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Taverna Rossa: Much More Than a Pizzeria

Taverna Rossa: Much More Than a Pizzeria


The only thing more fun than the atmosphere at Taverna Rossa is wrestling with your dining companions over what to order. Plus, reheating made my house smell fabulous.

First up, cocktails. Yes, you read that right, a strip of bacon. It may sound like a crazy concoction, but it was a delicious blend of sweet and smoky and savory.

We started the meal with the ‘Mason Jar Trio’ of homemade dips and spreads (pimiento cheese, roasted chilies, and sharp cheddar; spicy cannellini bean; and local goat cheese, smoked almonds, and fresh basil); Ma’s Homemade Meatballs made from local fresh ground beef and sausage, all-natural marinara, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil; and the Killer Texas Sausage Queso with local Texas sausage, house pickled jalapenos, white onion, bell pepper, tomato, and garlic. (You can also add local Hamm’s Smoked Brisket to the latter, which, of course, we did.)

My favorite of the three was the queso to be sure. I don’t know whose idea it was to add brisket. But I have only one word for that addition – brilliant. The meatballs and dips were also tasty and creative. We also enjoyed the Baby ‘Berg Wedge Salad, comprised of candied bacon, Lemley’s tomatoes, local feta, and green garlic dressing. It was just before the holidays before we went and the tomatoes were heavenly, reason enough to eat this salad.

As for the main event, after much debate, we ordered three pizzas: the Farmer’s Pie with all-natural red sauce, Luscher’s sausage, fire-roasted red pepper, fresh garlic, white onion, cracked red pepper, house-blend mozzarella, and torn basil; the 33 BLT with marinated cherry tomato, basil, Texas infused olive oil, gorgonzola cheese, local bacon, and arugula (although we did it with mozzarella as I’m told many customers do); and the Smokey Pie with local smoked brisket, local bacon, white onion , house-blended mozzarella, cheddar, and optional goat cheese.

There is simply no point in picking a favorite. I loved them all and all for one reason: flavor variety. Each pie is so well-balanced flavor and texture-wise. It was more like eating a tasty science experiment then simply enjoying a slice.

As if that wasn’t enough, we also had the shells and cheese with jumbo shells, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, Texas cheddar, fontina, and bread crumbs with the option to add local bacon or all-natural chicken. I was expecting it to be good. What I wasn’t expecting was to create a new personal craving. But that’s exactly what happened. The blending of cheeses combined with the chicken had me going back for taste after taste. Even if I didn’t love the pizza, I would be back for this alone. Somehow we also managed to order dessert, classic New York-style cheesecake, the root beer float, and a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream on top. The cheesecake was classic, the float was delicious, and the gooey cookie was old school dessert heaven. Don’t miss it.

Taverna Rossa is the brainchild of Preston Lancaster, along with partners Tony Smith and Jimmy Cannon. The three wanted to create a place where pizza and beer were more than just pizza and beer. Mission accomplished. How? They got advice from a pro for starters, crafting the menu with help from Brian Luscher, chef/owner of The Grape in Dallas, elevating Taverna Rossa from the ordinary to extraordinary.

Then, they made sure that many of their ingredients are locally sourced, including smoked Texas brisket and applewood smoked bacon from Hamm’s Meat Market in McKinney; Lemley Tomatoes from Canton; Luscher’s Italian Sausage; and Texas Wagyu sirloin.

Add to that a full bar (with twenty-four craft beers on tap as well as an impressive wine list and a clever variety of handcrafted cocktails) and live music three to four nights a week, from rock to country to good old blues, and you’ve got pizza and beer 2.0.

If you go to Tavena Rossa, go hungry, go with friends, and go ready to get more than you bargained for. This is much more than a suburban strip mall pizza joint. This is craft, for sure.


Pizza Dough
1 3/4 cup water, tepid (70 to 78 degrees F)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour, preferably high-gluten
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Toppings
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Tomato Sauce
1 cup whole peeled tomatoes, drained

Mix the dough: Pour the water into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast, flour, and salt and stir just long enough to blend into a dough.

Knead the dough: By machine: With the dough hook, mix the dough on medium-high speed for 15 to 17 minutes. At this speed the mixer will "walk," possibly off the counter, so do not leave it unattended.

The dough will not clear the sides of the bowl and will climb up the dough hook. Periodically stop the machine and scrape down the hook and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Turn the machine to high speed and knead until the dough becomes more coherent, clears the sides of the bowl, and collects around the hook, 2 to 3 minutes more. It will be glistening, creamy, and extremely elastic.

