Tonight we partook in a religious experience of the culinary sort. We finally made the trek across the river to Apizza Scholl’s in Southeast. I first read about the restaurant in an article describing the ten best pizzerias in the country while ironically waiting for a pie at Villa Tronco in Cola. Apizza Scholl’s is on an entirely different plane from our pizza encounters in South Carolina. I grew up on great pizza, having frequented the incomparable Napoli Pizzeria in Panama. Interestingly, the best pizza of my life was in Central America, not when I lived in Italy. Ella’s Pizza in D.C. was a close second for me until our little trip to Hawthorne today.
I judge a great pizza by two factors: a good, thin crust preferably baked in a wood burning oven and a tangy sauce using San Marzano tomatoes. Apizza Scholl’s margherita pizza held these necessary qualifications and beyond. The main focus is on the crust. The dough is made fresh daily and often it runs out on busy nights, so come early or be forced to eat salad and antipasto. The pies utilize all fresh ingredients, both local and speciality items. They are then baked in ridiculously hot ovens, giving the crust a nice char, which adds layers of flavor and gives the pizza a crunchy and chewy texture. San Marzano tomatoes are indeed used in the sauce, adding a great sour taste to contrast with the richness of the mozzarella and pecorino cheeses.
Our trip to Apizza Scholl’s accomplished several things for us: introducing us to great pizza in PDX, exposing me to the numerous fabulous restaurants and shops along Hawthorne and overcoming our hesitation in crossing the Willamette River. I am already planning my next visit to Southeast with a foray to the food carts at Hawthorne and 12th, namely Whiffies and Potato Champion. I see vegetarian poutine and a chocolate fried pie in my future.