A few weeks ago I wrote about my recent pizza experiences in San Francisco. In particular, there was my revelation about Pizzeria Delfina on 18th Street, which makes a pretty good approximation of a Neapolitan-style pie.
We ate another San Francisco pizza about a week later. It was our last night in the city before coming back to Montreal, and after leaving a wine bar we were on our way down Valencia Street with Delfina in mind. Neither of us were looking forward to the inevitable lineup, so when we passed Pauline’s Pizza Martine said “Hey, what about this place?”
What about it indeed. First of all, it’s a much bigger space, and second, there was a single unoccupied table for two over against the wall. I had seen Pauline’s mentioned in a positive light in a few Chowhounds discussions, so yeah. Sorry Delfina’s. (Why don’t you expand into that empty storefront that’s right next door on the left?)
It proved to be a very good move.
Photo by pecanpieguy
Pauline’s takes a different approach to pizza than does Delfina’s. Pauline’s emphasis is very much on the “California style” with fresh, homemade ingredients and no particular affinity to Italian classics. Despite all my expostulation (which is to say, ass talk) about “authenticity” I’m quite happy to go in other directions as long as it’s done well.
And Pauline’s does it well. The pies are available in various sizes (that’s not very Italian), and you can get “half & half” pies, where half is dressed one way and the other half another way. All very standard American pizza experience on the surface. But the difference is in the quality of the ingredients, the technique, and of course, the tasting.
We went half & half. One side was “vegetable combo” with mushrooms, peppers, and olives. The other half was the special of the day; some kind of finely chopped leafy chard, something else (I don’t remember), and a lot (a lot!) of garlic. When it arrived it smelled insanely delicious, and looked great. One half was a mix of white and green (chard and cheese) and the other half was almost black with olives and mushrooms.
Photo by Pengrin™
We had ordered a “medium” on the waitress’s recommendation, and at first it we thought we had perhaps gone too far, as it seemed like a very big medium. We needn’t have worried, however, as we managed to gobble the whole thing without any problem at all. The cheese was delicious but lightly applied (as it should be), and the crust, was thin(ish) and very light and crispy.
We left there feeling pretty good, and pretty happy about our various pizza choices.