The people of Vancouver love their pizza and so do I. The Vancouver Foodster Best Pizza Challenge is in full swing and it’s showcasing some unique and delicious pizza creations all over the Lower Mainland. Like the other Best Of Challenges I’ve showcased before you get out and try as many pizza creations as possible from June 20 to July 14th, 2013 and vote for your favorites, the only new thing is that you can vote right away and once per day for the length of the challenge. For this spotlight I got to try 3 completely different pizza’s all over town with some great friends and here are my impressions.
Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria
Our 1st stop of the day was in North Burnaby at Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria. Cotto opened last year and has been on my must visit list so I was really happy to see that we were kicking off the tour here. If you like authentic Neapolitan pizza Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria should be on your eat list as well, they are VPN Certified and have an inventive menu that changes seasonally.
Chef Nathan Wright has created something that was inspired by some stellar Two Rivers Meats Chorizo he was using on the restaurants charcuterie board, from there he started building flavors and the Pizza Di Spagna was born. In addition to the Two Rivers Chorizo the pizza has Roasted Red & Yellow Peppers, Parmigiano Reggiano, Mohan Cheese and Fresh Baby Arugula all on a bed of arugula pesto. This pizza was a great combination of ingredients, the sweetness from the peppers along with the slightly spicy chorizo and garlicky arugula pesto was just right then add in the crunch of the baby arugula made this something I would come back for. The crust had nice leoparding and flavor with just the right amount of chew. This pizza will leave some chorizo oil on the bottom of the plate-wipe it up with your crust and savor it because it’s like fine wine!
Ragazzi Pizza Co.
Next up is the Ragazzi Pizza on East 22nd Ave, I was familiar with the food truck they used to run downtown last year but never got to try them till now. This pizza isn’t the Neapolitan variety, they use a brick oven here and the crust is thicker I found. Ragazzi had created a pizza that I never in a million years would have thought up-the Alla Portoghese, topped with sauteed kale with garlic and a hint of spice, smoke cured sausage with a cream potato infused sauce. The kale and the potato cream sauce really intrigued me with this pizza, the sauce I found had a mealy mouth feel to it and it wasn’t overly rich. The kale was a great addition and reminded me of rapine the sausage was on the dryer cured meat side and I would have liked it more if it was softer. This pizza was alright and they get points for originality but I’m more of a Neapolitan pizza kinda guy.
BiBo Pizzeria con Cucina
Lastly we finished up at the BiBo on West 4th Avenue with their Friariella, a Neapolitan pizza that features Friarielli or Friggitelli, they are small-sized slender thin-walled mild south Italian peppers that are the same shape as a jalapeno but with the flavor of a sweet pepper. When I took my 1st bite the flavor of the peppers enveloped my palate but then when I got a bite of the cheese it was absolute magic, they put on half way through cooking so it doesn’t completely melt and make the pizza watery. overall I loved the flavors of this pizza but one thing I would have loved is if the peppers were chopped up more finely resulting in more even coverage of the pizza-even bites basically with a bit of everything. The crust was top-notch with great leoparding and flavor. I would totally come back to the BiBo for some more Italian eats and pizza.
Overall the pizza’s I had were creative and thought went into each creation, if this is the taste of the creations to come it’s going to be one of the most fought challenges to date! You can check out the entries here and VOTE for your favorites daily!