, but it probably works for their target market. My Bride tried a taste of my wine and wanted something else, so she ended up with Stella Pinot Grigio Italia 2019, though the website says that this wine is made in Sicily. Stella Wines is a producer aiming for quantity and this particular wine is offered in traditional bottles, magnums and three-liter boxes. I do not think that I will do much of a stretch to opine that this was made in Stainless Steel tanks. For what it was, the wine was definitely easy drinking and crisp and it tasted like Pinot Grigio. We ordered a couple of glasses of Celani Family Vineyards Robusto Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley 2018 to go with the pizza. We have gone to Celani Family Vineyards wine tastings and we have some wines resting in our cellar from those events. Tom Celani is lauded in the Detroit area for his largesse for charitable organizations that he helps in a grand manner. He and his father ended up creating one of the largest Miller distribution companies in the United States along with other beers and wines. Tom Celani fell in love with wines, first as a drinker and a collector and finally acquiring a Tuscan-style estate with seventeen acres of grapes and one-hundred-twenty olive trees in the foot hills of the Vaca Mountain range in Napa Valley. As the proprietor of the Celani Family Vineyards he has chosen to bottle wine without costs becoming a consideration, to him wine is about quality and not quantity. This is truly a Proprietary Red Blend, as there is no information even on the trade notes, but the winery grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and they are partial to new French Oak. This wine has been made to be enjoyed young and it truly is, with a fruit forward taste, but not a jammy Napa Cab, and softer tannins. We were literally chewing this wine to get all the flavor and the finish was excellent, the perfect wine with our pizza.