Yet against all odds, I made it just in time to Ken's Artisan Pizza in South East Portland. Founded just over seven years ago by baker Ken Forkish and chef Alan Maniscalco, the duo created KAP following the smashing success of their Monday Night Pizzas at Ken's bakery in the Alphabet District.
The photos speak for themselves- Ken's is spacious, welcoming, and certainly cozy. The first thing that caught my eye was their beastly oven, how could I do anything but stare at this beauty?
Simply massive. This is a Le Panyol from Maine, a larger indoor counterpart to some of its copper brethren like that seen at The Copper Oven. I love this fire-breather.
Alright alright already, let's get to the pizza! Ken's offers a number of toppings to pick from, but in typical fashion I went for one Margherita and one fennel sausage pie, the latter comes with caramelized onions by default.
Just over two minutes later, this guy appeared at my table. Gorgeous is the word I'd use for this- smooth pureed tomatoes, perfectly melted cheese, and a cornicione that screams hearty deliciousness.
This was indeed a great pie cooked to perfection, but I have to say its successor was the real star-
To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of onions (even caramelized), but Holy Vidalia did these pair fantastically with the house-made fennel sausage, sauce, cheese and basil. At this point you know I love my sausage in crumbled chunks, but the smaller grain size used at Ken's worked just great.
If Portland is just a bit too far to travel, you can always take a stab at recreating Ken's pies at home with his James Beard award-winning cook book. This guy knows bread. All said and done, Ken's Artisan Pizza and its warm hipster vibes were exactly what I was in need of straight off the plane.