Category Archives: Thick Crust

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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Rudy’s Pizza

rudys.jpg

An unpretentious pizza joint off SE Powell complete with a flatscreen tv and plenty of movie memorabilia, Rudy’s pulls off what most other Portland pizza places can’t. As soon as I walked in, I had flashbacks of being in Kustom Pizza Co., and might have walked out immediately if not for the friendly lady behind the counter, who greeted us warmly before asking for our IDs (a 21+ ‘za shop!). I soon realized that the posters on the walls were in no way creepy like at Kustom Pizza Co., where the decorations are in such wild juxtaposition that one forgets he’s eating in an official eating establishment and instead fancies himself a visitor of a rather gay funhouse.

As for the ‘za, it’s American Dream without the crackery, intolerable crust (read: much better). Tons of cheese cooked to a slight scorch thrown onto a thick, chewy crust. As a result, you get a great slice of ‘za but its sauce suffers, serving only to provide a respectable barrier between crust and cheese.

Rudy’s Delivery

Though I do like the way the cheese is cooked, I can’t say any distinct flavors in it popped out at me. Thankfully, though, it doesn’t take on that rubbery quality like so many cheeses sitting atop ‘zas of this nature seem to possess. And while I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to taste any zing in the sauce, I am grateful that they didn’t plop a bunch on, which would’ve made this ‘za a mess to handle. As is, I’m happy with the proportions but am interested to see how Rudy’s develops a way to give their sauce its own voice in a world dominated by cheese and crust.

Other pluses include free bottled water when you eat in the shop, packets of very potent red pepper when you get it delivered, and a super friendly staff (extremely pleasant delivery guy).

Definitely give this shop a visit if you’re in the area.

JMR

Rudy’s Pizza
4716 SE Powell (map)
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Hammy’s Pizza

SECOND UPDATE, Still Summer 2008: We were misinformed! Our fact-checking has revealed the previous update to be in error. ‘Za still attainable at distance.

UPDATE, Summer 2008: Hammy’s has changed their regular and late-night delivery policy. Now delivering no further south than Holgate. Customers who once ordered multiple times per week–and reviewed them way back in 2006, before Hammy-mania hit Portland!–feel totally abandoned. Not that they shouldn’t do what they have to do to keep the business thriving, but it is a major blow.

Hammy’s personal pie

Hammy’s is a cute little start up ‘za shop on SE Clinton. The vaguely anime/Japanese star graphic adorning their exterior caught my eye from the 10 bus one day as I was returning from downtown, and I made a note to get off and give it a shot the next time I found myself in the same situation.

J and I were caught a little off guard when we first entered, primarily because we encountered a cavernous space that offered only carryout service. A huge oven, some stairs and a sink sparsely populated the area behind the counter. A drink refrigerator to the right of the register had a wide selection of Shasta beverages, which, as a connoisseur of discount carbonated beverages, I appreciated. The pizzaiolo was a young girl, exuding the excitement and nervousness one would expect from the proprietor of a new and risky business venture.

She ran a glob of dough through a flattener a couple of times, sauced it up, tossed on some cheese and shoved it in to the oven. As you can see in the picture, Hammy’s only does complete pies. The advantage is that every piece of ‘za you get will be freshly made, and will come in its own little tiny box. The disadvantage is that you must commit to a whole pie, or else come to a consensus with other ‘za goers if there is a heterogeneity of pizza preferences.

The pizza itself is reasonably good. The crust is doughy and thick; the sauce is a little sweet with no zingy bite. The cheese complements the other ingredients well. Overall if you’re into thicker pizza, and you’re in the ‘hood, Hammy’s might be worth a visit—especially if you have an interest in supporting local start-ups.

The small cheese above will cost you $4, which I feel is pretty reasonable for what you get.

DT.

Update: Delivery!

Breakfast ‘za.

Ordered a breakfast ‘za for delivery sometime after midnight last week and boy was it delicious (especially on my way to work the next morning). Egg, bacon, potatoes, tabasco sauce–what more could you ask for? Although I’ll have to eat there a few more times to make any conclusions, I think the specialty pizzas are actually the way to go here, which certainly makes sense given their menu.

The breakfast pizza cost us $7. You have to order $10 worth of goods, so we tacked on a calzone (for a non-reviewer friend) and a few Shastas. We heard that the delivery charge is $1 , but it was $2 a few hours later—so it increases as the night wears on, but I’m not sure what the max. fee is. We paid $19 total (excluding tip), which, with the calzone and the pie at $7 each and the $2 delivery charge, means the Shastas were a buck each. This doesn’t seem right because they go for 50 cents at the shop but perhaps the soda increases in value the more miles it travels.

Bottom line, though: they make a mean breakfast pizza and deliver late in the night. I look forward to visiting here more often and giving more comprehensive reviews as it establishes itself in the SE portland community.

JMR

Hammy’s Pizza
2114 SE Clinton (map)
(503) 235-1035
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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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