Washington D.C.      Date of Visit  08/07/12     

We are in Washington D.C. for the serious business of remembering the many debts we owe for all we have and to remember one in particular in 1st Lieutenant Neil Keltner, recipient of The Distinguished Service Cross and two Purple Hearts, as he is laid to rest in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. While this little project is all about food it would be remiss and disingenuous to not realize or mention how insignificant this all is compared to the sacrifices represented by the monuments in our Nation’s Capitol. Think what you want of war, or politics past and present; walk past the names on the Viet Nam Wall, the fountains and stars of the World War II Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknowns or any of the other touchstones and you realize how often and selflessly our fellow citizens have put boots to ground to allow our lives to include things like this silly website. To those who have served, my sincere gratitude. There, I feel better.




At this point in our journey, we had just left the internment of Lt. Keltner at Arlington National Cemetery with the measured precision of the honor guard paying respect to a man whose family I married into but never met. Thanks to my Dad, I have long been aware of what makes a hero, he made certain I knew of those who put their lives on the line and paid heavy prices.

With the most humble honor I stood by the final resting place of another of these men and then got to watch as long separated family members were reacquainted and got to meet those who served alongside for the first time. Like most heroes, Lt. Keltner spoke little of his exploits leaving many who knew him later in life to learn of them after his passing. Following the get-together at the hotel it was our job to get on to this life, informed and changed by what we had learned during the day.


Looking for parking near the hotel we had passed a couple of places and found ourselves pretty peckish after a long day. We headed around the corner to a worldwide chain that celebrates traditional Italian pizzerias. The space is ultra modern with loads of art, bright colors and lighting and an open kitchen. We settled in and were offered bread with imported olive oil and deliciously sweet and pungent balsamic vinegar, a good start.


Pretty Good Bread

Superior Balsamic

The menu is expansive with each offering attached to a number. We split with two pasta dishes (Fusilli Bianco Verde & Gnocchi Legnano) and two pizzas (Como & Ragusa). Our server was sweet and about average in plying her trade. The pastas were pretty good for a chain, maybe above average. The gnocchi had a nice grainy tie to it’s potato heritage and was relaxing in a bath of mozzarella, brie, gorgonzola and parmesan cheeses. Not too shabby. The fusilli was cooked well and arrived with broccoli and chicken in the parmesan cream sauce. Again, tasty but not necessarily special.


The Cheesy Gnocchi were Pretty Good

Same For The Fusilli

Our server steered us towards the pizza which is a house made thin crust version done in a brick oven. The Ragusa consists of tomato sauce and mozzarella with a unique topping…gorgonzola wrapped in bacon. Here’s the thing. The crust, the sauce, the mozz all beautiful…the signature topping left something to be desired. First the cheese, gorgonzola, famous bleu, well, it’s sharp flavor never made an appearance, disappointing. Way past disappointing were the bacon cups which were supposedly encasing the cheese which were likely (I hope) cooked through but as far from crisp as you might get. Flabby bacon first makes me nervous and secondly fails to provide the layer of flavors that make bacon majestic.

This Tasted Really Pretty Good

If You Avoided The Flabby Bacon and "Bleuless" Gorgonzola

Porcini and Parma Ham Ruled The Day

Amazing What A Few Shrooms Can Accomplish

Much better was the Como with Parma ham, porcini mushrooms, tomato sauce and mozzarella. The tomato sauce wouldn’t match the simple complexity of Comet Ping Pong but is still an exceptional variety. The ham is a given and the expensive shrooms pervade the sauce and the cheese atop the thin blackened crust for a very nice slice.

We all split a dessert of profiteroles which were shy of average by a conspicuous margin but had enough chocolate to bring everything to a close. It just arrived in a mess and the texture of the pate choux was either losing a battle with the ice cream or had been hanging out for a while.

Piola is a beautiful place with fairly good pasta and so many pizza options I would have liked to have ordered about a dozen more. If you are seeking a respectful and delicious weekend Washington D.C. certainly offers both. We will be back.





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