Napizza

I tried out a pizza place this weekend that I think is definitely worth the drive to Little Italy and the struggle to find parking.

Napizza is a casual pizza joint that opened a few months ago. What really stands out about their pizza is the dough. Appearance-wise, it looks like your average thick pizza crust. But when you bite in, you’re treated to a delightful light crunch, which lasts all the way to the last bite. The crust is almost impossibly light, given its appearance. According to the manager, flour is imported directly from Rome and is left to rise for 72 hours, which is what creates the light and airy crust.

DH and I have been in a bit of a pizza rut since our honeymoon, having had some fantastic pizza in Italy. While we didn’t think this pizza resembled the Roman pizza we were exposed to (the Roman crust we experienced was cracker-like thin), it is still delicious nonetheless.

Normally, I’m not a pizza crust eater, but the crust was my favorite part. I especially liked that no matter the topping, the crust maintained its crunch. Sometimes the heavier pizza toppings or marinara sauce can cause a crunchy crust to get soggy.

Premade pies are on display so that you can order by the slice. You can also order whole pies as well. One downside is that seating is quite limited. Only a handful of tables are available indoors, and there is some additional patio seating outside as well.

Truffle Porcini (Porcini mushrooms, truffle cream, sprinkled with fresh mozzarella and garnished with parsley)

This was my favorite slice of the three we sampled. The pizza was piled high with plump mushrooms, and the small porcini ones added a rich and buttery flavor to the regular mushrooms. The truffle cream added even more richness

Each “slice” actually consists of a rectangular piece sliced into two smaller triangle slices.

Parmigiana (Signature tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, eggplant and parmigiano reggiano sprinkled with homemade basil pesto sauce)

After discovering the 5 minute chocolate chip cookie, of course I had to make a pumpkin one!

I knew from the start that this would be difficult. It’s hard enough baking pumpkin cookies in general. The kind I’ve had success with are the fluffy cakey pumpkin cookies. I love the fluffy pumpkin cookies, but I also didn’t want to make a cakey cookie for the 5 minute pumpkin cookie.

Update 1/6/13: I’ve been back since the grand opening and things have definitely gotten smoother. No more confusion and a lot of staff on hand to help you out, guide you to your seats, help you buy tickets if you haven’t bought them. It’s a little pricier than some other theaters around, especially since you can’t get discounted tickets at Costco, but I do like that I can choose and reserve my seats online (plus save $1 off ticket online) and the seats are super comfy which is great for long movies.

Arclight Cinema, a fancy pants theater originally from Hollywood, has made its way to San Diego, opening its first location inside the newly renovated UTC Mall. While this post isn’t really food-centric, I was curious enough about this theater to check it out recently and thought others might be interested too.

DH and I have been closely watching the renovations of the new UTC Mall, which is set to have a new grand opening this Thursday, complete with red carpet event. UTC Mall is a place we frequented as students and we were around to see the proposed plans years ago, so it’s been fun seeing it finally come to life.

A few months ago, we noticed they were building a movie theater inside, which got me really excited. When I saw the sign “Arclight,” I was pretty confused. After some google research, I found out that it was from Los Angeles, but couldn’t find as many details as I would have liked, or why the heck tickets cost a whopping $11.75 per person (hence my calling this a “fancy pants” theater).

(How cool is this montage of all the Bond movies?)

We had been planning on seeing Skyfall anyway, and thought we’d try it out at the new theater, paying the extra couple of bucks per ticket. We did buy our tickets online, which I highly recommend. If you sign up for their free membership, you save $1 off each ticket, and you get to choose your seats ahead of time.

Some of the things that sets Arclight apart and why they charge so much are as follows:

1. Reserved seats- I have to admit, this was the biggest draw for me. No more waiting in long lines hours before a popular movie. You can buy your tickets online, choose your seats, and just show up minutes before the movie begins. In Taiwan, the movie theaters all use this system, but Arclight is the first theater I’ve seen use it in the US. I wish more theaters did this.

2. Bigger seats- I used to be able to do movie marathons, but I’ve noticed in the last few years, I can barely sit through one movie. I get uncomfortable and fidgety. The seats here are visually larger and wider than the other theaters in San Diego and more comfortable. I didn’t fidget once during my movie experience and I was so comfortable I could have fallen asleep.

Below is a photo I took of all the space I had left on my seat after sitting down, which I used for my bag.

3. Alcohol allowed- There are several  bar areas inside the complex and there are even some screenings that are “21+ screenings,” meaning you can bring your alcohol beverage into the theater too.

4. No commercials- Most movie theaters play a few minutes of commercials before rolling the movie trailers, but Arclight skips the commercials altogether.

Now those are the big highlights. So how did our actual experience turn out?