Thursday, July 28, 2011

Frrrozen Pizza and Brunch - Two of My Favorite Things

Ahhhh, the pleasures of San Francisco and the Bay Area. And boy, what I wouldn’t give to be in San Francisco during these east coast summers...because while the temperature has been above 100° here in NYC a few times, and we're looking at 90°+ coming up soon, in San Francisco it’s pushing a perfect 6 – 0. Sweater weather, to be sure. That old saying, oft attributed to Sam Clemens, comes to mind; something along the lines of “the coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.”  But I digress.

Last month, Significant Eater and I spent a week in San Francisco, and had some pretty amazing meals. And on our last full day in the city by the bay, we indulged in two meals neither of which I’d ever think of having when we’re home; that’d be brunch and frozen pizza.

Our day started off nicely at Bar Tartine, in the Mission district.  Nothing too fancy – it was brunch, after all.  But high quality ingredients, expertly prepared.  For instance, we started off with a salad of little gems and smoked trout topped with crispy salmon skin – as delicious as it sounds...

Then I had baked eggs sprinkled with “dry vella Jack cheese,” and Sig Eater opted for a brisket tartine with a smoked onion marmalade and horseradish mayo; both were served with delicious roasted baby potatoes...

Bar Tartine would be my go to brunch place if I lived in San Francisco.  And if I normally ate brunch.  But even though I don’t do either of the above, I can highly recommend Bar Tartine.

Later that day, we headed up to Mill Valley, to hang with a couple of ex-New Yorkers who made the move west 10 years ago.  Now, they have kids in the house and chickens in the backyard. Seriously.  But since chicken wasn’t on the menu for dinner that night, and since no one really wanted to cook, we decided to get some take-out pizza; not just any take-out, mind you  – instead, this was take-out frozen pizza that was to be finished cooking at home.

Pizzeria Picco (and Picco Restaurant) are Larkspur (Marin County) mainstays, and have been for a few years. People love the restaurant, and pizza aficionados love the pizzeria.  But frozen pizza is a whole other story, and I’ve never had one that was any good; they’re usually cardboardy and just pretty darn awful. Trooper that I am, I was willing to give it a try – so we cranked the oven up to 500°  to preheat and off we went to pick up a few pies.   

Picco has four of their classic pies and one or two of their specialized pies available daily. They’re partially cooked and flash frozen and this is what you take home…

After a few minutes in that hot, hot oven (on a stone or pizza pan), an amazing pie emerges…

Now that's a thing of beauty, isn't it?  At least as good as any pie we've had lately; acutally, better than most.  A few of these in your freezer, and excellent pizza can be yours at a moment's (well, at least after the oven is preheated) notice.  Of course, I could never heat one of these up in my oven in NYC; no, not during the summer, when the oven NEVER is used. 

But hey, if we lived in San Francisco or even Marin, that might be a whole other story...


  1. @Judith - especially during our miserable summers here.

  2. Actually Judith, the last time I was in Mitch's bathroom draining my Mark Twain, I noticed a spent bottle of Kwell, which has oft been quoted as a cure for cali-itch.

  3. Mitch: Wait till you hear what happened to our hens.