Category Archives: NE Portland

Dove Vivi

Across the street from the garish colors and outdoor tables of Pambiché, the strip mall housing Dove Vivi is a calm, unassuming location. A big, black heart on a sign-pole stands in the parking lot. A few people drink beer outside. I couldn’t really tell if the design was supposed to be upscale, hip, or neighborhood-y, but the pans of deep-dish convinced an entrance.

The first thing you see when you walk through Dove Vivi’s glass doors is refrigerated display case full of half ‘zas. These must be the source of the individual slices ($3.75) and are, as their website stresses, not pre-cooked. A nice hostess informed us of a short wait and we were seated in approximately five minutes. Not too bad.

In terms of décor, I like it. Simple, grey walls, wooden tables and chairs, that exposed warehouse-type ceiling – a little noisy, a little cramped, but not distractingly so. Water was waiting for us at the table in little glasses and a large mason jar.

Quatro Fromaggio

Quite hungry, my friend and I ordered one full-sized Quatro Fromaggio ($18), described as mozzarella, fontina, provolone, parmesan, and tomato sauce, and one half-sized Pepperoni ($10.50), a combination of mozzarella, fontina, pepperoni from the Molinari Salame Co. in San Francsico, mushrooms, and fresh tomatoes. Both of them on Dove Vivi’s signature corn-meal deep-dish crust (the only choice). With a smile, the waitress told us that we were “ambitious.” Yes we were.

And then we waited. It’s not that the wait was overlong, as deep-dish does take a while to cook, but that our waitress never came back to check on us, inform us of the usualness or unusualness of the wait, ask us again if we wanted something to drink, or anything else. We just sat there and, when I was just about to say that this was getting bad, the pizzas arrived. Generously sized, good-looking, not-quite-piping hot ‘zas. I tucked in, pulling out a hefty slice of Quatro Fromaggio.

The ‘za was delicious. Definitely one of the cheesiest slices I’ve had in a long-time. Dove Vivi’s cornmeal crust is quite good – it doesn’t become overbearing, but you can certainly taste a difference. Though, I will say that I would have liked just a bit more corn flavor, however crunchy-on-the-outside light-and-fluffy-in-the-middle it was. Smattered across the top of the pie were chunks of tomato sauce – very garlic-heavy, a bit over-salted, but tasty nonetheless. As I mentioned above, there was a whole lot of cheese here. It would have been better to have a little more distinction between the four different cheeses, as they all blended together in texture and flavor, but there is very little to complain about. Overall, very satisfying.

I’ll leave the description of the Pepperoni for another time, but suffice to say that I thought it less inspired than the Quatro Fromaggio.

Dove Vivi is certainly recommended, but I’d like to see their staff become a bit more attentive.

IZ

Dove Vivi Pizza
2727 NE Glisan St (map)
(503) 239-4444
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Bella Faccia Pizzeria

Bella Faccia

Bella Faccia is another one of those NE PDX ‘za establishments that is all the rage these days. Most likely, this stems from the cozy but disjointed atmosphere, the slightly detached pizzaiolos, and the guaranteed vegan fare. Portlanders…

Anyway, the pizza is good. Thin crust, even cheese distribution, sizable slice. If you get there between 4 and 6, the beers (Laurelwood, Terminal Gravity… PBR) are a little cheaper. JMR and I can’t remember anything special about the sauce, so it can’t be awesome (or terrible, for that matter), but the overall experience is generally a positive one.

Though the ladies behind the counter seem a bit distant, their lack of warmth is more than made up for by the pace at which they can serve the long lines that tend to spontaneously form in the shop. Even with a dozen people in front of you, it never seems to take more than a few minutes before you step away from the counter with a little slice of heaven in your hand.

On a personal note: Last time I visited the Fac’, I bought $8.50 worth of ‘za and brew. When I checked my bank e-statement several days later, I noticed I was charged $13.50. I don’t know if this was an honest mistake, or if it was a well calculated attempt to shake me down, but I was/am pretty annoyed. Moral of the story is, either pay with cash, or hold on to your receipt so you can make sure you don’t get stiffed.

DT.

Bella Faccia Pizzeria
2934 NE Alberta (map)
(503) 282-0600
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American Dream

The walls at American Dream are covered with pizza boxes on which many satisfied customers have drawn their favorite pizza-themed designs. The box Ben liked best had a dog jumping up to grab the pizza in his mouth like a frisbee. Unfortunately, such a world is possible only in the crayon-drawings of a child, for this pizza would never hold up for such use in the real world: with one flick of the wrist, the crust would go soaring far beyond the range of even the fastest dog, leaving a hot blob of cheese in its wake. The sheer weight of the cheese, in fact, would make it hard for anyone to throw this pie at all, besides maybe the delivery boys, who carry these massive pies every day, and whose muscles, consequently, rip right through their cut-off shorts.

It’s a seismic slice characterized by its constantly shifting crust and multiple layers of cheese; this is perhaps intentionally symbolic of the so-called American dream, considering all the art in the building and the owner’s apparent fondness for it. In America, you risk things to get ahead; you take chances. Taking a chance, coincidentally, is precisely how I’d describe the act of eating one of these slices. Holding it in your hand, watching the cheese melt down the side of the slice, effectively conquering the territory of the crust, you immediately get the sensation that perhaps this pizza is alive. You bite once, and the crust flakes off a little. You bite again and some cheese has escaped, joining parts of the crust on the plate. You get halfway through your slice, and it splits in half, and broken is your American Dream (slice of ‘za).

The sauce wasn’t bad, though, and it does seem as if these guys really want to make a good slice. You can tell there’s special attention paid to the crust, but they definitely need to make it stronger if it’s going to support all that cheese they load on it. We hypothesized that perhaps when making the pizza, all the ingredients shifted over to our side of the pizza, so we actually got like two slices in one. This makes sense in light of the America theme, since that means some other group of people got screwed at our expense.

They also (understandably) took a long time to get our slices out to us. We did get the two of diamonds, though, so that may have had something to do with it.

JMR.

American Dream
4620 NE Glisan (map)
(503) 230-0699
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