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Stuffed on Stuffed Crust at Patxi’s and a Food Gal Giveaway

California pizza of late has been all about the thin.

Crusts that snap, crackle and practically pop with crispness when you sink your teeth into them.

But if you’re more in the mood for heft, for a pie that’s a gut-busting two-inches tall, look no further than Patxi’s, famous for its Chicago-style stuffed crust.

The first Patxi’s (pronounced pah’-cheese) opened in Palo Alto in 2004 by William Freeman and Francisco “Patxi” Azpiroz, who previously worked at the legendary Zachary’s Pizza in Berkeley. The restaurant features four types of pizza (stuffed, pan, thin, and extra-thin), as well as three types of dough (regular, whole-wheat, and a new gluten-free one).

Recently, I was invited to be a guest at the newest Patxi’s, which opened just a couple weeks ago in the Pruneyard in Campbell.

Early on a Sunday evening, the place was already packed when I walked in. The bustling, dimly lit restaurant features big-screen TVs that were broadcasting NFL football games that night.

The pizzas are baked to order, and the stuffed ones can take as long as 40 minutes to finish in the oven. So, settle into your chair and bide your time with an appetizer. Or a nice glass of wine, as Patxi’s has a pretty impressive wine list for a pizza joint. Indeed, you can sip Prosecco or a nice French Rosé from the Languedoc region.

We started with a barely dressed, chilled Caesar salad ($6.95). The dressing could have been a bit more assertive. But the garnish of anchovies added bite. Crisp Parmesan toasts were a nice touch.

Then, it was on to the main attraction: a 12-inch stuffed pizza that has a layer of crust on the bottom and another that covers the fillings. We went with the “Special,” a mix of sausage, mushrooms, onions and green peppers ($25.54).

When it arrives at the table, it’s quite impressive looking — tall, with the loads of deep red housemade tomato sauce covering every inch of the top. If you’re a toppings person as opposed to a crust one, this is the pizza for you. The layers of cheese, sauce, meat, veggies and crust meld into one soft, saucy mouthful. It’s hearty and as filling as it looks.

On the advice of an insider, we also tried a 12-inch extra-thin with “cheese to the edge.” Our toppings of choice were prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato sauce ($16.69).

This crust is cracker-thin. It’s not Neapolitan, but something entirely of its own. The “cheese to the edge” trick gives it the flavor and texture of a Parmesan tuille, so that you feel like you’re eating nothing but crisp, baked cheese with cured pork on top.

Patxi’s doesn’t really offer dessert. But then again, who’d have room?

Contest: One Food Gal reader will win a Patxi’s gift card good for one 14-inch stuffed crust pizza with two toppings to-go. The gift card (a value of $25) is redeemable at any Bay Area Patxi’s location. Contest is open only to those who can make use of the gift card in the Bay Area. Entries will be accepted through midnight PST Dec. 10. Winner will be announced Dec. 12.

How to win?

It’s no secret that we all love stuff, right? Our homes and offices are probably stuffed with too much stuff. But what’s one thing you could never throw out or do without? Best answer wins.

Here’s my own response to that question:

“A pen and paper. I keep them everywhere — at my desk, by my bed, near the TV, in the kitchen, and in my purse. Oh sure, I know I could easily type notes into my smart phone instead and save a tree. But it’s just not the same. There’s something wonderfully old-school about it. I also think we end up remembering more and even taking more care with our words when we jot down something with a real writing instrument.”

More Pizza to Try: The Fantastic Pizza Crust Recipe From Pizzeria Mozza

And: Delfina’s Pizza Dough Recipe

And: Pizza from Berkeley’s Cheese Board Collective

And: Pork Belly Pizza at Donato Enoteca in Redwood City

And: Sausage and Pea Tendril Pizza at Gather in Berkeley

And: Howie’s Artisan Pizzeria in Palo Alto