Category Archives: Pizza

Cauliflower Pizza

Yep, I went there.  I’ve made cauliflower mash and cauliflower rice, and now I jumped on the bandwagon and made cauliflower pizza.  Guilty as charged.

cauliflower pizza wine

Truth is, I’ve been wanting to make cauliflower pizza since I saw it on Karla from Foodologie’s blog back in January.  But I was just lazy and never made it.  I don’t know why, since the recipe isn’t any more complicated than making cauliflower rice, but I just didn’t do it.

So here I am seven months later posting about cauliflower pizza.  And I am here to tell you that while cauliflower pizza is quite delicious, it’s not pizza (which you probably already figured).

Cauliflower PizzaIf you don’t like the taste of cauliflower, then I don’t recommend making this pizza.  The cheese and the tomato sauce and all the toppings make for a lovely dish, but you also have to at least somewhat like cauliflower.  Just putting it out there.

The cauliflower pizza also doesn’t crisp up quite like a regular pizza, so I recommend eating with a knife and fork.  I also used fresh herbs in my “dough” but I think dried herbs would work just fine.

Cauliflower Pizza (inspired from Foodologie)


1 medium head of cauliflower, grated

1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used Trader Joe’s quattro formaggio blend)

1 egg

Fresh Herbs: I used rosemary, sage and thyme.  About 2 tbsp of each.

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 425F

Using a box grater or a food processor, grate your cauliflower until it is in small fine pieces.

Dump your cauliflower onto a cheese cloth or dishtowel and squeeze all the water out.  Some methods recommend microwaving the cauliflower for a couple of minutes beforehand, but I just placed all my cauliflower in a towel, wrapped it up, and squeezed all the excess water out.

Once your cauliflower is dry, place in a bowl with your cheese, herbs, egg and salt and pepper.  Mix until well blended.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and firmly press your cauliflower onto the sheet.  Make the cauliflower pizza as thin as possible.

Cauliflower Pizza DoughPlace in the oven for 15-20 minutes to let the crust firm up a bit.

Remove the crust from the oven and add your toppings of choice.  For my pizza I did tomato sauce, additional cheese, ground turkey, mushrooms and caramelized onion.

Cauliflower PizzaIf you are looking for a grain-free, low-carb pizza option then this will definitely fit the bill.  It’s tasty and a nice healthy alternative.

BUT if you are looking for a real legit pizza, then I suggest you make one using this recipe for the dough.

Favorite pizza topping? And go!

OC Restaurant Week Spotlight: Cucina Enoteca

We are officially another week closer to OC Restaurant Week, which means it’s time for another OC Restaurant Week Spotlight.  Be sure to look at previous posts to learn about Pizzeria Ortica and Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille.  This time the spotlight is shining on Cucina Enoteca.

Cucina Enoteca is one of the new restaurants to open at the Irvine Spectrum, and it has already made quite a splash.  From offering weekly specials to “Social Saturdays” and unique pizzas, the restaurant is definitely making it’s mark.

For OC Restaurant Week the restaurant is offering 4 different menus to choose from, depending on how much you feel like spending.  This is a great concept because if you aren’t feeling like a heavy meal, you can choose a lighter option at a cheaper price.

On the lunch front, you can choose a soup or salad with a panini or pizza for only $15, or if you want something a little heartier, you can get a soup or salad and one of the dinner entrees for only $20!  Either way, lunch is definitely a steal.

For dinner, the same concept applies.  Choose an appetizer, pizza and dessert for $25, or choose an appetizer, entree and dessert for $30.  For dinner, I highly recommend the pear and gorgonzola pizza or the jidori chicken.  Both are excellent dishes.

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza

There are 3 dessert options to choose from on the dinner menu, but the favorite of this bunch is definitely the zeppole, aka Italian fried doughnuts.  You can see the entire restaurant menu over on the OC Restaurant Week’s website.


Cucina Enoteca is a definite must stop this year for OC Restaurant Week.  Whether you go with a pizza and salad or try an entree and one of their tasty appetizers, you are bound to have a delicious meal.

*OC Restaurant Week runs from February 26th-March 3rd.  Check out all the participating restaurants at*

Pizzeria Ortica: A Second Opinion

A little over a year ago my friend and I ventured to Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, excited to try out David Myers’ latest venture.  I was expecting quite the fabulous meal, but unfortunately it was not.  It wasn’t bad by any means, but it was quite lackluster.  I figured it was just due to the restaurant being brand new and needing to get into its groove.

Flash forward to now, and my friend and I (along with the Englishman) decided to give Pizzeria Ortica a second chance.  The restaurant seemed to be pulling in a steady number of reviews and had managed to survive in it’s location unscathed.  So off we headed for what we hoped would be a more memorable dining experience.

The restaurant wasn’t too busy (and we were dining a little on the early side), so we were promptly seated by one of the windows overlooking the sidewalk.  As I looked at the menu I was happy to see that the Verdure al forno con Burrata fresca was still on the menu, as I remember it being a highlight from the last time I had dined at Pizzeria Ortica.  We decided instantly that we would order that for our starter.

Our waitress came by and took our drink orders – Perroni beer for the Englishman and The “Rossini” for my friend and I which came with vodka, lemon juice, mint, and strawberry.  Once the drink orders were in we waited for what felt like an unusually long time for a drink order, and then finally we were presented with these beauties:

The flavors were spot on, but at $11 a pop I was expecting it to have a little more punch.  I don’t order cocktails often, but when I do I expect to at least have a slight indication that there is alcohol in there.  My friend and I were pretty convinced that there wasn’t the slightest trace of vodka.  True Food Kitchen Mojito this was not.

