Brunch: Hot Italian

Hot Italian’s black and white motif suggests a duality that can be found all over their brunch menu. Do you want to sit inside or outside on the patio? Do you want a cocktail to mellow out, or an espresso drink to perk up? Do you want that cocktail spicy and crisp (The 16 & Q Bloody Mary) or bubbly and fruity (Prosecco Cocktails)? Do you want the savory route (brunch pizzas! or a wood-fired skillet of eggs sure to make any Italian proud) or the sweet route (the dulce “pizzas” made with either chocolate hazelnut spread or fig + mascarpone)?160125_0001 On our trip, we got down on a couple of pizzas: the Nibali and the #limitededitionpizza. Could we each have eaten our own? Absolutely, but sharing is the name of the game.

Nicknamed “the shark” in the pro-cycling world, Vincenzo Nibali, the Hot Italian namesake for our pie ($15) can circle us any day. Sink your layers of teeth into the dreamy sauce created by the fact that the eggs are scrambled right on the crust with the mozzarella and crescenza cheeses and then baked off. A scoop of dry scrambled eggs heaped onto a pizza crust this is not. The mixture creates an unctuously melty foundation for the mushrooms and spinach sprinkled on top. Finished off with a drizzle of Bariani truffle oil, you’ll feel like putting Nibali up on the winner’s podium yet again. (Do sharks like prosciutto di parma? If so, add some on for $3).

Hot Italian’s #limitededitionpizza rotates every couple of months, but we were lucky enough to be graced with a combination we’d never seen before ($ varies). You, too, can take a chance and discover a dish you might not otherwise order. We hashtagged it up and before we knew it, a pinkish pizza arrived! The rosy hue — created by mixing together mascarpone cheese and tomato sauce — explains why this pizza is an employee favorite. The crust and sauce is thrown into the oven at almost 700 degrees before being topped with speck ham in spokes reminiscent of the bicycle wheels Hot Italian so loves. Bonus? The #limitededitionpizza is available all day!

To pair with our two pizzas, we opted for a pitcher of Mimosa ($20), made with 100% pure orange juice and — for an Italian twist — prosecco.

The choice is pretty black and white: Are you ready to say buon giorno to pizza for breakfast or not?160125_0034 160125_0035 160125_0041160125_0049 160125_0060 160125_0069 160125_0074Hot Italian | 1627 16th Street, Sacramento | 500 1st Street, Davis | 5959 Shellmound St, Emeryville

Hours: Saturday and Sunday 11:30am-3:30pm
Nearby: Insight Coffee | Sun and Soil | Bottle and Barlow

Scout Tips:
Dogs are allowed out on the back patio (including water bowl!)
Want to get away with having dessert for breakfast in a perfectly socially acceptable way? Order affogato — two scoops of gelato topped with espresso. What? It’s coffee…


Photos | Susan Yee