Possibly the first ingredient to raise mass eyebrows, pineapple, is widely believed to have first appeared on pizza in the early 1960s. These days it seems like just about anything goes – from cucumbers and peanut butter to coconut and potatoes.
Over the holidays, countless Americans will take refuge from holiday feast preparation and order a pizza, a communal dish meant to be shared. With this in mind, the 360 staff tried some out-of-the-ordinary pizzas made by independent area vendors. We list our favorites, starting with No. 1. Highly ranked pizzas met two criteria: First, the synthesis of flavors was greater than the individual elements and left you craving more. Second, taste and texture held true hours later for eating cold.
No. 1: Fazzari’s, Clarkston – The Shotsy
Ingredients: Mustard sauce, Swiss, mozzarella cheeses, smoked Polish sausage, onions, sauerkraut.
Shotsy is not the top-selling pizza at Fazzari’s in Clarkston – that honor would go to the meat-laden House pizza – but it won hands-down in our taste test. One person who had never tried it before was disgusted by the key ingredients – sauerkraut, mustard, “and is that mayo?” But upon tasting it, she admitted everything fit together perfectly. Fazzari’s also has the crust down to a science, earning it the praise as “king of pizza.”
Others to try: The Panther with mustard sauce, pepperoni, Portuguese linguica, and pineapple. The Wimpy with mustard sauce, mozzarella, onions, seasoned beef, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and cheddar. (509) 758-3386
No. 2: Antonio’s Italian Cafe, Lewiston – O’Malley
Ingredients: Irish corned beef, mustard sauce, caramelized onions and Romano, goat, mozzarella and provolone cheeses.
While the appearance of toasted corned beef initially threw people off, this pizza turned out to be a hit. The mustard sauce is subtle. The specialty crust leaves a taste of rosemary in the mouth.
Others to try: Blue Hawaiian with Canadian bacon, pineapple and blue cheese. The Thai with chicken breast strips, Thai peanut sauce, scallions, ginger, cashews and red peppers. (208) 746-6262
No. 3: Southway Pizzaria, Lewiston – Loaded Potato
Ingredients: Ranch sauce, red potatoes, bacon, green onion and cheddar.
The Loaded Potato tied the O’Malley for second place. Rather than add flavor, the potato adds texture to this hearty “baconlicious” pizza, where the taste of ranch only whispers its presence at the end. Of note, Southway offers gluten-free pizzas.
Others to try: The Gyro with taziki sauce, MunsterRella, lamb, feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and shredded lettuce. Ultimate Cheeseburger with special sauce, ground beef and cheddar layered with lettuce, onion, tomato and pickles. (208) 743-0400
No. 4: Maialina, Moscow – Dolce Verde
Ingredients: Cream, garlic, local jersey cow’s milk ricotta, roasted grapes, melted leeks, fresh local arugula, mascarpone, lemon, maldon sea salt, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).
Maialina’s pizza is the freshest, most local and lightest you’ll find in the region. It has a delicate artisan crust and in the Dolce Verde the fresh ricotta is the definition of melt-in-your-mouth goodness. It’s best eaten hot from the oven at the restaurant, or soon after ordering because freshness does not equal a long shelf life. The fresh arugula finishes the dish with a peppery flare countered by the sweetness of the grapes.
Others to try: Vongole with cream, garlic, clams, local pork house fennel sausage, white wine, lemon, parsley, chili flakes, EVOO. Fiorellini with tomato, house mozzarella, roasted cauliflower, basil, pine nuts, balsamic-poached golden raisins, EVOO. (208) 882-2694
No. 5: Sella’s Calzone and Pizza, Pullman – The Birkenstock
Ingredients: Artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, feta, marinara, mozzarella.
For a college town, Pullman is sorely lacking in restaurants devoted to pizza. Sella’s, across the street from campus, fit the unusual category with artichoke hearts in their Birkenstock pizza. The pizza had a doughy crust suggesting a soup bowl full of the ingredients. It was more like a tomato-sauce-heavy calzone than a pizza.
Others to try: The Cowboy with chicken, red onions, cheddar, longhorn barbecue sauce, mozzarella. (509) 334-1895