(Double click on the images to see them full size.)
In Flagstaff there is a tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss it pizza restaurant that is creating huge buzz. Pizzicletta is on a quiet corner just a few blocks south of Flagstaff’s downtown, but this is anything but your neighborhood pizza place. Already they snagged both the cover of Arizona Highways for the “Best New Restaurants of 2013″ and a glowing mention in this month’s Sunset magazine. It is by no accident that this little place with just a few seats indoors and out is becoming a big deal. The magic that is cooking up in their pizza oven will likely win accolades and devoted fans for a long time to come. (And happy news, they are also a new customer of ours.)
Pizzicletta is named for the owner Caleb Schiff’s sojourn around Italy on a bicycle learning his craft. As a cyclist and a foodie, he journeyed across Italy more than once to learn about food and wine, but specifically to study the art of pizza. Pizzicletta specializes in pizzas created in a true Neapolitan tradition with fresh, carefully chosen ingredients, a thin wood-fired crust, and a little old world patience. You can taste the influence from his journeys in every bite. The dishes seem simple, but to do something this beautifully takes much consideration of every detail. Everything on the menu is impeccable in its authenticity.
The night Sean and I stopped in we had decided to go light in our ordering. After a long, hot drive north from Phoenix, we wanted to just share a salad and a pizza. But then we saw the cheese plate and then the gelato, and all self-control went out the window. The cheese plate with their house made foccacia came with three beautiful cheeses that change regularly. It was an elegant presentation and pairing and just enough to enjoy without overshadowing the meal.
The menu offers five pizzas made as either a Pizza Rossa and a Pizza Bianca, each with just a few accompaniments. As purists, we went for the margherita, which is I think the hardest to perfect and the truest measure of a masterpiece. There is no margin for error with a margherita. With just the bare basics of dough, sauce, mozzarella and olive oil, this is the tell that makes it achingly clear the quality of ingredients used and the skillfulness of the hands and pizza oven used in its creation. And with this, it is fair to say that Pizzicletta’s pizza is truly a work of art.
After experiencing such culinary delight, it would have been unthinkable to leave without trying the handmade gelato. And so we did, ordering one of each of the three offerings for the evening, the vanilla bean, a chocolate chip and the roasted almond. Phenomenal! Caleb’s gelato is the best I have had outside of Italy. The flavors change regularly and I will be heartbroken if I go again and the roasted almond is not available. Sean and I finished it off within seconds and next time we won’t be sharing.
It was truly a joy to get to meet Caleb and experience Pizzicletta. The whole restaurant is charming and you can feel his love for his craft. The pizza oven itself is one of the prettiest I have seen. I would suggest you get there early, as seating is limited, but know that your patience will be rewarded. This is not just pizza, it is a destination.
203 W. Phoenix Avenue
Tomorrow, Wednesday June 26th, is the last market for the season for McClendon’s Select. To make sure that you are stocked up for the summer we will have a large quantity of dates, bee pollen and honey at the Town and Country Farmers’ Market. We are also busy today harvesting as much sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, summer squash and peppers as our trucks will carry. Be sure to get there early as the last market of the season is usually a busy one.
We want to thank all of our customers for their continued support of our family farm. It is truly our honor to work with all of our market and restaurant customers. We hope to see you tomorrow at the markets and again in the fall and we wish you all a wonderful summer!
McClendon’s Select has just two more markets for the season. Our last market will be next week on Wednesday, June 26th, so make sure to stop by this week, since we will have the bins full with so much summer goodness!
The sweet corn has been a huge hit and there will be plenty at the market this week, along with the heirloom tomatoes in all shapes, colors and varieties.
Not to mention all of the bins filled with summer squashes, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers and squash blossoms.
We want to thank all of our wonderful customers for your continued support of our family farm. We love your enthusiasm and loyalty and it is only because of your dedication that we are able to bring organic, locally grown produce to the markets. We have seen the understanding and commitment to organic eating and its benefits to both personal health and the environment grow over the years. It is an honor to be a part of this and to serve our market customers and restaurants.
Sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes are the highlights of summer produce. We apologize to anyone who did not get sweet corn at the Town & Country Farmers’ Market last week. We brought 90 dozen (yes… 1080 ears!), but they sold out quickly. Not to fear, we are bringing much, much more tomorrow. But given how good this corn is, I would still advise that you get there early. There will be some heirloom tomatoes, but in limited supply, so again, set that alarm clock!
If you are considering making cream corn, here is a new recipe from Chef Payton Curry that looks delicious and takes only one ingredient. (Well, two if you get fancy!)
Shuck corn and then cut the raw kernels off of the cob with a bread knife into a bowl.
Save the cob and place into a stock pot and cover with one inch of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and reserve.
Place half of the kernels in a blender with one cup of the corn stock and puree. This is your corn juice.
Now heat the corn juice on the stove on high and stir continuously until the mixture thickens.
Add the remaining raw corn and cook for two minutes and garnish with parsley (if you are fancy!)
Doesn’t that look good??! And if you are craving some more delicious vegetarian dishes from Chef Curry, there are still a few spots left for tomorrow night’s Vegetarian Beer dinner at the Brat Haus (details here). And yes, sweet corn is on the menu along with a nice variety of beers from Odell Brewing Company.
