Monday, April 2, 2012

Why Pizza?

Oh boy, today was a little overwhelming!  Had my first budget meeting with the contractor & architect.   I need to figure out how to cut it down to size, and  I need a day to think on it!  So when I get that anxiety feeling I try and concentrate on the why.  So many people keep asking me, "Why pizza?" 

Well..... my first idea after the big Ah-Ha moment was a little café, something small that I could handle myself.  I thought, ok a little diner I could remodel, serve breakfast and lunch; small, cheap, easy… “Diner Mama”, and that’s what I was looking for the first year.  I put in several offers on some good locations, got all excited, but was outbid.  Ok, Your will not mine......

So on Valentines Day 2009, I went to my favorite comfort restaurant in Marin, Pizzeria Picco.  There I sat at the counter, feeling a part of the whole, and had a wonderful meal of handmade salumi, perfectly dressed  salad, and the worlds most perfect pizza.  With a glass of rich red wine and an icy swirl of organic Strauss ice cream with olive oil and sea salt topping,  I was in heaven.  It dawned on me, this is the perfect dining experience.  I had an incredibly well prepared meal, fresh & handmade, in a casual and family like atmosphere, all for a reasonable price.   I went home and couldn’t stop thinking about my evening.  This is it!  This is what I want to create.  A home away from home – a home extended – a neighborhood restaurant, a community gathering place in which good food is the centerpiece, handmade and fresh.  Where hospitality, comfort, and the chatter and aromas of an active kitchen make you feel at home.  A place I would want to go to work everyday, with people I want to be with everyday.  I fell in love that night with and idea, a concept, a vision.  A seed had been placed in my marrow that has grown into a passion that I could make the rest of my life’s calling.   

Not any pizza.....I grew up on pizza, seems like almost every Friday night my family would pour into the station wagon and head to the local Shakey's Pizza Parlor.  My best friends father played banjo every Friday night there!  

But, that pizza!......Artisan, handmade.  Dough, that’s stretched and risen with natural yeast in the old tradition of Italy.  Handmade mozzarella cheese, the best San Marzano tomatoes, fresh local ingredients with the simplest preparation so they shine as they are, and then flash roasted in a wood fed oven.   Centuries and generations, a return to the old traditions that gathered people and communities together, this is what made sense to me, this is what I was after.     But some foods are just a match made in heaven no matter what you do…. Bread, tomatoes, cheese, but done well its shear perfection!

So I started researching ……. I found everything I could about wood-fired pizza.  I started eating in every wood-fired and artisan pizzeria I could, and of course, started experimenting making it on my own.  Which is a post for another day, but suffice it to day that I owe a great deal of appreciation and inspiration to Bruce and all his staff at Pizzeria Picco!  Had they not had such awesome pizza, I might be a "Diner Mama" today.

Thank you.....

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