Packaged, take and bake pizzas from American Pizza Mfg
I picked up a couple of take-out pizzas from coastal La Jolla a few years back, and though they were cooked at high heat with stellar ingredients, it felt like a race to get back home. When you’ve got hot food in the car, red lights and backed up freeways take on a whole new level of frustration.
7402 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA
My latest La Jolla pizza drive proved a relative breeze, and not because the pandemic has eased traffic congestion (though it helps). This drive lacked stress because my pizzas weren’t cooked yet.
Packaged pizzas on display in a La Jolla pizza counter
I picked them up from American Pizza Manufacturing, a recently opened business on the site of an old taco shop near Windansea. American Pizza Mfg., as its storefront reads, specializes in take-and-bake pizzas, meaning you pick them up cold, then pop them in the oven at 425 degrees once you get home. Or a day or two after you get home, should that be your preference.
Take and bake pepperoni pizza
Best to put them in sooner than later though, to take advantage of both the quality of ingredients going into them, and their freshness. The shop’s pizza dough, and handmade pastas, are made from scratch using King Arthur Flour, a purveyor founded in New England more than two centuries ago. Its blend of cheeses hail from Wisconsin, and its sauce starts with California’s renowned Stanislaus roma tomatoes.
Take and bake veggie pizza with three types of mushrooms: oyster, cremini, and portobello
I picked up a basic pepperoni (pizzas run $13-23 apiece), which showed off the simple yet effective combination. But it was the locally sourced toppings on a vegan pie that really made the point. Built around oyster, cremini, and portobello mushrooms, the pizza features artichoke and heirloom grape tomatoes, while successfully replacing cheese with spinach of all things. I’m not saying the spinach tastes like mozzarella or anything, but it’s wet and elastic against the tomato sauce, offering a reasonable textural substitution.
American Pizza Mfg. recently opened on the site of an old taco shop near Windansea.
My chief complaint is that American Pizza’s directions for cooking at home include placing the pizza directly in the oven atop the provided parchment paper. All fine and good, but I’d suggest putting it on a flat baking pan or pizza stone anyway, because when I placed my veggie pie on my oven grate, a part of the doughy crust fell through the gap.
Minor issue aside, take-and-bake pizza turns out to be a pretty terrific pandemic alternative to dining out. And kid-size "cutie pies" add to their fun by allowing them to add their own toppings. But even though American Pizza Mfg. opened with the pandemic in full swing, this model wasn’t a response to it — the little shop was always going to produce pizza in this way. And pasta — I can vouch for an incredibly cheesy macaroni, but my next slow drive home will likely involve the indulgent $28 lasagna.