Saturday mornings at Espresso A Mano are hectic. You have everyone in the Lawrenceville area piling in for one of the best cups of coffee in the city. The line accordions its way out the door, tables are hard to come by. A team of bikers orders 10 cappuccino’s and the espresso machine hisses in excitement.
And what is better than a cup of coffee? Obviously, if you’re reading this you think pizza is great. And it is. But it has its place. Usually in the afternoon or evening. But maybe we should start exploring pizza’s contribution to the world of coffee?
Coffee spills into my stomach, causing it to grumble with delight. I pour all the coffee down my gullet and while I’m energized to the point that I can see into the future and tab through 30 browser windows, my guts are feeling forgotten.
A body cannot subsist on coffee alone. The folks at Espresso a Mano realize this after witnessing their customers began to quake. Scones and croissants aren’t potent enough to ward off “Coffee Stomach.” Something had to be done. To steady the human body and soak up caffeine, they summon pizza to their coffee shop.
The soft dough and oils bring harmony to the digestion tract while the cheese and fresh toppings provide a flavor that complements your cappucino.
The pizza is brought in from La Tavola Italiana in Mt Lebanon. It’s not a place I’ve heard of before, but there’s a reason they import pizza from miles away. If you didn’t know any better you would think it was being shipped in from Rome every morning.
By the time you’re eating the pizza (which arrives by noon on Saturdays at Espresso A Mano) it’s mildly warm, in a comforting way. The quality of the ingredients keep the pizza from fizzling out. Like a great cup of coffee that’s easy to drink piping hot and smooth when it hits room temperature.
The crust is chewy and soft. There’s some tearing that needs to happen and you’re definitely getting your flours worth. If you’re feeling adventurous you’ll grab some of that doughy crust to dip into your coffee. No one will look at you with shame. It’s something we’ve all wanted to every so often, you’re just the brave person who took action.
Sauce is tangy and thick like a pasta sauce. There are swirls of toppings and a layer of cheese as white as the fence Huck Finn painted.
I’m a proponent of eating pizza from the source—but these large slices delivered to Espresso A Mano hold their own. They’re a tease of the real pizza, the pizza that hasn’t been removed from its natural habitat. The pizza that bursts from the oven and into your mouth is a pizza that you cherish.
Yet, this is amazing. And I cannot wait for their pizza shop to open up in East Liberty. Their shop, Taglio, will specialize in Roman Style pizza. If it’s anything like the pizza I had in Rome, they’ll charge you by the gram.
These slices were built for endurance and make great traveling companions. Get one to-go with your espresso or save it for later. The genius of this pizza is the minimal toppings. There’s nothing offensive or over-the-top on this pizza. It’s clearly the fundamentals and nothing more. The lack of exoticism acts as its own preservative. There’s no gloopy cheese to erode the pizza and there’s the right amount of oil without becoming slippery.
The this dough soaks up any ingredients that try to escape. The longer you wait, the better this pizza tastes. It’s a functional masterpiece of pizza engineering.
I’ll be interviewing the owner this Saturday. Stay tuned for more insight about Taglio. Got questions? Get in touch.