When Allan and I are at home, we do a lot of cooking and eating at home. But when we are on the road in our rv, then we start looking for interesting places to eat. When we look for a restaurant, we want to find a place that has something to offer that we can't or probably won't prepare at home. Because we were meeting our friend Jann at the Kubota Gardens this week, I went on line to find a restaurant nearby that would be a good place for lunch. Pizzeria Pulcinella looked like it would be close to the gardens, but before making that final decision I took a glance at their menu on line to determine if they had anything we would particularly enjoy.
They had a lunch menu that was priced reasonably and included several salads, many different kinds of pizza, polenta, and panini sandwiches and more. But the big surprise was that they were a registered Neapolitan Pizzeria. Coincidentally I had purchased a used book the week before called Best Food Writing of 2000 Edited by Alice Waters, and had just read one of the food essays the night before entitled Food Court by Nancy Harmon Jenkins of Food and Wine Magazine about how Neapolitan Pizza was going to obtain the coveted Protected Designation of Origin by the European Union which recognizes about 500 foods and beverages as having something inherently special and inimitable and deserves to be in a protected status. This means that several requisites have to be met; where the product is made, the raw materials from which it is created, the knowledge of how to make the product and the sensibility built up over generations. Most people are familiar with champagne wine, roquefort cheese, or Po Valley ham, but now Neapolitan Pizzas will have that designation as well.
So what a surprise to find that this restaurant has that designation and is number 304 on the register for protected status of neapolitan pizzas. This means that they had to have a wood fired pizza oven made in Italy sent over to be used to make their pizzas (they had to remove the front wall of the restaurant to get it in the building). They also have to import the flour and yeast. And they have to have the training and knowledge to know what exactly makes this pizza different than any other.
Well of course we had to order a pizza and Allan chose the pepperoni and portabello mushroom pizza. Jann and I decided to share a polenta with Italian sausage meat sauce. We all had the rugala salad with Arugula, cherry tomatoes, and olive oil with Meyer lemon dressing. We dug right in and then remembered that we should be taking photos, so my apologies for the photos of half eaten food. Actually it was lucky I did remember or the photos might have been of scraped clean plates. The pizza was thin crust, with a crispy edge and a soft elastic dough center. Delicious.
Then we could not resist the dessert menu. We decided to share. Allan had spumoni, Jann had profittaroli, and I had the crema al limone. Well they were all good, but the crema al limone which had been flown over from Milan, was exceptional. It tasted kind of like a cross between sorbet and ice cream and was a lemon cream swirled with a limoncello. Since once again we started eating before we got photos, our waitress was kind enough to bring out another limoncello flute for the photo.
If you don't have the time or the money to fly to Italy and you are in the Seattle/Tacoma area, then consider taking a drive to South Seattle. You can take a stroll around the Kubota Gardens and then drive a couple of blocks over to Pizzeria Pulcinella for lunch www.pulcinellapizza.com. It is something special.