Getting Saucy With Tutta Bella's Calzones

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Siiri Sampson 2011.
Is their wood fire oven is big enough for a blanket-sized version of this, that you could roll up in and eat your way out of?
So many things make pizza amazing. For one, it's obviously the best food item ever created. You can put everything on it, or just have it plain and it's still edible gold. There are endless combinations of ingredients--and it's still good even when you put fruit on it (talking to you, stoned Hawaiian lovers). Cold or hot; breakfast, lunch, or dinner; in any size and shape you want; thin crust, stuffed crust, or deep dish--you can even make it on a bagel or (the childhood favorite and savior of all working parents) English muffin. White sauce, red sauce, or no sauce, it doesn't really matter--you're having pizza. There could be tire shavings on it and you'd ask for a second slice.

Pizza geeks and purists turn up their noses at the mention of chains like Domino's or Pizza Hut (unless they're drunk and it's past 1 a.m., in which case where's that delivery menu again?). For the Totino's-averse, there's Tutta Bella in Issaquah (715 N.W. Gilman Blvd.). This former Chili's has come a long way. For such a massive interior, it still has a calm and upscale ambience, thanks in part to the wood-fire oven you can see from every table, and also because their staff is so relaxed, you wonder if there are tranquilizers in the Pomodoro sauce.

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Siiri Sampson 2011.
This is probably what inspired the genesis of the Hot Pocket.
Tutta Bella makes an art of traditional and certified authentic Neapolitan pizzas--15 of them to be exact. They have a handful of trough-sized salads, but the true gems of the menu are the three perfectly balanced calzones: Antiono ($11.50), Peppe ($11.50), and Massimo ($11.50). Besides reading like the lineup of an Italian men's runway show, each of these crusty, doughy shells encases a precise mixture of sauce or olive oil and handpicked meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Recommending the Peppe would be like telling someone to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa when they go to Italy, but not recommending it would just be rude.

Tutta Bella also keeps an extensive stock of Italian wines, beers, grappas, and Italian cocktails. They've also got seven desserts, ranging from the classic housemade tiramisu ($8.50) or Bottega Italiana gelato to the delicate (and hands-down winner) lemon-infused panna cotta ($4.50) topped with seasonal berries. Panna cotta is one of those unique desserts that sounds boring but tastes utterly decadent. The texture, silky and dense, is unforgettable; coupled with a doppio espresso or an Americano, it's the perfect way to cap any meal, even if you just downed a Costco-sized calzone.

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