Spring is in the air, and it’d be lovely if I could smell the daffodils blooming in my front yard. Unfortunately, the month of April is when my seasonal allergies are at their most fervent, so it becomes a month-long, rather gross test of my (and Morgan’s) patience. It is with a heavy heart (and very stuffed nose) that I announce the end to my longest running series, Argilla Monthly. As it turns out, the folks at Pietro’s Pizza are done inventing a new pizza each month, so this will be my last full article on the place, unless they do something truly drastic. I’ll still be keeping you all up to date on the beers they’re going through on tap on a monthly basis, but you’ll have to like the Umbrellas on Facebook for that information (or follow me on Untappd).
This month, the bartender I’ve developed quite a relationship with pointed out three new pizzas on their revamped menu after telling me their monthly offering is no more. I went for the “Not a Spicy Meatball.” It’s a traditional pie with red pepper flakes, house made meatballs, fresh basil, and ricotta, and I have to say that that is one of the most perfect names for a pizza I’ve ever heard. Don’t let it fool you; it is a spicy pizza. The red pepper flakes on their own make sure of that. It’s my postulation, however, that the meatballs themselves are also spicy—though only further investigation can prove the truth behind that bold claim. If you’re anything like me, a part of you cringes when you hear there’s ricotta on a pizza. As far as cheese goes, it’s a lot. Cheeses that behave more like sauce at room temperature (cottage cheese, for another example) are off-putting on a good day, and to put them on a pizza is a bit of a commitment. I can only speak to the personal size, but the pizza that I had did an excellent job incorporating the ricotta into something larger—as any good pizza will. The basil was a part of that: clearly fresh but added before putting the pizza into the oven. The meatballs themselves were more ground than I expected, but if you advertise primarily as a pizza place and planned to only use some of your meatballs on pizza, would you ball them and then cut them up for the pizza? I sure wouldn’t. Not only is that an extra step of meal prep, I’d also argue it’s the worse way to serve it on pizza. This is how the ricotta is not too much: there are areas of the cheese and areas of the seasoned ground beef (meatball). If you’re crafty, you’ll find ways to get only what you want in your next bite. The result is a delicious pizza, with strength of flavor belonging to a pie twice as filling.
When my bartender set my glass of “Traditional Jazz” in front of me, I was shocked by the glass of electric pink beer before me. I couldn’t help but take a huge swig from it, not because I didn’t take its strength seriously (though at 5%, who’s afraid?), but because it’s impossible not to trust this beautiful beer. It didn’t disappoint, and I found myself finished with my glass before I’d even ordered my pizza. There were three to choose from, so it did take me a minute, as there was (*sniffle*) no monthly option. I didn’t realize how excellent of a name “Traditional Jazz” is until I started writing this article; it starts out a wheat beer but becomes a fruited sour after being dry hopped with Citra hops and conditioned on red ripe raspberries. It’s also a fitting name: the result is smooth, yet tart and distinctive, with plenty of juicy raspberry flavor. This instantly memorable offering will simultaneously satisfy and leave you wanting for more.
It’s sad for me to have to say goodbye to this series. Argilla Monthly helped me get into a groove of reliable, relevant content by minimizing the number of article subjects I’d have to invent myself. I’ve grown in many ways since 2017, and I owe it to Argilla. I truly love their food and beer, and the whole atmosphere is quirky and inviting. It will firmly remain one of my favorite establishments in my hometown for a long time to come. Lastly, thank you all, dear readers. Without your attention and input, I would not still be here, writing about this beautiful world in which we live.
Did you have a favorite Pizza or Beer of the Month? Will you miss these monthly updates like I will? Should I replace this series with another monthly serial? The place to tell me is down here!