Just before noon today, having a lunch meeting cancelled at the last minute, I found myself with an unexpected block of time. If I'd had more notice, I'd have figured out a way to get back home to have lunch with Tracy and the kids, or figured out some way to use the time to cross one more thing off the to do list. But it was lunch time, and I was hungry, and there really wasn't a lot of space to come up with a new plan. I'd seen that Sagra, the little Italian place down the street from my office had a specials board out front, so I decided to give it a try.
Oh my. This is a brilliant place.
Sagra is in the same old house where Mars used to be; a little off the beaten path on San Antonio street between 16th and 17th, on the westernmost edge of downtown. Walk up onto the big front porch and in the glass-paned front door, and you get enveloped in the warmth. There are butter yellow walls with old wood floors, black chairs, and white table cloths. To the right is the open kitchen, anchored by a wood-fired brick oven. Large windows cover the outside walls, and let in light filtered and reflected from the buildings to the east.
My waiter expertly ticked off the litany of specials, which I wish I could remember. Many featured Boggy Creek farms (about the best local organics you can get here); all were innovative. I opted for the pizza special: spinach, olive, roasted garlic, artichokes, and pepperoni.
To compare this to Tallahassee Pizza is to compare a sunny day to the human genome: They are completely different things. The crust was hand formed into a loose circle, with a thin, light texture that veered almost to flaky around the edge. Pepperoni were hand cut and had a cured flavor that reminded me a little of prociutto. There were large clumps of flavorful spinach, silky roasted garlic, and mild black olives. I didn't even realize these olives existed: they had the texture and thickness of kalamatas, but there was none of the bite, perfectly mated to the rest of the pizza. In Italian tradition, there was no sauce outside of a hint of flavorful olive oil. The flavors all came together with a blend of fontina and mozarella in this flash of rich, deep, flavor. It was a little overwhelming, and I found myself completely full halfway through.
Every last bit of this place clicked. The service, the spirit, the food, the smell, the people. It was 30 minutes out of the middle of my day, and it was beautiful.