Monday night, I went out to dinner and dessert with a bunch of my friends from high school. The occassion was my friend Rachel’s birthday/graduation/new job, so as you can imagine, there was alot to celebrate. It was also a reunion of sorts, as one of my friends (Anna) lives in Chicago, and Rachel lives in Washington, DC.
We started to toast Rachel’s recent accomplishments, but my friend Amanda also started toasting everyone else. As it turns out, one of us is about to start a new job, the other is starting her final year of grad school, and I am about to start grad school in Chicago. It reaffirmed that being in your 20’s is a crazy time, full of change and new experiences…for better or for worse. We all live farther apart, and meeting up for dinner requires complex scheduling and planning. But we are also starting to become who we really are, and building new lives for ourselves.
I like that the night was a mix of new and old…at least for me. I had never tried The Good Pie (the restaurant where we went for dinner), but I have wanted to for a long time. It’s a Neapolitan Pizzeria near downtown St. Louis, and I can honestly say without any reservation that this is the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. It even rivals the pizza I tried in Italy.
In true Neapolitan fashion, the pizzas come without sauce, and some of the pies even come without cheese. They are baked in a fire-burning oven, and the crust is slightly charred but not burned. I love the smoky aroma of the dough, and the soft and chewy crust.
I ordered the Margherita pizza, which included melted Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and juicy tomatoes. I began to regret my decision to split a pizza and a salad after my first bite…
I also tried a new drink at dinner, a “Jarrito.” I had never heard of a Jarrito, but our waitress explained that Jarritos are popular Mexican sodas. Why Mexican soda is being served in an Italian restaurant, I’m not sure…But the description was intriguing nonetheless. The sodas contain all-natural sugar, and come in flavors such as lime, pineapple, and grapefruit. I’ve been craving pineapple juice, so I ordered the Pineapple Jarrito.
Even though I’m not a big fan of soda, this drink was delicious. The soda was bubbly but not too fizzy, and the best part was it actually tasted like pineapple. I will say that the soda is very sugary, but it’s not the type of sweetness that makes you feel like you’re swallowing sugar cubes…It’s a bit lighter, and more subtle than, let’s say, Orange soda or Fanta. The drink is cool and refreshing, and I can see why Jarritos are popular in Mexico (where the heat probably rivals that of a St. Louis summer night).
Because it was my friend’s birthday, the manager brought over a free appetizer. It consisted of warm, soft pieces of pizza dough with a medley of fresh vegetables on top: English cucumbers, tomatoes, long, ribbon-thin slices of zucchini, and radishes. All the ingredients were fresh and crisp, and topped with a light sprinkling of olive oil.
After dinner, we went to have dessert at one of my favorite restaurants, Baileys’ Chocolate Bar. I’ve been to Baileys’ more times than I can count on one hand, and each time I fall in love with it all over again. How can you not love a place where everything from salads to Martinis is made from chocolate?
I went to Baileys’ for dessert on my 21st birthday, and ordered the “Chocolate Inebriation,” which is essentially a large slab of chocolate cake with chocolate stout, bittersweet chocolate ganache, and a golf-ball sized scoop of cinnamon ice cream. I also ordered a milk-chocolate martini. If you can’t go all out on your 21st birthday, when can you?
Monday night, I was craving something warm, gooey, and chocolately…Something that would practically dissolve on my fork, and melt on my tongue.
So, I ordered the Flourless Molten Cake, which comes with a scoop of Coffee Ice Cream on top. It’s worth noting that while the other desserts on the menu have a one line description, this one has just a few short words. Nothing can describe the rich chocolate decadence of this dessert…words are not sufficient.
All in all, it was a successful night. I hope to visit The Good Pie again soon, and I know that I won’t be able to resist the Chocolate Bar for long…