Posted By: BurgerDogBoy on November 14th, 2010
I often wonder what a food entrepreneur is thinking when he/she puts the word “Gourmet” in their name? What does it mean to most people, anyway? According to the Wikidictionary, “gourmet” means “fine”, which is pretty far afield from its etymological root. The dictionary goes on to say “Gourmet has become somewhat debased by marketing usage, and is considered by some a pretentious middlebrow term. Such users tend to prefer terms such as artisanal (emphasizing the craft) for fine food.” That latter explanation makes more sense these days, I would guess.
In any case, the local chain “Pizzicato” is fond of the word ‘gourmet’, and in their case, I suspect they believe it refers to both the ‘artisanal’ making and the ingredients used. They tout their crust as one special aspect, buying flour only from the Pendleton Flour Mill in Eastern Oregon. Mrs. BDB was in a mood to order in last night, and usually pizza is not on her ordering radar, any more than burgers are, but I suspect her choice was motivated at least partially because it’s my birthday this week, and she likes to make me especially happy during the anniversary of my entry into humankind. (Mostly because she believes when I was born, pizza hadn’t been invented yet).
After a bit of online investigation, Pizzicato got the nod, and after a failed attempt to persuade the Hillsdale branch to deliver to us, we called the Lake O outlet (which is actually farther away), and they said “sure, why not.”
Off the menu, Mrs. BDB chose a small salad, with pear slices, candied walnuts, mixed greens, balsamic dressing and Gorgonzola. Although walnuts and Gorgonzola also do not top her list of favorite things, they are on mine, so we got a pretty fair distribution out of the salad. She loved the mixed greens, I did not. The roughage was a little too rough for my delicate ingestion apparati.
She also ordered the 3 cheese stuffed mushrooms, baked crimini filled with feta, provolone & Parmesan. We both panned these, while the mushrooms were crisp and tasty, the stuffing was kind of “gloppy” (translation: wet) so they were difficult to pick up, and I suspect these would be much better at the restaurant, when they are hot and just out of the oven.
Pizzicato Portland Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
For a pie, I chose the 12″ (medium) “Sausage combo”, which the menu describes as fennel sausage, mushrooms, black olives, and smoked mozzarella. The joint likes to crow about their crust, which is a “New York thin” (my definition) meaning thicker than cracker, chewy throughout, with only slight crisping, and some definite hang when you are picking up a slice. The hang and composition is not so severe the toppings end up flying nilly-willy off the crust, but that’s more a condition of assembly than the actually crust. The crust is flavorful, and ‘breadstick chewy’, if that’s your preference.
The fennel sausage has very good flavor, but is doled out in microscopic bits, smaller than a Sysco type pre-crumble. On a pie of this price and description, I’d prefer to see amply-sized hand-pulled chunks of the pork. Mushrooms and olives were from a can or jar, nothing at all to make them distinguishable or exceptional. Again, I’d prefer a more “artisanal” approach to these ingredients, as well. Finally, whether or not the mozzarella was actually ‘smoked’, I can’t say. Didn’t seem to enhance the experience for me.
Would I order again? Why not? Would I go out of my way to order or eat there? Nah. The appetizer, salad, and pizza pie, delivered, produced a tab of $30, and for the same amount, if I dared, I could have gotten two mediums and three pounds of pasta from Pizza Hut on a Tuesday nite special. Point being, the Hut choice would have lasted several days, but Pizzicato’s delivery was a single meal for us.
Pizzicato Pizza in Portland gets 5 out of 8 slices. You can follow me on twitter @burgerdogboy