Sunday, July 25, 2010

Italian Delights

Piedigrotta Bakery of Baltimore on Urbanspoon

An Italian friend recently had her 40th birthday, and for the party she wanted to replicate a cake she remembered from her youth, one with cannoli cream.  She asked a well-known local Italian place that I won't mention to make one for her, and they turned her down.  However, she found Piedigrotta, who had no problem accommodating her wishes.  Photos of the cake are at the end of this post.  Several weeks later, we decided to check the place out, since they serve breakfast and lunch.  Here is our story.

Piedigrotta is on the eastern edge of Little Italy.  It is primarily a bakery, but they serve an excellent lunch.  The owners were present, Carminantonio and Bruna Iannaccone, and both were extremely friendly and accommodating.  As we were considering our lunch selections, Bruna informed us that rather than choose a single item, we could choose several smaller portions.  While we were eating, Carminantonio walked over to show us one of his latest creations, a Nutella pizza he had just made for some long-time customers at a nearby table.  There are many stories of the invention of tiramisu, and Carminantonio lays claim to one of the more believable ones.  He's even mentioned on the Wikipedia!


I had a potato pie stuffed with meats and the meat lasagna.  The lasagna was excellent. I don't really have any specific comments about it, it was as good as I would have expected.  However, the potato pie really stood out.  It was basically layers of potatoes, meat and cheese served with tomato sauce on top.  The flavor was amazing, and while there was a fair amount of potato, the meats really rose to the top (not literally, that would be weird).

The three friends I was with had, among them, eggplant parmesan, ravioli, and a pasta pie with lots of vegetables.  Everyone spoke highly of the food, with special mention of the ravioli as "among the best".
Bruna prepares our food

Pasta pie and veggies

Potato pie, laden with meat

Ravioli, meatballs, and eggplant parmesan in the back


You can't come to an Italian bakery for lunch without getting dessert.  Actually, I could, as I was stuffed!  But I did sample the hazelnut gelati one friend got, which was very tasty, and had an great exspresso (except for the handle of the coffee cup, see below).  My friends also got some cream puffs and cannoli.  I had their cream puffs at my friend's birthday party, so I got some to go (hands down the best I've ever had).

Cream puffs and gelati


Everything was great, but I am contractually obligated to complain about something trivial.  My only complaint is the handles of the coffee cups.  They are TINY!  So small, you can't get a finger in, and your hold on the cup is tenuous.


Incidentally, my "Italian Friend" mentioned above, is none other than Julia Romano.  You may remember her from such blog posts as "Top Chef Questionnaire".  Here's the cake:

If you don't care about tiny coffee cup handles, and you enjoy Italian food, this is a must!  My rating - 5 cream puffs:

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Very cool that they would make a special cake on request!