Lately I have been bogged down by the crunch of work, clinic hours, and homework. A friend recently posted, “You’re always doing homework.” To which I replied, “Yes. Yes I am.” In truth, I work my full-time job, dash off to clinic hours for my practicum/internship toward my Masters in Mental Health Counseling, and then come home to finish off the day with a few hours of homework.
It occurred to me how long it has been since I’ve posted something on my blog, and I was disappointed in myself. Yes, I realized something would have to give as I’m doing all these other have-to’s, but I’ve been yearning to do something creative and fun. So today, when I had to use my two hours between work and a conference call to drive across town to pick up a prescription from a specialty pharmacy, I realized there were two pizzerias that offered Gluten Free pizza that I had wanted to try for over a year, but never had the chance. It just so happened that one was only 1/2 mile out of the way on the way to the pharmacy, and the other was on the way back. Thus, the inception of Taste Test Tuesday.
I am not getting paid for any of this. Since going Gluten Free I get asked a lot about where I can eat and what is available and what do I recommend. I have a friend whose blog I usually refer people to for terrific recipes, but I’m single and don’t have much time for cooking or baking. Taste Test Tuesday will focus on local restaurants (greater Phoenix area) and easy to prep Gluten Free (GF) items easily found at local grocers.
The contenders for this week are in the category of best GF pizza:
(Sorry folks, I didn’t insert pictures because the only ones online I could find are regular, non-GF pizzas and that just felt wrong).
Sardella’s pizza was the first major chain locally to offer GF pizza (as far as I’m aware). Their GF pizza comes in one size (12″) starting at $13 ($1.25 for each topping). Yes, it’s pricey, but those of us who are used to eating GF already know this to be the case with most GF options. The real challenge is to get the best tasting product for your money. So how was it? Sardella’s GF pizza is fine. The crust is a little reminiscent of Peter Piper Pizza’s regular crust (at least to me). It’s pale yellow, hard on the bottom and almost undercooked on the top (under the cheese). Sometimes it has a slightly stick-to-the-teeth quality. But it’s a lifesaver when you have 3 nephews and a niece who want pizza for dinner and you can’t have what they are having. It’s also the most easily accessible, because the chain is scattered valleywide AND delivers! Bonus: Sardella’s also offers GF salads, pasta, and wings. I’ve had the GF Caesar (it’s the normal Caesar minus the croutons, or with croutons on the side). I haven’t tried the pasta yet, but the GF wings are YUM! I get them in boneless. They have a nice cornmeal coating that’s very tasty.
Picazzo’s has a couple locations; none terribly close to me, but as the Paradise Valley location was almost on the way to the pharmacy I didn’t want to miss a chance to try them out. Their GF cheese only comes in a medium (10-12″) and had only a slight edge over Sardella’s. They worked a little harder to shape the crust like a traditional pizza and not a frozen pizza, but they had the same pale-yellow, stiff crust that was slightly sticky on your back teeth. Tasty, yes. But after taxes the carry-out pizza was over $15, the most expensive of the three. BONUS: They also offer GF pastas in some tempting sounding combos that I will have to try another time. (Maybe when it’s time for my refills).
Spinato’s had me from the start. The second I lifted the lid to peek at the pizza I knew I had a winner. This one just looked right. And boy did it taste right! No, it’s not the doughy crust you get from a gluten-bearing pizza; but they do something with their crust that just blows the others away. I just don’t know what. It might be that they season it. It might be that they get it really thin and crisp. I don’t know what it is, but I can tell you that whenever I pass by, I will be picking up another one. It was the best looking, the best tasting, and also the lowest priced of the three ($11 for the same size). Spinato’s also keeps a GF take-out menu on their counter for easy grabbing. Yup, folks. We have a winner. And I have a whole lotta leftovers.