Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Patxi's Chicago Pizza, San Francisco

Having grown up in Maryland, I had never been exposed to Chicago-style stuffed deep-dish pizza. My partner, Zach, however, grew up in Chicago and has always raved about the true authentic Chicago-style pizzas, but we had never seen it done vegan-style, that is, until now.  I am pleased to present to you -- Patxi's (pronounced pah-cheese) Chicago Pizza with many locations in the San Francisco/Bay area.

So what is Chicago-style pizza? Suprisingly, there are many types. There is stuffed pizza, which is a hearty deep-dish pizza with a layer of crust on the bottom, followed by layers of cheese and toppings, all covered by another thin layer of crust, topped with a pizza sauce.This is a true pizza pie! There is pan pizza, which is another deep-dish style pizza baked in a similar deep-sided pan, but its crust is thick like a cross between a buttery crisp crust and focaccia. Toppings and cheese frequently go on the top of a pan pizza, rather than under the sauce as is traditionally the case with stuffed pizza.  There is also a thin-crust style Chicago pizza that is crunchier than a New York style pizza.  There are variations of these as well.

When I heard that there was Chicago-style deep dish pizza being made with Daiya vegan cheese in the Bay area, I got so excited!  We headed over to Patzi's located in Lafayette in the East Bay area. When we arrived, there was a 30-minute wait so we sat down at the bar to place our order. We asked about the wine selection and the bartender offered to let us try a few of the wines before we ordered. Very nice! We decided to order a couple glasses of a pinot noir as we perused the menu.

After a few minutes, we were ready to order our pizza. Patzi's has versions of the stuffed, pan, and thin crust pizza, but I was mostly interested in trying this unique, stuffed pizza. So, we ordered the Chicago "stuffed" -- their flagship pie. For our toppings, we got crushed garlic, red onions, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts. The pizza takes 35-40 minutes to make so an appetizer is highly recommended. We started with an order of classic bruschetta.

By this time, a table opened up and they offered to seat us in a booth by a window. Very nice!  The bartenders seemed upset that we were leaving, but I think they got over it pretty quickly. They brought us the bruschetta, which was a typical bruschetta, but made with cherry tomatoes. It was a good appetizer to pass the time, but nothing to really write home about.

After about 35 minutes, the pizza arrived. The pizzas cook for so long that when they come out, they are steaming! We waited a bit, put some hot peppers on top, then took a bite. The pizza met and exceeded my wildest expectations! It wasn't like anything I'd ever had before in my life. It was a thick, layered pizza with lots of gooey Daiya, tons of toppings, and a delicious homemade sauce. This was, by definition, a "pizza pie!"  The combination of artichoke hearts, onions, mushrooms, and garlic made for a great pizza. I absolutely loved it. And...for the real test -- did Zach like it as well? Remember, he is from Chicago! Yes, he really did. He was impressed at how well the Daiya melted and remarked about how good it was. Win!

The small 10" pizza was about $23 -- so pretty pricey, but it was soooo delicious! The restaurant was nice, the service was great, and the food...did I mention it was delicious?! This should be yet another on the must-do list of things for any vegan visiting the Bay area. This pizza is everything you ever dreamed of and more!

3577 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA 94549
(925) 299-0700

Patxi's Pizza on Urbanspoon

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