Check that the dough is well developed by pulling off a golf ball-sized piece. Stretch it into an opaque windowpane that does not tear. If it does tear knead for an additional 1 to 2 minutes and test again.

Ferment the dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, clear 4-quart container with a lid. With masking tape, mark the container at the level the dough will reach when it has tripled in volume.

Cover and leave it to rise at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees F) until it expands voluminously, reaching the masking-tape mark, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. It will feel somewhat less sticky.

Prepare the oven: About 1 hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack. Heat oven to 500 degrees F.

Prepare the tomatoes: Drain the tomatoes and puree them in a food processor or food mill until smooth.

Divide and shape the pizzas and add the toppings: Coat a wide swath of the counter with flour. Uncover the dough and scrape it out onto the counter. It will collapse into a puddle. Lightly but thoroughly dust the top of the dough with flour.

With a bench scraper or chefs knife, cut the dough into 2 equal pieces. Drape them with plastic wrap and let them rest on the counter for 10 minutes.

Coat a baker's peel or rimless baking sheet with flour. Uncover 1 piece of dough. Dust your hands with flour. Transfer the piece of dough to the peel, plopping it into the center.

With the pads of your fingers, dimple the dough all over to press and gently shape it into a rough rectangle. Lift the two corners closest to you and stretch it in one fluid motion, as if you are shaking out a towel, dropping the end farthest from you at one end of the peel. Repeat with the opposite side, stretching the dough so that it is one inch shy of the depth of your baking stone.

Dimple the dough all over with your fingers again to even it out as much as possible, but do not over handle it. Use a pastry brush to coat the dough lightly with the olive oil. Sprinkle it with sea salt. Add the tomato sauce.

Bake the pizza: Slide the pizza onto the baking stone.

Bake until the pizza is bubbled and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. A little charring is the sign of a well-baked pizza Romana.


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Pulling off palatable gluten-free replicas of bread, muffins and cakes can be challenging. The worst examples leave people feeling like they&rsquove just chomped on blocks of sawdust. But other foods lend themselves to easier reproduction &mdash like pizza. Since thin crust pizzas bypass the moist, spongy texture required of other breads, some gluten-free pizzas are indiscernible from their counterparts. In truth, even a cracker topped with melted cheese and sausage is delicious.

Whether you're gluten-free or just looking to try an outside-the-box pizza crust, here are DFW&rsquos best places to eat the world&rsquos most popular cheese-covered bread, sans wheat.

Pie Tap Pizza Workshop
1212 Oak Lawn Ave. (Design District) and 2708 N. Henderson Ave. (Vickery Place/Knox-Henderson)
Although it no longer delivers a six-pack of brews or a bottle of wine to your door as when it first opened, Pie Tap Pizza Workshop & Bar still makes the word &ldquoworkshop&rdquo exciting. Creator Rich Hicks, who gave us Mooyah and Tin Star, was smart enough to draw on local specialists such as Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate and Gabe Sanchez of Black Swan when creating his menu. He&rsquos also smart enough to know that when people go to a pizza workshop, they&rsquore going to want a gluten-free option.

Pie Tap calls the tapioca and almond flour crust its &ldquogluten-friendly&rdquo alternative since it can&rsquot guarantee that cross-contamination hasn&rsquot occurred &mdash a nice consideration for those with severe allergies. The thin crust that costs an additional $3 is a bit on the sweet side, but the veggie and salami pizzas that come with zesty Calabrian peppers can abate that.

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Alamo Drafthouse
1005 S. Lamar St. (The Cedars) 6770 Abrams Road (Lake Highlands) 100 S. Central Expressway, Richardson 320 W. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving Interstate 35 and Highway 380, Denton and 8380 Davis Blvd., North Richland Hills
Of course this cool Austin transplant offers the pinnacle of gluten-free pizza options: the cauliflower crust. Instead of eating rare, exotic grains you couldn&rsquot identify in a lineup, like amaranth, have a crust that&rsquos made of something you recognize.

Covering cauliflower in cheese is a trick mothers have been using for decades, after all. The crust will set you back an additional $2, but lying almost horizontal in a theater where you know there won&rsquot be cellphone interruptions is priceless. Uncommon toppings include the squash and goat cheese with basil and Roma tomatoes, or for carnivores, the Brussels sprouts and bacon with goat cheese and four other cheeses. Perhaps the reclining position will help make room for a hot dog or hamburger on a gluten-free bun, also on the menu.

