Sunday, March 30, 2008

Everyday Indulgences

Olive Oil is something on which I've become quite reliant over the past few years. I am not sure when exactly this near-addiction began, but I do know that my friends think I use absurd amounts of the stuff. Olive oil is quite literally an everyday indulgence for me.

One of the most embarrassing moments in the history of my olive oil addiction took place at an Italian restaurant with some friends. This was the kind of restaurant where a bottle of olive oil is placed in the middle of the table--alongside some herb mixture and grated parmasan cheese, for you to pour onto your bread plate--for dipping pleasure. Our table's bottle was near the end of its life, with only a quarter to a half cup remaining. I soak up more than my fair share of olive oil with bread and was of course thrilled that our server brought a replacement bottle!

I don't remember what my main dish was, but I do remember the looks on my friends' faces when I poured olive oil all over my food in a manner that others typically reserve for pouring maple syrup on pancakes or waffles. These friends then proceeded to make comments about how they thought I deserve to be much fatter for my [over] consumption of Olive Oil. They might be right, or they might be jealous. I'd like to believe the latter.

And my love of the golden juice is not limited to consumption in food. I have been known to use it as a moisturizer and have tried it as an ingredient to several other homemade health/beauty "remedies".

After hearing that Olive Oil Gelato was on the menu at Mario Batali's Otto, I knew this was something that I had to try. While this might not sound very appetizer to lesser fans of Olive Oil, I'm sure you can tell that I was up for the challenge!

I was looking forward to sampling other items from the "authentic Italian, with a trendy NYC Twist" menu, but couldn't really get my mind off dessert during the courses leading up to it. The antipasti were delicious teasers, and I enjoyed the stone oven baked Quattro Formaggio Pizza more than I expected, but the Olive Oil Gelato really is what made the visit most worthwhile!

I tried the Olive Oil Coppetta, which was Olive Oil Gelato served with Sorbets of Blood Orange and Tangerine, a side of Candied Kumquats, and a Fennel Wafer. The olive oil taste was subtle, but was complemented well by the Fennel Wafer and light sprinkle of sea salt. I liked the candied kumquats and tangy fruit sorbets, but they were a little overpowering for my palette that was searching for the flavor of olive oil.

Overall, I give the Olive Oil Gelato at Otto Pizzeria Three Forks Up (or in this case, Spoons Up). If you get the chance to try it, I think you'll be surprised at how delicious it is and how well it pleases the different sense regions on your taste buds.

Next time I'm at Otto, I will definitely be ordering the Olive Oil Gelato, sans coppetta. I may even get a pint to take home!

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