Sunday night, Tim and I got the opportunity to attend a private event at Porta Via Italian Kitchen — Nashville’s source of authentic Neapolitan pizza (and you know how much I love that, whether in Chicago, in Seattle, in Chattanooga, or now here at home). For us, the event came at a pretty perfect time, too, because, take my advice, everyone should get a night of free pizza and wine in the weeks immediately following their engagement (i.e., the weeks following a realization that now you have to plan a wedding!).
With the flurry of emails and inquiries lately (which, I know, are the things many girls dream of), the very thing we needed, I think, was a chance to sit down and eat the food we both called our favorite before we’d even met.
Sunday’s event was arranged to celebrate Porta Via’s recently acquired official VPN certification, which essentially means proof that their Neapolitan pizza is the real deal: made with the high-quality Italian ingredients, flash-baked in a white-hot brick oven, created without any mechanic preparation — just human hands tossing and pressing the dough.
There were pizzas with caramelized onions, pizzas with mushrooms and green peppers, a traditional margherita the moment Tim asked about one.
Oh, and when we first walked in, we tried a couple slices without red sauce, which were topped with sprigs of rosemary and salt; these became my new favorite, and not just because we’ve been loving rosemary ever since the sourdough we ate in the park.
As is typical of Neapolitan pizza, Porta Via’s crusts are chewy and charred, very thin (although not as thin as what you’d find at Chicago’s Spacca Napoli or Nashville’s City House), bearing the marks of dough that’s been thrust into a wood-fire oven more than 700 degrees hot.
And after we’d eaten our fill of pizza (which for me meant five slices — yes, five), we were given a glass dish of coffee gelato from the gelato bar right by the entrance.
It was a simple night — just a bunch of pizza lovers gathered together, in a restaurant tucked away in an unassuming strip mall, with live music and free samples and a couple announcements — but it was a simple night we were glad to have, glad to be given.
It was the kind of night that made me wish we could just have pizza at our wedding. Oh, and for those of you who like hearing these things, we have a date! (look out, October!) We almost have a photographer! and once we figure out the little details of location and food, we’ll be well on our way.
Chicago-area outdoor venue ideas are welcome!
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.