Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Crozet Pizza- really the world's best?

Finally, it was within our view... the pizza chosen by Fodor's as Best in the U.S.; Fun with the Family in Virginia, Compass American Guides, and Moon Handbooks as Best in Virginia; and, drumroll please: chose by National Geographic Driving Guides as BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD!

The interior of the place reminded me of a brownbar in Amsterdam. There was a lot dark wood and exposed beams, business cards stained by the years pinned to a dark wall . A family sat in the corner at a table laden with pizza, boisterously eating, and and sipping on sodas.

We walked to the back counter, where veggies were being chopped, boxes being folded, and ovens roaring. A tall, lanky young boy cast a glance in our direction, and asked if we had a call-in order. With a shake of the head, we begged a moment to quickly puruse the menu for carry-our. The lackadaisical youth chewed vigorously on his toothpick, staring, until we spoke again. DucCat (as Mr. Ducatti well henceforth be known, per his request), without hesitation, ordered the meat-lovers pizza; I got the veggie, add mushroom, and two house salads. Our server told us we could have a seat, and he'd let us know when it was ready. Throughout our interaction, I couldn't help but be reminded me of the stereotypical French waiter... stand-offish, slightly belligerant, and with a veiled air of studied indifference. It was absolutely hysterical.

We sat down in the smaller, adjoining dining room to wait for our pies, and spent several minutes studying their bulletin board. It was overflowing with pictures of people in Crozet tee-shirts around the world. The most striking example was of an astronaut with a boldly holding a Crozet tee in outer space. Real or Photoshop? In the context of all the worldly photos, it was just the right anecdote.

The pizzas arrived shortly, and we loaded the car up, and went on to Wintergreen. Going up the mountain, the sticky, humid heat finally began to drop away. By the time we reached our condo, it was almost pleasant outside. We unloaded, slipped into something a little more comfortable, and had a cocktail or two on the back porch. The view wasn't quite what I excepted- we were staring at a bunch of trees surrounding the units- but it was quiet and relaxed, birdcalls the only noise worth noting. I soon realized that I'd never before seen a chipmunk, and was shocked at how tiny they are in real life. I guess all those years of Chip n' Dale made me believe they were a bit more like squirrels.

It was almost time for dinner, so we got the pies warming, and plated our salads. There is a reason that I didn't photograph either salad, just like there's a reason that Crozet Pizza isn't world-famous for their salads: THEY SUCK!!! I'm pretty sure that I saw a sign saying the dressings were homemade, but I've never had a homemade dressing that tasted that bad. After one taste, I threw my whole salad away.

Luckily, the pie was worth the wait. The crust wasn't thick or thin, but very nicely in between. In fact, it was a bit like a thin slice of foccaccia, very filling in and of its own right. The veggies that blanketed the top were perfectly cooked; nothing had fallen into a soggy mess, or been turned too crisp. The mushrooms, especially, were some of the best that I have EVER had on a pizza. The cheese, though, is really were a large part of the oomph comes from. They only had one kind of cheese, and it's a pre-shredded mozzarella. Scary words, maybe, but this was no ordinary bag of Kraft's. It was some of the richest mozzarella I've ever had in my life, like it had been made with European-style cream, then left to marinate overnight in a tub of more cream. It was good, but a little went a very long way.

"So what do you think?" asked DucCat, courageously taking on piece number three of the Meat Lover's (note, again, that there is no picture of his pie; this wasn't due to any negative experience, but a lack of subject to photograph by the time I got around to it.) In all honesty, it wasn't the world's BEST pie. Really, what a subjective thing anyway. But it was very, very, very good, and certainly the best that I'd had in quite some time. While I'd love to go back and try some more of their specialty pies, I don't see myself driving the 2 hours expressly for that experience.

DucCat thinks that I'm being snobby and elitist, and rolls his eyes. He thinks there's no satisfying me. I think that it's fun to wonder what lies around the next corner.


Blogger digiFOO said...

Found ya through 101cookbooks.com.

And I bookmarked this pizza place. I'm going to have to check it out. Maybe around the fall when I hope to get up to the mountains!

August 16, 2005 7:42 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Great review! It sounds like a fun place to visit!

August 16, 2005 10:12 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

digifoo, I love 101 cookbooks! And, if you'd be in the area, Crozet Pizza is worth checking out.

Thanks, joe!

August 17, 2005 7:00 AM  

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