Then it was time to place our orders.  The Vedure al forno con Burrata to start (that’s roasted vegetables with Burrata cheese), followed by the Salsiccia Pizza with house made sausage, red onion, and carmelized fennel.  The Englishman also had his eye on the Patatine Montanare, which is french fries with a balsamic glaze, and the braised Ox Tail. I should say that house made sausage tastes the same as DWC Casings produce, so it was the right decision to find a bulk supplier of all natural sausage casings and start working with DCW.

After our orders were placed we noticed there was once again a curiously long-ish wait.  Was this just Italian style?  Where was the Vedure al forno?  How come other tables had bread and olive oil?  This place isn’t that busy tonight.  These were just some of the thoughts running through my head as I sipped my vodka-less cocktail.

The Englishman politely asked our waitress if we could have some bread olive oil while we waited and she said it would come right out.  More minutes passed and soon I saw the busboy with our Vedure al forno.  Success!  But he was also carrying the pizza and the french fries as well.  So instead of having the Vedure as a starter, it had now become a part of the main course.  No less than 30 seconds later the waitress placed some bread and olive oil on the table, followed by the Braised Ox Tail.

So we went from having no food to having more food than we knew what to do with.  Not the world’s biggest problem per se, but now we had to power through the Vedure and Burrata so we could enjoy the pizza before it got cold.

As per usual, the Verdure al forno was delicious and the Burrata was nice and creamy.  Never a disappointment with this dish.

The Salsiccia pizza had a nice thin crust, delicious sausage with just the right amount of spice and the carmelized fennel was a good complement.  It was a bit of a beast to cut (they didn’t provide a pizza cutter and didn’t really cut the slices beforehand) but it was delicious.

The Braised Ox Tail was probably the low point of the evening.  It definitely was not the Englishman’s favorite and he was hoping for some more meat overall.  Luckily we had a huge thing of bread and olive oil so it made up for the lack of protein in the Ox Tail dish.  As you can see the ratio of Ox Tail to plate is not exactly proportional:

The Patatine Montanare was the pleasant surprise of the evening.  Who knew  french fries drizzled in balsamic syrup would be so good?  I sure didn’t.

Since we were stuffed to the gills we decided to pass on dessert this time, but they did look awfully tempting.

So the final verdict?  I definitely noticed and improvement in the food (especially the pizza) but the service is seriously lacking.  Our busboy did a better job of making sure our food was good and clearing plates than our actual waitress.  And the restaurant wasn’t even that busy, so I don’t know what was up with that.

I feel as if Pizzeria Ortica and I have moved from the acquaintance phase and are now in the casual friends phase.  We aren’t besties yet since there are still some small issues that need to be worked out, but overall I was much more pleased with this meal as a whole.

Pizzeria Ortica – you have redeemed yourself.  Let’s just work on putting more alcohol in your mixed drinks and a little better service ok?  We’ll be besties in no time.

Has anyone else been to Pizzeria Ortica?  Thoughts?

Where can I find the best pizza in OC?

Homemade Italian Cooking at Cucina Alessa

I’m a big fan of Italian food.  Authentic, homemade, feels like you are in Italy Italian Food.  While some places in Orange County clearly miss the mark, Cucina Alessa strikes a bulls-eye.

Cucina Alessa has three locations across Orange County – one in Huntington Beach on Main Street, one in Laguna Beach, and the original Cucina Alessa in Newport Beach.  The only main difference between the locations is that the Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach stops have a bigger bar and Laguna offers a mozzarella bar.  While I haven’t been to those locations, it’s hard to imagine that it has the same charm as the original in Newport Beach, located on PCH.

The family and I decided to go to the original Cucina Alessa for my dad’s birthday, and even at 6:30pm, the place was packed.  We made our way to the tiny bar and decided on some wine and a mushroom pizza to hold us over.  As soon as I took one bite of the mushroom pizza I knew we were in for a treat.  It was loaded with flavor and the mushrooms were nice and tender.

Soon after our love affair with the pizza, we were seated at the table and began to intently study the menu.  Everyone decided to order something different so we could try each other’s plates.My brother went with the Spinach risotto – which was nice and creamy and a beautiful shade of green.

I went with the spaghetti with vegetables and tomato sauce.  It was good, but not my favorite dish of the night.

The Englishman decided on a tortellini dish with hints of sausage and bacon in a cream sauce.  It was also very good and very decadent.

But the highlight of the evening was my mom’s dish – the Butternut Squash Ravioli with brown butter and sage.  Words cannot describe.  I spent most of the meal trying to steal bites off of her plate.  It was really THAT good.

Of course being that this was a birthday celebration – no real Italian meal would be complete without some Tiramisu….Tiramisu in a martini glass for the birthday boy who was not looking at the camera.

And a Panna Cotta (my personal preference)….

Overall, I was quite impressed with Cucina Alessa.  The price was right, the food was delicious, and I loved the homey atmosphere.  You could tell the chefs were proud of the food they were serving and the taste certainly reflected it.  I’m definitely planning on coming back to Cucina Alessa and can’t wait to try their new location in downtown Laguna Beach.  And you can be sure I’ll be ordering a large order of Butternut Squash Ravioli the next time.

Cucina Alessa

6700 W. Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92663