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Social Pie
5855 Maple Ave. (Oak Lawn)
This newly opened pizzeria on Maple Avenue is popular with nearby hospital employees and anyone else who&rsquos lucky enough to stumble upon it. The owners of State & Allen have renovated the space, an old pet and farm supply warehouse, into what they hope will become Dallas&rsquo first restaurant to earn three stars from the Green Restaurant Association. By using electric ovens and biodegradable materials when possible, Social Pie is part of a growing Dallas movement to clean up restaurant waste.

In addition to being kind to Mother Earth, Social Pie also gives back to the community by contributing a portion of all pizza sales to local charities that customers choose by voting with a bottle cap given upon purchase. The gluten-free crust, a combination of tapioca, amaranth, sorghum and teff flours, costs an additional $5 but tastes similar to the real thing, and remember &mdash charity. Go for gluten-free breakfast pizza and a carafe of mimosas for $25 during weekend brunch and watch tiny planes land at Love Field from Social Pie's breezy patio.

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Pie Five
Various locations
This nationwide pizza chain that churns out unlimited-topping personal pizzas in five minutes or less now has two gluten-free pizza options: a rice flour crust (+ $2) and a cauliflower crust (+ $2.50). After a stint as a limited-time offering, the cauliflower crust was recently added as a permanent menu item after the company claims it sold out across the country. We found it&rsquos a popular lunchtime spot laid out like a Subway assembly line, where customers point to their sauce, cheeses, meats, and veggies before going on the oven&rsquos conveyor belt.

This may be the most generic of places on this list, but Pie Five&rsquos alternative crusts are reaching a wide and perhaps unlikely audience. During our visit, we overheard a man in Wranglers talking about retirement and the imperceptibility of cauliflower in his low-carb crust. If saving for retirement is a topic that&rsquos also on your mind, go on Magic Monday when all pizzas have a base price of $5.55.

My Family&rsquos Pizza
1915 Skillman St. (Lakewood) and 10720 Preston Road (Preston Hollow)
The original My Family&rsquos Pizza began as Pizza by Marco in 1956. It is still in the same Preston Oaks shopping center, operated today by Marco&rsquos son, Frank Nuccio, and there's another franchise location in Lakewood. The brand originally known for thin-crust pizzas and Frank's grandmother&rsquos red sauce is now getting a reputation for vegan and gluten-free pizzas that include free delivery within a five-mile radius.

The 10-inch gluten-free crust (an additional $2) is composed of rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch, and the whole wheat vegan crust (an additional $2) is mixed in house with coconut milk. Vegan cheese and meats along with organic chicken toppings tempt diet-conscientious eaters, as does the popular caramelized, roasted pecan salad with plenty of blue cheese. The locations vary slightly with highlights of their own: Nuccio has installed a reverse osmosis filtration system at his location while Lakewood&rsquos owner, Troy Swinson, offers gluten-free penne pasta and a gluten-free chocolate chip brownie he swears tastes as good as the real thing.

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Taverna Rossa
4005 Preston Road, Plano, and 1151 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake
Perhaps you enjoy a bottle of gluten-free Omission lager and some live music while you eat pizza. Taverna Rossa advertises craft pizzas and beers, and its crust made of millet, potato flour and rice flour will only set you back one extra dollar. The toppings on your craft pizza might include local ingredients such as tomatoes from Lemley&rsquos Farm, sausages from Brian Luscher, or brisket or bacon from Hamm&rsquos Custom Meats. The 13-inch crust is larger than many of the offerings on this list and is probably the most successful forgery of the original flour and yeast crust we tried. Unlike all other places on this list, Taverna Rossa makes its crust in house using dedicated utensils. The kitchen still works with wheat, of course, but if you don&rsquot have celiac disease, this is the place to pork out.

