First Bite: Arinell

My almost daily lunch. When fresh, it is near perfect. A giant slice of perfect. When not-so-fresh, order it extra-crispy to return to a shadowy something like it once was.

A sign on the wall says no sugar or msg, salt only used in levening.

The below photo makes the slice seem smaller than it truly is. Angles, I guess.




First Bite: A16

Once my reigning favorite, now dropping off a bit. Perfectly cooked crust with subtle, delectable fermented flavor. Sauce a bit salty and cheese a bit underdone. Not my usual experience, so I will have to reorder. Calabrian chili oil is miraculous, incredible, addictive, evocative of never-ending strings of adjectives.
Their cookbook is the source of my pizza experiments at home. More on that to come.



First Bite: Flour+Water

Mixed feelings, my friends, mixed feelings.
A long wait for decent pie. EDP and I differ in opinion over service, but we shall leave it at that for now. Must return.
The biancaverde (white pizza with greens and anchovies) was off the charts, the margherita less so. Very similar to A16 (including high salt levels)



First bite: North Beach Pizza

Highly satisfying (from Shrader location). Free delivery is nice. Friendly staff.
Dense, dense pie with decent ingredients. Not bad at all.


(sorry! no picture!)

First Bite: Pizzeria Delfina

Long wait, creative pies.

My prosciutto and arugula was a bit bland, though the salsiccia sang and the “purgatorio” with egg was inspired. The crust was well cooked, though lacking a bit of extra flavor—a twang, perhaps, was needed. Low on the salt scale, which is a plus.

Staff was attentive, considering the hour plus wait.





First Bite: Nizario’s

OK – So this is how it’s going to work: we’re going to eat pizza. A lot. And more than once. If we have any initial ideas we’ll jot them down in First Bites, collect our thoughts, return, eat, talk about it, and then write a review. That’s the plan, at least.

And to begin: the Inner Richmond classic, Nizario’s. Sister shop to the Mission pizzeria.IMG_0286

There’s a time when I crave a slice of Nizie’s: late at night, walking around, most likely after a few beers. In that state, this pie delivers. Hot out of the oven, greasy, cheesy, huge. A slice consumed in under 30 seconds, most likely.

But in another state (say, hungry and sober on a Monday night), Nizie’s is a bit more difficult to eat. You realize the sauce is very sweet and that the greasy, though generously portioned, cheese is just that: greasy and domineering.

Of course, I will return, but with increased skepticism.


Pizza Looms

Sometime back in the dreary month of April, I began to realize that soon I would be leaving Portland. The drizzling early spring weighed heavily on me and I knew that in some fashion it was the search for pizza that carried me through. Dreams of a slice, the perfect pie, fantasies of lightly salted crusts, fresh, bright sauces, smooth mozzarella kept me up late at night. I knew that my thinking on pizza would not end when I left.
But first, some background:
My electric oven, an ancient GE, could not provide for me and so I explored the city. What met me was often satisfactory. Sometimes incredible, near flawless, though more frequently mediocre. Some reasonably priced, many exorbitant for what was delivered. Portland pizza had its merits, and I sure as anything loved much of it, but for one reason or another I could never go far enough, could never get my hands dirty in the City of Roses. Apizza Scholls—your lines too long! Tastebud—your cheese not always up to snuff! Dove Vivi—your inventiveness lost in overmuch topping! And while I will never bring myself to knock the carry-out special from Rovente’s, we all know too well how the eater feels just a few hours later. The list can go on, and I fear expressing an inaccurate disdain, so I stop. Fond memories will be retained, that much is certain.

But here I am now, returned. Home. Four years to the North and finally I am back in my city. The City, as arrogant as a moniker that may be. San Francisco. And no, we are not considered a pizza capital. Yes, our pies will struggle anxiously over New York’s influence, but preconception must be thrown out! San Francisco’s wide range of ideas, its fresh ingredients, hell, its fancy restaurants and deep, foundational food culture provides the pizzavore with all that can be asked. This is no California Pizza Kitchen we are after! No thoughtless slice burdened by an entire garden of soggy vegetables! This is intelligent pizza, this is traditional pizza, this is experimental pizza, this is pizza like you wouldn’t believe, for better or for worse.
And this time, I’m not here just to review. We wanted the Portland Pizza Review to be an archive, a place where the search for a slice didn’t fall under thoughtless, hegemonic decree. We wanted feedback, ideas. In San Francisco, we are widening our focus. Shops and restaurant are one thing, but here we will post our own creative endeavors and hope, dear readers, that you will do the same. Of course, our focus will be the search for the best slice, but if that slice lies in someone’s kitchen in the Outer Sunset, or in a backyard oven in Glen Park, or on some roof in the Mission, or anywhere else in the city, we don’t want to miss it! So please, share with us your favorites, recipes, techniques, and pizzerias alike. That’s what we’ll be doing.

So let’s eat some pizza, people. Let’s make some pie.

The SFPR is now here.