Slice correspondent David Kover has written about the deliciousness that is Liguria focaccia, and all of its mysterious old-school North Beach glory. In addition to the airy, flavorful wonderfulness of it, he mentioned another key point worth remembering: they often run out of foccacia at Liguria.
But never fear, Slice readers. I've found another source for the good stuff, and circa 12:30 pm on a Wednesday, they were nowhere near sold out. They had an ample selection of different flavors. And it was just as tasty as the focaccia from Liguria itself.
This place of focaccia magic and mystery is Lucca Delicatessen, a hardcore Italian deli and grocery located in the Marina. In addition to the focaccia, perched unassumingly on the counter and largely ignored by people crowding in for sandwiches, they have a number of prepared dishes, fresh pastas, and cooking ingredients for sale.
Clearly, sandwiches are the draw here. But the wealth of delicious Italian ingredients not only makes this a great source for Liguria focaccia, but a great place to buy additional ingredients to make your slice even tastier.
The focaccia, delivered fresh daily, is available by the full slab ($5.50, and HUGE), or the half slab ($2.75). Even better: you can mix and match. I went for a half slab of mushroom, generously topped with earthy, marinated mushroom slices; and the cheddar jalapeno, covered in a layer of salty cheese and studded with spicy pickled peppers. The bread itself is wonderfully airy and fresh; it has a hint of sweet flavor, tempered by the rich butter slick of olive oil and the generously applied toppings. Thanks to a new in-store policy, Lucca will also heat things up for you if you'd like, a great idea with this fresh focaccia.
A half slab is a seriously generous piece, and when you open your mind to a variety of slice-hacking possibilities, it suddenly becomes the vehicle for an amazing, hearty lunch. For an additional dollar, you can have the focaccia used as the bread on your sandwich, an alluring possibility. Alternatively, you can get yourself some sliced proscuitto, or coppa, or salame to layer on your slice yourself. You can take it home, like I did, and top it with a poached egg and a drizzle of basil oil. Or, you can let the Lucca signs guide you, and opt for some of their fresh burrata.
Really, just take their advice and mangiare! You won't be sorry.