Flour + Water = Awesomeness

I heart pizza.  It’s something I can eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  My favorite type of pizza is the Neapolitan style, thin crust pizza.  Lucky for me, restaurants have been popping up in the Bay Area for the past few years serving up delicious Neapolitan style pizzas out of a wood fire oven. 

Bay Area food critic, Michael Bauer offered a few early contenders to be on the 2010 Top 100 list (scheduled to publish in April).  Flour + Water in the Mission/Bernal Heights neighborhood is one of them and I finally got a chance to have dinner there.  If you are patient, you can always try for a reservation about a month or so ahead of time.  Otherwise, walking in for a chance to sit at the bar or community table is another option.  The restaurant opens at 5:30pm for dinner, but don’t expect a seat as a walk-in without waiting if you show up past 6pm.  Lucky for me, I got there at 5:45pm. 

My food companion (FC) and I sat at the bar.  It was nice to see what others were eating.  I ordered a glass of Aldiano Montepulciano.  It was full bodied, smooth, and a great start to what I hoped to be a great meal.  I ordered the local yellowtail as my appetizer.  It was beautifully presented.  The yellowtail was served on avocado, strawberry, blood orange, and meyer lemon aioli, and topped with radish and parsley.  Everything about this dish was fresh and the flavors were harmonious. 

My FC ordered the wood oven roasted radishes with grey sea salt.  This was also very good.  Even my neighbor sitting next to me ordered that dish.  It was very unique since it’s the first time I’ve had radishes that were cooked. 

We both ordered pizza.  My FC went with the margherita pizza and I ordered the salsiccia (sausage) pizza.  When you drink wine, you should always go from lighter to bolder and I use the same concept for pizza.  I sampled the margherita before I dug into the salsiccia.  OMG!  I think I’ve made it known that pizza is my favorite food.  One bite of the pizza from Flour + Water will explain why.  The pizza dough is crispy and light with some chewiness from areas where the dough doesn’t bubble up, and the toppings of tomato, basil, mozzarella, and EVOO are basic, fresh, and delicious.  The flavor brings out a sweetness and melts in your mouth.  The salsiccia pizza was made up fennel sausage, broccoli rabe, mozzarella, and chili.  As I bit into the sausage pizza, many different flavors were pouring out.  The flavors of the broccoli rabe and the chili popped to balance the sweet and salty with nutty and spicy.  Both pizzas scream “bring me back to Italy.”

There were three desserts to choose from.  We ordered the fennel ice cream with olive oil cake.  Another beautifully displayed item that reminded me of my appetizer.  It came with assorted citrus fruit, a prosecco gelee, and candied fennel.  I enjoyed every piece of it, but I wasn’t sure how it all fit together.  It felt a little bit like a hodgepodge. 

But dinner did not end on this note.  My FC’s neighbors were enjoying the chocolate budino.  They convinced us we should try that next time.  The reason we originally skipped it was because my neighbor had one bite and packed it up.  She said it was rich. That had discouraged us to try it in the first place.  My FC and I said “why wait til next time?”  We ordered that too!  The chocolate budino was topped with an espresso caramel cream.   It was the sweetness and creaminess we needed to end our awesome meal. 

Maybe my neighbor packed it so she could savor it at home.  But I couldn’t’ get enough. We also helped convince our neighbors’ neighbor to order it as well. 

Here are some other suggestions for the best thin crust pizza that I enjoy:

  • Gialina, Glen Park, SF
  • Pizziaolo, Oakland
  • Dopo, Oakland
  • Oliveto, Oakland
  • Chez Panisse Café, Berkeley
  • Pizzeria Picco, Larkspur
  • Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
  • Two Amys, Washington DC (*Approved by DOC)



Not all great food has to be bad for you

Bacon is probably one of my favorite foods and so is pizza, ice cream and fried chicken.  However, I can agree that balancing the unhealthy is a good idea sometimes.  🙂  Today I am experimenting with farro, an Italian grain from wheat.  I had an excellent farro salad at Encuentro Cafe and Wine Bar in Jack London Square last week and I’ve had friends rave about the farro salad from Bellanico in the Glenview district which I have yet to visit.  I found a recipe from epicurious for farro salad with peas, asparagus, and feta that I am making.

I ran over to the Food Mill in the Laurel district yesterday.  The woman helping me in the bulk section told me that farro is really spelt berries and yes they carry it.  When I got home I googled spelt berries to see if it was the same as farro.  Although there was some disagreement with the Food Mill lady that it was the same, there was some agreement that they were similar.  Oh well, this is what I’m going to use.

I rinsed the spelt berries or farro a couple of times and then I cooked it in water and salt.  After it reached a boil, I left it simmering for about 25 minutes.  I mixed it a few times lightly.  The farro can easily break.  I cooked to taste (I wanted it al dente).  I drained the farro and then spread it onto a pan to cool off. 

Instead of boiling the sugar snap peas and the asparagus, I sauteed it together in some olive oil and salt for about five minutes on medium heat covered.  I also stirred it several times so it wouldn’t burn.  I halved some grape tomatoes and chopped up some red onion and set those aside.  I made some olive oil dressing using EVOO, balsamic viniagrette, salt, and pepper.  I mixed everything together.

Lastly, I plated the salad and added some feta cheese on top.  I’m adding the cheese as I eat it so that way I can refrigerate the rest for another meal without the cheese getting mushy.  Enjoy!