Shortly after moving to Charlotte, I fell in love with Mama Ricotta’s. I blame it on the goat cheese and mascarpone dip, which was my first bite of food on my very first visit to Mama’s.
Mama’s is the type of place where families feel equally comfortable as couples on hot dates. The dining room is cozy with large family-sized booths plus intimate tables for two, vintage family photos, and a large wood-fired pizza oven.
If you have any Italian friends or family, you know the importance of sharing food in the Italian culture. Food is love. This holds true at Mama’s, where most of the pasta dishes are available family-style and are served in deep dishes that are passed around the table, just like at home.
It didn’t take long for me to realize Mama Ricotta’s had common ownership with Bad Daddy’s (one of my favorite burger spots in town) and Midwood Smokehouse (my favorite barbecue joint). I’ve eaten at these restaurants dozen of times, and many of those meals have ended with toasts to Frank Scibelli, the owner and man behind the amazing food.
I’m a big fan of bread, and Mama Ricotta’s bread basket alone is worth a visit. The housemade rolls are served with olive oil sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes for dipping. As for appetizers, there’s that amazing dip I mentioned–it’s a warm goat cheese and mascarpone dip served with grilled crostini and a warm tomato basil sauce, a steal at $8.50. I also highly recommend the new house made burrata ($12). Burrata is fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream, and Mama’s burrata is soft and supple and accompanied by olive oil poached tomatoes, basil, roasted garlic, and grilled ciabatta.Read More
I know it’s the new year and we’re supposed to be juicing and diet cleansing and sweating to the oldies plus doing three thousand crunches a day, minimum. I know I should be focusing on eating my greens and counteracting all that indulging I did over the holidays. Spinach. Kale. Brussels Sprouts. SALADS, SALADS, SALADS!!!
I know. I KNOW. But what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share THIS with you guys?Read More
Pizza is one of few foods for which I will risk third degree burns of both the mouth and esophagus. As soon as I open the box and locate the slice with the most ample crust, I’ve got it dangling above my mouth, scalding cheese be damned. The crust is by far my favorite part, and it alone can make or break a pizza. I cannot fathom why some people think of the crust as merely a handle used to transport the pizza to their mouths, ceasing to eat once they reach that sweet spot where sauce and cheese meets bready bliss.
Pizza delivered to your door is one of life’s simplest pleasures, but leftover pizza can leave a lot to be desired. There’s always the option of eating the leftovers for breakfast, cold and straight from the box, but I crave the smells and textures of a freshly delivered pie. When years of college dorm living taught me that microwaves turn pizza crusts to rubber, I found my solution in the oven.Read More
As a kid, pizza was one of my favorite dinners. When mom or dad would come home exhausted from their days, too tired to cook, with just enough energy to utter the words “let’s just order pizza for dinner” my heart would pitter patter with excitement as an uncontrollable cheshire-cat style smile spread across my face.
Pizza was cause for celebration in my family, and back in the day I was a straight up pepperoni and cheese gal.
Pepperoni and Cheese
I remember the day I got my braces. I was 13 years ripe, and I think my dad felt bad that I was in so much pain… Or perhaps he felt bad because he had just assisted in adding more metal to his poor teenage daughters head (as if my GIANT glasses were not enough).
So, in an attempt to cheer up his little girl, he decided we’d order pizza from our favorite hole in the wall pizzeria for dinner. I remember opening that steaming box and seeing the thick pepperonis all curled up into little cups of grease heaven, and that amazing pizza smell that made the pain suddenly start to melt away. I was so excited, so high from the pizza induced endorphins, that I grabbed a slice and chomped down without hesitation.
I remember the horror that immediately washed over me as I ripped my hand back from my mouth like a kid who’d just high-fived a hot stove as I burst into tears. My newly bedazzled mouth was too sore to eat the pizza. Too sore to enjoy the crunch of that buttery crust or the spice of the pepperoni. Too sore to even nibble on the oozing cheese. Through my tears, my dad and I painstakingly cut the pizza into pebble sized swallowable bites and I proceeded to toss them into my mouth followed by long swigs of Coke like a real pizza pill poppin addict.
Why was adolescence so cruel?!
Yes… that just happened.
But let us focus on what’s important here.
It brings people together.
It puts a sparkle of happiness in your eyes and warm and fuzzies in your belly.
Heck, it even puts hair on your face.
Hahahaha… That’s my nephew Dylan. LOVE that pic. He’s almost 13 now… and sadly, no longer a pirate.
I can count on one hand — strike that — one FINGER the number of people I’ve met in my life who did not adore pizza. (crazy man, that Tim is)
Pizza is the jam. The cat’s meow. The shiznit, if you will.
A couple years back, my sister and I were brainstorming ideas for a Father’s Day present for our dad. We decided we would take dad out to lunch to the restaurant of his choice. Mexican or seafood or a big Italian feast. Whatever his heart desired.
Sometimes all a father really wants is to pig out with his children at the pizza buffet
I haven’t been to CiCis Pizza Buffet since then, which is very sad given how enamored I was with their macaroni and cheese pizza… So wrong, but SO right!
When I was contacted a couple weeks back about doing a giveaway for Cici’s, I HAD to jump on it (in secret hopes that my one of my siblings will win a free pizza buffet for my pa, of course).
Here’s the scoop: CiCi’s Pizza Family Funtacular summer scratch and win contest runs through August 28. The scratch off tickets give you the opportunity to win movie tickets, family fun packs, children’s movie tickets, CiCi’s gift cards, free buffets, carry-out pizzas and beverages.
Oh man… my dad would LOVE LOOOOVE to win this….
Grand prize for two lucky families: an all-expense paid trip for four to Universal Orlando Resort Vacation…. Ok… Shut the front door!!! Now I really REALLY hope one of my siblings win!
I have SIX scratch off tickets to give away, and I’ll send them ALL to the winner. TWO ways to enter: 1.) leave a comment (or link) on this post with your favorite pizza topping or recipe AND 2.) Follow me on Twitter @Fervent_Foodie!
I’ll use a random # generator to select a winner Sunday at midnight!
Have you ever been in conversation with a new person and thrown out the obligatory “so, Bill, what do you do for a living?” and had Bill come back with “well Mary, I’m a psychiatrist”?
When a person discovers they’re in the midst of conversation with someone who analyzes people for a living, they are immediately scared. (What the heck have I said in the last five minutes? … Does he think I’m a basket case… Why am I suddenly sweating profusely?!) All of this fear and anxiety is followed by near immediate curiosity.
Oddly enough, that’s a similar reaction to the one I get when I first tell a person I’m a food blogger. People get oddly weirded out, followed almost instantly with excited curiosity. I try to explain that I am not a food critic, but a food enjoyer. I’m not professionally critiquing food, but rather honestly sharing my experiences with the food with friends and fellow foodies.
Isn’t sharing food with others what makes a good meal great, anyway?