Pizza Girl

Many of you know I’m a big fan of pizza. It’s my go-to food when 1. the cupboards are bare, 2. I’m craving salty food, and 3. I’m having a “pizza’ kind of day. (I’m also a thin crust, slightly sweet red sauce or olive oil, and creatively paired toppings kind of girl if you’re taking notes:) And although I usually eat sensibly, I generally over-indulge on pizza night. Planned over-indulgence is guilt free! A pizza crust is sort of a blank canvas to me. Even that is negotiable since it can be homemade, store bought, a baked tortilla shell, or of course, a house specialty in my favorite restaurant. I prefer to choose my own toppings, but a few places have caught my eye with a signature combo. So if I were king, all pizza joints would have chicken, spinach, pine nuts, goat cheese, gorgonzola, mushrooms (fresh, not canned), lamb, figs, salmon, pineapple, hamburger, mustard, pickles (yes, ever had a cheeseburger pizza?), duck, mozzarella and all the other hardcore toppings for the local meatlovers.

One thing I strive to do is order pizza when I travel. Although it’s not always called by the same name, I have usually found something tasty and new. In Florence it was the olive and pecorino flatbread. In New Zealand an outstanding lamb, fig, and mint pie. Boston’s Little Italy has something for every kind of Italian American and New Orleans can turn gumbo into pizza in a heartbeat!

But right here in town we have a fabulous selection. I won’t argue with the “pizza pros” in St. Louis who love to rank order the best wedges. I usually try the places listed, but don’t always agree. (Itis one of our constitutional rights to have pizza freedom in the U.S. you know.) Years ago, my favorite was Redel’s salmon and cream cheese pizza, but I had to get over that when they closed. I’ve since moved on to Dewey’s (Spinach and pine nut with goat cheese), Almonds, Faraci’s, Farotto’s, Giannino’s (Newell’s Special, hold the green pepper, add mushrooms), and Ricardo’s.

And when I need a delivery, Caito’s, Duffy’s, and Fortel’s. I should mention that I called Fortel’s one night to compliment them on not cutting back on the amount of toppings, as so many places have done to cut costs. The manager explained their philosophy that if we paid for three toppings, each bite should include all three. Pretty amazing customer care I’d say!

Well, I’ve worked up quite an appetite talking about pizza for this long. Think I’ll recommit to trying a few more spots this month. Any suggestions?