Something about this place makes me want to give it a giant hug. I’m not sure if it’s the cutesy interior or the fact that they have amazing vegetarian options served by plaid-shirted hipsters. Maybe it’s the fact that the food is presented on plates that could have been part of my grandmother’s china. It’s really easy to feel at home in this no-fuss cafeteria style (seated) pizza joint that knows how to shake up a tasty cocktail. If their windows did not face Cookman Ave., I would imagine you would see a red barn with fluffy little sheep munching on grass, butterflies fluttering through the sunshine, bunnies stealing carrots from the garden as the cows stand (tails wagging) just waiting to be milked by little Talula in efforts to bring you that special farm-to-table freshness.
For now we’re in Asbury Park, NJ and that’s okay because Talula’s brings something new and refreshing to the scene. It’s a great alternative to our old standby Porta and you can hit it up on the way to the parkway! When you finally get a chance to pop in I suggest you start your experience off with a “Gin and Jam” pictured above: gin, lemongrass, simple syrup, homemade cranberry jam and lime. As soon as my cocktail arrived I knew I was in for a special treat. The tiny spoon filled with homemade cranberry jam sent me over-the-moon with excitement. They were smart to add this petite little stir-in which adds a kitsch yet feminine twist to this cocktail. It gives the customer a sense of control and purpose with the ability to add a little more flavor as they go along. They can now be part of the “mixology” because you know “mixologists” work here. Gone are the days of bartenders. Any proper restaurant only hires a mixologist these days.
For our starters we ordered the Tuscan Kale Caesar and the Whitefish Toasts (pictured above). The salad was nice and crunchy with preserved meyer lemon, fried capers with Pecorino and sourdough breadcrumb bits on top of nice leafy greens, but the toast was by far my fave. The fish was layered on top of a generous slather of creamy avocado and dressed with citrusy-goodness on crunchy toast. Mmm tangy and savory… It was all happening.
Our next plate to arrive was the bowl of polenta made with farmer’s ground corn and topped off with a poached egg, goat cheese and nettle purée. It was an interesting change to see polenta come out as a porridge rather than caked or fried. Sadly when PeanutPimpMama returns she might have to give this one a miss. It was a little flat (womp womp). A+ for presentation though! It’s a very attractive plate, I just wish it would taste half as good as it looks.
Before your pizza arrives, the guy in the blue hat dances in the kitchen in front of the brick oven for twenty some odd minutes. We were entertained while we watched and excited about this integral part of the pizza-making process. It was finally time to see what Talula was made of. We ordered a small Rocket pie since we thought we had enough food to feed a small army. The Rocket has fresh mozzarella with olive oil, lemon, aged gouda and garlic topped off with fresh greens. (There were lots of fresh greens as you can see.) When you bite the pie they tend to fall off and completely miss your mouth. Meat Eaters: Don’t waste your time with this and go straight for the “Beekeeper’s Lament” if you know what’s good for you.
We ended things on a sweet note with the Milk & Honey Panna Cotta pictured above. This dreamy lil mason jar was topped off with honey gellée, oat amaranth crumble and bee pollen brittle to add a slight crunch. No, that’s not a crouton on my spoon. Of course my Dad ordered their ice cream flavor of the day which was gone in seconds. No meal is complete without dessert in this family.
Come watch the hipsters bring it home to Asbury Park. It’s like a little taste of Williamsburg on the Jersey Shore.
For More Information: www.talulaspizza.com
Questions, Comments, Concerns and Review Requests Please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com