I like to read about food. I watch food shows. But, nothing compares to eating food! My experience includes the whole scene: walking the streets, observing the restaurant ambience, and the vibe of the guests who add to the whole scene. It’s an adventure to find out what others are serving and of course tasting is the ultimate reward. It’s always more fun to take along friends, so I invited my cousin and his wife and 2 new acquaintances Nancy and I met on our river bike ride that afternoon.
We started the evening at Portobello, a vegan restaurant, that knocked it out of the park with a Neopolitan inspired pie called Arrabbiata with chili-fennel marinara cashew cream, hot peppers, garlic & seitan arrabiata sausage. The flavors were dancing on our palette. The crust was crispy and chewy baked perfectly on a stone deck oven like Picazzo’s uses. What an amazing start!
Next stop was at Sunshine Tavern. They delivered a unique kernel corn pizza on a rich chile cream sauce. You wouldn’t believe how much flavor this pizza had. It was served with a ramekin of Himalayan salt with chili flakes to top as you desired. The second pizza we ordered and devoured was a more subtle, but rich Hen Egg Pie, with parmesan, wild oregano and olive oil. There were two soft yolk eggs which you break and spread to the other slices. They also arrived to the table uncut. They served scissors so we could cut the slices the size we wanted. The crust was again flavorful, crusty from a deck oven and a savory chewy crust.
We had such great picnic seating outside, I ordered two pizza’s from Pizza Maria that were delivered to our picnic table outside Sunshine Tavern. (Only in Portland) Their wood fired sausage pizza with Pecorino Romano had little flavor. The crust was uneventful and had little to no flavor. The other Roasted Seasonal Vegetable pizza was equally not tasty not was the presentation memorable. Wood fired pizza has to be done right or it just tastes like mediocre pizza at best.
We walked slowly while peaking in all the other restaurants on this strip of Division Street up to Roman Candle Bakery who serves bread and pastries in the morning and roman style flatbread style pizza square slices. We had small tastes of 3 slices; Yukon gold potato and roasted onion; ricotta, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil and sausage.
We worked our way up to Cibo’s and Atlas but passed on ordering because we were so full. They were both simpler looking pies and establishments towards the other end of the 3 block explosion of restaurants.
We were glad we walked a 5K that morning in honor of the SHOC Foundation, to commemorate Sheri Hildreth, a dear friend who passed from Ovarian Cancer 3 years ago. Later that morning Nancy and I rode bicycles over 15 miles along the Willamette River and through the west side of the Waterfront Park and crossed over the Steel Bridge. I was grateful for the exercise to indulge in the pizza fest. What a unique vibrant scene on Division. We ate other food, but too much to mention. If you want to know what the other eats were, let me know!
We all had the same favorites and agreed the deck stone pizzas had the best flavor and texture. Another typical evening in the life of a dedicated pizza man searching for the next inspiration for you!
Get Your Wood Fired Pizza Fix in Arizona with Us!
The ideas are percolating for new ingredients and flavor profiles at Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen for the next 2015 menu. If you’re seeking a premium pizza restaurant in Sedona, Flagstaff, Tempe, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley or Phoenix, please stop into one of our locations. At Picazzo’s we’re in the constant pursuit of the perfect deck oven pizza.
Do you have an all-time favorite pizza topping(s)? Please submit it, we just might introduce it on our 2015 menu! What is your favorite Picazzo pie past or present? We love getting feedback from our guests!