Valentine’s Day Pizza Massacre

In theory, homemade pizza with heart-shaped pepperoni sounds like a sweet gesture on this saccharine-soaked holiday. As with matters of the heart, timing is everything, and pizza dough is no exception.

I first cemented the steps last year with much less sophisticated cutlery and no proper pan or pizza stone. But this year, I still found myself staring into the oven wondering why the crust wasn’t fully cooking all the way through after doubling the time listed on the directions.

It still tasted good, once you got past the fact that it required utensils. (Still beats crowded restaurants and overpriced holiday menus!)

If anyone has the answer to avoiding a soupy mess, please let me know. Potential culprits: too much sauce? Mushrooms?

Maybe I’ll get it right in 2015.

A Little Pizza My Heart

I embraced cheesiness on Valentine’s Day with a homemade, heart-shaped pizza for two. Shape the pepperoni into hearts by cutting a small triangle at the edge (easier to do in a stack), and cut the two opposite sides on a diagonal. For the bell peppers, cut narrow slices and make sure to leave the curvy ends at the top of the pepper. Then cut the slices in half and shape into a heart.

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Goat Cheese Pizza

Why should mozzarella have all the fun? After watching my Christmas hosts make pizza at home, David was determined to try it in our kitchen. I was equally determined to find a shreddable goat cheese.

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Trader Joe’s is where we got the goods. You can pick up the dough, bell peppers, olives, sausage, mushrooms, and marinara sauce for less than the price of delivery. And I found Goat’s Milk Cheddar Cheese, which turned out to be a perfect substitute for mozzarella.

The only tricky part is cooking the pizza long enough to make sure the dough is cooked through. Ours took twice as long as the package suggested, which meant crispier toppings than we would have liked. I’d recommend reducing the heat slightly to help cook evenly.

LA Food Scene

It’s about time I raved about the LA gems where we gorged ourselves over President’s Day weekend. I’ll admit, the Bay Area has turned me into a local, seasonal, sustainable food snob. But our southern neighbors are staying up to snuff.

I was most blown away by breakfast at M.B. Post in Manhattan Beach. I mean get a load of these sticky buns, honestly! Also pictured: eggs Benedict, bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits (severely addictive), and Frittata.

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Eggs Benedict @ Manhattan Beach Post Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits with Maple Butter @ Manhattan Beach Post Fritatta @ Manhattan Beach Post

For a piece of New York in Downtown LA, I highly recommend Artisan House. With the adjoining gourmet market, I felt like I had stepped back into Eataly. But with a Prohibition-era twist. My favorite part of the meal was the table-side cocktail service, where we could choose from multiple Champagnes and liqueurs like Cassis and Elderflower, and the drinks were concocted right there.

Speaking of speakeasies, we snuck in for an after dinner drink next door at The Association. Hipster mixologists work hard shaking, chopping and peeling their way to refreshing, retro and dainty cocktails. Another NYC deja vu.

And if you find yourself on an afternoon beer crawl in Venice Beach, you can soak up those suds with a Bavarian pretzel at On the Waterfront Cafe, or a fireside pizza at Larry’s (where they have an endless beer menu – there’s literally something for everyone).

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For an incredible view, I highly recommend a drink on the bluff at Nelson’s at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes. Oh and I can’t forget my girlfriends turned my on to a truffle salami from Bristol Farms. I could eat an entire log – thinly sliced, of course.

Silicon Valley Pizza Quiz

So we recently moved to Mountain View and were delighted to find an entire street full of great restaurants, stacked up on after the other along Castro. So far we’ve been to Sono Sushi, King of Krum Siam Thai, and Neto, but Fridays are pizza night in the Jackson house. Last week we tried Z Pizza. I was a thumbs up, David was somewhat lukewarm.

Have any suggestions on what pizza place to try next? As long as they deliver to Mountain View, we’re game!

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Friday Night’s Pizza Night

Every Friday we order North Beach Pizza, and watch the latest from Netflix. It’s become a tradition that I look forward to at the end of a busy week. Their North Beach Special (with tomatoes added) is the next best thing to Ciro’s in Folsom, which is my all-time favorite. Get the Mountain Top, if you’re ever in Sactown!

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