After a long-overdue rendezvous with a friend of mine in Haight-Ashbury, I made my way north through some of San Fran's most iconic neighborhoods, including the Castro, the Mission, and eventually Pacific Heights.
Seeing this row of homes, or "painted ladies" as they're called, made me feel like I was in an episode of Full House. While I didn't see any of the Tanner family, I did find one of the city's most talked-about pizza joints, Delfina Pizzeria.
Craig and Anne Stoll opened Pizzeria Delfina five years ago just down the block from their successful Italian restaurant, Delfina. The location I went to on California St. (a second Delfina is in the Mission on 18th st.) had a fun fresh vibe that felt very, well, Californian-
The place reminded me of what I wish Co. was like, or could be. It's very modern but without being too cramped and stuffy. The front of the space has a large open window that gives the whole pizzeria a nice breezy and welcoming feel. Going along with the decor, a rad mural of the Golden Gate adorns the wall.
I bet you're wondering just what those sprouting stick-like things are seen in these pictures- at first I thought they were those diffusion air fresheners, but was delighted to realize they were something completely different:
Thin, crunchy breadsticks! Sweet! Each table sports a bunch of these, as well as a small plate of the go-t0 pizza condiments- red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and Parmesan. I'm not one to really use any of these unless in cases of flavorless emergency; I think the pizza should speak for itself. I've never seen anything quite like this, and I really dig it.
Two of the righteous cooks here turned out to be from Bucks County, PA, my home county! Bonus points. Delfina Pizzeria is a concoction of Craig Stoll's memories of both New York and Neapolitan pizza. This makes sense considering the pies are Neapolitan-style cooked in gas deck ovens.
While I admire the blend of styles, it couldn't rescue an otherwise bland pizza. It really pains me to say this, because both the pizza and pizzeria are gorgeous and unique in their own right.
Delfina uses fresh and local ingredients which were clearly noticeable in the pie's presentation alone, but for whatever reason there was almost no flavor to be found anywhere across the pizza.
The pie was well-cooked, but done so in an interesting way. Craig punches down large impressions in the crust, similar to those seen in a pie crust on a larger scale. The idea behind this is to push the gas in the crust into small pockets that rise in the oven, creating crisp, charred bubbles once the pizza comes out of the oven.
Maybe it was a bad day, maybe I'd been eating too much pizza (impossible, I know), but I was underwhelmed by the pies at Delfina. However I seem to stand alone in my opinion, as the place is wildly popular.
I'm just glad they had the condiments at the ready.