Mimi&rsquos Pizzeria
3028 N. Hall St. (Uptown) and 6807 W. Northwest Highway (Park Cities)
In that shaded corner behind the Uptown Bread Winners parking lot is the second site of Mimi&rsquos Pizzeria. It&rsquos about two years old the original Park Cities location opened in 2011. Owner Mimi Ahmedi&rsquos father, Joe, moved to the Dallas area from Brooklyn 20 years ago. He&rsquos the Joe behind the nine Joe&rsquos Pizza and Pasta locations scattered throughout DFW. Mimi&rsquos red sauce comes from a family recipe, too, and its no-upcharge dough comes from Venice Bakery, a large vegan and gluten-free bread distributor in California. The pleasantly crispy crusts, made primarily of rice flour, come in 10-inch and 14-inch sizes and don&rsquot cost a dime more than the regular New York pies &mdash a nice benefit for those tired of paying extra for what can be an expensive diet.

Peasant Pizzeria
3900 Cedar Springs Road (Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs)
It turns out that Sfuzzi&rsquos frozen, moonshine-strength bellinis pair excellently with gluten-free pizza. In December, Robert Colombo opened Peasant Pizzeria on a Cedar Springs corner after selling Sfuzzi and taking a break. He kept many of the things that made Sfuzzi great: meatballs, artichoke pizza, bellinis. The 14 pizzas on the new Peasant menu got an upgrade with consultations from pizza industry godfathers Mario Batali and Chris Bianco. We&rsquore hoping for longevity here in what has been a historically short-lived space because, in addition to the lunch and dinner pizzas, there are also weekend brunch pizzas that also probably taste great with bellinis. Any of the creative pizzas &mdash clam, charred artichoke, fennel sausage &mdash can be ordered with a gluten-free cauliflower crust for $3 extra.

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Beef Stew with Leeks

Braises like this are perfect for meat with tough muscle tissue and tendons (which come from the part of the animal that works hard), a great example of poverty cooking. This less expensive cut of meat develops its own natural and luscious sauce as it cooks. You want a little marbling in the meat, because it melts down as you cook and adds a lot of flavor to the sauce. You can use brisket, shanks, shoulder – all fairly tough meats – but save the filet mignon for the grill or a pan. It takes a little time to cook and become tender, but it’s a relatively easy setup, and once you get it onto the stove you don’t have to worry about it for about an hour.
So you can do your laundry, or walk the dog, or make a salad.


Parosweb

Ephessus specializes in Greek and Asian Minor cuisines it also offers a variety of Turkish starters and has a wood oven for Lahmajoun, Pizzas and Pinirli. Delivery is available in Parikia also take away. • Open all year, for lunch & dinner. Closed end of October till middle of December.

+30 22840 22520 | +30 6976 065689 | Parikia, Livadia Beach

Exesion

A new restaurant, centrally located, offering a variety of middle-eastern classical dishes, Greek Genius Kitchen, wraps and skewers. Interesting for both meat eaters and vegetarians. Take-away and delivery.

+30 22840 25154 | Parikia, Old Town, Mando Mavrogenous Square

Restaurant Agkyra

A new restaurant specialising in charcoal grilled meats and seasonal salads. Takeaway service and deliveries in the south-east region: Drios, Marpissa, Prodromos, Agairia and Alyki.

+30 22840 43306 | Drios, Center

Levantis

Nestled in the heart of the old town of Parikia, Levantis restaurant specializes in a creative cuisine which is influenced by the warm flavors of the Aegean and wider Mediterranean region. The main dining area is situated in a leafy open-air courtyard surrounded by grape vines. Levantis also has a cozy indoor dining space which is connected to the garden for cooler evenings. Levantis restaurant is available for hosting exclusive wedding parties and other special celebrations. • Operates May until September, 18:30-00:30.

+30 22840 23613 | Parikia, Old Town

Aranto

It looks like a normal taverna but it's much more than that. It's a whole project of simple but creative and mainly succulent Greek cuisine, in a very enjoyable atmosphere whether in the indoors that look like some medieval donjon, or outdoor in a terrace overlooking from Lefkes to the coast and the neighbouring Island of Naxos. Open in winter on weekends and daily in summer for lunch & dinner.

+30 22840 44070 | +30 6972 773268 | Lefkes, Main Road

Aroi Thai restaurant

Authentic Thai Cuisine prepared by an experienced Thai chef. Aroi restaurant is nested in Pandrossos Hotel and boasts an outdoors dining terrace with panoramic views to the bay of Parikia. And indoors dinning area is also available for chilly nights.

+30 22840 22903 | +30 6972 726189 | Parikia, Seafront, Boudaraki

SaleRosso

An authentic Italian Vineria & Prosciutteria, in the heart of Antiparos town! Gourmet Italian dishes with specially chosen ingredients original appetizers with a selection of Italian cured meats & cheeses tasty deserts and a big choice of Italian Wines and Prosecco. An ideal place for aperitif and dinner. • Open in the summer, from 17:00 and also for Breakfast and Brunch.