And if it is heirloom tomatoes that are on your mind there are a few heirloom tomato dinners around town that you may want to try. Beckett’s Table is having Heirloom Tomato week all this week. In previous years he has done a crab BLT and a red wine marinated flank steak with corn and heirloom tomato caponata, (click here) so I can’t wait to see what he does this year. And Kevin Binkley is holding an heirloom tomato dinner at Binkley’s on June 19th. If you haven’t been before, it is quite an evening, take a look at last year’s dinner (click here), it was a feast!
3622 North Scottsdale Road
3717 East Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018
6920 East Cave Creek Road
Cave Creek, AZ 85331-8604
The Brat Haus and Odell Brewing Company are putting together a fantastic evening next week with a vegetarian beer dinner, pairing farm fresh vegetarian courses and different Odell beers. The menu is five courses of amazing dishes that highlight the best of summer vegetables paired with the perfect beer from Odell Brewing Co. Chef Payton Curry’s Brat Haus has taken the German beer garden concept with its jovial spirit of communal celebration and infused his commitment to farm-to-table freshness and purity of ingredients. If you have talked to him at the market, then you know that his guy worships veggies, and even better, he knows how to make them standout on a dinner plate. We love going to the Brat Haus (read more about that here), and even though the temperatures outside are creeping up their outdoor patio and fun vibe keeps it cool. If you haven’t been to the Brat Haus, this is the perfect opportunity to go and see what you have been missing. Check out the menu…
Brat Haus with Odell Brewing Company
Vegetarian Beer Dinner
Wednesday, June 12th
Reception at 6:00pm
First Course at 7:00pm
Odell Beer: CELASTRINA
Stuffed Shishito Peppers
Sesame Sweet Corn Pudding
Odell Beer: MYRCENARY
Potato with Minted Spring Peas
Odell Beer: 90 SHILLING
Odell Beer: IPA
Odell Beer: LUGENE REDUCTION
Dinner is $55/person (includes gratuity), for reservations call 480-947-4006. This is going to be quite an event, make sure to get your spot before it sells out. Here’s to summer!!
3622 N. Scottsdale Road
Tomorrow at the Town and Country Farmers’ Market we will have sweet corn. Lots and lots of sweet corn. Sean planted four acres of it at the Hope Spring Farm at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and it is beautiful. You don’t have to do much to enjoy it – just shuck it and throw it in boiling water for a minute or two. Or you could enjoy it Aidan’s favorite way… grill the shucked corn for about a minute on each side, then roll in a shallow dish with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt, parmesan, chopped mint and a touch of red pepper. That is a summer staple in our house.
We will also have quite an array of peppers (beauties like Aconcaqua, Corno di Toro and Poblano), basil, all sorts of summer squash, eggplant, and cucumbers, especially those wonderful lemon cucumbers. If you haven’t tried the lemon cucumbers, get one before they are sold out and you will understand why they are so popular. And, of course, add shishito peppers to your list. They are on a number of menus right now as an appetizer, but they are so easy to make that you can enjoy them at home. I love these. Just pan-roast them in a little olive oil until they are a little blistered and the sprinkle with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. You can also roast them in the oven at 450-degrees for about five minutes, until they have slight char marks, or throw them on the grill in a basket for just a moment. They are mild in flavor, but every now and then you will get one that will make your eyes water. This usually happens at the end of their season, so don’t worry about them just yet.
And tomatoes… it is that time again. We have quite a number of beautiful varieties coming to the market, Garden Peach, Punta Bandas, and Golden Nuggets, and my favorite the Sun Golds. I grab them straight from the basket while I am cooking.
On a different note, many of you have asked about the incident that happened at the Town & Country Market on Wednesday, May 22nd. One of our regular customers Bill, who is a long time friend of Bob’s, was leaving the market after finishing his shopping and the collapsed over his steering wheel while backing out his car. Some quick thinking people were able to get him out of the car and lay him flat. Our cashier Chris Davia, who has long been active with the Boy Scouts, saw what was going on and quickly began to administer CPR. Bill was not breathing nor did he have a pulse. To all who saw the ordeal it was quite harrowing and did not look good for Bill. Chris had seen a video on the new Chest-Compression-Only CPR method that was e-mailed to him just two weeks prior. He followed the instructions and continued the chest compressions until the paramedics arrived. When Bill arrived at the hospital, his doctors noted that those chest compressions saved Bill’s life. Bill is now recovering nicely and will hopefully be back at the markets soon.
We want to commend Chris Davia for his heroic efforts that day and thank everyone for their concern and well wishes for Bill. The video that Chris watched is on the Sarver Heart Center website and is linked here at http://heart.arizona.edu/cpr-video. It is only six minutes long, but well worth watching.
Summer is approaching and as the days are getting longer our time at the markets is starting to near an end for the season. We have two more markets in Scottsdale. Our last market at the Old Town Farmers’ Market will be Saturday, May 25th. We will be at Town & Country until Wednesday, June 26th. We look forward to seeing you!