Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ready... FIGHT!

This weekend I attacked SF pizza this weekend with the ferocity of a ferocious, wild, angry, hungry, and furry manimal. The match-up: Delfina Vs. Tony's Pizza Napoletana.

At both I tried their margherita and a house specialty.

The Delfina margherita (above; stock images from a past visit in the spring is due to poor lighting at night in their outdoor seating) easily came out on top, with a perfectly baked crust (I realize the photo shows otherwise, but the charring was fantastic this time around)—crisp, yet pliant with the crackly edge protecting soft, spongy innards—sweet and tang-tastic sauce, and a drizzle of fragrant olive oil.

Tony's margherita was good, but the sauce lacked the flavorful punch of Delfina's and the cheese was not entirely melted. It did benefit from the added smokiness added by the wood-burning oven. Extra kudos to Tony's for being open for lunch, which is a meal most of the better pizzerias in SF thumb their noses at.

I also tried the clam pie at Delfina and Tony's Cal Italia (Asiago, Mozzarella, Imported Italian Gorgonzola, Sweet Fig preserve from Croatia, Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano, Balsamic). Both were delicious. The Cal Italia is baked in a domed, gas oven, and uses a different flour (higher gluten content, it seemed, based on the tougher, more chewy consistency) than their margherita. It was overwhelmed by the sweet fig preserves to some degree, which was heavy-handedly dolloped into the center of each slice, with a small piece of prosciutto and a couple shavings of the parmigiano stuck on top. The gorgonzola was used sparingly and counterbalanced the sweet figs with its bitterness. It was pretty delicious, but maybe too rich and I had a hard time getting through my third slice.

Delfina's clam pie (unfortunately I have no photo documentation) was fantastic, with toothsome shelled clams scattered about on a sea of spiced tomato sauce. All underscored by a salty pecorino. Boffo.

I also tried a slice from Arnell's Pizza, which would give most NYC corner slice establishments a run for their money. A thin, crisp crust, topped with your standard greasy, cheesy fair. A good sauce-to-cheese ratio. And served up by a gentleman with a slightly toothless grin.

Please also do drop by the Bi-Rite Creamery after—or before!—hitting up Delfina. I sampled their salted caramel and malted vanilla. A+ in my book. I also had the pleasure of tasting Humphry Slocombe's off-kilter ice cream flavors: secret breakfast (bourbon and cornflakes), peanut butter curry, blue bottle coffee, and balsamic caramel.

Victory for the forces of good!