This is the Place
Sandwiches Like No One Else — Light and Vibrant Pizza — and Gelato to Die For!
Restaurant: Mr. C's Gelato &
When I pulled up, I stopped to look at the menu on the window. I was a little disappointed by the selection of sandwiches. It seemed like more of the same, in terms of delis. But the sandwiches at Mr. C's are anything but more of the same.
Inside, the décor was limited, plain and not a lot that said Italy. In fact, it seemed more like a farmhouse restaurant than an Italian delicatezza. Then again, it's in a strip mall, so what did I expect? However, the place was impeccably clean (something I can appreciate in a restaurant). The biggest problem I had was the noise. With all those hard walls without much in terms of coverings, the fan in the back created a lot of background noise — enough that, when I got a phone call, I couldn't use my bluetooth, so I couldn't conduct a little business while eating.
You order at the counter, pay up front, standard procedure. I wanted to try one of their sandwiches (it is my mission in life to try every sandwich shop I come across), but wasn't sure what to do to avoid getting the "same old thing." The woman who took my order recommended the Sicilian, their version of an Italian sub — except it’s not a sub. It's served on round Tuscan flatbread (you choose one of four flavors, which are made fresh every day), and she recommended the herb-and-garlic to best go with the Sicilian. It's got pepperoni, Canadian bacon, salami and two cheeses (Swiss and provolone), run through the oven, and served with Romaine lettuce and sliced tomatoes (upon request) on the side and a pickle spear. Each sandwich comes with a choice of chips, which included my favorite potato chip: jalapeno. You take a mayo packet, if you want more than that, and enjoy. I tried it as served, then put on some mayo and the veggies, and really enjoyed it.
Plating was nothing special, served on a styrofoam plate. (Again, what was I expecting in a strip mall?) But that first bite was something else. The flatbread looks like a pita, so I expected it to be served in a pocket. But the flatbread is heavier, grilled, and extremely flavorful, with a really nice texture that was nothing like I expected from the look of them across the counter.
First words out of my mouth with that first bite: "Wow. I've never had anything quite like this."
The flavor was excellent. The heated meats went well together, and the Swiss cheese did not overpower the provolone. Even better, I was achieving that life-is-good feeling that comes with a full stomach.
About the time I was finishing up, the husband of the team running the place came out and asked me how everything was. I was a little surprised by his appearance, and told him that it was excellent, but he didn't look Italian. (He's a big man with red hair.) He laughed and said that he wasn't. He had gone to Italy on business, and had his first real Italian gelato. When he got back, he raved about it to his wife and kids, but they didn't seem to appreciate it until he took them there on vacation a couple years later. (To this day, he said his kids still remember the gelato they had in Italy, including every flavor they tried.) His wife's response? She wanted to come home and open a gelato shop. So they ordered in equipment and ingredients from Italy, and make various gelatos and sorbettos every day.
He explained that gelato is made with lowfat milk, no cream, so it's better for you. Also, with the gelato machines, the way it folds the gelato, it has a lot less air in it, so the texture is a lot smoother. (He said ice cream is about 50% air, and gelato is about 5%.) Sorbetto is a water-based product, so you can have a lot sharper flavors, because there is no cream to coat your taste buds. After tasting a couple of each, I got a small grape sorbetto. And, again, it was excellent. Far better than the sorbetto I had at Dooner's, and at a substantially better price ($2.11 including tax, versus $2.89 before tax — and you get more).
Most negative thing about the experience was that noisy fan.
The second visit, I showed up determined to see if Mr. C's pizza was as different as their sandwiches. I was not disappointed.
Inside, the décor was improved since my first visit. They had done some two-tone painting and added some dark-stained wood trim engraved with flowing grapes on the vine, which certainly added to the Italian feel of the place. Where, before, it had seemed more like a farmhouse restaurant, now it seemed more like what I would imagine a small Italian café would be like. Again, the biggest problem I had was the noise. There were more wall hangings (including some nice Italian countryside image), but the fan in the back still creates a too much background noise — although it's improved over my first visit.
I ordered an eight-inch pizza on original crust, with Canadian bacon, pepperoni and mushroom (the method with which I test all pizza places). Like the sandwich I'd had, it's made on round Tuscan flatbread (I chose original, although I could have also opted for herb and garlic). Service was fast and pleasant. Plating was a little better than the sandwich, with the pizza coming out on the metal pie pan it was baked on.
First words out of my mouth with the first bite: "Wow. It's sweet."
The pizza was different and very nice. Then I wondered if it was the sauce or the Tuscan flatbread that had that subtle sweetness. I didn't get the answer on the second bite, because that's when the rosemary hit me. (Again, very nice.) I concluded that the sweetness was probably in both but, in the sauce, it changed the whole pizza experience, making it almost fruity in flavor, much different from the heavier pizza sauces that are so common. I think it could have used a little more cheese, because I hadn't quite achieved the life-is-good feeling, but it was not like I was still starving. And it allowed room for the gelato that I ordered with my combo meal. I sampled the peanut butter flavor, based on the young man working there's recommendation and was totally blown away. I am not a big fan of peanut butter. I don't go ga-ga over Reese's peanut butter cups or even eat PB&J when I'm in a rush. I'm just not a big fan of the flavor. But this was something else. It was rich and smooth and had more peanut flavor than a jar of Skippy. However, I decided to go with mint chocolate chip (my favorite flavor of ice cream) so I could compare it with something that I know and love. I was not disappointed. In fact, I may never eat regular ice cream again.
(Incidentally, two days later, I returned for the peanut-butter gelato and it was just as amazing. It was the first time I ever ordered a peanut-butter food item for myself at a restaurant. Guess it's never too late to try something new.)
Last words when finishing the meal: "I may never eat regular ice cream again."
Most negative thing about the experience was that noisy fan … everything else was just golden.
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noun. Slang. A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.