By JOHN E. BIALAS
I hit the road Saturday afternoon for the one-hour drive to the New Orleans Northshore to buy king cakes at Nonna Randazzo’s in Covington and the Highway 22 Rouses in Mandeville before making my first visit to the new Reginelli’s in Mandeville.
The image at the top of this post is the locator map for Reginelli’s and here are maps for Nonna Randazzo’s, which also has bakeries in Mandeville and Chalmette, and Rouses, which has 47 grocery stores in Louisiana and three on the Mississippi Coast.
Reginelli’s is a New Orleans-based chain of pizzerias with 10 locations. The restaurant in Mandeville is the first Reginelli’s on the Northshore and I’ve been eager to go there since it opened last summer.
I went there this past weekend on a January day that felt like a summer day. The temperature was 81 degrees and inside Reginelli’s I welcomed the Barq’s root beer fountain drink that came with my meatball calzone. I even got a go-cup of Barq’s before I finished the calzone.
The calzone was the centerpiece of my day. It was like a stuffed loaf of perfectly baked artisan bread that featured not only meatballs but also marinara, mozzarella and ricotta.
I pretended I was Italian and left Reginelli’s as a very happy Italian looking forward to becoming a repeat customer at the restaurant.
I’m a longtime repeat customer at Rouses and Randazzo’s, and the reason I went to Rouses was to bring home the Joe Burrow LSU No. 9 cinnamon king cake made in celebration of the Tigers’ national championship and the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.
The king cake, also known as a canela, is so good it’s among the national champions of cinnamon treats.
And then there’s the queen of all king cakes: The delicious Randazzo’s traditional with icing, incredible icing and lots of it. I bet it comes from a place called Icing Land.
In advance of this fine piece of food writing, I told my brother, Mike, I double-doughed on Saturday.
Really, though, after one calzone and two king cakes, I believe I triple-doughed.