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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pizzeria Delfina

The pizza of my dreams keeps changing. I’ve gone through so many different phases in my life. The hearty & saucy Deep Dish period. The delightfully foldable era of NY-style thin crust. And then there were the bbq chicken & cilantro-filled CPK years.

But lately, when I dream of pizza it’s the bubbly, blistering kind that has been baked to smoky perfection. The thin-but-still-sturdy type that’s topped with simple, rustic ingredients, good sauce and good cheese. And no one does it better than Pizzeria Delfina, in my opinion.

I’ve only been to their location in the Mission. It’s a great study in the economics of space. The kitchen is tiny but amazingly functional. It’s hard to believe there are 3-4 chefs tucked in there, churning out some of the tastiest Neopolitan-style appetizers, salads and pizzas around.

While my tastes in pizza have changed (and keeps changing) over the years, the one thing that has stayed constant is my must-have-with-pizza beverage. It’s root beer. It’s always been. And Defina serves Captain Eli’s – an herby handcrafted soda from Maine that definitely holds its own.

We started with sand dabs which were fried and served with aioli. If there were more in our party that evening I would have liked a salad (there was one with tuna that sounded particularly scrumptious). But after the one starter our party of 3 went straight to pizza.

First came the special pizza of the day which was topped with guanciale (Italian bacon made from pig’s jowls), onions, panna (cream) and lots of black pepper. I appreciated the uniqueness of the ingredients and flavor but somehow it didn't quite seem like pizza without the tang of tomato.

Next came the margherita which my buddy LL had the smarts to ask our server to bring out only after we’d completely finished our first. Which meant it came to the table it was blisteringly hot, fresh, and eyes-rolled-back-in-your-head delicious. The crust was a chewy, crackly perfection with sauce that was pure tomato. And the glistening circles of cheese, basil and drizzle of olive oil all added up to something special.

Special enough to be my pie a la mode ('of the moment,' not the dessert!). As I mentioned, this place is small (with 20, possibly 25 seats max), the wait can be long, and it's unfortunately in a not so parking friendly area. But I can't wait to grab some friends and go back again.



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