Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pizza is in at Pleasant House Bakery

Guys. Please don’t be sick of this. But I NEED to talk about Pleasant House Bakery again. I know it seems like I’ve said everything that needs to be said about them: They ooze local, make me smile, and constantly improve delicious.  You know Friday night BYOB fish fry has become a standing appointment for us, where we unwind, welcome in the weekend, and fight over the best bites of banoffee pie. And it might be my favorite meal of the week, but it’s not what I want to talk about today.
This summer Pleasant House Bakery started making pizza. And they made it good.
Chicken, curry, cauliflower, cilantro, ripe grape tomatoes, mozzarella, and heavenly doughy crispy crust. I can’t even think of a way to describe how warm and balanced this pizza was. The flavors, textures, smells were stirring. It was a pizza that made me feel feelings. And almost made me doubt the “best pizza in town” slogan painted on gigio’s window. We ate it mostly in wide-eyed, eyebrow-raised silence, on the PHB’s picnic-benched patio in the slowly fading August dusk.
A few weeks ago, the PHB crew revived the pizza oven for a special event and Alex and I were so. there. This time, the pizza was different. Not a bright, festive, colorful showcase of summer’s harvest. This time, accompanied by a side of dreamy mussels in a salty, leeky broth, the pizza was topped with braised Slagel pork, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, béchamel, and Pleasant Farms arugula. If I didn’t believe in the importance of living, eating, feeling seasonality, this pizza juxtaposition would have converted me.
The wood-fired dough was just as we remembered, exceptionally browned and light—and made for excellent dipping in the mussel broth. And again the balance of flavors: sweetness from the onions, tender meaty richness, slight spice from the greens, and nutty cheese. Pizza that appeals to all of your senses. It was a dark, rainy night and this pizza had such a pleasant, October-y feel.
Without cinnamon, pumpkin, latte, apple, caramel, spice, it tasted right for October. It reminded me of the damp fallen leaves, sticking to bright orange gourds we’d seen a week earlier during our annual Michigan, kids’ birthdays, pumpkin patch run.  Maybe because it was pouring rain both times. Maybe because both the pizza and the pumpkin run fit the season like the gloves we should probably start looking for.
We got Maisie a pink polka dot dress for her birthday. I told her, “Polka dots are totally in.” “Totally,” she agreed. Then, in the car on the way to the farm, Luc—master cornfield spotter and the only six-year-old I’ve ever heard use the phrase, “That was fantastic!”—announced that we were, in fact, driving by a cornfield. Maisie looked out the rain-splotched window to confirm our brother’s pronouncement, and turned back to me with a smile.
“Corn is in,” she said. “Totally,” I agreed.