When I moved to Seattle a decade ago, nothing roused me out of bed quicker on a Sunday morning than the promise of a Tuscan Farmhouse Rumble at Wallingford's Jitterbug. Lines often left us dodging the rain under its narrow awning, seeking comfort at a nearby coffee shop many a weekend until our name was called, craving those thick pieces of rustic toast, crazy egg-concoctions, & chin-dribbling pineapple slices with post-Saturday-night urgency.
Perhaps while the days of cow-hide lanterns & triple scrambles are over, our memories of Jitterbug remain & it's time to move on... Enter Mioposto, the newest Chow Foods outpost, presenting a different angle on this most successful & Seattle brunch empire.
For one, Mioposto doesn't do brunch, but offers pastries & espresso for the morning crowd. Also, don't expect the usual/unusual Chow multi-cultural bent with monthly international features. This new setting is as streamlined as the decor, straight out of Rejuve's catalog, with an aim to please the now-stylish Mt. Baker neighborhood. In the Bermuda triangle of Craftsman bungalows & water-view mansions, the south-end is strangely devoid of anything remotely gourmet until you reach the Columbia City strip, but I predict that it shan't last too long the way things are going.
Just a few doors down from one of our favorite local wine shops, Urban Vines, we were more than happy to bypass the crowds at Tutta Bella after a long day of painting the new house & get a bite out where fleece is preferred to fashionable attire. While most of the clientele seemed residential, it remained a mish-mash of young professionals, teenagers on dates, & well-heeled families in outdoor garb. Perhaps pizza is the great common denominator in life--to make a great pie it takes all kinds.
Transplanted senior Chow staff ushered us gracefully to a table at half past six, while the walls seemed to crowd with wine-sipping patrons waiting for tables shortly after seven. Since there's no reservations to be had, things moved along quickly with our beet salad & pizzettes served all in one course--oversight on the kitchen's part or sudo-efficiency, but I'd gamble on the former.
Hunger is placable, & so we were all happy as clams once plates began to fill the table, each with its own charm. The Roasted Beet Insalate we chose left a rosy hue on the plate & transformed my dad into a beet believer. With crushed Marcona almonds (not a cheap ingredient these days I might add), wild greens & nubs of goat cheese, it fed three dutifully with the hopes of adding a healthful element to our trattoria meal. If it's green, it's got to be good for you, right?
Moving on to greener pastures, behold the Prosciutto e Arugula pizza with sweet onions & reggiano crumbles, exhibit left. Not that our server wasn't sweet, but she somehow thought that reggiano was "a different kind of mozzarella." We knew better, but those salty bites kept my husband happy, while my fave in this category always goes to La Vita e Bella, where the pizza is superbly authentic but the parking is, well, Belltown hell.
Our young bohemian server steered me away from a few pizzettes, so I ordered the Polpette Molto Piccolo (mini-meatballs) on her recommendation & was ultimately glad for it. While it got the "plain jane" vote from everyone else, I thought that a healthy dash of crushed pepper left me feeling like a happy Sicilian. Dad loves mushrooms just like me, so naturally he went for the Fungo Stagionale which blended ordinary buttons with portabellas & oysters as far as one could tell at the rate it was devoured. This got a big thumbs up from Ken who steered clear of mycological offerings seemingly until a few years ago. All I can say is welcome to the club!
Wine prices are steep in comparison to pizzettes--my glass Masi Pinot Grigio/Verduzzo was poured at $8.00 a glass which I found online for $9 to $13 a bottle. Ouch! Those highschool sweethearts probably saved half off their bill by not ordering birra or vino. Oh well, a small luxury afforded after a week's hard work...
A short but necessary word about the critical pizza criterion:
Crust- foldable when freshly served, bubbles present, cracker-thin with pillowy edges but obviously uneven. As I walked around the room, there was a definite variance in blackening from the oven, & some folks had pies erring on the charred-side. They're new, accept the fate handed to you. The pizza gods make every little thing alright.
Sauce- Not too sweet not too salty, neutral is what I'll leave it at, but a great foil to strong elements in their pies. Simple & not over-applied so our leftover pie crisped up nicely in the toaster oven the next day.
Looking at the Chow Foods site, there's a neighborly feel to their mission & in a very neighborhood oriented town, that sentiment is a huge part of their success. As owners Peter & Jeremy put it, "...we hope you'll find comfort in one of our restaurants." And indeed we did.
3601 S. McClellan Street, Seattle 206 760-3400