Last week I had a craving for pizza. I saw a tweet about the Mac and Cheese pizza at Za in Arlington and Dave and I decided to check it out. Ironically enough, I did not end up getting the Mac and Cheese pizza. More on our pizza choice in a minute.
Za has a fantastic list of salads. There were several that sounded delicious and I settled on Lourdes’ Burratine, with Tomatoes and Basil, Reduced Balsamic and EVOO. Burratine is the same as burratta. I was excited about this salad because I am eager to get in as many late-season tomatoes as I can before they are gone. And well, they did taste somewhat late-season, not terribly flavorful. But that is where the balsamic reduction came in, sweet and syrupy and perfect with the tomatoes and the creamy, rich burratta.
After we ordered, I realized that I had completely misread the description of our pizza. One of the fall specials has Verrill Farm Gala Apples, Apple Butter, Sweet Onions, Cheddar Cheese, Sage and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds. In the back of my mind, I read pumpkin seeds and kept thinking that there was also pumpkin on the pizza and that interested me more than mac and cheese pizza. Not the case. In addition to me realizing that there in fact was not pumpkin on the pizza, there were a few more unexpected things about the pie. I expected the apples to be in neat slices, not large chunks. There was also surprisingly little cheese on the pizza. The apple butter was delicious, but the pizza could have used more cheese to cut the sweetness from the apples and the apple butter. The pumpkin seeds added a nice crunch. The crust was a touch greasy and overly crispy. Most of these findings were merely unexpected, and the pie was not bad overall.
Service was pleasant until the end when our server made no effort to hide that she was trying to hurry us up so she could seat the next party. While not a flawless dining experience, I plan to return at some point for two reasons, first, I am still intent on trying the mac and cheese pizza. Secondly, I respect and appreciate that Za sources much of their produce from local growers and the specials reflect this seasonality with creative combinations of in season vegetables, fruits and herbs. When you have that kind of commitment to supporting local farmers, you would have to do something severely wrong for me to really begrudge you.
138 Massachusetts Avenue