Monday, January 28, 2013

Why did it take me so long to try Terra Cotta?

This weekend my wife and I had a rare treat. Four hours without the kids to do anything we wanted. After a bit of discussion we decided we wanted a nice meal and then to head to a favorite downtown spot, The Coffee Exchange, for some desert and coffee and a few rounds of Race for the Galaxy. This post isn't about the coffee and card games though, it's about where we ended up for dinner: Terra Cotta Pizza.

Terra Cotta has been around for a long time. As long as I can remember at least. I'm sad to say up until last Saturday night we have never tried it. I know they are known for stone oven pizza but that was about it. I also knew they had a two for one Tuesday deal but we never managed to make it out for it. I've even been told by friends to try it. For whatever reason I always thought of Terra Cotta as high end. A classy, don't bring the kids, wear a collared shirt, cloth napkin, kind of place. I'm my head it was La Guardia with a guy cooking pizza up front. Man was I wrong. 

Check out the awesome glass pitcher.
The first thing you will notice walking up to Terra Cotta will most likely be someone cooking pizza, right there in the front window. Anyone can stand there and watch traditional, dough tossed in the air, pizza making, right there from the street. How cool is that? Going inside I was amazed to see not only how small but also how comfortable the place was. This place is really small. There's the pizza prep area up front, a long bar in the middle, some two seater tables across from that and maybe 8 more tables in the back for larger groups. Okay I guess it's probably a bit bigger than say Sam's Pizza but smaller than it looks from the outside. The place is also very casual. I have no idea where my idea that this was a fancy shmancy place came from, but I was wrong. Not to say the place is a dump or anything like that, it's very casual and homey with no pretensions. They also had high chairs and there was a family in there with kids, so I guess it's a good family place as well. It's nice to be proven wrong sometimes.

Our Crustino
I was pleased to see a good beer menu that included a ton of Sleeman Products including draft. Was was even happier when they noted they had Okanagan Spring on draft and ordered a pitcher for the two of us to split. Check the pictures on this page to see the awesome solid glass pitcher this came in.

Looking at the menu, we found a full page spread about some stuff they call Crostino. This is home made, double toasted croutons topped with Pizza ingredients, baked in the wood fire Pizza oven. At about $8 and with enough food to share we decided we had to try it. We grabbed the Crostino Alla Bolognese which had mozzarella, ham and Swiss. It was very good. A really unique taste with the crunchy croutons, zesty sauce and lots of herbs and spices. I think I would try a different set of toppings next time but I do suggest you try one of these unique offerings.

For main courses my wife and I both ordered Pizzas. The menu has a wide variety of pre-made options that range in price from $8 to $14. Toppings range from the traditional bacon, pepperoni and green peppers to eggplant, turkey and calamari. They also offer white or whole wheat crust, gluten free options and even non-dairy cheese. The menu didn't stop at pizza either; there was a selection of appetizers, salads, Italian wraps and sandwiches, salads and calzones. I went with a make your own pizza, with sausage, pepperoni and my favorite pizza topping: prosciutto. My wife grabbed one of the pre-set pizzas, the Prosciutto e Funghi and ordered it with non-dairy cheese. 

Looks awesome doesn't it?
Okay look at that picture right there. Just look at it. Doesn't that alone make you want to go to Terra Cotta? I know it makes me want to go back. Not only did the food look good, it tasted amazing. By far some of the best wood fire flat crust pizza I have ever had. Why the heck did I just try this place this weekend?  It's been here for years, I could have been eating this like once a month, maybe once a week, maybe twice a week!

The food was great. The atmosphere wasn't at all what I expected but that was a good thing and it meant that this should be a great place to bring the kids. It also seems like the kind of joint my parents would both dig. What this means over all, is that I will be going back to Terra Cotta, probably multiple times and bringing along the entire family. I'm still a bit frustrated that it took us so long to try somewhere so good, but I'm very happy that we finally did and have found a new regular stop for great pizza in Windsor.

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