Downtown Pizza and a Pop-Up

Pizza Consegna started delivering pizzas in the CBD last month from the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 601 Loyola Ave. The Hyatt's executive chef, Eric Damidot, makes the 18 inch pizzas in a wood-fired oven, and it's the second pizzeria to serve Neapolitan-style pies to open this year (following Ancora).

In addition to specialty pizzas like the Quattro Formaggi (smoked mozzarella, ricotta, gorgonzola and parmesan) and the NOLA Farniete (pickled broccoli, fennel confit, green tomato and Mauthe's Dairy goat cheese), you can build your own pie from a wide variety of fresh toppings, including smoked pancetta, andouille, arugula, broiled cauliflower, fresh basil and cheeses such as cheddar, fontina, buratta and organic mozzarella. The first two toppings on a pizza come at no additional charge. After that, they're only $1 each. That's in keeping with the overall price scheme – at $10.95 for the first pizza, $9.95 for the second, and $8.95 for additional pies, it's remarkably cheap.

The pizzas are large, and boast an appropriate ratio of toppings to crust for my taste, which is to say that the pies are not overloaded. The pepperoni on one pie I ordered came in coins the circumference of orange slices, evenly spaced over the surface of the thin crust. The pickled broccoli on the NOLA Farniete was not as piquant as I anticipated, but it was good, and I could have used a little more. The fennel confit was a nice touch, as was the goat cheese. Maybe the best pie I've tasted was one I put together myself, with the house-made pork sausage, broiled cauliflower and organic mozzarella. The cauliflower lent a bit of sweetness that played well with the slightly spicy sausage.

There are drawbacks. The packets of parmesan that come with orders are not up to the quality of the pies; the cheese looks like sawdust and doesn't have much more taste. Pizza Consegna has no dine-in service, and delivery is limited to an area that is bounded by Girod, Magazine, Canal and Magnolia streets. But considering the quality of the pizzas, and the price, these are minor complaints.

Pizza Consegna is yet another indication that the Hyatt is making efforts to bring a new, serious food culture to its corner of the CBD. With the John Besh/Brian Landry restaurant Borgne set to open in the-not-too-distant future, and with the pretty serious barbecue they're doing through the acquisition of Whole Hog Café, things are looking up near the Superdome.

You can place orders with Pizza Consegna online or by calling 310-3200.

And now, my friends, join me as I take you from the food service operations of a 1,900 room hotel to a popup restaurant run out of the patio at 504 Lyons St. (otherwise known as the back patio at F&M's). That's where PPX Dinner Club is serving on Wednesday nights from around 7:30 until 10:30. The food is prepared by chef Elliot Kopfler, and it's a far cry from the cheese fries you might have partially digested the last time you patronized the place. (Not to speak ill of those cheese fries, guilty pleasure though they may be.)

PPX describes the food Kopfler turns out as “soulful eats, reinterpreted.” Recent menus included escargot poached in satsuma juice, skewered, then grilled and served with fennel confit and greens; pork empanadas with barbecue sauce; herbed goat-cheese “canneloni” made with zucchini in place of pasta, and fried nuggets of chicken thigh served with aioli, pickled vegetables, and mashed potatoes.

If you're interested in checking out PPX, visit their facebook page (linked above) or call 251-7530. The weekly menu is posted on Monday, around 11 a.m.

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