So, I’ve told you about the holiday potluck luncheon I had with my former co-workers. Now, it’s time for me to tell you about my second workplace holiday celebration this season. A few months back, when I was offered the opportunity to leave my job to help build a brand new business from the ground up, I was excited and filled with anticipation. It was scary and challenging all rolled into one. One of the first things that we had to deal with once the decision was made to leave our current jobs was to find an office, or a place that we could use to get our new business off the ground. My boss came up with the idea of putting me, temporarily, into a workplace environment where they happened to have an extra desk that I could work out in the short term, at least until we could get our own office space. Luckily, the office I was put into was a small one, where I already knew everyone one, so it wasn’t like walking into an office full of strangers. In fact, it’s the office where my husband actually works. So, for a few short months, I’d be working in the same office as my husband and his co-workers, which might seem kind of strange, but actually worked out for the best. Anyhow, my husband’s boss, the man who owns the company where I was working out of, was having a holiday lunch at a nearby restaurant to the office and generously invited me to join in with my new, but temporary, co-workers to celebrate the holidays with them. It was so kind of him to invite me to join in with his employees and celebrate with them, even though my stay in the office had been so short.
This year, my husband’s boss, decided to surprise everyone and wait until the last minute to tell us where we’d be going for the holiday lunch. In fact, until about 5 minutes before we left for the restaurant, no one knew where we were headed. Where we ended up was a small Italian restaurant in the heart of Beverly Hills called Pici Enoteca. Pici Enoteca describes itself as a rustic New York-style Italian eatery and pizzeria transplanted to Beverly Hills. The chef, Jason Harley, was at the restaurant to greet us himself when we arrived to the restaurant and were seated inside the cozy, dining room with crimson booths on both sides of the room and a black-and-white tiled floor inspired by The Godfather. But the personality of the chef is anything dark and foreboding, instead, he’s this larger than life character who happens to be an amazing chef originally from Brooklyn, New York. It turns out, that he grew up in a neighborhood not too far away from one of my husband’s co-workers who’s also from Brooklyn. Small world. While none of us, other than my husband’s boss, had ever been to the restaurant before, I think many of us will be back in the future because not only was chef friendly, he made food that was wonderfully delicious.
We started out with a round of pizza’s for the table. Instead of using a wood oven to achieve the crispy crust of the thin crust pizza, the Chef uses a specialized black carbon steel cookware. The results are fantastic and amazing. These wonderfully thin, super crispy, and full of flavor pizzas come out to the table piping hot and smelling of heaven. We were served 2 different types of pizza; the first a traditional Italian margherita pizza. According to their menu, all pizzas at Pici Enoteca are made vegetarian, with options of adding on meats such as prosciutto, grilled chicken and so forth. But when pizza comes to the table tasting as good as this pizza does, why would you ever need to add anything to it. The margherita was perfectly cooked, the cheese bubbling hot, with the right amount of tomatoes on it and a sprinkling of fresh basil. The thin crust pizza was so perfectly crispy and crunchy. It’s hard to find a better tasting thin-crust pizza.
The second pizza we got (and unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it) was an amazing mushroom pizza. But this wasn’t any old mushroom pizza, it was roasted forest mushrooms with truffle oil and crispy leeks. Now, I’m not a mushroom person at all, but I tasted this pizza and thought it was out of this world. My husband knew right away, before they told us, that there was truffle oil drizzled over the pizza. You could smell it and taste it, but they put on just the right amount that it didn’t overpower the flavors of the pizza. For me, the crowning part of the pizza was the crispy leeks piled atop the cooked pizza. The leeks tasted amazing, and making them crispy gave great texture depth to the pizza. I’ve never had pizza like that before. We also received a couple of gluten-free margherita pizzas which we were told were made in a separate part of the kitchen and cooked in separate part of the oven than the regular pizzas and had been certified by the Celiac Foundation. I tasted a couple of slices of the gluten-free pizza and thought it was pretty good.
After our starter pizzas, we were served side salads. We had our option of either a chopped salad with romaine, spinach, chick peas, rosted peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, peperoncini, asiago cheese and orange basil vinaigrette. Or classic caesar salad with romaine, parmesan, croutons, and lemon parmesan dressing. Caesar salad is the salad that both myself and my husband chose. And when the salads came to the table, they certainly didn’t look like side salads, they looked more like entrée salads. They were huge! But the salad was good. I liked the lemon parmesan dressing and the croutons were fantastic.
For our entrees, we received the option of three different meals. One was a grilled chicken with fresh roasted seasonal vegetables (which looked fantastic). Another option was a pasta dish with tomato, basil and garlic sauce. The pasta was a large rigatoni pasta with a very tangy tomato basil sauce which was wonderful. My husband especially liked the basil-pesto drizzle on the plate that added a splash of color and flavor. The pasta must have been pretty good because my husband finished his entire plate!
I chose the third entrée which was offered, the restaurant’s signature hand rolled Tuscan Pici pasta with bolognese sauce. The pici pasta was unlike anything I have ever had before. I’m not sure I’ve ever had hand rolled pasta before. I thought it was fantastic, flavorful and full of body. The bolognese sauce was rich and hearty and matched the hand rolled pasta perfectly. I loved the dish and I too, finished off my entire plate! I couldn’t help it, it was so good.
After all of that food, we still had dessert to go! I couldn’t believe it. I felt stuffed. But you know me, I can’t turn down dessert. And in this case, it’s a good thing I didn’t turn it down!
We were given a choice of 2 different desserts. My husband and I both realized that we would get different desserts, that way we could sample both of them. My husband chose the cinnamon apple donuts served with homemade vanilla gelato and caramel sauce. When these big huge donuts came out to the table, we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into. After all that food, I couldn’t believe how big the dessert was. But one bite of the donuts and my husband was in love. This wasn’t a donut in the traditional sense filled with dough that is fried. What it was a giant apple ring, which was breaded in donut dough and then fried like a donut nd then rolled in cinnamon sugar. The result was a crunchy, and flavorful donut that when you used your fork to cut into, you’d discover this amazing and flavorful apple ring inside. Pair that with some delicious vanilla gelato topped with caramel sauce and you have a winner. My husband said that the dessert was amazing. One of his co-workers called it the best donut ever. It was surely a winner.
Of course, being the chocoholic that I am, I had to order to go with the chocolate dessert. I chose the molten chocolate cake, also served alongside the same homemade vanilla gelato. The vanilla gelato was amazing. You could taste the homemade quality of the gelato. It was smooth and creamy and decadent. The molten chocolate cake was amazing! It was rich, but not overpowering and bitter from the chocolate. It was perfectly baked, with melty, gooey chocolate ganache hidden inside the chocolate cake. The cake was light and fluffy and spongey. The combination of the hot molten cake alongside the cool creamy vanilla was the perfect combination. Just amazing.
What a terrific afternoon spent with new friends and temporary co-workers enjoying a delicious meal together. At the end of the day, we all walked away from Pici Enoteca amazed at the meal we had just had, and we all said we’d be back again. This restaurant, which was featured as one of the 20 best restaurants in the US for pizza, really was a find in the middle of Beverly Hills. Who would have thought? Even days later, I’m still salivating over the restaurant and the food!