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Toscana's offers delectable wood-fired flavor

By by camille m. doty/
July 4, 2012 at 2:04 a.m.

The Margherita pizza at Toscana's

The Margherita pizza at Toscana's

I've heard so many great things about Toscana Artisan Bakery & Bistro from friends and colleagues, I just had to try it for myself.

I drive by this place every day and had yet to visit. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I admit, I've been behind.

This venue is closed on Sunday and Monday.

I went on Tuesday and was a little surprised to see a fairly empty restaurant during the lunch hour.

Andrew Sparkman, a Victoria native, brought his culinary talent back to his hometown after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York City.

The cozy restaurant nestled in the strip mall heightened my artistic interests. I loved the painted art work on crimson walls.

The hanging light fixtures gave a cool, contemporary feel.

I couldn't help but notice the woodfire grill/oven that added aesthetic that gives the food that crisp texture.

As a first timer, I wasn't sure of the seating protocol, the waitress assured me this was a seat-yourself-style place.

The lunch menu was a two-page leaflet with pizza, pasta and sandwiches. There's also a wine and beer menu.

I ordered the daily special, the Andrew Sandwich, named after Sparkman.

Before I even started eating the mountain of Italian-flavored goodness, I already knew it would be quite a task to complete. I didn't, although I made an earnest attempt.

The open-faced sandwich could probably be finished by a competitive eater on a good day. It was that filling.

The culinary master was generous with ingredients and seasoning.

Even when I shared the meal with a friend, there was still a little turkey, bacon and cheese left in the skillet.

The meal was a fair balance between meat, cheese and bread, which I loved.

Next time I return, I will save some room for dessert.



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