Posted by: Food Lover | April 29, 2012

Miro Vino – Part Two


We were impressed by our first visit and very curious to try Luca’s pizza. Considering that he was so sure of himself that he would deny patrons “food abominations” when experimenting with his pizza, we were determined to let him choose for us. As a result we changed our plans for our last meal in Sayulita and returned to Miro Vino with high expectations. The vibe was exactly the same, except no Luca was to be found when we were seated.

So, what to do?

We decided to take the plunge and order for ourselves. While we were keen to have the pizza, two appetizers caught our eye and, as usual, our stomachs followed where our eyes took us. Both the tuna and beef carpaccio seemed like tantalizing options considering Luca’s Italian heritage. So of course we had to order both. What arrived was completely unexpected, both in recipe execution and portion size. This was not the usual contest to make the world’s thinnest slices, a practise that has been taken to ludicrous extremes – often to the point of being almost impossible to peel it off the plate upon which it’s served. Both carpaccios were luxuriously thick sashimi-like slices of meat, providing a delicious mouthful. They had obviously been marinated in an indeterminate and wonderful sauce, which while unusual worked perfectly. We should have expected the portions to be large, and these certainly were. We could have stopped eating after the appetizers, but we were there for the pizza and forged on with our typical ardor.

Without Luca’s presence we felt a bit daunted, lost in a fog of open choice and no guiding light to show us the way. One of us had a fixation on basil, but we didn’t know what would compliment the choice. So thinking simple was best, and going with choices we were long accustomed to, we ordered a basil, Italian salami and mushroom pizza. The waiter seemed pleased with our choice and off he went. Of course, this is when Luca would appear in the restaurant, like a dark cloud of judgement waiting to descend upon us. He immediately came to our table and greeted us, asking what we had ordered. As we praised his carpaccio, Luca only lightly listened, lifting our bottle of wine out of it’s sleeve and no-so-discreetly passing judgement (we earned a polite nod, and a definitive “not bad”, much to our relief). He then asked what pizza we had ordered, and we both tensed up, passing uncertain glances between each other.

Feeling a bit daring, we declared “Olives, anchovies and prosciutto”. You could see him trying to fight off a look of horror, and we both gave a laugh. “Just teasing, we heard you admonish the table behind us last night for anchovies and prosciutto.”

“I must apologize for that,” he added sincerely, “but he was just being too French.”

We then revealed to him what we ordered. Luca looked thoughtfully at us, clearly weighing his response. “Well,” he said, “you could have that. I’m willing to let you try it if you really want to. But I think the basil and salami are not a good combination. There is already a lot of basil in the sauce and adding more would make the salami bitter.”

We had wanted him to place our order from the start, and were willing to put ourselves in his hands if it was not too late. He offered to go check and returned to tell us that we would be getting the pizza his mother made for him as a child. A most exciting prospect.

The pizza arrived, and we knew immediately this would be a fantastic meal. It was extraordinarily fragrant, arugula glistening with a delicious olive oil drizzle. We honestly can’t remember exactly what toppings were on the pizza (the copious flow of wine that evening obviously affected our memory), though we recall three types of mushrooms and are almost certain there was prosciutto. As we devoured the first half of the pizza, in awe over the perfect thin crust, crispy while still fluffy, Luca arrived at our table with a special treat. “Now try this,” he said as he drizzled an oil over the remainder of the pizza. We each picked up a slice, dying of curiosity, to have our taste buds sing in delight as we savoured the white truffle oil. With this simple addition he managed to layer perfection upon perfection. Luca explained that he preferred to add the truffle oil later because the contrast to the previous slices only made it taste all the better. He was right, as usual.

This was simply the best pizza we’d ever had. We knew then that every pizza we’d ever have would be compared to this moment of perfection. It will be hard to beat, and we expect it may never be.

The evening was topped off with Luca insisting we join he and some of his friends for a taste of of one of his favorite red wines. At first we protested, having had a lot to drink already, but he insisted saying it would only be a taste. Well, typical of Luca, the taste was a generous pour.

As we sipped our wine and luxuriated in the atmosphere of Miro Vino, one of Luca’s friends suggested we join them for gluten-free pizza the next day. We were surprised to hear that Luca would even consider such a thing, but realized even he would make accommodations for friends. However, even being a friend didn’t mean an accommodation didn’t come with a price.

“My friend says gluten isn’t good for you,” Luca threw in with an amused grin. “My mother ate bread and pasta every day and she lived to be in her late 90’s. In Japan they eat rice three times a day and have the longest life spans in the world, but gluten isn’t good for you he says!” We all laughed warmly, now comfortable with Luca’s vibrant personality.

After these two meals, we know without doubt that Miro Vino will always be visited when we set foot in Sayulita. It is an experience not to be missed, not only for the fabulous menu and glorious pizza, but also for Luca’s unique, unapologetic personality and confident (almost unabashed) love of good food. Trust him and put yourself in his hands; he was raised in a land famed for its simple good food, fine wine and companionship at the dinner table. What more could you ask for?

P.S

One thing you learn about Saytulia early in a stay, it’s a dog’s paradise. You see many friendly and hearty dogs wandering the town (and, coincidentally, you almost never see cats). These are not homeless animals, they’re household pets who have free reign, to be expected with the common style of indoor-outdoor living. If you’re eating at a restaurant outdoors, it’s quite common to feel a dog brush up against your legs as it roams by, and maybe nap on your feet. Don’t worry, we’ve never seen these dogs beg for food at a table; let’s face it, they’re well fed at home.

And speaking of well fed, we had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sayulita’s fattest dog. Most dogs in this town are quite lean, you see them running along the beach, playing in the sand and water. They’re all quite active. Not this “little” dog. While enjoying our meal at Miro Vino he languidly waddled up to us, gave us a long calm stare, than waddled away to watch the people at the stairs.

The dog was owned by a neighbour, who had gone on a trip about a week earlier. No pet sitting in this town apparently. Luca mentioned he had been subsisting at Miro Vino, obviously doing quite well for himself. This, by Luca’s account, was officially the fattest dog in Sayulita.

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