Roman pizza, also known as pinsa, slices arranged in the window of Gelati & Peccati
I felt like a kid in a pizza store, looking through the front window of Gelati & Peccati. Rather than post a menu, the North Park eatery lays out its colorful spread of Roman-style pizza (a.k.a. pinsa) for passersby to notice. Each rectangular slice is roughly ten inches long, five inches wide, and more than an inch thick. A dozen different toppings lay atop a deep, focaccia-like crust. I say “like,” because it’s lighter and airier than most focaccia I’ve encountered, with crispy edges and caramelized corners where the cheese meets the bread.
3066 B University Avenue, San Diego
I will leave with plenty of slices, priced about 4 to 5 bucks apiece, but it won’t be easy deciding which. There’s a pinsa favorite, topped with pistachios and mortadella, with ricotta cheese for good measure. Another features zesty San Marzano tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, and buffalo mozzarella. It looks terrific.
Pistachio, mortadella, and ricotta pinsa
But four of us can only eat so much, so I must settle on a few of the more conventional slices, along with a couple of more fun, creative pizza takes.
On the relatively standard side, there’s pepperoni, salami, and sausage; and a caccio e pepe inspired slice blending three Italian cheese and black pepper. And, hippy pizza jokes aside, I can’t resist trying a broccoli topped pie, made with sausage, pumpkin cream, and pecorino cheese. They tell me a top seller is the pinsa topped with garlicky cubes of potato, prosciutto, and truffle oil, so I have to try that. And because I’ve never seen it before, anywhere ever, to complete my order I grab a slice covered in BBQ sauce and thin slices of rib.
San Marzano tomato, bell pepper, and buffalo mozzarella pinsa
Before we would happily devour them at home, the slices will be heated in the restaurant oven, finished with fresh grated parmesan, and cut into sharable pieces with a pair of garden-shear looking scissors.
Broccoli, sausage, and pecorino pinsa
All of the above are enough to bring me back, but I will especially return for what brought me to Gelati & Peccati In the first place. A sister restaurant of the Buona Forchetta family of restaurants, tasty pizza was easy to anticipate. But the name of the place translates to “ice creams and sins,” and its biggest lure may be its assortment of astonishingly creamy gelatos.
The Gelati & Peccati storefront on University Avenue
Again, choosing from some dozen plus flavors proves a challenge. Fortunately, even under covid conditions, a customer or two at a time may sneak inside the shop to sample flavors. A rotating variety encourages plenty of return sampling — in one visit I find cookie crumbles and caramel, Peruvian chocolate, and one combining saffron, vanilla, and pistachio.
A mixed pint of gelato: hazelnut cherry chocolate chip, and Makers Mark
But when it comes to ordering, it’s the hazelnut, cherry, and chocolate chip gelato that has my number. I ask for a $9 pint. I request a $9 pint of a special flavor on the menu: Maker’s Mark. The whiskey infused ice cream tastes caramelly and boozy. Through a miscommunication, both flavors were served in a single pint tub. Apparently, mixed pints are an option, which I’ll remember next time to double up on as many as I can. Like an adult in an ice cream store.