Monday, March 23, 2015

Pizza in the Desert: Pizzeria Bianco Town & Country

I love the Southwest and the Desert, always have.
Not sure if I could live there all year round, but there is nothing like that desert sun in the doldrums of winter to perk you right up.

It's hard to find a decent bagel in Arizona, but great pizza?
Yes, it's here. The best.

I have been following Pizza God Chris Bianco on instagram for some time now.

He is the pioneer of wood fired pizza in the U.S., opening a small artisan pizzeria in the middle of downtown Phoenix back when no one was in that neighborhood in the 1990's.
It wasn't soon after, that the lines to get into Pizzeria Bianco were up to a 4 hour wait.

Today he has 3 locations. The original on Adams St., a new one in Tucson, and the other in a shopping center in the Biltmore section of Phoenix called Town & Country.

It's tough for me to follow his instagram feed during the winter when I am stuck here in NJ with no fresh produce.
I go nuts when I see him posting fresh figs from his tree way into December, and still growing eggplants late into November.

All the food at his restaurant/pizzerias is sourced from local ingredients, from the pistachios to the olive oil made by monks at St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in Florence, Arizona from local olive trees.

Local dates and greens, Queen Creek peaches, you name it, even the lamb is sourced from an Arizona farm.
I can't take it.

Arizona has amazing farmer's markets, producing 365 days of the most beautiful produce. Who knew.

Every winter/spring I say to my husband "I am getting on a plane and hanging out w/ Chris Bianco".

Well this time I really did it.

We decided to go the Town & Country location for both lunch and dinner, where Chef Bianco made us gorgeous pizzas and salads and the homemade pastas kept coming out.

We sat down w/ Chris and he explained the method to his madness. He uses flour that is milled locally, and even has his own brand of tomatoes from California, called Bianco diNapoli, which he uses for his pizzas.

Local is best.

He was the warmest, funniest, most passionate down to earth guy/chef we have ever met (a real New Yorker, I might add).
We became instant friends, of course!

He made us a pistachio, red onion and Parmigiano Reggiano pizza called the Rosa, and a simple tomato pie w/ slivered garlic called the Marinara. Heavenly, and truly one of the best pizzas we have ever had.

The restaurant decor is homey and kitschy.

Chris' vintage oil painting collection and antique mirrors decorate the walls, as well as beautiful artwork painted by his father.

Back for the dinner menu and to sample some of the best food we have ever eaten.

For dinner we had homemade cavatelli w/ local cauliflower and sausage.
Hanger steak w/ sausage and potatoes and spiedini w/ prosciutto wrapped fontina done in the wood oven.

There was much more but I was too busy eating to photograph all the food.

Nutmeg Italian ice and mesquite cake for dessert? yup.

Though it rarely rains in the desert, it did that day while we were there, but it was ok, the highlight and purpose of the trip was to eat at Pizzeria Bianco, and it turned out to be the best day.


Follow your dreams and enjoy!

Pizzeria Bianco Town and Country, 4743 N 20th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016
(602) 368-3273


Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh my, you lucky lady. I have been following his feed on Instagram too, and drool every time he posts some of that delicious food. A few days ago, I received a book to review about pizza around the world, and Pizzeria Bianca is among the places mentioned. I will have to visit next time I'm in Phoenix, but until then will have to try to recreate that pizza with pistachios. Another blogger friend just sent me some locally milled 00 flour from Arizona. It won't be the same as eating pizza from his professional ovens, but it will have to do for now.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful review! You almost tempt me to try and make a pilgrimage of my own. Olive oil making monks - that's MY kind of monks. The food looks incredible and I love the d├ęcor, too. Mesquite cake sounds freaky but I'm intrigued - what was it like? Everybody makes instant friends with Ms. Snacks - naturalemente!

Laura from Calif said...

OMG! I am so jealous!
We waited 2 hours to eat at the Adams St. location (they only serve pizza at the original spot in Phx).
It was amazing amazing!

You do the best things Ms. Snacks!

Lori Lynn Hirsch Stokoe said...

Great review. It is definitely on my list. Those pizzas look fabulous, charming decor too.

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous! We couldnt get into Pizzeria Bianco the last time, the wait was too long, I had no idea there was another location. Will try on our next trip to Phx. Such a fun post!


Maria Menico said...

A lovely, fun, delicious post that makes me want to jump on a plane right now and have some of that beautiful food!

SarahBTT said...

Best rainy day in Arizona ever!! Great post!

Natalia B said...

Tried leaving a comment before - not sure why it didn't post.

I'm living vicariously through you - your adventures sound amazing! We are heading to the southwest later in the year and I hope to try some pizza at Pizzeria Bianco.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Those pizza's are a thing of beauty! I need to follow my dreams like you!

Emily said...

Wow great post. Need to get there! Beautiful pics.