Having been there myself too many times to count, I always find out a little more about myself and what I guess I like. However, one answer never changes, and I am always ready for it. My favorite food is always pizza, and like many others, I am forever searching for the best pizza.
I know that you are probably thinking that it doesn't get any better than CiCi's, but I implore you to keep an open mind to some of the incredible culinary creations in which you can stuff your face.
First on the agenda of enlightenment is a mobile establishment based out of San Francisco. Del Popolo, created by Jon Darsky, is a four wheeled Laboratory dedicated to the perfection of pizza (with which you can stuff your face). Del Popolo (DP) creates rustic, Neapolitan-style pizza on the go. But you know they wouldn’t be truly hipster unless they were Eco-friendly, thus they only permit ingredients grown by generational farmers, which are family farms dedicated to organic methods. To take it to the next level, the DP truck was once a transatlantic shipping container. They gutted the corporate slave bastard and turned it into a gourmet kitchen that houses a traditional Italian-made wood burning stove. Keeping the menu simple, DP only has about 4 or 5 items available at any given time. Staying true to their evident roots, they serve pizza varieties such as margherita, bianca, meat and potato. So if you are in SanFran and get too stoned to cook for yourself, try chasing down this rolling kitchen of happiness.
Next on this mouth-watering tour is straight from Miami: Harry's Pizzeria. This casual, neighborhood style hang out is one for the locals. The owner Michael Schwartz had a vision of keeping the place simple and inviting. It isn't a huge place, has a bar with craft beer, wine and espresso drinks at the ready and even has chalkboards in the bathrooms to let the patrons return their gratitude with artistic bathroom artistry. The elegant menu presents the choices of snacks, salads, desserts and, of course, top-shelf pizza. Harry's offers a wide variety of face stuffing goodness as far as pizza is concerned. From Italian caponata, seafood oyster mushroom, BBQ inspired short-rib pizza to the classic pesto and everything in between, Harry's is a must on the face stuffer's list.
Last on the pizza crawl is aptly named The Backspace. Hiding behind Parkside Restaurant in Austin, Tx, this well kept secret has a few well kept secrets of its own. The chefs developed a new type of dough that stands up to the flash-cook they put this unique pizza through. Burning at around 1,000 degrees, their wood burning oven leaves the crust blistered, crunchy and damn delicious. Shawn Cirkiel's vision of Italian style pizza has left quite an impression on the people of The People's Republic of Austin. Growing up on a farm, Cirkiel has an appreciation for the discipline of using only the freshest of ingredients. The Backspace offers traditional Italian pizza choices enhanced by new methods of super-heating, fresh, herby appetizers and a massive selection of wines. If you should ever check this place off of your list, go ahead and re-add it.
Let's face it, putting stock in pizza is like putting stock in Apple during the early 80's. It has been a staple to dining experiences and face-stuffing for hundreds of years and will remain so until the world blows up, or aliens bring death from above or whatever else your cynical mind can come up with. Pizza, much like Buddhism, transcends time and space. Indeed, it is a food of the gods.