Look at this – can you say, ‘ohlala?” hehe. We finally have pizza in a city once dominated by Domino’s and Papa Johns! Tamara over at the newly opened Claremont Village Pizzeria was kind enough to send me a quite a generous handful of samples from her new restaurant up on Foothill Blvd. The picture you see above is an extra-large pizza partitioned into four varieties.
My favorite of them all was the Classico Biano, simply done with parmesan, mozzarella and a bit of garlic for good measure. Chee, I never knew how well ricotta and capers went on a pizza. I was an anchovy and jalapenos girl, but this, well, it was a mighty fine combo. The drizzle of olive oil was in slight excess, but it’s hard not to love that distinctive olive oil-ly flavor, you know that flavor? I don’t have an underbelly of the pizza shot, but it’s on the thicker side and could use a bit of char for some of that smokiness I crave.
Moving clockwise around the pizza, we find ourselves next at Nick’s Special, a slice with garlic, shreds of fresh basil and goat cheese. Whoever created the idea of pizza is a genius, biting into warm bread, fresh herbs, and dollops of soft goat cheese all around has got to be the most tummy-pleasing combo ever. Oh yes, put creamy pats of goat cheese on my pizza any day ;)
The Queen of Hearts came tightly layered with sweet artichokes and slices of sun-dried tomatoes. There was barely any, yet at the same time, just the right amount of cheese, only enough to bind the toppings and let the tomatoes and artichokes shine through.
The California BBQ Chicken reminded me a lot of my sister’s favorite on our visits to CPK. Only the here the chicken was much more juicy in generous chunks layered upon slices of red onions and sprinkles of cilantro. The dazzle of bbq sauce made it too sweet for my tastes. You know how some pizzas find success in the crusts, and others in their toppings? Well this is definitely a topping place. While you’d be hard pressed to find an excellent crust, the wide and creative topping combos such as a trio of pesto sauces (cilantro, basil and tomato & garlic) is enough to catch my attention
I guess you’re supposed to start with the salad first, but if I did, then the pizza would have been cold! So, next, we get to the salad! A simple baby green salad adorned with candied pecans, gorgonzola and blackberries. Berries are a definite treat that that needs to appear more often in salads. A simple toss and you get you crunchy, sweet and creamy all in one bite. I didn’t use much of the accompanying raspberry vinaigrette, but that’s just cause I’m more of a savory vinaigrette type of person.
The Italian chop salad was substantial enough to be a meal on its own, a bed of mixed greens housed an assortment of sliced Italian meats, among them salami and ham, slices of red onions, provolone cheese, pepperoncinis, tomatoes and olives.
Our liquid accompaniment? Bottles of Calypso in a trio of flavors: natural lemonade, mandarin lemonade, and strawberry lemonade. I drank the natural lemonade which had a refreshingly crisp tang and just the right dose of sour pucker to it. I especially liked the little nidbits of lemon in the drink. Good for digestion and quite pleasing to the mouth.
Did I mention to you how absolutely incredibly stuffed I was?! I’m going to go running…in my dreams that is! Hehe ;)
But WAIT! There is MORE FOOD!
Like the slices of strawberry cheesecake which stood tall and more fluffy than creamy, with a basic strawberry topping and two little dollops of cream to tie it all in. I wasn’t so fond of the crust, which was soft and somewhat flavorless. Cheesecake has that funny way of enticing and drawing you in, even when you are very, very full. They are almost tricky, deceivingly light and amiable looking, but man do they demand a lot of you!
But if you’re willing to give, just dive right into that dark, dark slice of rich chocolate cake layered between layers of even darker ganache and a milk chocolate whipped frosting. Surprisingly more rich than sweet, the ganache melted like sinful, lustful butter over my tongue. Mmm, chocolate does wonderful things to your mind and some not so wonderful things to your waistline. hehehe
While less visually appealing, I found the brownie to my favorite of the three. The crust is of the crackly, crisp shell variety, breaking into an inch layer of brownie that manages to hover between fudgey and cakey. Oooh, sin I tell you! Especially after the entire cheesecake and half of the chocolate cake.
Yes, like any proper meal, breakfast, lunch of dinner – we must end with dessert!
Claremotn Village Pizzeria
928 West Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711
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