I’m not what you would call a Pizza snob. You’ll never hear me use words like “traditional”, or “authentic” in regards to pizza, because I just don’t care about that stuff. I only care about if it tastes good. Plus, big words are hard to spell. I’ll stick to “mmmm”, and “yum”, thank you very much.
When we stumbled across (literally stumbled, as we had just left happy hour at Ortegas) Project Pie in the Hillcrest neighbourhood of San Diego, it looked so unique and interesting that we had to try it out.
The concept of Project Pie is so simple it makes you wonder why somebody hadn’t thought of it sooner. You walk up to the counter and order either a pre-designed combination of sauce and toppings, or build your own. The price is the same ($7.50), no matter how many toppings you get. If you just want a straight-up cheese pie, it’s only $6.
Choose either white or red sauce, and proceed down the assembly line adding as much, or as little of everything as you want. What a concept! I’ve seen it referred to as “The Subway of Pizzas” in a few online reviews, and as much as that would make me cringe if I was a restauranteur, it’s a very accurate description of the process. Thankfully there is no “Subway Funk”, which is the term I have assigned to the strange, sickly odour of Subway’s bread. Yuck.
When I first saw the dough I was a little nervous about how this pie would turn out. It had the appearance of those dreadful grocery store pre-made pizza shells, with the mathematically uniform perforated surface.
Proving yet again that life’s best decisions are made after a few margaritas, I went ahead with my order.
Like a kid in a candy store, I went down the line surveying each possible topping as closely as the scratches on a rental car. I finally settled on Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Sausage, Feta, and fresh Basil on half, with tomato sauce.
A mere 2 or 3 minutes later I had my pie in hand and let me tell you, it looked delicious! The crust had a nice crispiness to it, and wasn’t too thin or too thick. It was surprisingly very good. Purists would whine about it to be sure, but I say if it tastes good, eat it.
Anytime a pizza is “cheap”, the first thing I think is that the cheese will be skimpier than a teenagers mini-skirt. It wasn’t. In fact, my pizza was quite the opposite in that my wife Robyn actually thought there was too much cheese on it for her. (She must have been off her meds) In fact, none of the toppings disappointed the way you might expect they would on a “value” pizza. I was impressed.
I’m a little sad that I didn’t make it back for a second sampling before the end of our holiday, but at least now I know where I can get some good late-night pie next time I’m in San Diego.