Monday’s gorgeous weather called for a walk in the neighborhood to fulfill the quest for the best vegetarian offering to be found at this week’s Portland Pizza Week. Because Burger Week has been so popular, the folks at Portland Mercury decided to give pizza a try. The idea is, “One Week. Thirty-One Pizzas. Let’s Do This.” With new pizza places opening right and left, it is anticipated it will be a great success.
Pizza. The name alone conjures up many images: family, friends, comfort, quick, filling, inexpensive or gourmet, late night party food, work party nourishment, home remodeling when your kitchen was a hot plate and a bathtub doubling as the kitchen sink, birthday parties, and so much more. Pizza is not something this author eats a lot of anymore but once upon a time, it was a regular menu item for all of the reasons listed above. That’s not to say it no longer tastes good, or is desired, just that healthier ways of eating, i.e., less cheese, less carbs, have become the norm. However, finding out about Pizza Week just sparked a need to indulge. Being a vegetarian helps tame the indulgence because many of the 31 pizzas are off limits. At quick count, there are approximately 13 vegetarian options and the jury’s out how many of those will be tried before pizza week ends on April 24th.
My dining companion and her seven month old decided to take a walk in the neighborhood to sample the first pizza at Straight from New York, Belmont’s. Because she’s a vegan, there was something for the both of us. For pizza week, they are offering “The Spanish Bomb.” It is an attractive pizza with its red and white stripes dotted with sliced green onion. It is a white pie, with caramelized onions, and stripes of romesco (a nuts and red pepper sauce originating in Catalonia). No flavor is overwhelming yet each bite gives a hint of something different, and the romesco lends a very slight smoky flavor. The crust, while soft on the bottom, was not soggy. Always a fan of pizza crust, this one didn’t disappoint. I spoke to Lisa, the Store Manager of the Belmont Location, and asked how they picked “The Spanish Bomb.” She said they had a different version of this pie on the menu a few years ago, but with its caramelized onion white sauce, found it to be too expensive and labor intensive for pizza week, so they changed things up and this was the result. She was excited to be part of the Mercury’s Pizza Week, and hopes it continues beyond this year. As an aside, the vegan pizza was also tasty. It had a red sauce, vegan cheese, topped with red onion, spinach, pineapple, and cranberries. Taking our pizza to a nearby park, it was the perfect picnic item, especially considering the attention span of an adorable seven month. It’s not known where this pizza quest will take me, but stay tuned for the next edition.
Straight from New York Belmont, 3330 SE Belmont, sfnypizza.com. Straight from New York Belmont’s Pizza Week slice available April 18-24, Sun-Thurs 11 am-midnight, Fri-Sat 11 am-2 am. Limit one per customer, dine-in and take-out, whole pies not available. Check out my photo album if you don’t mind getting a little hungry!