Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Best Yet: Pizzeria Ortica, Costa Mesa

I was planning on a normal Friday night involving me cooking dinner for my exhausted Significant (m)Other, a costco size bottle of wine and one of my obscure foreign film netflix pics that always leaves my mom wondering why her daughter doesn't watch new release tops 5s (for the record I have never seen Princess Bride, Matrix or Lord of the Rings). That is until Diana from Diana Takes a Bite AKA DTAB texted me Friday afternoon that she'd be down in the OC. Hallejuah!

I cheated on my mom and hung out at Diana's parents house instead, drinking wine with Diana's Significant (m)Other and Father instead, while Diana and I pondered where to dine. It just so happened that we were able to get reservations at Pizzeria Ortica that night, no problem.

 We are here!

I can't help to compare this experience to those of my Pizzera Mozza experiences, since Mozza has set my standard for serial killer smile inducing pizza. Pizzeria Ortica has a more institutional feel than Mozza, with ultra high ceilings and what looked like Thomasville chairs and tables.

 Diana examining the menu

We started with a glass of robust 2007 Sicilian Frappato ($9) which our waiter recommended. I liked the undertone of raisin this wine had. Why all the hating on Sicilian wines?

Frappato, not coffee based, just from Sicily

The Polipo e patate ($8)  was amazingly tender and perfectly charred, complimented with celery hearts and leaves. Every bit of tentacle was consumed.

 Octopus + Potatoes

And then bread, which we kind of had to ask for, arrived. It was a fresh sourdough varietal with olive oil and balsamic poured on delivery.

Bread. Ask for it.

Our first pizza baby arrived, per recommendation of our waiter: the Salsiccia ($16) with house-made sausage, caramelized fennel, mascarpone, red onion, and buffalo granna. On first bite, Diana and I look at each other dead in the eye with a stuffed-mouth smile nod. 

It's better than Mozza.

Doughy yet thin crust, intense sausage, red onion burst, cool mascarpone. WOW!

My favorite of the two was the Calabrese ($18), a tangy hot pie with San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, rapini, Calabrian chilies, and salty bottarga. The glorious pools of melted mozzarella, sweet tomatoes and the sea-salty dabs of roe made it one of the most memorable pizzas I've ever had. Diana was feeling more meat and cheese that night and preferred the sausage pie.

Caviar pizza? Yes!

We added some greenery with a side of Cavolini di Bruxelles ($7). These are the best brussel sprouts I've ever had! The golden tinged sprouts dusted in bread crumbs, chunks of hazelnuts, and lemon zest made for perfection. 

For desert, I chose the Babà al rhum ($7), a  Rum-soaked brioche topped with pistacchio gelato and candied orange peels. Upon hearing "pistachio gelato" I had to order this, being a pistachio ice cream feign. The baba had the perfect amount of syrup soaked in - not over bearing and not disfiguring the brioche upon forking. I insisted DTAB take a bite of my dessert and immediately her eyes lit up followed by a frown looking down at her Budino.  

DTAB got Budino di Cioccolato ($7), a fancy looking chocolate crème layered with caramel that our trusted waiter insisted was one of her favorites. Unfortunately it tasted like Bill Cosby's favorite after school snack, despite the rustic-sheik adult looking pudding cup. Diana traded her desert for a Babà al rhum and the smile came back.

 Our waiter informed us of a happy hour at the bar 3-6 with $6 Margaritas.

Pizzeria Ortica
650 Anton Boulevard
Costa Mesa, CA 92626


weezermonkey said...

Better than Mozza?!

I've still not been to Pizzeria Mozza. Maybe I should go to Ortica because I could actually get a decent table there at a normal time.

Peter M said...

I want that Calabrese...looks fab!

Do you know where I can find kidoni in June? lol

Diana said...

Aww such a great night! So glad you bailed on your SO to spend an evening with your TALF! ;)

stuffycheaks said...

love thin crusts - no point filling up unnecessarily. pity about the budino though.. at least it looked good

Esi said...

I'm still doubtful about the "better than Mozza claim", but if you say so...

On the other hand I am absolutely SHOCKED and HORRIFIED and SADDENED that you've never seen Princess Bride. You need to remedy that immediately.

Ivy said...

Anna, from the wine, browsing till the end of your post, couldn't stop drooling.

Banana Wonder said...

Weezermonkey - YES, better! You should try both really, next time you swing through the OC holler and I'll meet you up at P O!

Peter - You and I think alike :) Kidoni tora, ksero ego..?

Diana - So glad you texted me and thought of Ortica! Can't wait to go back!

Stuffycheaks - I don't know how, but it's thin and doughy at the same time. I can't wait for more! Nice meeting you at Eat My Blog!

Esi - Yes... you will have to take another 5 hour voyage to see for yourself :) Never seen Princess Bride :( soon I hope?

Ivy - Cheers to that!

Kung Food Panda said...

Better than Mozza? Quite a statement! I should visit Ortica myself.

Note: I've yet to see the Lord of the Ring series also.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Anna,

Interesting. :) I enjoyed my pizzas at Ortica, but I think I liked Mozza more. (^_~) But I haven't been back to Ortica since they got their new chef, so maybe it's even better than last time. Thanks for the review.

Banana Wonder said...

Kung Food - Few! Glad I'm not the only one. I'll be glad to join you on your Ortica cherry pop!

Exile Kiss - Hmmm... when did you last go? I Have never been before this time. You should give it another whirl!

SinoSoul said...

So glad this place was open on New Years Eve, and it was quite slow. We were deathly afraid of consuming wedding food down in Newport, and drove up to Ortica for a pre-ceremony snack after reception's open bar. True story. Was just happy they were able to punch out 3 edible entrees in 25 minutes. Definitely enjoy this pie more so than Mozzas. (sorry for longest comment EVAH!)

Banana Wonder said...

Tony - Wow, good place to spend NYE but who has their wedding on NYE anyway? Want to make the 5 hours trek and come back for round II?

Trevor Sis Boom said...

Lookie what I found. I'm taking guests here this week. Can't wait!

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