Destination Pizza

In anticipation of eating at my four favorite pizza spots over the next few months, I wanted to give them a proper feature. Diavola, Pizzicletta, Roberta's, and Gjelina serve fantastic food in destination-worthy locations and are an important part of what makes their respective communities and local food scenes special. How a restaurant embraces its surroundings, especially the locally grown and crafted goods, is the not-so-secret secret of what makes for a delicious meal and excellent experience.

Before jumping in, it's worth mentioning that two of the four restaurants have cookbooks and I recommend them both. Each includes recipes for some of the "favorites" listed below.

Diavola // Geyserville (Sonoma County), California

During the Sonoma fires in 2017, Chef Dino Bugica kept his doors open and offered kindness and comfort food to as many as he could before having to evacuate. When Thanksgiving rolled around, he treated families who had lost their homes to a beautiful holiday dinner. Such a lovely way to show gratitude for the community that Diavola is a part of. Chef Bugica's menus are consistently delicious and always feature locally sourced meats and produce.

Favorites

  • Whatever is on the seasonal vegetable antipasti plate. You can't help but appreciate and savor the effort that goes into so many layers of locally grown goodness.
  • We usually get one thin crust pizza plus a Bambino. For thin, the Prosciutto & Fungi recently became a favorite. The Bambino has a thick crust and is recommended as is. If that's not your jam, there's an option to use a toppings combo from one of the thin pies and put it on the Bambino base. The servers are always knowledgeable so ask them for some advice.

Dry Creek Road - Healdsburg, California

    Pizzicletta // Flagstaff, Arizona

    Chef Caleb Schiff is a talented pizzaiolo (who also happens to be self-taught) and an avid runner. By avid, I mean he's an ultra marathoner who wins 65-mile races and explores 29-mile ultra trails while vacationing in Italy. Breezy stuff.

    Chef Schiff combines his passion for pie and the outdoors by organizing the Tour de Snowbowl and Giro d'Elden to coincide with the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia (respectively). For these challenges, Flag residents and the Pizzicletta team are encouraged to join together and summit Mount Elden and the Snow Bowl. Everyone is rewarded with a sense of community, the joy of mountain air, and free pizza. Doesn't get much better than that. Free pizza is for your first time up.

    Rob and I like to get an early start to the Grand Canyon (it's about an hour and a half from Flag), go for a hike, and then hustle back for dinner at Pizzicletta. There are also endless beautiful hikes in and around Flag that are the perfect pairing for an evening of pizza and wine.

    Favorites

    Pretty much whatever special pizza Caleb is serving. It changes frequently based on the ingredients his team has made or picked up from a local grower. It's worth mentioning that the pizza dough is naturally-leavened and takes 3 days to make which results in an especially wonderful texture and flavor. Being that I'm a naturally-leavened bread nerd, Caleb's pizza speaks to me.

    The wine selection is small but well curated and the creamy homemade gelato can't be missed.

    Fisher Point Hike - Flagstaff, Arizona

    Gjelina // Venice, California

    Chef Travis Lett doesn’t need much of an introduction on Chic Eats (as can be seen with these seven posts), but it's worth elaborating a bit to say that he is a force in the Los Angeles food scene. At his Venice restaurants Gjelina, MTN ("mountain"), GTA, and Gjusta, all of the menus creatively support the growers of Southern California. I regularly see his team educating and buying at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market.

    The food Chef Lett serves is fantastic without being fussy or pretentious, and it's his passion for locally sourced ingredients that makes all the difference. And though I've said it many times before, the Gjelina cookbook is at the top of my list.

    Favorites

    Rob and I eat at one of Chef Lett's restaurants at least once a week so this is a tough one. Here are a few standouts:

    • Gjelina - Favorite pizzas include the Blanco, Fennel Salami, and Guanciale. I don't actually think we've had a bad pizza. You can't go wrong with most of what's in the vegetable section and I often find inspiration in the small selection of pastas. My Charcoal Pasta Dough recipe was inspired by a dish I enjoyed at Gjelina. Butterscotch Pot de Creme and the Warm Date Cake are a must, the former being a must-must if you're only getting one dessert. Recipe coming soon for that one.
    • GTA - Pork meatball sandwich on pain de mie, any pizza by the slice, chocolate chip cookie(!), or choose from the small selection of pizzas. The fish sandwich, BLT (when in season), and Brisket Banh Mi Sandwich are also excellent. For breakfast, a new favorite is the poppy bialy egg sandwich with bacon and sub house-made hot sauce for the harissa. Did I mention the chocolate chip cookie?
    • MTN (They don't have pizza but I'm throwing in some recs for grins.) - Black Sesame Tantanmen Ramen with a side of fermented chili sauce and at least one or two of the seasonal small plates. The Charred Conehead Cabbage inspired me to pick some cabbage up from The Garden Of and the Pork Belly Gyoza and Pork Chasu Temaki are both on our repeat list.

    Sunrise Beach Run - Santa Monica, California

      Roberta's - Brooklyn, New York

      For years, Roberta's has been the first dinner stop on our New York trips. There has yet to be a meal that isn't on point in terms of food, service, and wine. The entire staff, especially Blair and Hugh, have been especially welcoming during our many trips to Bushwick. The relaxed Brooklyn vibe and great music always leave me looking forward to the next visit.

      As far as sustainable local goods, Roberta’s co-founders were involved in the creation of The Brooklyn Grange, a 1 acre roof-top garden in Brooklyn that sells its produce to restaurants, the public, and also has a CSA program. This urban farm grows over 50,000 pounds of organically-cultivated produce per year and keeps bees in 30+ naturally-managed honey bee hives on roofs throughout New York.

      Favorites

      The Cheesus is not always on the menu but you can usually ask for it. It's basically cacio e pepe on a pie skin and reaches a new level of excellence when you add speck. The Bee Sting is also a go-to classic with the contrast of chili, soppressata, and a touch of honey.

      Sunset Walk - New York

        Article Tags : travel, where to eat, pizza
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