So … my company started a fitness challenge. This isn’t your ordinary “Biggest Loser”-type weight loss challenge … it’s serious. They gave us a meal plan and a daily exercise regimen–the types of things that I just can’t get behind. Needless to say, I planned my own fitness challenge–start running on a regular basis again and stop eating pizza. The ladder of the two has nearly killed me. Case in point … the team that handles Coal Vines’ PR had a media night the second day of my fitness challenge. (Seriously?!) If it were nearly anywhere else, I’d have told them that they can keep their pizza and I’d delight in their other offerings, but I cannot say no to a Coal Vines White Pizza. It’s just not possible for me. So, I ran a little further that morning and ventured in with my friend for dinner.
We started the evening with their fried zucchini chips (which haunt my dreams) and a bottle of 2014 Astica Cuyo from Mendoza, Argenita, which, as it turns out, retail for a hot $5 a bottle at your local wine shop. (I think my dad had the right idea when he went in to the wine business.) I will say that, despite the low price tag, we enjoyed the bottle … all of it. (I mean … it was a Tuesday, so why wouldn’t we?) Coal Vines has done a damn decent job of finding wines at a reasonable price whose taste doesn’t disappoint.
New chef, Angelo Landi, has really done well with the menu. As mentioned previously, I eat their white pizza like it’s my job. (Or at least I did when I was completely obsessed with this place and ate there at least once a week 2008-2011 … they knew my name.) Luckily, this meal forced me to try some of Angelo’s new items and seasonal offerings like the watermelon and tomato salad situation that I’ve tried to replicate in my own kitchen a few times since. Honestly … it was ridiculously good. The tomatoes were fresh and the watermelon wasn’t drowned in the light dressing … all great. Then came the Burrata, which was also really damn delicious. The cantaloupe added the perfect sweetness to the garlic-kissed cheese and greens. To keep it a little less healthy (yuck yuck), we also ordered the Calamari which is served with tomato basil dipping sauce and lemon garlic aioli–a standard that they’ve kept constantly satisfying for years.
Enough foreplay … let’s get to the pizza, shall we? Their schtick is New York-style pizza from a wood-burning oven … think somewhat thin with a perfectly bubbly crust. My love affair with their White Pizza has lived on for no less than eight years and I dare say that it’ll remain for years to come. It’s the perfect blend of Mozzarella and ricotta cheese spiced up with parmesan and oregano. When I say “perfect”, I really kind of mean it. Don’t f**k around and order the White Special–while it’s good, it’s like putting an engine on a flying unicorn* … it just doesn’t need anything else.
Coal Vines is in the same location in Uptown, but they have a few new tricks. Stop in and see what Chef Angelo is cooking up. (Obi, make sure to order the White Pizza. And be sure to meet Wolf, their bartender that has been there for at least eight years! He’s the kind of guy that you just know has some amazing stories to tell if you could only get him started.)
If you want to read a seriously old review about their brunch, you can check it out here.
*It’s 1:30am. I’m not sure where that metaphor came from … but I don’t hate it.
Specials: Sunday | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | $4 mimosas, poinsettias, Pompelmos, and peach lemonade bellinis
Coal Vines treated me and a guest to dinner to try out new menu items.