They say New York and Chicago are the pizza towns, but here at Chow Bella, we beg to differ. It's just not fair to ask us to limit our list of favorite Phoenix pizzas to just five, so we'll be back soon with another five -- and who knows, maybe another five after that.
Leave us your suggestions in the comments -- and if you've shot your own pizza porn, let's see it! Email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we use your photo, we'll send you some Chow Bella mints so you can freshen up, post-pizza.
5. A Mushroom Party from La Grande Orange Pizzeria
Let's face it, La Grande Orange, in-between downtown Scottsdale and the Camelback corridor, is an off-the-beaten path, one-stop shop for gourmet just about anything. While we love its dizzying array of olive oils, Tammie Coe treats, or a crazy-good coffee on the outdoor patio, it's the gourmet pizzas from the casual La Grand Orange Pizzeria that we think about the most -- like the aptly named A Mushroom Party. Loaded with three types of sautéed 'shrooms (crimini, button, and oyster), in addition to sweet onion and shaved fennel on a thin sourdough fermented crust, gourmet pie fans can watch the on-site pizza pros work their magic or, if the place is packed (and it usually is), take advantage of curbside service.
Naples-style pies aren't hard to come by in Phoenix, but most we've sampled have burnt bottoms or a center so thin that the cheese slithers away faster than makeup off our faces on a hot summer day. Cibo hits the mark others miss by crafting a thin-crust pizza that doesn't sag in the middle - or shed a ton of nasty orange grease. The Pizza Salciccia is especially noshable, with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce that smacks of the vine (not the can), and sausage crumbles with hints of fennel and anise.
At La Piazza al Forno, pizza means only one thing - Neapolitan. Thanks to homemade mozzarella and dough, San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy, and recipes from the old country, the Piazza family's been servin' up a tight selection of phenomenal Neapolitans since they opened their neighborhood eatery in downtown Glendale over three years ago. Our favorite? The Bianca, or white pizza. A garlic-lover's dream, the Bianca features fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and basil on a thin but sturdy crust with a soft interior and, thanks to a wood-fueled brick oven, a touch of savory smokiness.
Our fave pizza at The Parlor is the Yukon Gold, but that may just be the Irish in us talking. Tender Yukon Gold potato medallions are scattered across a pizza and topped with pungent gorgonzola, earthy leeks and crispy pancetta cubes. And if you ask real nice, they'll top it with a fried egg! As we all know, everything is better with a fried egg on top. Break the yolk and let it ooze out all over your rich piece of the pie. Mmmm....
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And for dessert.... Who doesn't like a cookie the size of their head? A huge lump of chocolate chip or white chocolate macademia nut cookie dough is cooked in a 6" personal pizza pie pan, but this is one "pizza" that you'll want to share in a group. Because it also comes topped with three creamy scoops of vanilla bean ice cream!
Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at amy-silverman.com.