A Big Pizza Pie -- That's Amore

What's so special about dough, cheese, and tomato sauce? The concept seems so simple but somehow the reality of pizza makes my mouth water. And it's not just the taste, texture, and pleasure of pizza but also fond memories that fuel my eternal love of the ever-wonderful pizza pie.

I remember mini pizza nights with my family. We'd create our own bite size pizza creations with english muffins, pizza sauce, mozzarella, and toppings.

Sidenote: I have a total power trip when it comes to sauces, toppings, buffets, or any food situation that lets the eater "create-your-own". My self-made tacos and burritos are always overstuffed and turn into fork-and-knife rather than finger foods. My nachos are built on a foundation of 5-10 chips that are hidden underneath piled-high ingredients, and again can only be eaten with utensils.

As you can imagine, the idea of a personal pizza with seemingly endless toppings sent my child mind into a whirlwind of excitement and gluttony. Without fail the cheese and sauce bubbled over onto the pan and black olive rings fell by the wayside unable to hold their own against the pepperoni and bell peppers. I'm pretty sure this simple treat is where the love began.

Of course there were plenty of pizza-filled sleepovers, school holiday parties, and field trip lunches. But let's fast forward to college, where things really got wild. Senior year of college my roommate and I had a multi-course pizza dinner party. There was a cream cheese and veggie pizza as the appetizer, main dish pizzas included a veggie for the herbivores, one chicken pizza, and one meat lovers, and then we had dessert pizza with vanilla frosting and fruit. Basically, it was college carb heaven.

No, I've never had a cream cheese-veggie or frosting-desert pizza since but there's a great place near my hood that has its own creations. Za is located on Hyde and Green in a cozy little spot right on one the cable car line. The amazon beauty that you see above is the Scaliano (tomato, spicy sausage, garlic, green onion) but my personal fave is the Bluto (spinach, sweet sausage, feta cheese). The slices are massive so after one or two I find myself in a very happy (and stuffed) place...ahhh Za.