Category Archives: Pizza

East End — The Be All And End All

Wide ribbons of pasta enrobed in a pork-lamb ragu at East End.

Wide ribbons of pasta enrobed in a pork-lamb ragu at East End.

 

There are many pizza places where you go for pizza and nothing but pizza. Oh sure, there might be appetizers on the menu, and a few salads to consider. But really, the main attraction that overshadows everything else is the pizza. Anything beyond is just filler to bide your time while you wait for your pie to emerge.

East End in Alameda is as far from that as it gets. In many ways, it reminds me of fabled Roberta’s in Brooklyn. You brave the lines there because you’ve heard the pizza is all that and more. But then you discover every single other thing on the menu is worth shouting about, too.

Such is the case at East End, where everything from the cocktails to desserts stands as tall and proud as the incredible pizzas.

Co-owner and co-chef Jacob Alioto manning the pizza oven.

Co-owner and co-chef Jacob Alioto manning the pizza oven.

East End was founded by co-owners and co-chefs Jacob Alioto and Paul Manousos. (You can find out more about them in my new cookbook, “East Bay Cooks” (Figure 1), which will publish in September and include two recipes from East End.)

Paul’s wife, Michelle, designed the laid-back, light-filled spot that’s full of reclaimed wood and interesting touches like old player-piano music rolls repurposed as wallpaper.

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Chef Jen Biesty Designs “The Spaniard” for Zume Pizza; Plus The Winner of the Food Gal Contest

Zume's "The Spaniard'' pizza.

Zume’s “The Spaniard” pizza.

 

Sink your teeth into a pizza topped with piquillo pepper sauce, Spanish chorizo, Picholine olives, Manchego and mozzarella cheeses, and saffron onions.

And help renew a park in the process.

You can — by ordering a new pizza from Zume, the Mountain View company known for its innovative robots that help assemble pies to order. Although the pizzas used to baked en route on specialized trucks, they are now cooked at its headquarters before being loaded onto trucks for delivery.

“The Spaniard” is a new, limited-time-only pizza designed by Jen Biesty, chef-owner of Oakland’s Shakewell. The “Top Chef” alumnus is the first chef to be featured in Zume’s “Pies With A Purpose” program, in which 10 percent of net sales from that special pizza is donated to a local cause. In this case, the proceeds will go to the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation to help revitalize Tassafaronga Park, which is located in Biesty’s home neighborhood of East Oakland.

Zume's unusual circular pizza box.

Zume’s unusual circular pizza box.

This also marks Zume’s delivery expansion beyond the Peninsula and the South Bay to certain parts of Alameda County.

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Chocolates, Cakes & Pizza — Who Needs More?

Brazilian brigadeiros to indulge in.

Brazilian brigadeiros to indulge in. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Brazilian Chocolates

Watching World Cup may have gotten you riled up with all the action on the field. Me? It just got me hungry, thinking about all the specialty foods associated with each of the countries competing.

So when a sample box of brigadeiros arrived last week in my mailbox, it was perfect timing. San Francisco’s Tiny B specializes in these traditional Brazilian sweets, bite-sized chocolates made with condensed milk and flavorings. They’re like little balls of fudge rolled around nuts or sprinkles. And they are plenty addictive.

My sample contained some of Tiny B’s classic flavors. I have to say I am partial to dark chocolate, so the dark chocolate sprinkles one was probably my favorite because it let the intensity of the dark chocolate shine through.

A box of four is $12. You can customize it by choosing your exact flavors, too.

Bluestem Brasserie Lets You Have Your Cake

If you’ve ever had the legendary Honolulu Hangover cake at Bluestem Brasserie in San Francisco, you know how incredible it is. If you’ve never had it, well, now here’s your chance.

 

The unforgettable Honolulu Hangover. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The unforgettable Honolulu Hangover. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

The restaurant has brought it back and will offer it through Labor Day as part of its special “Cake Only” dessert menu.

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Enoteca La Storia Invigorates San Jose’s Little Italy

The Beginner's Luck cocktail.

The Beginner’s Luck cocktail.

 

If you’re already a fan of the original Enoteca La Storia in Los Gatos, you’re sure to embrace its big brother that’s more than three times the size that opened last year in San Jose’s Little Italy neighborhood.

