1.) What’s up world. I’m back.
2.) Just finished a show, so that means it’s time to eat! And, when it’s time to eat, I EAT. The Lady Gator and I have been craving pizza. Like a true awesome gentleman, I suggested CiCi’s. The Lady Gator said “no”. That meant it was time to check out the place I had heard so much about and was dying to try: IL CANE ROSSO.
I had heard about and wanted to plant my human gator face in this place ever since it opened in 2011 and started winning every award for edible food in Dallas. When we asked for opinions on pizza, almost everyone would quickly chime in with “Il Cane Rosso”. The thought of an authentic Neapolitan pizza with a charred paper thin crust made from and topped with minimal, super quality ingredient; cooked in mere seconds in a 900-degree oven built by a dude certified by a bunch of Italian dudes over in Italy-land; and built to the specifications set by the same set of Itals really gets my gator stomach growling. We love Neapolitan-style pizza. KESTE is my favorite ever pizza experience, followed closely by CAMPANIA. Cane Rosso was promised to be better than or equal to both. I was
We entered on a Monday night and were promptly seated. They obviously knew who I was. We were briefly “educated” in the ways of Cane Rosso’s Neapolitan…ways…yeah. We started with fried artichokes (hell yeah!) and wine (fantastic wine list!) while we debated our pizza selection. The Emma would be our darling for the evening. She comes with “Italian tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, Jimmy’s sausage” and since we like our women spicy, we requested some Calabrian chiles.
Quick is the name of the game in Neapolitan pizza. The super hot wood-burning oven gets them pizzas charred and chewy in just minutes. And, true to form, our little Miss Emma showed up in just 4-5 minutes. She looked gorgeous from the top and smelled like pizza from heaven. This was going to be special…or not. I reached for the first slice and what was once a hot little number, quickly revealed herself to be a cold fish. The whole pie was flaccid, luke warm, and her pieces wouldn’t separate even though they were cut. The outter crust was cooked decent enough but from that point in, it was like holding a bunch of drapes over your arm. It all drooped like a greasy fupa over a pair of grey coaching shorts, dropping sausage and cheese all over the ceramic pizza dish. It was like I was back in 7th grade…worthless pizza and fupa covered coach’s shorts all in the same day. We had removed Emma’s Spanx and we were all embarrassed.
Here are some upskirt shot of Emma (note – I admit this was well after we had the remains of our pizza boxed and left, but I guarantee the character of the crust had not changed).
Just my own personal opinion, but I feel I shouldn’t be able to confuse my pizza crust for a tortilla. Ya know? My pizza crust shouldn’t be more flexible than me…and trust me…I’m flexible.
The Lady Gator and I looked at each other with “womp wah” faces. We’re usually not ones to cause problems in restaurants and asking the nice people to put our pizza back in the oven for a few minutes just didn’t seem right. I’m not sure why, but the thought of sending a floppy donkey d*** pizza back at a place with a reputation of a super fancy, hot ass oven gave me scrunch face and shut down my brain.
What were we to do? We wanted pizza, dammit!
Then, in a fit of inspiration from
Papa John’s Heaven, we slugged our wine and shared mischievous grins of inspiration/craziness. With half a pizza left on the table, “I still want pizza. Good pizza.” was spoken into the world. Within seconds, a high-five was exchanged, a 1/2 pizza was boxed, 1/2 glass of wine was slammed, and a bill was paid. We were on our way to Dough.
Fast forward to the DOUGH entrance. We entered, were quickly seated in the neat, quaint Preston Forrest pizzeria. They, too, are a certified Neapolitan pizzeria. Our very thorough server went through his whole spiel, but we already knew what we wanted. We decided to get a special appetizer of mushroom bruschetta and a couple of glasses of wine. Wine was quite good (wine list still needs to be explored for me to fully judge), but that mushroom brushcetta (pictured below)…HOLY BALLS! Awesome. Giant slices of perfectly toasted bread with a giant mound of roasted mushrooms, roasted peppers and WHOLE GARLIC CLOVES! WOW! I will be stinking for days and you will all love it. LOVE IT.
We made quick work of the bruschetta and before long we were staring down the barrel of our pizza. We made the decision to order exactly what we had ordered at Il Cane Rosso: Italian tomatoes, mozzarella, Jimmy’s sausage, and Calabrian peppers. Only problem was we forgot the basil (probably for the best, we had already eaten half a pizza, fried artichoke hearts, and a shit-ton of mushrooms and bread. We didn’t need to be gluttonous.)
Forgive me for not taking pictures of the pizza, but we were on a mission from God for good pizza. And, we found it. The pizza was charred and crispy but not ridiculously crispy (read: awesome) like New York style pizza. You could pick up a slice and the toppings held their place and the crust had only minimal Droopy Dog face. It was paper thin but still had substance. The toppings were delicious and it tasted like a Fellini film multiplied by a Naples honeymoon. All was right in The Gator’s world.
We paid our bill and, like I always do, filled out our comment card. I gave an abbreviated detail of our evening (“why couldn’t you do that here?”, you’re screaming). A few minutes later, our served approached with dessert supplies (spoons and napkins). “Our owner read your card and wanted to buy you dessert.” Lady Gator and I chuckled with our faced red from
Soon, the wonderfully delightful owner, Brad, bounced on the scene with his hands full of sweet ‘zerts: rice pudding with a Nutella mousse and a special house panna cotta (vanilla?) with caramel drizzle and chocolate shavings (pictured below).
Lady Gator and I did a double take, our tongues unfolded on the table, and our eyes telescoped in the direction of the sweet sweet, while we removed our shoes and bashed ourselves on the head. “This was not our intention when I wrote my comments” I somehow proclaimed while sheepishly laughing. Brad said he knew and it was just a small token of his appreciation.
We struck up a conversation about Neapolitan pizza theory, social media and restaurants, and the daily grind. Brad is just one down-ass dude and the epitome of what a restaurant owner/business partner should be. Thank you, Brad.
I love pizza. I EFFING LOVE custard and custard-based desserts. Panna cotta, rice pudding, regular pudding, ice cream, cream pies (that’s what she said), mousses, etc. There was no way I couldn’t like these offerings. Rich, sweet, cool, creamy….just like me.
We scarfed down those yummy yums and threw in the towel. My grandparents have a saying for this moment: “I’m so full you could pop a tick on my belly.” We rolled ourselves to our car before we reenacted Part VI: The Autumn Years of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (the puke scene). Wafer-thin, anyone?
All in all, our pizza foodveture was a success. Please note – I do not write this post as an attack on Il Cane Rosso. The flavors and potential were there. I just feel they had a down night? I would and will most definitely give them another chance and I encourage you to. If for nothing else than the appetizers, wine, and their dessert pizzas (which looked and smelled like Heaven after a table next to us ordered one). The service is good and Deep Ellum is a neat place to visit.
However, everything about Dough grabbed me (maybe it was their dough hooks? eh? eh?). Service, ambience, offerings, execution, taste, charm, and personal feel. I encourage you all to try both Dough AND Il Cane Rosso….maybe not within 20 minutes of each other, but…yeah…
I’ll give you time to digest all this info while I continue to digest my meal(s). BURP.
Until next time…