I'm a fan and regular reader of Sunset Magazine, with its timely mix of food, travel, and living articles, as well as it good-looking layout. Flipping through its pages and spotting region-specific gardening advice and profiles of beloved local restaurants and entrepreneurs always gives me a tiny jolt of Arizona pride.
One of their latest features has me thinking, though. In "A slice of the West," Pizzeria Bianco gets the much-deserved nod for good pizza in these parts, but that's the extent of the AZ coverage.
Really? That's it? I'm practically a regular at Bianco, but there's certainly more to love in our pizza scene than one ultra-famous eatery. Here are a few more spots to check out for craveable pies:
How about the excellent pizzas at LGO Pizzeria, with their bubbly, crispy crusts? I love the Fallen Angel, topped with red sauce and mozzarella, shaved fennel, Schreiner's sausage, and sweet roasted peppers.
Near downtown, Cibo bakes a great white pizza called the Rustica, oozing with melted fresh mozzarella, and topped with paper-thin prosciutto and arugula after it's baked.
La Piazza al Forno, in downtown Glendale, does delicious Neapolitan pies that inspire intense cravings -- especially if you're into garlic (if so, go for the white pizza) or meat (the Italian Stallion is loaded with sausage, sopressata, pepperoni, and prosciutto).
The pies have a delicious, faintly smoky flavor at Pizza A Metro, thanks to a roaring wood-fired oven that gives the tiny strip mall space a warm vibe. Here, the classic margherita is simple but effective. You can also order a meter-long pizza (that's what the restaurant name means in Italian), which is perfect for feeding a ravenous group.
Chewy wood-fired pies at The Parlor go well with a cocktail. Gourmet toppings like wild mushrooms goat cheese, truffle oil, and chives, or roasted Yukon potato with leeks and Gorgonzola, and pancetta, give an interesting twist to the dish.
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Humble Pie also has a playfully gourmet appeal, with combinations like shrimp with mozzarella, lemon zest, basil, and chile flakes, or sunny side up egg with smoked mozzarella and prosciutto.
Hungry yet? You could go get in line at Pizzeria Bianco -- sometimes the occasion calls for it, of course -- or you could venture beyond the most famous restaurant in Phoenix to sample some other Valley treats.
Sunset, I'm talking to you.