+30 22840 61181 | +30 6983 042013 | Antiparos, Town, Market Street

Ela Paros

A new Wine Bar & Restaurant with a large selection of wines from all over the world, including Greek. The food menu is designed to accompany the wine and changes everyday, based on local ingredients with the chef's twist. Friendly and cosy atmosphere.

+30 6974 611274 | Parikia, Old Town, Mando Mavrogenous Square

Margarita Restaurant

Taste authentic Greek dishes, cooked with love and care, by mother & daughter, Margarita and Stella, both with a big talent in cooking, holding many secrets of local recipes from Paros. The restaurant is located at the premises of Margarita hotel, and serves around the pool. Open in the summer season for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

+30 22840 52362 | Naoussa, Ambelas

Tao's Restaurant & Bar

Enjoy the very best of Asian Cuisine and a variety of vegetarian dishes, at a beautiful, laid back setting in the countryside with panoramic views to the sea. Open all day long, for coffee, drinks & meals. Live music events often take place. Tao’s Bar-Restaurant is a meeting point for happy people from all around the world. • Open: from March to mid-November, 10am to midnight. • Special Set Menu: €12 p.p.!

+30 22840 28882 | Naoussa, Ambelas Countryside

Elaionas Restaurant

Gourmet restaurant with Greek dishes in new versions, also using local products from the island. Enjoy your meal or coffee & dessert the garden terrace by the swimming pool! Open in the summer season for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Lollo's Pizzeria

Here you can sit in the delightful seafront of Antiparos and enjoy the delicious 'Pinsa' cooked in a wood burning oven. Stefano and Sabrina, the owners are from Rome and bring with them the Authentic Italian cuisine. • Open for lunch and dinner throughout the summer.

+30 22840 61215 | +30 6981 968699 | Antiparos, Town, Seafront

Anna's Restaurant

Traditional Greek and Parian recipes, made of local products from the Parian land and sea. Garden terrace for cooler meals. • Open in the summer for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Off-season, a hangout for locals - closed during some winter months.

+30 22840 41015 | Drios, Center

Mouragio Fish Taverna

A well-known Fresh Fish & Greek Cuisine Restaurant, located at the Seafront of Parikia with views to the sea and the sunset. Offers fresh fish from Paros fishermen, local specialities and all the famous Greek dishes. The Tsantalis family operates Mouragio for more than 30 years, and uses locally grown vegetables and its own home made "misithra" cheese! • Open in the summer for lunch & dinner.

+30 22840 23270 | +30 6936 914748 | Parikia, Seafront

Nisilios Cafe-Restaurant

All-day bar, cafe, restaurant at the Market Street of Antiparos. Open from the morning until late at night, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts. Freshly grounded coffee, polite service and great cooking. • Open in the summer season all day long.

+30 22840 61113 | Antiparos, Town, Market Street

Henri G Restaurant

Set in a neoclassical building of the late 1800s, Henry G is a new Restaurant run by Chef Henri Emmanuel Guibert who invites you on his exclusive balcony to taste his elegant and sincere Mediterranean cuisine, with a discrete touch of French inspiration, using local selected products from Paros.

+30 22840 24407 | Parikia, Old Town, Market Street, Agia Triada

To Spitiko

A Greek family restaurant. New location on the countryside with sea view and to Antiparos. Greek cuisine created with local fresh ingredients. Friendly service. Greek, English and French speaking. Open weekends in winter and daily in summer.


The Cuisine of Puglia (Apulia)

If you visit Puglia and drive north from Bari towards the Gargano Peninsula, you will pass endless olive groves. It's little wonder that olive oil plays a major role in the region's cooking, as do cereals and grains grown on the flat, stony plateau that extends south from Bari, reaching all the way to Taranto. Some of that grain becomes pasta–Puglia is especially known for orecchiette or ear-shaped pasta–and some becomes bread. The town of Altamura is renowned for its bread, and throughout the region, you'll find friselle, disks of dried bread rehydrated in water and topped with olive oil, capers, and freshly cut tomatoes.

Puglia was once one of the major shepherding regions of Italy, leading to a reputation for fine cheeses and excellent lamb and kid. The hundreds of miles of coastline generate superb fish, with a catch that is both plentiful and varied. The preferred vegetables include fava beans, lampascioni bulbs, and eggplant. The area also boasts some spectacular almond cakes and has excellent fruit, especially figs.

