Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cheese & Bread

I could survive solely on cheese and bread. Its truly the perfect pairing of two foods. When I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, it was a staple of my diet - Scottish country cheddar and cream crackers was a frequent snack and even meal, especially while backpacking. And with gourmet groceries and cheese shops throughout the city (and country), it was never hard to find a delicious slice of cheese and a baguette.

Here's a pic of my little sis Susie enjoying a little cheddar and cream crackers at the train stop:

Here's me with some sun-dried tomato & basil gouda and a fresh baguette that we bought at a farmer's market in Cork, Ireland. So good!

And, back to the present. If cheese and bread are the world's perfect food pairing, that makes pizza the world's perfect dish. I got to enjoy pizza two ways recently - dressed up, and dressed down. And BOTH were delicious.

First - FRASCA : pizza dressed up.

Frasca's calling card is pizza and wine - make that gourmet pizza and fine wine. The atmosphere of the place absolutely complements the cuisine as well. Fire light from candles and a wood-burning oven dances across the modern wood and brick decor, bringing a feeling of warm sophistocation to the experience.

I went with my friend Ian, who had enjoyed Frasca before. With his guidance, we ordered a handful of items off of the "small bites" appetizer menu - essentially a list of cheeses, cured meats, and bruchettas that came with freshly baked baguette. And a little bowl of olives. And a little bowl of candied raspberries. Yum.

Then came the main event: the wood-oven baked pizza. We split a "sopressata", which was topped with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, crumbled sopressata sausage, and delicious mozzerella. I enjoyed mine with a light, sweet Riesling, while Ian went for a red. Here's Ian with his pizza and wine.

Second on the recent pizza circuit was Exchequers - a different but no less wholesome dining experience.

Exchequers is a GEM of a pub & eatery on South Wabash in the Loop. I stopped by this fine establishment last week to join a few colleagues for some post-work pizza & beer. The beer was German... the name started with a T... and it was on special. So naturally we got pitchers.

As an appetizer, we got a "tower of onions". Yumm! Here's Brian with the beer
& onion tower.

As for the pizza, we mixed it up with one thin crust (pepperoni & garlic - SO GOOD!)
and one deep dish (sausage, green peppers & onions). While the deep dish was delicious, it didn't live up to my "Giordano's standard" of deep dish. Not enough CHEESE! Although you wouldn't know it from these pictures. Here's an action shot of the CHEESINESS!!

Here's to cheese and bread.

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