Way back when it was still warm outside (remember those days, guys?), I decided it would be a great idea to sign up for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon because it would help motivate me to run outside this winter. During the winter, I have a hard time convincing myself to run outside because 1) I hate the cold with a deep passion, 2) The sun disappears before I get home from work and 3) The gym is warm, and the personal TV’s on the treadmills and ellipticals allow me to catch up on bad reality television. Unfortunately, my plan for half marathon training this winter did not go quite the way I had envisioned last summer when the sun was setting at 8pm, and running in a tank top was a given. Suddenly, it was mid-February and I realized I had done exactly 1 long run in preparation. Thankfully, I knew I had a trip to SoCal coming up, and I tried to plan some decent training runs. During that week and a half, I somehow managed to squeeze in four long runs without my legs completely falling apart and I felt fairly confident I could at least finish the half without crying. Now, my favorite part of long races is the carb loading that takes place beforehand, and the recovery meal that takes place afterwards. Basically, I like to sandwich the race between two indulgent meals.
The Friday before the Rock n Roll half, SM (who was also preparing for the half), N and SBS and I decided to head to Etto for some pizza. We got there around 6:15pm and got a seat on the heated patio. We decided to start with the cauliflower with pine nuts and saffron salad, and a egg quiche with sausage (that day’s chalkboard special). The cauliflower salad was a little on the oily side, but perfect for dipping their soft, crusty bread in. The egg quiche had a wonderfully sweet crust, and we all agreed we could have eaten a pizza-sized serving of this.
Then it was on to the main attraction: Etto’s amazing Neapolitan style pizza. As usual, I debated trying a new pizza but at the last second decided to go with my all-time favorite, the roasted cauliflower with capers, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and anchovies. I could write a love letter to the Etto pizzas. The pizzas are a little soft in the center, and the crust is quite thin with a lighter texture than the other Neapolitan spots like Ghibellina or 2 Amy’s. I would describe the pies here as “floppy,” But I do not mean that in a flabby, sad way. I mean “floppy” in that the pies are light and almost airy. The toppings on this cauliflower pizza sync together in perfect harmony. The bread crumbs and pine nuts add a crunch to each bite, the chopped up anchovies add a subtle salty funk. I absolutely love anchovies, and the anchovies at Etto are
I could have housed the entire pie, but the waitress warned us at the beginning of the meal that “these pizzas are big, so you guys are definitely going to have leftovers!” Crap, does this mean people never eat a whole pie? I thought about this as I munched away and decided once there were two slices remaining that maybe I should save something for leftovers since apparently every “definitely” leaves food on their place. The waitress actually took a while to box up our remainders and bring us the check so I just stared longingly at those two beautiful charred pieces while we waited. I actually had these two slices the next morning as a pre-race breakfast and they tasted just as delicious cold. Etto really was the ideal place to load up on carbohydrates. I love the low-key, warm atmosphere of this small restaurant, and the outside patio has nearly doubled the number of seats so the wait time has reduced significantly on nicer days. And I just cannot get enough of the pizza here. I thought about the cauliflower pizza during my rainy half marathon the next morning, and debated returning to Etto right afterwards for yet another pizza (SB and N decided on Satellite Room instead). I better sign up for another half marathon soon so I have an excuse to inhale some more of their chewy, charred, sweet, PERFECT crust.