Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
Pizza Contadino was once a food cart, but has since moved their talent into the kitchen of the hipster North Portland bar, The Fixin' To. The pastel yellow food cart still remains parked outside (for storage purposes), which made this hidden spot a little easier to find. Chef's choice on the day of my visit was a kale, sausage, roasted red pepper, and goat cheese ($18, 16-inch), and after several chef runs from the kitchen to the abandoned cart and back, a pie was born and delivered.
Visually, this was one mouth-watering pie. However, one bite in revealed a sweet-and-pasty tomato base. The goat cheese lacked pungency, which may have been the adequate foil for the cloying sauce element. An overabundance of dried herbs also added concentrated sharpness, disrupting the overall harmony. The kale was pleasantly earthy without often-problematic metallic notes, and the sausage was smooth and rich. The red pepper? More sweetness. The scales had been irrevocably tipped in favor of sugar.
The crust was a saving grace here. What first looked overcooked actually provided a nice firmness to the skirt and maintained a surprising level of chewiness buried inside the darkened cornicione. Overall, this pie didn't lack artisan craftsmanship, but it missed the mark on flavor. I will give Contadino another shot, while making sure to stick to simpler ingredient combinations and throw in a white pie as well.