Mozza Mia's house-made limoncello: 100 Favorite Dishes, No. 79

Remember that time you were in Rome, awaiting the arrival of your latest Italian inamorata/o at the stazione, and train after train came in, and your beloved failed to appear, and you said (in Italian, of course), "Where is the nearest bar in this train station?" The barista took one look at you and gave you a tiny glass of a lemony-looking liquid, which you slammed back medicinally before realizing that perhaps you should have sipped it, both because it consisted primarily of 190-proof grain alcohol and because it was so unbelievably delicious. After several more doses, you could no longer remember the name of the loser who stood you up, but you'll always remember your first meeting with that divine elixir, limoncello.

Now, years later, you're too old for all that romantic Italian nonsense. When you do occasionally lapse into nostalgia, however, you can relive your Roman holiday in a considerably less romantic place: Mozza Mia in Edina.

Thanks to whatever miracle of globalization brought chef Vittorio Renda from Calabria to Minnesota, the new Mozza Mia Pizzeria serves a house-made limoncello you would drink all day long if that wouldn't brand you as a weird combination of hardcore alcoholic and lollipop addict. Made with fresh lemons, sugar, and the deadly Everclear, it's like a super-strong, super-sweet, super-fresh lemonade with a severe kick. Apparently some people make it with vodka, but chef Renda says that if you don't have Everclear, don't even bother.

It's permissible to go straight to the bar and order a charming little serving-sized bottle of limoncello without even ordering any of Mozza Mia's ravishing pizzas. Limoncello is actually on the menu under "Dolci," described as a "lemon liqueur and digestivo," implying that you should drink it on a full stomach. Probably if they listed it under "Grain Alcohols Illegal in Several Canadian Provinces," some customers at this family restaurant might find it intimidating. You, however, know it for what it truly is: an antidote to despair, a wallowing in nostalgia, a sweet reminder of misspent youth.

Mozza Mia's house-made limoncello: 100 Favorite Dishes, No. 79

MOZZA MIA 3910 W. 50th St., Edina 952.288.2882

Hungry for more? The dishes in our countdown thus far are linked below:

No. 80: Salty Tart Bakery's pastry cream-filled brioche
No. 81: Little Szechuan's bamboo tips with chili sauce
No. 82: Oceanaire's Jumbo Lump Crab Cake
No. 83: Aperitif's Nonni's Meatballs
No. 84: Christos's Saganaki
No. 85: Seven Stars' Sesame Bagel
No. 86: Hell's Kitchen Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes
No. 87: Blackbird banh mi
No. 88: Tank Goodness chocolate chip cookies
No. 89: Sole Cafe's gal bee
No. 90: Porter & Frye's El Pelon
No. 91: Coffee News' fish and chips
No. 92: Bread & Chocolate's Fabulous Fudge Bar
No. 93: People's Organic Panna Cotta
No. 94: Sea Salt Eatery Crawdad Po' Boy
No. 95: Fuji Ya's Tofu Don
No. 96: Ike's Food and Cocktails The Weekender Bloody Mary
No. 97: Punch's Toto pizza
No. 98: Stockholm Pie Company's peanut butter fudge cream pie
No. 99: Dogwood Coffee Co.'s macchiato
No. 100: Al's Breakfast buttermilk pancakes

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