Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Wish Come True: Seattle's Best Pizza

Growing up as a little girl in suburbia, one of life's great excursions was a trip to the mall. And in the center of my mall was something grand: a real, live, working fountain. My mom would dig deep into the folds of her eel skin wallet and produce two pennies. One for my younger sister and one for me. She instructed us to make a wish and toss them in. I have no idea what my sister wished for. A better haircut (it was the 80's)? A pony? A trust fund? But I wished for the same thing every single time. I'd squish my eyes close, squeeze the penny in my fist and chant this mantra: "I hope we have pizza for dinner. I hope we have pizza for dinner. I hope we have pizza for dinner" and chuck the copper coin into the fountain.

Things have really changed since then. I'm older, I don't live in suburbia, and all of my local malls are fountain free. Seriously! Not a single pizza wishing fountain in sight! So I am forced to be proactive: if I want pizza for dinner, I have to go get pizza for dinner. Sigh.

Luckily this is an easy task, as I only have eyes for the pies at a single Seattle pizzeria: Via Tribunali.

You can forget about pineapple, green peppers or even pepperoni; VT doesn't use them. They stick to traditional Italian ingredients like prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and olives. Their incredibly fresh tasting pizzas strictly follow the guidelines set by Verace Pizza Napoletana, a Naples based organization that sets the standard for authentic Napoli style pizza.

Via Tribunali's wood fire brick oven looks like an adorable Alaskan igloo, but the bricks (made from the ashes of Mt. Vesuvius) were flown in from Naples. This extra hot oven cooks the pizza in a flash, and allows the thin crust to stay chewy underneath, and bubbly brown around the edges.

Ordinarily, I fall victim to being a topping whore. But at Via Tribunali I am perfectly content with the margherita pizza, topped only with the freshest, vibrant red tomato sauce, blobs of fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. But I'd never refuse the Piazza Dante (pictured) topped with that amazingly bright tasting San Marzano tomato sauce, melty provolone, pink prosciutto, cherry tomatoes and a leafy layer of peppery arugula.

Slice by slice, I chowed down on both varieties last night. In fact, I ate half of each pie, which means I ate *ahem* an entire pizza for dinner.

But so what! Over the years, I probably tossed fifty pizza pennies into the wishing fountain. The actuality of my parents ordering pizza on one of those nights? It might have happened once. Once! It doesn't take a mathematician to see that I am owed 49 pizzas. And I plan to eat them, one delicious bite at a time, at Via Tribunali.

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