Owners Joe Cannistraci, 52 of Sicilian heritage, and Mike Guerra, 53 of Calabrese heritage, are proud Italian-Americans who pay homage to Italian forebearers at each location. Cannistraci’s father owned a grocery in New York; while Guerra’s paternal grandfather and paternal great-grandfather both owned grocery stores in San Jose, and his maternal grandparents ran Hollister’s Villa Pace Italian restaurant.

The inside of this historic building has been fully refurbished. It is old Italy meets contemporary industrial with exposed brick and duct work, along with old black and white photos enlarged to pay respect to Italian families who helped shaped this valley. In fact, an assistant manager singled out one particular photo of the Italian family who used to run a bakery on this spot long ago. One of the babies in that photo, now all grown-up, recently came in and pointed out herself to the owners.

The main dining room.

The main dining room.

A mock-up receipt from the old bakery that used to operate on the site.

A mock-up receipt from the old bakery that used to operate on the site.

An old photo of the Murillo family that operated the bakery.

An old photo of the Murillo family that operated the bakery.

Old wood bread paddles from the bakery also are on display, as is a rendering of a receipt from the bakery, blown up to poster size.

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Little Star Pizza South Bay News, Taste & Tribute, And More

Deep-dish and salad from The Star via DoorDash. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Deep-dish and salad from The Star via DoorDash. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Little Star Pizza

What happens when Little Star Pizza teams with DoorDash?

Easier deep-dish delivery for South Bay folks.

Delivery app DoorDash recently launched a 2,000-square-foot commissary kitchen in San Jose for four different delivery-only restaurants. It represents an option for restaurants that want to expand their delivery reach without having to invest in their own brick-and-mortar facility.

The first tenant-partner in the DoorDash Kitchens is The Star, an off-shoot of San Francisco’s Little Star Pizza, famed for both deep-dish and classic thin-crust pies.

I was invited to try a sample delivery from the commissary kitchen, which now services the San Jose-Santa Clara area.

You can order either on the app or Web site, and choose what day and what time-frame you want it all delivered. DoorDash also lets you add a tip on the order electronically, so you don’t have to fumble with your wallet when you answer your door.

I chose the Classic Small Deep Dish Pizza ($22), Mediterranean Deep Dish Pizza ($22), and small Goddess Salad ($6).

The driver texted me when he picked up the food, and noted he’d arrive at my house in about 25 minutes. Sure enough, he was there at the pre-scheduled appointed time, bearing pizzas that were still hot.

The sausage deep-dish, delivered freshly baked and hot. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The sausage deep-dish, delivered freshly baked and hot. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The crust on the pizzas are beautifully golden. They’re crisp on the outside and slightly chewy within, rather like olive oil-brushed focaccia.

The Classic is piled high with a generous amount of chunky tomato sauce, nubbins of fennel sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green bell peppers. The Mediterranean is even more flavorful with its loaded mix of tomato sauce, roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, green olives, onions, red bell peppers, and feta.

They were as satisfying as if I had eaten them at the restaurant, only I got to enjoy them in the relaxation of my own home.

There wasn’t a whole lot to the Gem salad, owing to the fact that the toasted almonds mentioned on the Web site were nowhere to be found. Still, the greens were fresh and flecked with a few minced chives.

I appreciated the salad was composed of Little Gem leaves, too, rather than mundane iceberg or spring mix. The accompanying creamy pesto dressing was full of tangy, piquant and herbaceous flavors. I ended up cutting up a cucumber in my fridge to round out the salad a little more.

If you’re craving pizza in the South Bay — particularly deep-dish — you’ll definitely be glad to know it’s a mere delivery away now.

Taste & Tribute

Help preserve ancient Tibetan culture, while enjoying one of the most unique chef galas around.

The 17th annual Taste & Tribute takes place Nov. 17 at the Four Seasons in San Francisco.

Chef Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse. (photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Chef Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse. (photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Founding Chef Laurent Manrique, owner of Cafe de la Presse in San Francisco, will be joined by 21 other top chefs, including Jennifer Sherman of Chez Panisse, Rogelio Garcia of The Commissary, Anjan Mitra of Dosa, Khai Duong of Kai restaurant, Daniel Corey of Luce, and Gerald Hirigoyen of Piperade.

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