Thursday, April 10, 2008
I've tried visiting Gaspare's Pizzeria twice before, circling round the block trying to find parking. This is one popular pizzeria! Last night, I was lucky, there were a few parking spots available, right in the lot! This is a happy family place. There were two little girls (one looked like she'll grow up to be a sultry flamenco dancer, the other a Nordic beauty who looked quite sporty) who were SO excited to be at Gaspare's they jumped up on their toes and shouted together "Pizza!" right behind us. The other side by the bar seemed to be the romantic side, as when we left, couples were noticeably gazing deeply into each others eyes with wine glasses in hand. The side we were seated also had spectacular paintings of the Italian seaside, one being of Portofino above my Dad's head.
We decided to try the calamari fritti, and it was a great choice. It was a very large portion, a great value. Tender and perfectly battered this was the best calamari fritti I've had in a long time. If they would only change out the standard tartar and cocktail sauces with something a bit more contemporary (and not bottled tasting) people would come out of their way for this. As it is, just use the fresh lemon and it's plenty fine. We took enough home for me to make linguine and calamari today -- I'll just put these in the oven to reheat, and toss with some linguine which has been tossed with garlic, e.v.o.o. and red chili pepper flakes for a fab re-make. (Someday I'll have to make a post for "Doggie Bag Makeovers"). These were good enough that I might order some take out to transform into this linguine dish, no matter the driving distance from Mill Valley.
Dad & I tried Gaspare's Special pizza which consisted of Fresh Sliced Tomatoes, Roast Bell Peppers, Mozzarella & Feta Cheese and Tomato Sauce on very thin crust. I was quite excited to see how thin this crust was! However, I'm going to have to try a different pizza type next time to see if the sogginess of the middle (seemed almost doughy) was because of all the watery vegetables that were a top or not. Further from the center, the crust was just right. The green peppers seemed rather watery, without any crispness at all. The tomato sauce was just right, not too sweet, not too tangy, and it wasn't so much as to over power the pizza. Despite the sog problem, the pizza was well-balanced overall, and Dad told me all the way home (every two minutes) how much he enjoyed the food, pronouncing it 'just right'.
Dad wanted dessert, but didn't want to venture into the Italian specialties such as the cannoli siciliani, tiramisu, or spumone, but ordered the chocolate ice cream. He liked it so well it disappeared before I could even get my spoon pulled out of my dessert!
After asking for the raspberry sherbet, and finding that they were out of it (must have been those little girls behind us!), I asked for the spumone ice cream. It was wonderful with bits of candied fruit in most bites. The staff were all friendly and service was prompt with quick refills of the iced tea I sipped down as fast as Dad ate his ice cream. It also has an extensive menu of various well-known pasta dishes. A nice place to bring family, or just come and be comfortable.