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|Out to Lunch
by Brian J. Lowney
My friend Oswaldo called the other day, challenged by the prospect of having to decorate his new apartment. "The walls are bare," he cried. "Will you please help me to purchase a nice painting for my dining room? Let’s walk over to Wickenden Street and browse through some of the galleries."
After we shopped for a while and had narrowed our choices to either a large oil painting of a colorful pastoral scene or a captivating framed poster of a majestic Rhode Island lighthouse, my good friend proclaimed, "All this art stuff is making me hungry. Let’s head for Fellini Pizzeria and have some lunch." "Aren’t you the culture buff," I retorted as we walked out the gallery door. "What amazes me is that you always have enough energy to eat." "Of course!" Oswaldo replied. "Who doesn’t enjoy good food?"
We soon found ourselves gazing at the treasure chest of delectable pizza slices that sat before us in the large glass case. Unable to make up our minds, we relied upon the expertise of the gracious young woman who worked behind the counter – and whose sunny disposition and helpful manner made our visit to this lower East Side landmark even more enjoyable.
We decided to follow her lead and sampled three distinctive different kinds of pizza, each one more delicious than the previous and all three equally colorful and visually appealing. "I never imagined that we’d be having such a feast," Oswaldo cried out so loud that his comments evoked laughter from those seated at nearby tables. "This pizza is oh-so good."
The first slice we sampled was the Garden Vegetable (all gourmet pizzas are $3.40 per slice; cheese pizza is $2.27 per slice; pepperoni pizza is $2.97 per slice). The crust was thin yet chewy with the hearty flavor of fresh-baked bread. It proved to be a wonderful base for the big yellow discs of summer zucchini, emerald-colored scallions, bright ruby-red sliced tomatoes and pearl white onions that were nicely dressed with black pepper and virgin olive oil. It was one of the most delicious veggie pizzas I have ever enjoyed. The vegetables were fresh and crisp and the pizza had just the right amount of seasoning so as not to overpower nature’s bounty.
Our next slice of specialty pizza was equally satisfying and again, came recommended by the effervescent crew member who politely helped customers sort through the dizzying collection of tantalizing slices that were available. We chose "The Wickenden," an earthy combination of fresh garlic, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and ricotta, feta and mozzarella cheeses. "Did you read the menu?" Oswaldo questioned. "It says that this pizza is ‘sinfully delicious. Boy did they get that right!"
I loved the contrast in textures and colors as well as the unique combination of sweet and salty flavors that this "white pizza" (sans the red tomato sauce) delivered, while my dining companion enjoyed the pie’s abundance of mushrooms and zesty red pepper strips. "You can tell I am a Latin, can’t you?" he asked, breaking into his all-too-familiar sheepish grin.
Our third selection was a pizza that wasn’t on the menu but because it’s so popular, it’s usually available simply because it’s so delicious. I couldn’t agree more. Just imagine that wonderful chewy crust topped with a creamy parmesan peppercorn sauce and dressed with scallions, large chunks of smoky bacon and creamy ricotta cheese. "Isn’t this heavenly?" Oswaldo remarked, as he coyly stole a piece of bacon from my serving.
While all three slices were "out of the ballpark," Fellini’s certainly hit a home run with this unique white pizza.
While our hunger quickly dissipated after we shared these three appetizing slices, several other tempting specialty pizzas also caught our attention: "The Insalatta," a satisfying combination of fresh spinach marinated in garlic oil, ricotta and feta cheeses, and mushrooms; and the "Meat Lover’s Code Blue," a hearty offering of bacon, pepperoni and Italian sausage.
We ended our wonderful lunch with a coke ($1.25) and walked out the door, well-satisfied, relaxed and full of energy. "I guess I’ll buy the farm scene," Oswaldo announced. "All those vegetables have given me a feeling of being in out in the country. I think I’ll name the painting ‘Green Acres.’"
In addition to showcasing wonderful pizzas, Fellini Pizzeria offers both hot and cold sandwiches and a tempting array of freshly-made salads. Fellini Pizzeria is located at 166 Wickenden Street, Providence; For more information call (401) 751-6737; Hours: Sun.-Weds.: 11am– midnight; Thurs. - Sat.: noon – 2am.
Brian Lowney is a journalist for the Providence Visitor and for the New Bedford Standard Times. He enjoys the wonderful Rhode Island restaurant scene and writing about the cornucopia of outstanding dining and retail food establishments we have been blessed with throughout the region.