Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Buttery Lobster Tails (with Edible Shells)

I might have made it clear in the past that I'm no way a fan of MTV show Jersey Shore. I did write a blog post about the show though. This doesn't mean I have something against Italians (or what they call themselves - guidos and guidettes). I actually love a lot of things about Italians. Well, to be exact, their food. And the size of it.

We stopped by in Little Italy in San Diego because E had been craving for sfogliatelle (some people call it lobster tail) for a while. Sfogliatelle is a seashell- shaped Italian pastry filled with cream. There's a bakery in town called Cafe Zucchero that's really famous for their cannolis and happen to have sfogliatelle as well. We had to call in advance and asked them to save the sfogliatelle for us. They would've run out of those buttery babies had we not done that. Trust me, the person right in front of us actually asked for them and the wait staff swiftly shook her head.

Here's a video from the TV show Cake Boss showing how they make sfogliatelle:

It was such a bummer. The sfogliatelle turn out to be not impressive at all. It was slightly unacceptable to be honest. The pastry shell was not at all soft nor flaky. The cream isn't the freshest and it's a tad bit on the sour side. It tasted like it had been sitting in the counter forever.

The cannolis on the other hand, were such superstars. The ricotta filling was more on the refreshing side, especially with the endearing presence of the succade (candied citrus). And the chocolate morsels added some kind of depth to the flavor of the cream. Dusted generously with powdered sugar, the shell was quite crunchy judging on the fact that these cannolis might have also been sitting in the counter (I'm guessing - for a shorter period of time than the sfogliatelle did?) for quite some time. The crisp texture could've been brought up a notch but it was far from being soggy.

We couldn't help but noticed the long line that's coming out of Filippi's Pizza Grotto. After changing a few words with some people with some foreign accents, we decided to join the crowd. We were in line for over in hour and decided to take our food to go. Not that the old-fashioned, red-checkered tablecloths didn't entice us enough, but I guess the weather's just too beautiful to pass up. It's a good thing that the pizza (or pie, however you want to call it) was actually worth waiting for.

The bread was insanely good. It must have been a really elastic, stretched, and nurtured with love kind of dough. Please note that I might be a little biased since I'm a sucker for thick, hand-tossed crust. The crust had just the right amount of crunch on the outside and once you dive in, it's pure soft, pillowy goodness. And the cheese, it was the freshest, silkiest, best- tasting mozzarella I've ever had sitting on top of my pizza. The toppings and the sauce weren't bad at all but really, the bread and the cheese outshone everything for me.

The goodness buried under the tomato sauce was a meat lasagna. Look at the size of that meatball. Oh my. I can't really say anything about the lasagna since I didn't take a single bite of it. And oh- the pizzeria is also a delicatessen, it has a good selection of Italian gastronomy from dried salami, specialty pasta, to Sicilian olives.

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