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“Yummers!” on a Lazy Friday

June 15, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the infamous blog phenom, Pixiedyke, who popped over from What the Hell to help me out with yet another collaborative food review!   Today’s topic. . .

Modesto for Lunch!

Gourmet Grrl:  Keep in mind before we begin, that the bubbles from the bottle of magical Prosecco we shared are still popping inside our brains. 

Drinks

PixieDyke:  I don’t remember. It was incredible. That’s why I don’t remember. It was bubbly and Italian and dry and perfect for the afternoon. She brought us samples to try before we ordered it, which was really nice and something I’ve never had happen before with wine.

Gourmet Grrl:  The Prosecco was truly lovely.  Restauranteurs take note: samples of wine are a good thing, cause we ordered a whole bottle rather than the single glass I was planning for.  They had it on special for $20, a steal if you’re able to run over there this weekend and have a bottle.  Prosecco is a light, dry, bubbly Italian white that is somehow not champagne, or in the champagne family.  The wacky, wacked out waitress asked if we wanted it on ice but kept inside, or not on ice with us outside.  She tried to sell us on why dry white bubbly wine would taste better warm, but I would have none of it.  No skin off her teeth to refill our outdoor drinks from the inside, and she barely batted an eye. 

Antipasti/Insalata

PixieDyke: My first look at the menu was slightly disappointing, cause I didn’t see anything that sounded totally like what I wanted, but the more I looked, the more I realized that the options were just difficult to choose between. We got the special, duck confit over greens with pistachios and blue cheese, honey vinagarette to dress. Deep, intense flavor. I think crispy duck should replace popcorn chicken as the nation’s favorite snack fowl.

Gourmet Grrl:  I was originally leaning toward the nicoloise salad, which featured fresh asparagus, cured olives, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and the catch of the day, but Pixiedyke steered me toward the duck confit salat.  What does confit mean?  Shredded and roasted?  Does that make barbeque pork confit?  Anyway, I was dubious.  But in the spirit of community and compromise I went with it.  And I was glad.  Very, very glad.  Large chunks of creamy blue cheese dotted the path of glory toward the crispy duck and sliced dark figs.  The added bonus: pickled pearl onions, hooray!!!  We calmly picked our way through the shared salad, no one lost any digits, but clearly we were each aching to grab the plate, hold it to our chest and cry, “touche!”  Excellent.

Pizza

Pixiedyke: I thought originally about the pepperoni, or possibly the margherita. The first is and will always be my favorite, and the second (ask any Italian) is the only real pizza there is. Only us stupid Americans put crazy shit like broccoli on pizza. But, once again, in the spirit of compromise, we agreed on the pesto pizza with artichoke hearts. It was served sprinkled with parmesan shavings and arugala. O. M. F. G. Intense negotiations took place over the last slice.  Intense salty goodness, balanced by the light, crispy crust, with the fresh arugala cutting the intensity just enough to make the orgasm bearable.

OMFG.

Gourmet Grrl:  In retrospect, I don’t know why two opinions are necessary because we were both stifling orgasms at that table in the middle of tourist season at the Grove Arcade.  I was worried the pesto might overwhelm as “other” Asheville pizza makers often do, but I need not have felt afraid.  Pesto was perfectly balanced with the mild cheese, tangy arugula and salted, heavenly crust.  I haven’t found a pizza this delicious since my Italian travels, and I think Pixiedyke felt likewise.  Our healthy chatter slowed and finally ceased, giving way to breathing between bites, mmms, ohs, and ahs.  The wine, the flavors, the grandiose amount of time we were spending to consume it all took me back to Roman cafes of one year prior, and I was in heaven.  I mean, I hope heaven has prosecco, pesto pizza and crispy duck confit, cause otherwise it will certainly be punishment for a life of naughtiness.

Dessert

PixieDyke:I wasn’t really prepared to enjoy dessert because a) the pizza was so damn good, b) I’m not really a dessert person, and c) I was stuffed to the gills and ready to roll back to my car. We had the only option: blood orange sorbet. It was served in a martini glass (the only good way to serve dessert) on top of a mango (syrup?) (confit?) sauce. It was too sweet for me, but once again the Prosecco came to the rescue. The sorbet’s flavor was an incredibly intense, incredibly cold orange, and the mango gave the whole thing a rainbow sherbert atmosphere to me, but a sip of Prosecco later, I was able to appreciate the fruity accents without my tastebuds crying out for more savory pesto. Goddess Bless Prosecco.

Gourmet Grrl:  Blood orange sorbet.  Not my idea of dessert, really.  That might go into the “fruit” category of the food pyramid in my book.  But our waitress pushed it heavily, and I was already at her mercy so what the hell, to quote Pixiedyke.  I don’t remember much about the sorbet except that it didn’t taste like metal, which is how sorbet mostly tastes to me.  The mango stuff was good, and it looked pretty, but I would have preferred some dark chocolate gelato to finish off the whole Italian experience.  I think I ate it, though.

Service

Pixiedyke: Our waitress was certifiable.

Gourmet Grrl:  I have had other strange experiences with the waitstaff at Modesto.  They are nice people, but they are just a few cards shy of a full deck.  While the host was asking me if I was from Austin, the waitstress kept shouting “yummers!” at us like she was a Rachel Ray groupie.  And nobody serving food this fine should reference Rachel Ray in any way.  But yummers it was, I must admit.

Price

Gourmet Grrl:  This is on the list of restaurants I eat at for lunch, but not dinner unless it’s a special ocassion (or it’s that time of the month.  Or I had a bad day.  Or I had a really good day.  Or it’s a Monday.  Or a Friday.)  The point is, it’s pricey for dinner, reasonable for lunch.  Plus we split everything, and including tip my meal came to $30.  Not  bad considering we got a bottle of wine to boot.

Pixiedyke: Not just wine, Sparkling wine. Oooh, see the bubbles. I haven’t bought lunch out in a month because I’m saving up for an awesome trip next summer, but this was definitely worth it. I haven’t eaten this well at a restaurant in awhile. Other than the sorbet, everything was of the highest quality, worth more than we paid. Excellent meal.

Recommendation:  Modesto gets 4.5 hearts* out of 5.  -.5 because of strange, yet amusing service. 

*If you ate here in the first month or two after it opened, go back.  It has greatly improved.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stacey permalink
    June 29, 2007 11:55 am

    Wow, sounds wonderful! Is this the place that was Antony’s? If this is the place I’m thinking of, Daniel has some paintings there and I’d love to see them in their new home while sipping Prosecco. I can also wax enthusiastic about the bubbly elixir – Doug and I shared an amazing bottle of *rose* Prosecco with friends at an East Village Italian eatery in NYC last week. When do you get back from Portland and return to encouraging me to try more new restaurants in my own backyard?

  2. Gourmet Grrl permalink
    July 1, 2007 12:51 am

    Stacey- This is not the place that replaced Antony’s. This is the first establishment in that space in the Grove Arcade. But it is next to the restaurant that replaced Antony’s. I’ll be back Tuesday.

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