A meat lovers pie from Massachusetts Mike's, with pepperoni, sausage, and Canadian bacon instead of meatball
I’m used to having leftovers. As someone who writes about food, I’ve long been in the habit of ordering more food than I can eat. And as a bachelor, I could always count on all the extra food still being in the fridge the next day.
But I recently married into a young family, and though I’m still ordering more food than necessary, those leftovers now have a way of disappearing. At least, the good ones do. The bad meals tend to linger.
435 University Avenue, San Diego
When a new pizza spot opened in Hillcrest, it could have gone either way. On the one hand, the kids love pizza. On the other, they’re kind of picky about it. As an adult, I might try to tell them Neapolitan pizza is just as good or better than the Domino’s they’ve being eating al their life, but that hardly means they’re convinced.
It took me some time to figure out how to order from Massachusetts Mike’s Pizzeria. Google searches kept leading me to a closed San Marcos location. Its website links to online ordering that seems to work for locations in Portland, Chicago, and New York, but the supposed San Diego spot gives a Venice Beach address.
A new pizza counter in Hillcrest
I didn’t fare much better ordering by phone. Due to a typo on the Hillcrest shop’s menu and website, I initially kept dialing a disconnected line. The number is written as 619-299-MIKE(6354), and it took a few tries before I realized the numbers that spell MIKE, on the telephone pad, are actually 6453.
That number got me through right away, and I ordered a couple of pies for take-out. Delivery would have been easier than trying to find a parking spot in the thick of Hillcrest (University Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets), but I found the little counter shop feeling festive, with Halloween decorations, and walk-in customers ordering pizza by the slice.
A pesto chicken white pie, with slices of tomato
First up when I got home was a custom red pie: pepperoni, sausage, and Canadian bacon with fresh mozzarella ($14.50 small, $20.75 large). It seemed to be a New England-style pie, a little thicker and (pleasantly) greasier than New York pizza, with tomato sauce more herbal and savory than the sweeter New York red sauce.
Massachusetts Mike’s also touts white pies, made with a garlic and olive oil sauce, so I picked up one of those topped with chicken, tomato, and a pesto drizzle ($15.99 small, $20.99 large). The chicken consisted of little shreds, which I liked much better than the cubed chicken that typically prevents me from ordering it as a topping. Conversely, each slice of the pie featured its own big, round, thin slice of tomato.
I took my time trying a few bites of one, and a few bites of another. Meanwhile, my family was busy devouring both pies. Everybody ate a slice or two more than they usually do, including my wife, who usually professes not to like pizza all that much. Just like that, I was robbed of any leftover slices I’d looked forward to the next day. But, I found a local pizza spot everybody agrees upon. Something I didn’t even realize I needed.