Last Saturday was the latest in a lengthening list of Dallas Foodie Tours: The 2011 Dallas Pizza Tour. Like the Burger, Taco, and Vegan tours that preceded the tour was the brainchild of Steven Doyle, best known as never having written for Dallas/Ft. Worth Construction News (ed note: The list of Dallas publications that Steve Doyle has written for is now so long it is easier to just list the ones he hasn’t written for). As with previous tours we took our 1969 Chevrolet School Bus (Woodstock Edition) and traveled around several premier pizza sites in town, tasting at each stop. The good folks at Elm Street Bar were kind enough to provide us with a keg of beer which kept the 20 or so participants from dying of thirst on the way.
From base camp in Deep Ellum we headed out to the leafy lanes of The OC and the house of Janice Provost, co-owner and co-chef of Parigi. There we sampled pizzas made by her and her husband ranging from classic Margherita through to taste benders like white truffle mushroom. The crust was the most idiosyncratic part. It was thin and crisp, almost to the point of being flat bread. The taste was as dry as a stone ground cracker. Pizza crust is a very personal thing and the variations on this tour turned out to be huge. To my taste, this was my favorite.
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Next we drove out to Rockwall, noted for having the last gas station this side of Nepal, for a tasting at Zanata where they put pizzas together for us in a real pizza oven. Check out the movie.
We were starting to feel full as we headed back to town. Several people tested the medical
proposition that if you drink enough beer it restores your appetite. Our next stop was Coal Vines in Uptown. To put this interesting place into context, consider the types of pizza places we had seen. The first was an artisanal restaurant owner’s home. The second was a classic dine-in pizzeria with nice tables and exposed brick walls. Coal Vines was nothing like either of these. It is a wine bar that specializes in pizza, and is equally serious about both. High end wine bargains include Stags Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) and Conundrum White Wine Blend ($42). The surroundings are all upscale wood and wine cabinets. The tables are dark wood, and the chairs are the type you sink in to. The concept is the product of the Nick and Sam’s people. Such has been its success that they are about to roll it out nationally, with a Kansas City location opening within months.
Finally it was back down to Deep Ellum for our penultimate stop at Serious Pizza. They are a chain that had opened this, their first Dallas location, two days earlier. Again the concept was new. Serious Pizza specializes in two things: wide pizzas that barely fit into the trunk of the average car and a pizza theater involving tossing the massive things to form the dough into the proper shape for the crust. Apparently, in the opening days around bar chucking out time, the lines formed three deep to watch this.
Our last call was at the new, but seemingly long established, Cane Rosso. Jay Jerrier worked for 20 years at the company that designed the Fukushima nuclear power plant, so designing his pizza oven was a piece of pie. The crust of his pizzas are crisp on the outside but soft in the middle and his tomato topping seemed to be just more intense than the others we tried.
Overall, a great tour. Next: Barbecue!