Pizza Express – A new twist

Pizza Express - Pizza smSometimes I get obsessed with trying make my meal illustrations too quirky; with dishes cut off at the edges of the page, or drawn at different angles. So, here I started with the Bruschetta, cut off at the edge and then my pizza main course I have arranged firmly in the centre of the page.

There’s something to be said for framing the food in this way, drawing the whole, rather than a part, of a dish.

Certainly the pizza image here would look comfortable within a restaurant’s menu listing, or signage.

This was part of a lovely day in Bournemouth, last summer; lunch at Pizza Express, pottering around town and finishing up at the crazy golf course in the park. Then we dropped into an ice-cream parlour on the way back to the car.

I have to say – I simply love Bruschetta served this way; it’s probably the pesto that really tips the balance for me.

Pizza Bookmark to download

Head on over to my new Download section to download a free delicious slice of Pepperoni Pizza – suitable for vegetarians and vegans too!

Bookmark - Pizza smClick on this image to head on over before they all go cold.

Ask – Pizza

My default setting for pizza is generally the hotter-the-better; you know the type – the one with the extra pepperoni and extra chillies on it. It’s usually there on the menu described as Vesuvio, Lava, Flame or anything else which involves molten rock or burning.

Ask - Pizza smI just wanted to tell you this to set the scene – I’m not some fiery-pizza green horn. I know what I’m doing. I’ve been there before in the depths of flame and ash.

So, I was a little surprised to beaten by a pizza with an innocuous-sounding name.

My first piece was hot; well not just hot it was extremely hot. Tasty, of course, but far hotter than I’d expected.

Only compounded by a second piece which further added to the intensity.

By the third piece (And can I just stress that these were pieces cut off with a knife and fork, not slices of pizza) I had to take pause and ask for a glass of water.

Caroline and Lucy were amazed that I’d seemingly been beaten so quickly by this pizza. So, I struggled gallantly on. Slowly.

I did manage to finish this challenging pizza – but it did take a little while longer than I’d anticipated. It was very tasty and, surprisingly, I would have it again.

I’ve since discovered that it was the n’duja sausage which gives it such a blast of heat.

Prego – Pasto and Antepasto

I’ve always been a cautious about ordering Antepasto; for fear of the inevitable explosion should it come into contact with Pasto (Yes, folks, I’m not afraid of rolling out ancient jokes)

I’ve not had the Antepasto at Prego’s before, but it was delicious. The home-made pesto was a particular treat.

Followed by my default Italian restaurant order of Pepperoni Pizza. Prego’s pizzas are cooked to more traditional Italian recipes, meaning that the flavours are fresh and light – rather than using extreme or unusual ingredients like some of the fast food restaurants introduce.

I wonder what your default orders are?

Prego - Pizza sm

Domenico’s – Pizza

Dominico - pizza smBefore I started drawing again I would have thought that I would dare go into an empty restaurant, on my own and sit down and eat a meal, again on my own.

Of course, this is precisely what happened with my illustration of my meal Domenico’s Pizza.

Except, or course, I intensified the experience by drawing and painting my meal as I ate!

The Antipasti Caldi starter was massive; a plate piled high with deep fried whitebait, calamari and prawns big enough to hitch a saddle onto.

I think I may have ordered a two-person sharing platter by accident!

I choose a particularly attractive quarter of the pizza to draw and paint and tucked into the other three-quarters whilst I completed my drawing.

I took a long leisurely time. Partly because I was drawing and painting at the same time and partly because the pizza was delicious.

Domenico’s isn’t an Italian restaurant that we have been to in Huddersfield; but I will certainly be returning. There was an authenticity about the food that I really enjoyed.

Sitting and drawing and painting an illustration of my meal, somehow overshadows the embarrassment of eating alone in an empty restaurant. Of course, I wouldn’t want to draw attention to myself!

It is an interesting point, though. To what lengths will we go to produce our art? Or rather, what social boundaries are we willing to overstep to produce our art? I have friends who are artists who took some time to overcome their fears of drawing en plein air. But, if you want to feel connected to your subject matter I think that it is truly necessary. It takes away the detachment of working from a photograph. This is why I prefer to work with traditional materials, such as pen and paint and paper. Rather than more modern, and perhaps more fashionable materials like apps on tablets and photoshop and other adobe illustration tools.


Frankie and Benny’s

After a lovely day out in Morecambe with friends, we stopped off at Frankie and Benny’s for tea.
Our waitress, Holly, was FANTASTIC! Genuine and friendly and her keen and warm attitude made the whole eating out experience so much better. If only there were more Hollys working in the food service industries.

This drawing is the one which has kind of set me off trying to draw the ‘story of my whole meal out’ at various places.

Edinburgh – Prezzo

I’ve had the Zilli Pizza, from Prezzo, before, a few weeks ago whilst we were down in Salisbury, but I gave up part way through because I thought it was too complicated an illustration to do before I could get to eat it. This time I concentrated my drawing on one end of the rectangular-ish pizza, so I was at least able to eat the other end whilst I drew!
The couple at the table beside asked to take my photo whilst I drew my meal! That’s a first for me!