At first glance, the photograph chosen as the Coronado winner of Scott Kelby’s annual Worldwide Photo Walk doesn’t portray Coronado at all. Local photographer and gallery owner, Dan McGeorge, who was the group’s photo walk leader, agreed a Coronado landmark would have been the likely choice. But when it came down to judging, he selected the image with the most emotional appeal, stating, “it has an inviting feeling and tells a story.” The next words out of his mouth were: “Where is that pizza oven? I want to go there!”
Apparently, Dan was unaware he could simply walk out his gallery door, cross the street, and follow the boardwalk along the beach to the Hotel Del Coronado. There, tucked just around the corner from Babcock & Story Bar, almost directly below the soaring, red-roofed, signature turret, he would find ENO, an intimate and cozy neighborhood wine bar featuring one of the few outdoor wood-fired pizza ovens in Southern California.
Ashley Luna, sommelier for 1500 Ocean and ENO Artisan Pizzeria & Wine Bar, knows it was no small feat obtaining approval for installation of an outdoor, 600-degree oven in such close proximity to the 125-year-old historic landmark. He’s happy to share that story, but his true passion is wine and his expertise lies in creating a wine bar experience like no other. ENO specializes in California and Italian wines from boutique wineries, authentic Neapolitan-style, wood-fired pizzas, Italian and domestic cheese and charcuterie, and a few of the most delectable desserts you can imagine. Sit inside at the stylish marble-topped bar or one of the communal wine tables, or soak in the warmth radiating from the wood-fired oven and fire pits on the outdoor terrace.
An entire side of the menu features at least 20 red, white and sparkling wines by the glass in six- or nine-ounce pours, and six wine flights, each with a trio of wines. The Pizza Partners flight provides a superb pairing for the Neapolitan pies, while the Italian Blanco flight promises a unique exploration of Italian grapes. Additional flights feature California reds, must-try whites and festive bubblies. A nice selection of craft beers and dessert wines (ice wine, Madeira and port) is also offered. The popular Wine Tasting Tuesdays may be expanded to additional nights, with a rotating, weekly selection of six, two-ounce tastings.
ENO’s menu is ideally designed for sharing, with build-your-own charcuterie and cheese boards, duck and port pâté with pistachios, an incredible salad with roasted pear and crumbled blue cheese and assorted ramekins filled with marinated olives, pickled vegetables or toasted almonds. The 10-inch Neapolitan-style pizzas are perfect for two, with classics such as Margherita with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella and basil; Funghi with seasonal mushrooms, truffle oil, and besciamella cream sauce; or Pepperoni, with thick house-cut slices of pepperoni, mozzarella and red pepper flakes. Specialty pies include Veal Meatball, with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella; Salsiccia with fennel sausage, charred broccolini and garlic oil; and Giardino Fresco, with grilled asparagus, roasted red pepper and ricotta.
By all means, save room for dessert, because there’s something other than pizza sliding into that wood-fired oven on a pizza peel. Inspired by S’mores on the Beach, a favorite summertime activity for the kids, ENO’s Cheesecake S’more has fast become the signature dessert. This unusually rich version begins with a hunk of creamy, New York-style cheesecake atop a graham cracker crust, followed by a thick, slightly melting blanket of Hershey’s chocolate ganache, and topped with a fluffy cloud of toasted, gooey, golden brown marshmallow. If that doesn’t float your boat out to Point Loma and back, try ENO’s version of silky, smooth Butterscotch Budino, made legendary by Pizzeria Mozza, elevated by trickles of caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt and adorned with a shortbread cookie. Either one of these decadent desserts or a three-piece “flight” of exquisite artisan chocolates by local chocolatier, Isabella Valencia, completes an intimate, one-of-a-kind tasting experience.
ENO is open Tuesday through Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m. Self-parking for three hours is validated with minimum purchase. Please call or check the website to find out about ENO’s special offers including Tasting Tuesdays, Margherita Wednesdays, Craft Beer Thursdays and Fiesta Fridays.
www.enowinerooms.com/hotspots/hotel-del-coronado or (619) 522-8546.