Food and Family

Greetings from Virginia!  I’m here to celebrate the wedding of two wonderful people and of course eat some good food.

I arrived at Dulles airport around 7:30 on Thursday night and had only one thing on my mind.  Pizza.  Not just any pizza, but traditional Neapolitan style pizza, made with imported Italian ingredients and locally produced mozzarella.  DC friends might by thinking the famous 2 Amy’s, but Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church, Va has quickly become my family’s new favorite.  For me, it surpasses 2 Amy’s and here’s why:

We don’t have to drive through Northern Virginia AND DC traffic, we don’t have to wait 2 hours to be seated, the wait staff at Orso is amazing (ask for Jaime), and most importantly I think the pizza is better! Yup, I said it.  Better than 2 Amy’s.

For those of you that don’t know, to be called a traditional Neapolitan Pizzeria the restaurant has to meet specific requirements:  the pizza the dough is naturally leavened, never refrigerated, and baked in a wood-burning oven at 800 degrees for 90 seconds. Orso uses Caputo 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and mozzarella produced by Blue Ridge Farms in Leesburg, Va.  The pizza is finished with olive oil and always served unsliced.  Pizzeria Orso has a gorgeous specialty handmade, volcanic brick oven where all the diners can watch their pizza evolve from the doughy version to a crispy, chewy masterpiece.

So when my mom asked me what I wanted to do for dinner on my first night, I certainly didn’t hesitate.  My family scooped me from the airport and we headed straight to Pizzeria Orso. I was practically giddy when we arrived and therefore forgot about this blog and taking pictures.  After an endive, arugula, and crispy shallot salad and getting ready to take a large bite of my first slice of pizza I caught myself, and remembered to snap a few shots.

My favorite pizza at Orso is their house specialty, made with high quality Italian cheeses; mozzarella, pecorina Tuscano, fontina, and grana; slow roasted garlic that melts in your mouth, thin layers of prosciutto, and good olive oil.  The combination is heavenly.  And I mean heavenly.

Salty, cheesy, gooey, garlicy, doughy heaven.

My mom ordered this week’s special pizza and we decided to share.  Best of both worlds. Cream, hen of the woods and oyster mushrooms, fontina, and speck (salt-cured, smoked ham).

Fontina’s natural nuttiness and the earthy flavor of the mushrooms created a delectable combination, perfect for a cooler evening.   The table agreed that both pizza’s were divine and no one could choose between the two.

Pizzeria Orso also serves up house made anchovies.  And when I say house made anchovies, I don’t mean tin can tasting, overly salty, foul-smelling anchovies that most people think of.  I mean fresh Italian cured anchovies.  Not at all anything like the ones you are probably thinking of.  They are meaty, salt-cured, and have a much milder flavor than anything at the supermarket.  We always order a few plates for the table.

My sister, Nicole eating her left over pizza crust with an anchovy!  Our favorite way to enjoy them.

And my brother Matt!  He drove up from Fayetteville to be with the family for the weekend.

You know the food is good when you don’t remember to take the pictures until the last bite.  The seasonal plum tart was to die for.  Sweet, tart, fresh plums and a flaky homemade crust finished off a beautiful meal.  Wine was enjoyed, stories shared, and family brought back together.  My love of food stems from the countless nights sitting around a table with people I love and food made from the heart.  My mom taught me how to cook when I was just a little girl, my family gathered at the kitchen table almost every night for dinner; even with the crazy soccer schedules; and sharing a meal together has become something sacred thing for us.

Sadly, I won’t be having this pizza until I visit my stomping grounds again and I don’t know when that will be.  My next mission in Charlotte is to find somewhere with Neopolitan style pizza.  Mezzanotte, off Sharon and Providence claims to do it so that’s where I’m headed next.  DC/VA friends: run, don’t walk to Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church, you won’t be disappointed.


Pizzeria Orso on Urbanspoon


6 thoughts on “Food and Family

  1. THANK YOU EMILY – I posted a link to this from our site – we love to hear things like this – really awesome writing and photos! Thanks again – hope to see you back soon – The Orso Team!

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