Occasionally, we like to drive into Boulder and spend a half day in the downtown area. During market season in the Spring and Summer, we’re there every Saturday, stocking up on salad greens, fruit and bread. In the wintertime, during those occasional unseasonably but welcome warm days, we go to Pearl Street to do a little walking, a little shopping and a little playing in the kid play areas.
Kids at play get hungry. When they’re hungry, it’s best to feed them before they become little snarling beasts. Happy kids make happy parents and an all around happy day for everyone.
Boulder was recently blessed with the moniker of “Most Foodiest Town” by Bon Appetit magazine. There are a lot of good restaurants and great food, but sometimes, when you’ve got a somewhat picky 5 year old in tow, whose answer whenever you ask them what they want for lunch is “SUSHI!” (not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it does get tiring, not to mention expensive, after a while), it’s nice to have another alternative.
Here’s the new favorite – Pizzeria Locale. Brought to you by the same people who brought you Frasca. In fact, Bobby Stuckey, Master Sommelier of Frasca, checked with us and many other diners at lunch to make sure things were going well.
Fabulous handmade Napolitano style pizza made in their special wood burning Ferrera oven (imported from Napoli and one of only 6 in the US), baked to perfection. San Marzano tomatoes and super fresh and carefully made ingredients, such as the awesome marinated mushrooms of this fungi pizza below. I hadn’t seen and enjoyed marinated mushrooms on a pizza since I was in New York City ten years ago, and this totally blew that out of the water.
We were there on a Saturday before noon, but already, the place was filling up quickly . The only room available was at the pizza bar, which was fine with me, since we could sit there and watch the action in the prep area. Sitting at the pizza bar can be a good/bad thing. I love to watch all the action at the stations, like the starter/dessert station that was right in front of us and it was great to see the pizzas being made right in front of us. The bad part, however, is that you want -everything- that you see being made in front of you.
I didn’t get a chance to order this, a shaved fennel salad with citrus, but I will next time we’re there. The super-thinly shaved fennel was lightly dressed in an olive oil vinaigrette and some chopped dill, then some gorgeous looking slices of grapefruit and oranges were placed on top.
Another centerpiece of the restaurant is their VDF prosciutto slicer. Belgian made, it’s the only slicer of its kind of North America. It’s maybe a little shy of 5 feet tall and it’s a work of art. Beautifully shiny and super sharp. Perfect for slicing paper-thin yummy slices of pork goodness. It greets you as soon as you come in the door. You can’t help but look at it in awe.
After having a large lemon tart staring us down at the dessert station in front of us, we gave in and ordered a slice. Our server recommended the butterscotch budino as well, saying that it was a staff favorite. I gave in to that one too (I was just getting over having a cold. I was willing to find out if dessert could cure me.). The lemon tart was wonderfully tart, with a crispy crust that held it’s own with the curd on top.
But the budino….oh. The butterscotch budino.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the best dessert in Boulder right now. Throw away any preconceptions you have about that sickeningly sweet butterscotch pudding you may have had from a box. This will spoil you for life. This is utterly sublime. It’s thoughtfully served with a shovel-shaped spoon that gets all the little bits out of the dish so you don’t have to embarrass yourself in public by licking out the dish.
I’d really like to get a set of those spoons for myself at home.
The vibe is great – welcoming, attentive but non-intrusive service and a staff that, even after only being open for a couple of weeks, knows their stuff, isn’t flustered at all and genuinely seems to enjoy being there. Pizza is a sure thing for most kids, but even kids know good pizza when they taste it. With all the kids in the restaurant, including mine, you never heard any kids crying or yelling or running around. They were too busy happily enjoying their pizza.
We’ll be back. Many, many times. The Squirt gave it two thumbs up and a very empty plate.
Pizzeria Locale is located at 1730 Pearl Street, in Boulder. They’re open daily from 11:30 am-2:30pm and 4:30-10:30pm. Their website – http://www.pizzerialocale.com/ is currently under construction, but there is a downloadable menu available.