See my original article here
Since October is National Pizza Month, now is a great time to taste the different pies floating around Portland. But first, let’s brush up on your pizza knowledge:
Pizza Napoletana: The pie is thin and crispy with a puffed end crust, or “lip,” and is traditionally simplistic in its fresh toppings. It’s usually made in a wood-burning oven, so it often has a blistered, near-burnt appearance. In many restaurants, you’ll find these pies in the Margherita format-basil, tomatoes and mozzarella. Some pizzerias and restaurants consider the official Napoletana pie to be simply topped with aged cheese, anchovies and sauce.
Sicilian style pizza: This pizza’s definition depends on who you ask. The United States’ version is basically any square-shaped pizza, while Italians believe pizza from Sicily has its toppings baked into the crust, more like a focaccia.
Chicago style: The ultimate deep-dish pie has a buttery crust, a thick tomato sauce, and it’s topped with a whole lot of cheese. It should be noted that Chicago also has its own thin-crust pizza, which is crispy and flakey with an intensely flavorful sauce.
New York style: The New Yorker’s pizza slice is big, so they can be easily folded and eaten that way. The crust should be crisp and chewy, and many New Yorkers will go ahead and order a “regular slice” which is simply a slice with no toppings-just cheese and sauce. Now that you have the education, here’s where to try your new favorite pie(s):
■ Food Cart Slice
Give Pizza A Chance
Between Southwest Fourth and Fifth on Stark Street
11 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday
This pumpkin-colored cart serves up huge slices on a truly sensational crust made with whole-wheat flour (which is traditional in Italian pizza making). Owner John Eads gets his toppings from local sources, which might explain why the sausage (which is from Cascade Farms) on the sausage-and-mushroom slice is so juicy and delicious. Eads also makes his own soda, so your slice can be washed down with some sarsaparilla to complete your afternoon.
■ Big Deal Chef Pie
1401 SE Morrison St.
Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday Dinner 5-10 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m., Fri and Sat
If you follow food culture in Portland at all, it’s likely you’ve heard of Nostrana Chef Cathy Whims. And for good reason: Her pie is damn near perfection. She serves up pizzas that are whisper thin-so thin, in fact, that the servers give you scissors at the table to cut your own slices. The sauce is made with the very best San Marzano tomatoes, so the simple Margherita really exudes freshness. And the fact that you can get one of these fantastic pies for just $5 at their late night happy hour is almost too good to be true.
■ Cult Following Pie
4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
5 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday 4 p.m.-8 p.m., Sunday
Maybe you’ve seen Apizza Scholls before on your television, where Anthony Bourdain sat salivating over a giant pizza, pontificating what he believes true Portlanders are really like. Or perhaps you’ve heard other people swoon over their pies, and talk about how if you get there too late, they could be simply be out of dough and then you’re out of luck (their special dough takes twenty-four hours to ferment). Whatever you’ve heard, this is a classic Portland institution that I believe surpasses their good name. Their pies are baked in extremely hot ovens-650 to 900 Fahrenheit-giving them an ultimate crisp. Although they’re a little out of most peoples’ price ranges, the leftovers of their Apizza “Margo” Rita or Apizza Amore (with cured pork shoulder) pies will last you for days and are just too phenomenal to be considered “leftovers”-more like heaven.
Where is your favorite pizza in Portland?