Amy Chu 8:30 a.m., Sept. 15
Oggi’s: Stout-Hearted Men…
Jes’ came out from Ikea, up at Fenton Parkway, Mission Valley.
Carla’s desperate for a king-size bed. Yeah, right. King-size price too? Our neighbor Linda paid $3K for hers. Three K!
Yes, Ikea’s way down on that price, but I come out in total confusion about sizes, thicknesses, and where I’d find the money for it anyway. I like Ikea, but I see I need La Carla here.
And besides, right across the road is this place I’ve been meaning to hit for ages.
Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Co. "Oggi's?"Translation from the Italian: "Today's."
They’re another of these pizza parlors that grew, mainly when they started brewing their own beer. In 20 years, they have opened upway past a dozen locations in three states. And in a way, it shows. You go onto their website and it’s all corporate talk about “concept,” “customer base,” creating a “brand…with activities that would appeal to our demographic.”
On the other hand, they have won a few international beer prizes, from what I hear, including being named Champion Small Brewing Company in the 2004 World Beer Cup, and getting a gold medal in the 2010 WBC contest for their Black Magic Stout.
Inside this Oggi’s (2245 Fenton Parkway, upper Mission Valley, 619-640-1072), you can see the stainless beer tanks at the back, so you know they're actually brewing, but it certainly has more sports-bar vibe than rebel brewers’ hideout. Like, this don’t feel like no O’Brien’s (the pub at 4646 Convoy, where Tom Nickel has been a true revolutionary from the get-go in the Great San Diego Beer Revolt against Big Brewery sud makers).
But you don’t get gold at WBC if you don’t take beer seriously, so hey, I’ve got the hots. Can’t wait to try something. Maybe that Black Magic, if they have it. Plus it’s been a lotta walking. I’m hungry, verging on starving.
I head straight for the bar, just because it’s past nine at night, and that’s probably where the late nite happy hour is in business.
Bar’s a pretty rollicking place, right now. Bartender gal is singing along with the music on the system. Pretty good, strong voice too. Guy next to me, Bob, says she’s Nathalie, and a “character.”
“Yes,” Nathalie says, “everything is brewed here, except the Black Magic Stout. They make that up in our Del Mar Oggi’s.”
No problem. All their beers – and they have eight of them plus a couple of "season" beers – are $3.50 a pint at this time o’night. Nathalie pours my glass. Ooh. That’s sweet, black, nicely heavy but still fresh, a smoothie. Love it.
In the food department, they take $2 off a bunch of items, including small pizzas (and pizza is what got them on the road in the first place) with sporty names. The Javelin ($7.99) features feta cheese and mushrooms, the Speedway ($7.99) has mozzarella and Italian sausage, the Marathon ($8.99) has a bunch of veggies including zucchini and artichoke hearts, and the Blazin’ Backfield ($7.99) has mozzarella, blackened chicken, and gorgonzola.
That’s what I go for, because of the blackened chicken. Nathalie suggests I take the pizza sauce instead of the hot wing sauce, and have that on the side, so I can make it as hot or not as I want. Good idea. Plus, hey, happy hour, so it only costs $5.99.
At the same time Bob is getting a plate of Oggi Stix. They’re a deal too, now, at $4.99. Basically sticks of pizza loaded with Brazilian tri-pepper sausage slices.
When our plates come, we do a couple of prisoner swaps.
Bob’s Stix are good, with that buzzy sausage, but mine’s got the yummy gorgonzola taste, plus the burnt tang of the chicken chunklets. And they go great with the slightly sweet stout.
Bob and I get into a conversation about San Diego Vs. East Coast beers (he’s from New Hampshire, where they don’t pay income tax). By the time they kick us out, I’ve swallowed all my pizza, some of Bob’s, and two of those stouts.
The check comes to $13.46, including tax. Not bad, when you’re drinking the best stout in the world.