Specialty Pizza Cheesus Christ!
I find myself in the middle of an internal dilemma a lot of the time in regards to the pizza pie. On one hand I am a firm believer that in order to judge a good pizza you should break it down to bare bones in order to get the real essence of the quality of the pie, while on the other hand what if I am missing out on some great crazy pizza just because it isn’t the good ole’ plain. Chances are that if I’m not thrilled by the first offering I get that will be one less place that will be getting my hangover business. Here are a couple of my favorite and least favorite classic pizza combinations and some of my favorite more unconventional pizzas and where you can get the best of both.
First off I need to lead with my utter hatred for whatever sinister dementor created the Hawaiian pizza. The white settlers brought influenza, measles, and small pox to the island nations and in return we got ham and pineapple on our pizza, I’ll consider us even. I am not opposed to ham or pineapple on their own but the combination of the two with cheese and tomato sauce just disgusts me; to be honest I think it is mostly the pineapple, who am I kidding I could never be mad at ham. Another more updated combo that just doesn’t work for me is buffalo chicken. Now I know there are those who are hard core buffalo enthusiast who would fight me tooth and nail over this, well there are two reasons why I am against this specialty pie. First, I am seriously over that every new food has to have an incarnation of buffalo chicken, whether it be pizza, mac and cheese, or hummus. We get it people like the buffalo wing spice, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw it on everything, and sadly pizza gets the brunt of my aggression of the over buffalo-ing of food. The second reason is that it is so hard to find a quality buffalo chicken pizza. With so many places doing such a crappy reproduction of the sauce sadly again the buf-chik pizza takes another hit.
Now on to the positives… There are four distinct pizzas that I would claim to be some of the best around. First is one that someone can get just about anywhere, it is the ricotta and caramelized onion pizza at Bertucci’s. This pie used to be on the menu back in the day, but currently is not so you have to ask for it yourself, but it is well worth it. The sweet onions and salty ricotta go together perfectly, giving just the slightest tang as it goes down oh so good. Now please withhold the groans of this being a chain restaurant and just try the pie already. For those in the greater New York area I recommend taking a trip over to Vinnie’s Pizzeria with locations in both Williamsburg and Green Point. While they are extremely creative at taking some normal comfort foods and turning them into master creations I think they did the Poles in their neighborhood proud with their homage to the pierogi pizza with aptly named Greenpoints Finest. The slice is topped with slices of luscious potato and cheese pierogi’s amid a bed of sautéed onions and cheddar cheese accompanied with a drizzle of sour cream. If you are lucky they will also give you some applesauce to dunk your slice in, just in case that’s how you role with your pierogi’s. Next up on the list comes courtesy of a Bachelor party in Atlantic City. Some weekend warriors and myself stumbled upon the glorious grub haven that is Tony Boloney’s. Now while I whole heartedly recommend anything they have their, the slice that makes this list is the Shitfaced. Now trust me whether, you happen to be in the course of, in the regression of, or at that moment completely shitfaced this wonderful amalgamation of beer battered chicken slathered in tangy BBQ sauce on a double dose of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, it will cure what aches…or soon will be aching you. Last but not least is the most classic of all the specialty or combo pizzas I have to offer for you, the works at the Boston institution know as Santarpio’s. The first and last for many people flying in and out of Boston due to it’s stone throw location from Logan International Airport, Santarpio’s the works pizza combines mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic, pepperoni, homemade sausage, and optional anchovies. The pizza stands out for two main reason, first being the quality of the base pizza is so unbelievable you literally couldn’t even ruin it if you put pineapple on it, through a fine establishment like this never would. The second reason is their unearthly homemade sausage, which you can order by itself (which I do as an appetizer). When it comes to throwing the kitchen sink on a pizza no kitchen sink tastes better then at this East Boston institution.
Overall pizza is a simple thing to make but it takes a lot of skill to really master. I guess that is just one of the many things it has in common with basket weaving.