Patti and I were driving around on Sunday when we both decided together we were hungry, but of course, we were thinking of where to go.
We talked about a few places, but we agreed on one food item: we wanted a good salad.
One of the best salads we have had and enjoyed over and over was the house salad at Straw Hat Pizza in Clovis.
It's not crowded with a lot of extras. It's comprised of healthy greens, olives, mushrooms, croutons, and cheese. You get to pick your dressing.
The decision was made, and we went to Straw Hat on Shaw Avenue in Clovis.
As we checked the menu, Patti mentioned we should try a calzone this time instead of ordering a small pizza. We've had the pizza there numerous times, and it's the best we've had in a long time. I've written about it before here.
The calzone would be something new, and we always are up for something new.
Not only do they have a great house salad, but their Caesar salad is excellent, also. I've had both, while Patti has only had the house salad on prior visits.
While checking to see if there was anything new, I noticed a salad I never noticed before. I didn't ask if it was new; I just took it for granted I bypassed it before.
It was the Caprese sald. The ingredients are what intrigued Patti and me.
It had Romaine lettuce, chicken, artichokes, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil with a balsamic vinegarette dressing.
We ordered the salad and the meatball calzone, which I'll discuss in a minute.
The salad was huge and more than enough for two people. It could be a meal for one, and you would walk away full and happy.
The chicken that came with the salad was tender, tasty, and very juicy. Usually, breast meat added to salads is dry and tasteless, but not this chicken. I believe they marinated it before cooking or afterward. It wasn't served warm either, which I don't particularly appreciate since it wilts the lettuce. This chicken was cold and full of flavor, as I said.
The lettuce was fresh, as one would expect. The tomatoes, surprisingly, were sweet and delicious. This time of year is usually the wrong time for tomatoes unless they are cherry tomatoes. In this case, they were sliced tomatoes, and they were perfect.
The mozzarella was fresh and sliced thin, so it was tender and perfect for this salad. There was an abundance of artichoke parts to complete this fantastic Caprese salad.
Let's work from the inside out. The calzone was full of meatballs sliced thin, with green pepper and mozzarella cheese and a little sauce inside. You can have onions also, but we went without onions. It also comes with an excellent marinara sauce for dipping the calzone.
I was impressed with the flavor of the meatballs since I am fussy about my meatballs. I've had meatballs at other establishments, and they don't come close to these in flavor and tenderness.
Patti was just as happy as I was with our choice of the calzone. They have other styles and ingredients, so you can opt for something different, like pastrami and cheese, ham and cheese, and even a chicken and ranch calzone.
The best part, though, was the dough. If you have read my reviews in the past, I always brag about the dough of a pizza or calzone. Without the dough, a pizza is nothing more than a bunch of meat, veggies, and sauce. The dough makes pizza great in my eyes, and this dough made the calzone even better.
The dough was tasty, fluffy, and baked to perfection. Being allergic to sesame seeds, I had to pass on the top but enjoyed the bottom. I didn't realize they put sesame seeds on the top till after it was served. I found out later I could have told them not to use the seeds. I will next time.
I relied on Patti's taste buds to let me know about the top portion of the dough, and she was happy and bragged that it was as good as their pizza dough which I love, and they make fresh daily. Whatever their recipe is for the dough, it's excellent, and you need to try it soon.
In The End
I admit I am partial to Straw Hat, but then again, I am that way too many restaurants in town. Even with favorites, you never know from one day to another what will happen. There's always a chance for a bad day, but so far, Straw Hat has never had a bad day in our book, and we've been here more than a few times, which I haven't written about and will soon.
Make sure to make your next stop at Straw Hat and tell JR, the owner, or his son we sent you.
Note: I didn’t have my phone with me to take picture of the caprese sald or the calzone. Sorry to JR and our followers. I will go again and take my own pics soon.
Mark & Patti