Lala’s Wine Bar came highly recommended to the Gluten Free Pizza Club, so we hopped on over there this past month. Walking in, I knew we made the right choice not to wear our super stretchy pizza pants (aka sweats). Lala’s has a very upscale and warm atmosphere. While it’s not a large place, it has a nice bar area and quite a bit of dining seating. They had a nice round table set up for the 9 of us. I’m a sucker for a large dining table (lazy susan included!) and this was perfect for a fun gathering!
Knowing we were the Gluten Free Pizza Club, they gave each of us a gluten free menu. We all thought it was the main menu since there were so many options for salads, cheese boards with gluten free flatbread, other appetizers, entrees, and of course gluten free pizza. Very impressive!
While the pizzas were cooking, the executive chef came out to introduce himself and explain their gluten free protocol. They take celiacs in the city very seriously and are happy to accommodate as best as possible. They have a separate celiac prep area downstairs and while all ingredients they use are fresh, for gluten free guests, they take toppings from unopened containers to minimize cross contamination. While they cannot guarantee a completely safe kitchen, they are very aware of using clean utensils and workspaces.
*Some club members thought he meant gluten free was prepared upstairs with all the food, while if you said you were celiac, they would prep downstairs. Maybe I had too many sips of wine to listen intently, but I sure hope they prep all gluten free as if it’s for a celiac. I would recommend mentioning you are celiac when ordering just to be safe.
The crust at Lala’s is provided by The Gluten Free Explorer. You may have heard of them from another blog post; they are taking over Denver, (yay!) as they should, because their crust is that good. This time, however, they have partnered up with Holidaily Brewing (Golden, CO) to make a crust out of their spent grain.
Side note: Holidaily is the first dedicated gluten free brewery in Colorado. They have some great beer that is purely gluten free! They also sell their Favorite Blonde at Lala’s so you can have a safe beer with your pizza.
Back to this spent grain crust…The Gluten Free Pizza Club was happy to be the guinea pig for this new crust. Lala’s chef was also excited to test it out! The group was split on which crust was better – the spent grain or the regular gluten free (can you believe we can call gluten free crust “regular”!?). One comment was that “the regular crust had a little more flavor and was crispier. Most of the slices seemed to be too soft but the edges were crispy.” Another comment stated, “We really liked the multi-grain crust and thought it had a lot more flavor than the original”. Overall, everyone thought both tasted good and up to par with a gluten-full crust, just a personal preference on which one they liked best.
There were so many pizza options. We decided to try five. Your taste buds get a little overwhelmed with so many options, but we managed. Here are the pizzas and how we ranked them:
Margherita Classico – the traditional pizza: red base, housemade mozzarella, basil, Manchego
Bread Lover: #4 – The fresh mozzarella was perfect for a nice classic pizza.
Fat Pants: #1 (tied)
LB: Tastes good and traditional, but not that memorable.
Papa Beer: #5
Momma Beer: #3 – Love the fresh mozzarella!
CEO: #3 – Refreshing!
Nonna’s – red base, housemade spicy Italian sausage, peppadew peppers, roasted fennel bulb, Italian cheeses
Bread Lover: #2 – Perfect combination of sausage and peppers.
No Mush: Pretty average. The sausage had good flavor. It represented your average pizza.
Fat Pants: #1 (tied) – The tomato sauce really made the difference, very tasty!
LB: I like the hint of spice with the peppers and sausage, but the sauce was lacking in flavor.
Papa Beer: #2 – Loved the flavors.
Momma Beer: #4 – Onion/peppers mix was good.
CEO: #2 – With spent grain crust – loved the sausage.
Manzo – red base, braised beef short rib, shallots, Manchego, oven roasted tomatoes, arugula
Bread Lover: #5 – Not enough short rib
No Mush: The steak was very tender and flavorful. Loved the mix with arugula and tomatoes.
LB: #1 – I liked the texture and flavor of this crust better. The fresh taste of the tomatoes really makes it awesome.
Papa Beer: #4
Momma Beer: #1 – The arugula added flavor – CEO doesn’t know what she’s talking about with the combo.
CEO: #5 – While I could taste the meat and the arugula, it seemed too separate. Didn’t feel like it combined well.
Chili Verde – Hatch green chili base, chorizo sausage, caramelized onions, Italian cheese blend, Manchego, sweet corn
Bread Lover: #1 – The onions were perfect and the corn was a nice compliment. Could have been spicier
No Mush: #1 – Unique flavor – the corn and green chili gave it a flavorful twist. Could be a little bit spicier though.
Krispy: #4 – Was hardly warm
LB: I liked the flavors. I didn’t like the temperature. It needed to be hotter.
Papa Beer: #3 – Chili needed more spices, but the start had potential.
Momma Beer: #5 – Best thing was the caramelized onions! Needs more spice.
CEO: #4 – Came out a bit on the cooler side. Loved the corn on pizza!
Figura e Prosciutto – garlic & herb oil base, house made ricotta, house made mozzarella, Manchego, mission figs, prosciutto, balsamic glaze
Bread Lover: #3 – Sweet and salty. Well balanced!
No Mush: Very unique, never had figs before and this was a good impression! The flavor with mozzarella, arugula, and balsamic worked very well together.
Krispy: #1- My favorite due to the flavor, crust & uniqueness.
LB: The most flavorful, but lacked meat substance.
Papa Beer: #1 – Loved all the different flavors in the fig pizza.
Momma Beer: #2 – Great flavors. Can’t go wrong with balsamic!
CEO: #1 – Had a balance of sweet and salty.
We will definitely be back to Lala’s! Fat Pants said it was his favorite place so far and most everyone commented on the great atmosphere. Till next time Lala’s…
Next Up: Any suggestions?