I really need to stop taking photos with the iPhone and bust out the real camera, I know. I just have issues doing that at restaurants, but my photos really suffer from it. I really had no excuse for forgetting the camera Saturday night when Jim and I headed over to Marjorie and Tim’s for part 3 of our pizza quest, but of course, I did. So I apologize profusely for the poor quality of the photos – but surely you’re used to that by now, right?
A few months ago, for no apparent reason, Tim and Marjorie and Jim and I decided to take on the challenge of sampling all of the thin crust pizza options in Seattle (and there are many) and try to pick a “best.” On our self-imposed quest we’ve been to Serious Pie and Via Tribunali. Tutta Bella and Delancey are in our sights, but it was Tim and Marjorie’s house that became the third stop on the pizza quest. And while it’s too early to know for sure, we may have already found our thin crust winner.
The Crust: Superbly thin. Tim made a sourdough/whole wheat crust using a sourdough starter he created with flour, water and good ole Seattle environmental yeast over a year ago. The crust involved a several night preparation found in the NY Times and it was sooo worth it.
The Method: On a pizza stone on the grill.
The Flavors: There were four pizzas to try. Seriously. Four.
Pizza No. 1: We started with a unpictured classic, Marguerita pizza with basil fresh from the basil plant in the window. It was everything a Marguerita pizza should be – fresh juicy tomatoes, tangy basil, mellow mozzarella on that amazing super thin crust just brushed with olive oil.
Pizza No. 2: The second offering was a unpictured salami and mushroom. As you all know, Jim is a mushroom hater but he not only ate the mushrooms on the salami, when they fell off, he added them back on and ate them just on the crust! Wonders never cease. The trick, Marjorie told me, is to saute the mushrooms before adding them to the pizza thereby guaranteeing the right texture and flavor.
Pizza No. 3: Third up, that tasty chicken sausage, tomato and olive pizza pictured up top. The olives added a perfect zingy contrast to the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes and the savory chicken sausage (this was Jim’s favorite of the four pizzas).
Pizza No 4: Our final pizza offering was almost dessert like: the sweetness of carmelized onions, complemented by slightly salty pine nuts and tangy Laura Chenel goat cheese and sprinkled with fresh rosemary. I had 2 slices of this one and it tied the salami for best pizza for me.
To complement our pizza we had a vertical tasting of McCrea Cellars Syrah (2002 and 2003 Vintages). While both vintages were bold, balanced and flavorful, Tim and I preferred the earthiness of the 2002 while Jim and Marjorie favored the cherry of the 2003.
Already stuffed with food and wine, we still couldn’t resist dessert. Marjorie opted to leave the sugary glaze off of the beautiful strawberry and blueberry tart she had made and it was definitely the right call as it let us focus on the natural sweetness of the berries, the savory crust and the tangy lemon in the filling.
Out of our three pizza experiences on our quest thus far, Marjorie and Tim won hands down. Their pizza was super flavorful and complex without any of the grease or heaviness usually associated with pizza. They really showcased what home cooks can do given passion, time and let’s face it, talent.