Friday, March 27, 2015

On this day: Remembering past visits to Something Italian, Angelo's Pizza, and Chisme.

I'll never forget my first alfredo deep-dish and the Ham and Alfredo I enjoyed one year ago at Something Italian on the Skywalk in The Kirkwood was a revelation! Creamy, crispy, hammy, and so decadent. It was intoxicating! Something Italian [see blog post] is one of my favorite pizzerias and their continued experimentation with pizza styles cements my fondness even moreso. And I long for their Farmers' Market frittata!

Angelo's Pizza has had a storied past, with Mark Nicola first developing an extraordinary thin crust at Plaza Pub [see blog post] before striking out on his own with a pizzeria down the street at 70th & Douglas. Fortunes did not favor that location well, so Angelo's relocated to a magnificent dump off the corner of 13th and Grand in West Des Moines.

It was here that I first became enamoured with their pizza and an exceptional Italian grinder [see blog post]. Emboldened with some success, Angelo's opened up a second restaurant on E. 14th with an expanded menu that included Cincinnati chili [see blog post]. The t-shirt pictured below indicated my first sampling of their unique chili, three years ago. Things started to go awry when Angelo's tried operating a kitchen within a Court Avenue bar. The venture fell apart quickly. Then in a move to upscale, Angelo's closed both its Grand Ave. and E. 14th locations and reopened as Angelo's on Eighth [see blog post]. A change in ownership, some unwarranted tweaking of the food, soon followed by the owner's untimely death doomed the business.

Another restaurant that has passed into the ether is Chisme. Starting out humbly as El Chisme at the corner of Merle Hay and Urbandale, I quickly became a huge fan of Chisme's then quirky offering of pizza, tacos, calzones, and traditonal Mexican breakfast fare [see blog post]. Also in a move to go upscale, Chisme uprooted and relocated to Valley Junction, moving into space previously occupied by Cafe Su.

It was here, four years ago, where I had the most extraordinary breakfast pizza I had ever eaten with scrambled egg and chorizo, sandwiched between cream sauce and cheese, with red onion, jalapeƱo, and a drizzle of chipotle crema. Fate did not favor Chisme in West Des Moines and eventually the restaurant folded. I lament the loss greatly. Years before Malo took seed with its New Latin-influenced cuisine [see blog post], Chisme broke sod with its inventive fusion of Mexican and Italian cuisines. Settling into another location, like Ingersoll Avenue, could have made all the difference. It was, after all Cafe Su's venture onto Ingersoll as Red Bistro which ultimately led them to abandon Valley Junction in the first place.

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