Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pizza Talk

I don't know about you but pizza has long been one of my favorite foods. I would eat it every day if I could. Depending on the variety, its so versatile. Growing up in Rhode Island the Italian bakeries had pizza strips, which had a thick, doughy crust with lots of tomato sauce on top. If you were lucky it might also have black olives on it. When you'd pick it up, the other end of the strip would bend down from the weight of the sauce. Then when I lived in NYC, New York style pizza grew on me. You know, that super thin stuff that New Yorkers gleefully folder in half to eat. It was there that I learned to order a "pie" (ie: pizza pie). You would always call up and say: "Yeah, Gimme a a large pie, with mushrooms, pepperoni and extra cheese." Years later when I lived in Chicago it was their famous Deep Dish and stuffed pizza. Thick crunchy crust, loaded with so much stuff that a slice was equivalent to a whole pizza elsewhere. I quickly grew attached to Chicago Style pizza. Places like Giordano's, Gino's East, & Nancy's are still among my favorites. When I moved to California it was the thin crust, gourmet designer-pizzas. The kind that California Pizza Kitchen has made so famous. Suddenly bizarre ingredients on a pizza were commonplace, like BBQ sauce, cilantro, pineapple, etc. I like California thin crust pizza but my heart is still with more traditional thicker crust pizzas. I think its because I feel more fulfilled (translate: stuffed to the gills). In San Diego I grew fond of Leucadia Pizza, although it doesn't hold a candle to some of my other life long favorites. Its just decent pizza in a pinch if you know what I mean. I suppose I should mention those scary in-between years when I indulged in those quick delivery pizza joints- everything from Domino's, Little Cesar's, Pizza Hut and Papa John's. What can I say- they were cheap and fast. Well actually I always enjoyed those too, so who am I kidding anyway? When you come down to it I like pizza. I'd rather have a lousy pizza than a lousy hamburger. Here in Palm Springs we have a few pizza joints, including the venerable CPK. For thin crust I tend to go to a nifty place downtown called Matchbox, they have wood fire oven baked thin pizza topped with with interesting like sauteed cremini mushrooms, Toscano tomatoes, prosciutto, and fire roasted red peppers. When a new pizza place opened downtown called Bill's Pizza, I set out to inspect. The photo top left is from Bill's. From the moment I looked at their menu I was enticed. All their pizza is made on Sourdough crust, claiming it has a low glycemic index value. The dough is made from imported flour from Italy and made fresh daily. Caramelized onions, fresh garlic, sheeps milk feta cheese imported from France, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil called out to me from the menu list. I was in a trance- it all looked so good. The proof of the pudding, as they say is in the tasting. I could hardly wait to get home with my pizza treasure. The hot steam was escaping from the sides of the box, filling the car with delicious favors and smells of dinner to come. Sheldon was in the back seat, leaning forward to check it out, he was licking his lips frantically. Well we both were really. Anyway when we got home I tore into the pizza and was very pleased indeed. Bill's Pizza is certainly one of the best in Palm Springs. The fresh ingredients and perfectly seasoned sauce were a symphony of gourmet flavors. As The Palm Springs Savant, I felt compelled to report on this latest delicious discovery here in our desert. Bill's Pizza is worth coming to Palm Springs for, ok well maybe that's a bit of a stretch but it is pretty darn good. If I ever meet Bill himself I'll tell him as such! But now- back to the pizza commentary at large. I've never been a pizza snob, and I can't say that I "only" like one type. I have traveled the world extensively and always try pizza while in another country. As you might expect the Italians make delicious pizza, although I read somewhere that pizza didn't originate in Italy. Don't confuse me. I'd prefer to live in "Lolly Pop Lane" where I am Mayor of "Lolly Pop Land" and continue to believe pizza is indeed Italian. Imagine being in Italy and having pizza where literally everything was made fresh from the ingredients made right on the farm. I did that once- and I do mean everything was from the land. The little Italian woman had a full working farm with huge gardens; she had olive trees, tomatoes, basil, herbs, raised cows (for milk and cheese), made her own sausages, milled her own grains and flour, it was remarkable. Let me tell you, it was the best darn pizza I've every had in my life. (il piĆ¹ squisito!). So if you ever want a really fresh made pizza, go to the hills of Italy and find that lady's farm. Just tell her The Palm Springs Savant sent you. Or should that be "Il Savant del Palm Springs" sent you.
-Rick Rockhill

16 comments:

"Lois Grebowski" said...

