December 30, 2009
Pizzeria offers lentils for luck, prizes for red panties

Care to eat food that'll ensure good fortune in the new year but don't want to spend hours in the kitchen?

Lucky for you we have Hot Italian.

The Sacramento restaurant is offering a special pizza starting New Year's Eve that incorporates the Italian tradition of eating lentils for luck on New Year's (for more on why lentils and good luck food traditions in other cultures, follow this link to my Food & Wine story)

The $15 pie features Hot Italian's signature thin crust topped with a lentil puree, slices of Cotechino sausage, shaved parmesan and fresh extra virgin olive oil.

"It's just to die for," said Nicki Rivieccio, the pizzeria's operations manager. The pizza also will be served on New Year's Day.

The restaurant also is encouraging diners to abide by another Italian New Year's Eve good luck tradition and wear red.

Red underwear, that is.

If you're willing to show your skivvies - "Just a little piece," Rivieccio noted - you might just win a prize.

Speaking of good fortune, I was asked to come on "The Takeaway," a national morning radio news show produced in partnership with The New York Times, The BBC World Service and Public Radio International.

The interview aired as part of today's broadcast (during the third hour). To listen, go to The Takeaway's Web site.

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