Though Puglia was previously known for supplying powerful blending wines to winemakers elsewhere, the region's producers have begun to attract considerable attention with those they bottle themselves. In particular, look for Primitivo, Salice Salentino, Negramaro, and Nero di Troia.


A Tale of 2 Openings: Kitchen LTO & Taverna Rossa Both Debut Tonight

While it's still technically summer (and definitely still hotter than hell outside), the busy fall opening season is undoubtedly already upon us. Tonight brings the debut of two highly anticipated openings on opposite sides of the city: Kitchen LTO at Trinity Groves and Taverna Rossa in West Plano.

Kitchen LTO is the much-talked-about "permanent pop-up" that will rotate concepts, chefs and decor every four months first at bat is the design talent of locals Coeval Studio and the culinary wizardry of chef Norman Grimm, who's offering a menu of modern French-influenced American fare like sake-glazed pork belly and baby lamb with chanterelles and asparagus.

If that all sounds a bit too fancy for tonight's dinner, consider Taverna Rossa in West Plano's Lakeside Market plaza instead, where the stone-fired pizza-centric menu is considerably more casual (but likely no less impressive, thanks to consulting chef Brian Luscher of The Grape) and family-friendly, and there's certainly no shortage of craft beer on tap, plus a supposed-to-be-pretty-killer patio (with its very own photo booth, because selfies at the dinner table are so passe).

Stay tuned for a closer look at both spaces tomorrow, and chime in via the comments if you intend to hit up either of the new openings tonight.


Grilled Snacks and Side Dishes

Grilled Brazilian Cheese Skewers (Espetinhos de Queijo de Coalho)

It's not hard to see why these grilled cheese skewers are such a popular snack in Brazil—how do you argue with molten cheese on a stick? Plus, they're so easy, they practically make themselves. The cheese of choice, queijo de coalho (available online if you're not lucky enough to have a Brazilian market nearby), typically comes pre-skewered, so all you have to do is grill the skewers until the cheese is deeply golden brown on the outside and warmed through.

Charcoal Chimney–Grilled Broccolini With XO Sauce

This recipe showcases our preferred way to grill crisp green vegetables so that they actually stay crisp even as they char. By placing the vegetables on a small wire rack directly over a chimney starter full of hot coals, you ensure they get hit hard with the intense heat they need to cook through quickly without turning limp. Stalks of broccolini, cooked until just tender and dressed in umami-rich XO sauce, are a perfect illustration of the process.

Charcoal Chimney–Grilled Sugar Snap Peas With Buttermilk-Dill Dressing

Save the snap in your sugar snaps by grilling them with the same hot-and-fast chimney-starter method used for the broccolini above. Once they're well blistered, we pair these sweet snap peas with a creamy buttermilk-dill dressing for a nicely dippable backyard snack.

Charcoal Chimney–Grilled Asparagus With Green Goddess Dressing

It's really easy to burn asparagus on the grill, or overcook it until the stalks are floppy and flaccid. Using the chimney-starter method lightly chars the asparagus and helps the spears retain a slight bite. An herb-filled Green Goddess Dressing makes an excellent dipping partner.

Grilled Cabbage With Spicy Thai Dressing

Cabbage may seem like an underwhelming choice for a vegetable side, but when prepared on the grill, it develops a nutty, sweet flavor and tons of crisply charred edges. Cutting the head into wedges, but leaving the root end intact, allows you to grill it without it falling apart. This version pairs the cabbage with a punchy Thai dressing of hot chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, and herbs for alternatives, check out our Grilled Cabbage With Blue Cheese Dressing and Grilled Cabbage With Yogurt and Mint.

The Best Basic Grilled Corn

Grilling brings out the best in fresh summer corn: The powerful heat helps concentrate the kernels' sweetness, and, if you use our recommended method of shucking before grilling, adds a pleasant char to the exterior. Basic grilled corn needs very little adornment, but if you want to get adventurous, try adding flavorings, like garlic and ginger soy butter, harissa and mint, or spicy chili mayo.

Elote (Grilled Mexican Street Corn)

Perhaps the best way in the world to serve grilled corn, and certainly our personal favorite, is in the form of elotes, or Mexican street corn. Simply slather your lightly charred corn with a creamy mixture of mayo, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, and Cotija cheese. A squeeze of lime finishes it off, cutting through the richness of the cheese and mayonnaise.