Pizza is one of my "desert island foods." Like you, I just love it's versatility. It can be whatever you want it to be.

I prefer a pizza with less meat toppings and more veggies. Hubby likes his loaded with meat and cheese (he grew up near Chicago), but prefers a thin, crispy crust.

That photo made me drool, especially since I haven't had breakfast... Maybe I should make pizza!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

whew, that was one long paragraph rick! ha ha ha

we get a pizza about once a month and it was last night. mmmm.

smiles, bee
xxoxoxoxooxox

Diane J Standiford said...

I too would eat it daily. I am currently trying to cut carbs. Spinach and mushroom my fave on whole wheat dough, slighly think...the place that made them is gone from Seattle now. sigh. Haven't had pizza in awhile...think about it often though. Always toss up at my b'day---pizza or Chinese. Italy...ahhh...in my pizza dreams.

Jeni said...

This post really set my tastebuds in gear, Buddy! Like you, I love, love, love pizza too -virtually any kind, loads of toppings, you name it and I love it. I even used to love it with anchovies too -a long, long time ago but that topping along with a little too much beer one night kind of soured me on anchovies. The pizza you pictured here looks absolutely fantastic though. Now I'll be hungry all day for pizza I suppose. Oh well, that's the norm lately in which I'm hungry for something I can't get at the moment -or so it seems.
Great post though and that Pizza Shop should give you at least a freebie for writing such a mouth-watering review of their good stuff!

Sheila said...

You mentioned one of my favorite Chicagoland pizzas--Nancy's. But you are right, those danged stuffed pizzas will leave you totally stuffed. My favorite pizza is those you get in Italy. Super thin and covering the plate. Throw in a glass of wine and it's near perfect.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I've never been a particular lover of Pizza--and I'm sure it comes from have dieted since I am a young teenager...But, ORSO'S, in New York and here---(though NOT anymore--it closed about 6 months ago here in Los Angeles..) They made a very very thin Pizza, (Before CPK) and it was scrumptious, beyond words! The great thing about it was a table of 4 people could share one as an appitizer and STILL eat a meal, if one was so inclined. That was the thinnest crust I have ever seen, anywhere. I'm sure it is still on their New York Menu. ORSO is in The Theatre district. Next time you are in Manhatten, Rick...give it a try, if you haven't already.

I would gave loved to have one of those ALL Fresh-Home-Grown-Ingedients-From-The-Farm-In-Italy. Now THAT had to be truly spectacular!

Tea N. Crumpet said...

I recently had thin crust for the first time and I don't know if I can ever go back to thick. I could taste everything and the texture of the crust, instead of being a backdrop for everything, stood out on it's own.

I just ate, and I was full. Now I want to eat again. Shame on you, Rick! ;-)

grace said...

..so if I asked you if you wanted to go for a slice? You would know what that meant!
(I went to HS in NJ)(people outside of NJ NY area, not sure of what a "slice" means)

Casdok said...

Mmm that fresh pizza does sound good. Pizza is also my favorite food :)

KathyA said...

I love pizza (she says sitting here with her mouth watering!).

Sharon said...

I'm originally from Brooklyn so I'm used to good pizza. And I grew up asking for a "slice". My stepdaughter and her family live in Massachusetts and it breaks my heart when I see pizza there, not cut into pie-like "slices", but cut into all kinds of strangely sized squares. I want to shout "round does NOT make square! No! Not good!" Although it doesn't matter what shape they cut it in, it'll never be as good as NY pizza.

Mags said...

Mmmmm...pizza! It's one of my most favorite things too-and like you I love all different kinds. Sometimes it's a greasy local joint with cheap ingredients...but it's oh so wonderful. Other times, I like to go high class. :) Either way, it's delicious!!

Cheryl said...

I'll take any kind of pizza, any time. If I weren't so full from pizza right now, this post would have made me very hungry!

WAT said...

I just had PIZZA last night. Amazing stuff.

Thanks for the recommendation. Bon apetit!

Desert Songbird said...

Oh, and what I wouldn't give to have a slice from Gino's East. Yummmm.....

Desert Songbird said...

Pizza is food from the gods. ;)

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