Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Shakespeare's Pizza Forever!
It’s a problem…ever since we left Columbia we’ve been on a quest. Is there anywhere in the world where the pizza even vaguely approximates the heavenly pies that you get at Shakespeare’s Pizza? Hong Kong pizzas were laughable. Pizza Express wasn’t too bad, if you avoided the smoked salmon and Peking duck offerings. Isola had a pretty mean (and very pricy) black truffle pizza. Baci and Goccia both had decent offerings in the pizza department. But it was pretty standard for us to declare that when we started thinking the pizza in Hong Kong was good, it was time for a visit back to the US.
Shakespeare’s pizza is special. It’s hard to say exactly what makes it so excellent. The crust is definitely part of the allure. Bready, but not too doughy. Crusty, yet eminently chewable. Toppings baked to perfection. Funky, noisy, eclectic atmosphere…amazing taste. We know we’re a bit prejudiced; after all its pizza from HOME! But we’ve taken people to Shakespeare’s that have strong other-city loyalties and elicited a positive response (thank you Erik!) so we know it’s not just us. Where-ever we go, we miss Shakespeare’s and long for a slice (or three, admit it) of artichoke and tomato for us, a veggie pizza for Sarah, and pepperoni and jack cheese for Dan.
Here in Austin you wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to find good pizza. Austin Pizza is…okay, so is Brick Oven. But really, neither of them comes close to our standard. However, the Chronicle recently published the “People’s Choice” of best restaurants in Austin, with winners in many different categories. Best pizza was a place called “Home Slice” on South Congress. So the other night we decided to check it out.
First positive, a huge crowd, and a funky décor. We decide to sit at the bar, where we can watch the pizzas being made (and didn’t have to wait for a table, which was good because we were hungry!). We order a spinach salad (good), and a couple of glasses of wine (a Barbera, quite decent), which come in jelly jar glasses. We design our own pizza – artichokes, tomatoes, basil, kalamata olives, mushrooms. We sit there and watch the dough being tossed around expertly and feel hopeful. We’ve been disappointed before. Our standards are high!
Then the pizza comes. It’s good – VERY good. Better than Austin or Brick Oven for sure. Is it Shakespeare’s caliber? Let’s say it was in Shakespeare’s neighborhood, okay? We were very happy, but we have our loyalties!
We told our server that we were comparing them favorably to our favorite pizza place in the entire world and another server overheard our conversation. “Shakespeare’s? Hmm, that’s interesting. We’ve had a couple of pizza dough makers here that used to work at Shakespeare’s”. Small world.
Anyway, if you come and visit us in Austin and you have a hankering for pizza, we’ve found the right place.
Shakespeare’s Pizza: http://www.shakespeares.com/
Home Slice Pizza: http://www.homeslicepizza.com/
Note: picture of Shakespeares by Ned Vail: http://www.nedvail.com/shakes.htm