I had never had a deep dish pizza until a few years ago. I have since tried only a few to date and am far from an expert on the subject. Actually, I am a little disturbed when I think too hard what exactly is going on in a stuffed pizza, though I have no qualms with large quantities of cheese in other forms. I usually prefer the complete opposite in pizza, opting for thin the crust and light toppings common in Italy or at The Cheese Board Pizza or even Pizzeria Delfina (though that too leaves a bit to be desired). However, I can't suppress my enthusiasm when a particular friend calls every so often to see if we'd like to join them for a Zachary's Pizza for dinner. This friend makes trips to Berkeley almost every weekend for one reason or another. In contrast, Oren usually greets my suggestions that we go past the Cheese Board or Zachary's on the way to, say... anywhere... with mock skepticism and indignation. When we're lucky, this friend brings home a half-baked pizza and we get a phone call about dinner. Dinner this Sunday was at our house. On the menu:
- Steamed artichokes--not as good as in the spring, but still tasty with a slightly spicy remoulade
- Arugula salad with pears and fresh figs
- Piping hot, award winning, stuffed cheese pizza with the most incredibly light and crunchy crust.
- A bottle of David Cofarro Estate Cuvée Red Blend from Dry Creek Valley, a surprisingly pleasant-drinking wine
- Old fashioned home-made pumpkin pie (no condensed milk here, though I'm sorry to admit that may not have been an improvement--at least the crust was good) with brandied whipped cream.
OK, so it's not exactly news that Zachary's Pizza is really, really good, with their 70+ best pizza awards and 22 years running as best pizza in Zagat. I might actually prefer the "Zachary's Favorite" spinach and mushroom stuffed pizza to the plain cheese, though I'll take what I can get. Their regular, not quiet thin crust, pizzas are pretty good too, by the way.
These friends--they really are wonderful friends to have--always bring a bonus in addition to the pizza, as if we could ask for more: with them comes the incredibly sweet, now seven month-old Canine Companion in training Elton, who is in the red bandanna in this ridiculous picture with his brothers and sisters. It didn't quite make up for saying goodbye to Kirk, err, Angus, but good food and a puppy sure helped.