John T. Griffith 5:14 p.m., May 22
A 55-second pizza?
Absolutely, says Giancarlo. “Between 55 seconds and one minute fifteen seconds. That's all it takes to bake a pizza in this oven. It's about 1000 degrees in there."
This is the new pizza operation at Caffe Calabria (Pizzeria Calabria, 3933 30th, North Park, 619-291-1759).
Giancarlo says owner Arne Holt was determined to get this idea right, and stay true to pizza’s origins.
“This is a pure wood-burning oven,” he tells me. “Stefan Ferrara -- he’s maybe the most famous wood-burning pizza oven maker in the world -- came over from Naples, the ancient home of pizza, and built this right here."
Outside looking in. Ferrara's oven is front and center
"We use only oak," says Giancarlo, "because it burns hot and gives its own flavor to the pizza. The pizzas you have here are identical to Italian pizzas in just about every way. We even fly our tomatoes over from Naples.”
They tell me that Holt, who created Caffe Calabria, started off back in 1991 running a coffee cart at Grossmont Hospital. Maybe that fed his instincts of keeping it simple. Plus he started getting involved in Italy itself and its philosophy of fresh, local, organic, and less-is-more.
So Pizza Calabria does one size, thin crust, fresh everything, not nearly as stuffed as we’re used to, here in the land of Domino’s and Chicago Deep Dish.
And the place just kinda looks Italian.
Which of the many pizze to ask for? Salsiccia (fennel sausage, $14) is a great taste. Also carbonara ($14), if you like cream base (not tomato) and speck (juniper-flavored ham).
And fourteen bucks? There's pretty much enough for two.
MaryJo, who's back from six months in Italy, cuts up one of Giancarlo's "pizze"
But you gotta ask for one thing. Just say these three words in Italian: “Occhio di Bue!” It means “bullseye!’ It’s what they call egg-in-the-pizza. Delish messy add.
Nota Bene: Pizza operation’s only Wednesday thru Sunday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.