Rest of the Best 2013: Houston's Top Ten Pizzas
6. Coppa Osteria
Photo by Will Walsh So much meaty goodness on the pizza at Coppa Osteria.
I've already written once about my love for Coppa Osteria's carnissima pizza. There's not much left to say except that I used to despise any version of the meat-lover's pizza. I think I had one too many bites of rubbery sausage or "hamburger topping" as a child, and that ruined it for me. Until recently. Until my tongue met the spicy pork sausage, the fat-marbled coppa, the smoky prosciutto and the creamy Parmesan drizzle that tops it all off. I honestly thought meat-lover's pizzas and I were never meant to be. Carnissima, I was so wrong. Forgive me.
5. Pi Pizza
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt In front, Pi Pizza Truck's Outdoorsman with venison and port-soaked cherries, and in back, Pi's mac and cheese pizza.
Few pizza joints in town approach the traditional Italian dish with the same amount of creativity as does Pi Pizza chef and owner Anthony Calleo. Mac and cheese on pizza? Why the hell not? With a little bit of added bacon and a sturdy crust, he makes it work. Frito pie? Done and done. If you ask Calleo, though, he'll tell you the pizza he's most proud of is the Outdoorsman. It's one of Pi's simplest creations, featuring only three toppings: venison sausage, cherries soaked in port wine syrup, and mozzarella. If it sounds improbable to you, you're not alone. I first ordered the Outdoorsman because Calleo suggested it, and I love a good food adventure. Now I understand that venison and port-soaked cherries are long-lost lovers finally reunited on a bed of gooey mozzarella and subtly tart tomato sauce. Reunited, and it feels so good.
Photo by Jason Torres Who knew potatoes would taste so wonderful on pizza? Pizaro's did.
Real talk: Initially, the idea of potatoes on my pizza was off-putting. Restaurants keep inventing dishes where they stuff french fries into anything and call it innovative. There are french fry-stuffed burgers and burritos, and soon there will be french fry-stuffed milkshakes. Just kidding (hopefully). So when the owner of Pizaro's, Bill Hutchinson, suggested I try the Patata e Funghi pizza topped with truffle oil, Yukon gold potatoes, oven-roasted mushrooms, mozzarella, rosemary and garlic, I was hesitant. Now I know to listen to Bill. The Verace Pizza Napoletana-certified restaurant that uses San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy and authentic "00" Italian pizza flour is one of the few places in town making legitimate Neapolitan pizzas -- and with interesting toppings, no less. Sure, Pizaro's does a margherita, but why bother when you can get a pizza that so artfully displays the genius of mixing truffle oil, potatoes and dough?