For weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of food defines San Diego. With the ocean as it’s backdrop, the answer could easily be seafood and it’s no surprise that seafood would naturally be a San Diego staple. But, what about our proximity to the border and the fact that I could drive 20 minutes South and literally set foot in Tijuana, Mexico? What about Old Town, the touristy village in San Diego that is filled with Mexican restaurants and souvenirs, all reminiscent of the neighboring country’s culinary influence? Logically, it would have made sense to chose Mexican food and find the best taco joint around or the best seafood place, but that’s not my style.
No, instead I chose… pizza.
That’s right! The classic American favorite, and while technically it comes from Italy, I think Americans have taken the idea and completely ran with it. Gourmet pizzas have taken on a whole new extreme in the States with such strange combination as barbecue chicken pizza; cheese pizza with Gorgonzola cheese, pesto sauce and pine nuts; and Thai peanut chicken pizza, just to name a few.
The reason why I love pizza is a) it’s convenient and b) it’s diverse. Not only can you find gourmet versions of pizza in the frozen section at the grocery store (think Freschetta, Dijorno’s, etc.), but when you get pizza from a restaurant, there are unlimited combinations. Choose your sauce, meats, cheeses and veggies. The possibilities are endless!
My friend was in town this weekend and we headed up to Carlsbad, California (also in San Diego County) for a day at the beach. We were driving around looking for a place to eat lunch when we passed Pizza Port. I had driven by once before and the place had peaked my interest. Then I remembered just recently that my roommate had been ranting and raving about how Pizza Port was the best place to eat in San Diego, so I took the opportunity as a sign and ran with it.
When we walked indoors, we were greeted with a huge chalkboard menu, filled with no shortage of different choices ranging from your vegetarian pizzas to your extreme meat lover pizzas.
Right away I noticed their “Beer Buddies”—bite sized pieces of signature crust brushed with garlic and served with Ranch dressing and Marinara sauce. I immediately knew this was something I had to try!
The beer buddies were tasty, but I was a little disappointed because I had been expecting something completely different. In my head, I had pictured little round balls of beer-flavored dough seasoned with garlic and then fried. Instead, we ended up with cheese sticks with a fancy name.
Their menu also included other items such as salads, chicken wings, mozzerella sticks and portzels. Looking back, now I wish I had tried the portzel because, well… see for yourself!
Here’s Pizza Port’s description:
Portzel: Discover the unbelievable taste of our giant handmade PIZZA PORT pretzel made from our wholegrain beer crust with sundried tomatoes, feta, garlic, basil & oregano mixed in!
The description alone is making me drool!
As for the pizza, I chose the Pizza Laguna, one of Pizza Port’s “Original Pizzas,” that came with olives, mushrooms and artichoke hearts; while my friend got one of the “Anti-Wimpy Gourmet Pizzas” or perhaps more accurately, the anti-veggie pizza, called the Meet Extreme Meet with pepperoni, meatballs, Canadian bacon, salami and sausage. Luckily, I was able to sway him to go with their wholegrain beer crust, which was absolutely worth every penny!
We split a small pizza which was the perfect amount of food for me, and I even had leftovers! I was surprised they actually let us choose two different varieties for each side of the pizza—very cool of them!
Here’s a close-up of my slice of pizza and the side salad I ordered. Mmmmm… olives!
There’s nothing I love more with pizza than beer. It’s like the two were made for one another—sort of like Adam and Eve. Pizza Port has a large menu of local craft beers on tap. Unfortunately, I was sooooo hungry, I didn’t go for the beers. Drinking beer can make me lose my appetite, as the heavy-ness of beer can sometimes feel like a meal in itself! However, with their stellar line-up of unique beers, you can bet your life on the fact that I’ll be back just to try them!
So, next time you’re in San Diego, I definitely encourage you to try our fine seafood restaurants downtown and our authentic Mexican cuisine in Old Town. And then, when you’re ready to sit down, have a beer with friends and share a great meal, I strongly encourage you to head over to Pizza Port. Just remember, you may have to get cozy with your neighbors because it’s family-style dining, which means long cafeteria-like tables and first come, first served seating!
For more information about Pizza Port, visit their website at: http://www.pizzaport.com/