Grilled Spiced Cauliflower

Like cabbage and other brassicas, cauliflower benefits from an intense blast of heat to bring out its sweetness, and a grill is the perfect tool for the job. An earthy spice rub with just a bit of heat gives this cauliflower lots of flavor, while starting over direct heat and finishing over indirect leaves the thick wedges crisp on the outside and tender inside.


Madre's menu is tapas-style, so start with a helping of garlicky prawns, then move on to the tuna-and-avocado ceviche, served with just the right amount of lime. The pizza list isn’t a long one we suggest the Parrilla, a mini barbecue cooked at the table, or the Sal—a fish of the day seared on sea salt stone and served with a mixed salad on the side. Forgo the gelato and fruit and order di Giacinto’s chocolate stick with raspberries and hibiscus flowers, or try the "terramisu," made with mascarpone, cocoa, barley, and root vegetables.

Agustarello is something of an institution in Testaccio, a former slaughterhouse district that's now one of Rome's edgiest neighborhoods. You'll jostle for elbow room with hungry locals to get a table—but that’s part of the fun. Like the best Roman restaurants, dining here is so much more than a meal: It’s about comfort, a reassuringly traditional menu, and company. Don't be surprised if you make friends with the table next to you.


Taverna Rossa: Much More Than a Pizzeria - Recipes

It used to be that pizza boxes were used for just . pizza. But that’s not the case lately, especially in South Philadelphia, since Diana Widjojo at Hardena last year began transforming the cardboard containers into wonder boxes packed with takeout feasts of Indonesian flavors. Her weekly #NotPizza box specials became one of the creative hits of the pandemic, and it’s now officially a trend.

At Pizza Plus just a few blocks east on Mifflin Street across Broad, the Detroit pie specialist takes its name literally with a Sunday Snack Box that packs smash burgers, onion rings, and chicken tenders into a pizza box around a 9-inch pan pie. (”Seeing how beautiful the Hardena box was and how excited people were . definitely showed me it was viable,” says owner Daniel Gutter.) Pizza boxes are also the favored delivery vehicle for a large order of vegan sweets from Dottie’s Donuts, which, founded by a pair of former pizzeria managers, has been using them out of habit for the past five years.

Now at Stina Pizzeria on Snyder Avenue, chef Bobby Saritsoglou has given the #NotPizza wave a Greek twist with his taverna-style pikilia.

This grazer’s delight offers a 2-pound sampling of all the restaurant’s grilled meats for $45 — skewers of chicken souvlaki shaded with smoked paprika, cinnamon, and coriander snappy links of tangy pork loukaniko sausage cuminy rounds of beef soujouk and Stina’s fresh gyro — colorfully piled alongside tzatziki for dipping, chickpea salad, house pickles, tabbouleh, tiny squeeze bottles of green and red house hot sauces, and fresh pita baked in the wood-fired pizza oven.

Yes, this pizzeria also still puts pizza in pizza boxes, too, though I’m a bigger fan of its oblong Turkish-style pides (especially the one with house merguez). But Saritsoglou was inspired by the buzz and resourcefulness of Hardena, his neighbor just a few blocks north in Point Breeze, and thought the box idea could be a good value initiative to energize the takeout-heavy months of winter.

The fact is, Stina has always been about much more than pizza, from its bountiful platter of Mediterranean dips to its saffron lamb manti dumplings. Its wood-fired oven is also used to roast everything from its exceptional octopus to baharat-spiced cauliflower and honeyed-drizzled Kashkaval cheese boreks. Pikilia sampler platters of meats are also common in Greek tavernas, says Saritsoglou, who grew up summering with family in Greece, “though they’re not in a pizza box.”

Saritsoglou’s homemade take on gyro is also a little different. Unlike the recent revival of more traditional Greek-style gyros with vertical stacks of layered meats (Kanella, Moustaki, and Yia are among my favorites), Saritsoglou pays homage to the Americanized gyro, which originated from Chicago, by making a slow-baked terrine of pureed lamb and beef flavored with oregano and garlic. Sliced to order then roasted in the wood-fired oven, a hearty helping of those crispy meat ribbons rightfully occupies center stage of Stina’s box, which, when you open it, is almost guaranteed to elicit a “Whoa!” It did in my house.


Watch the video: Taverna Rossa