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Pizza Obsessives: Erin Jackson, Slice San Diego Contributor

By now you may already know all the San Diego pizza Erin Jackson has blogged about here on Slice. Now it's time to get to know Erin Jackson. Let's get her in the hot seat. —AK

20110315-po-erin-jackson.jpgSo, Erin, first question: What type of pizza do you prefer?

This is a tough one, because I have a place in my heart for every type of pizza. I guess it all really depends on my mood on a particular day. Sometimes I want to cozy up to a deep-dish pie (preferably reheated from the night before), other times when I'm feeling fancy, I crave Neapolitan-style pizza. Most of the time, it's New York–style pizza, ideally topped with ricotta cheese, garlic, and a few shakes of red pepper flakes.

Good answer. I like pizza omnivores. ... The Pizza Cognition Theory states that "the first slice of pizza a child sees and tastes ... becomes, for him, pizza." Do you remember your first slice? Where was it from, is the place still around, and if so, does it hold up? On that note, has your taste in pizza evolved over time?

My first slice was from a place called Pizza Nova, which at the time was a proper sit-down restaurant with a salad bar. Pizza was served on pedestal trays and put under a lamp at the table. Consequently, I have as many memories about enjoying the pizza as I do about smacking my head on the lamps, which were the exact right height to hit a small child in the head. The restaurant is long gone, but lots of smaller slice and delivery-focused stores have opened up. They have locations all over, including one here in San Diego. The pizza tastes different than it did at the restaurant but is still pretty good, especially for a chain.

What's your favorite topping or topping combination?

This might sound boring, but my favorite topping is cheese. Cheese is what brings me to the table for pizza, and 99 percent of the time it's all I need to be happy. I'm in love with ricotta at the moment. The creamy texture makes me swoon, and I love how a slice with gobs of ricotta tastes like I'm simultaneously eating pizza and cheese ravioli. Actually, that gives me a good idea for a pizza topping!

Heh. I might steal that idea — unless you get there first. Better hurry! ... So, this is where I usually ask folks who aren't contributors where they get pizza from in their area. But your mandate has been to get pizza from all over and talk about it on Slice. So, let's say ... if you were left to your own devices, where would you go most frequently for pizza?

I'm fairly new to San Diego, and still in exploration mode, so I don't have a regular place that I go to. One place that is always on my mind is Bronx Pizza. Back in Toronto, I would frequently go to Cora, get delivery from Pizza Gigi or more often than not, grab a quick pie from Pizza Nova, mostly because there was a location right across the street from my apartment.

Do you make pizza at home? If so, how? What recipes do you use?

I make pizza at home about once a week. I call it the "TJ's Special" because everything comes from Trader Joe's. I use the plain dough, a 50-50 blend of pizza sauce and Alfredo, baby spinach, chicken, and the Italian-blend cheese.

What one thing should NEVER go on a pizza?

Onions. But I feel that way about everything where onions are concerned. I have a giant phobia of them, most likely due to early childhood exposure of my mom's onion and peanut butter sandwiches. Just imagine what that would taste like for a second. *shudder*

Most unusual pizza you've ever eaten?

The mashed potato pizza at URBN was pretty crazy, as was the "Chocolate Pig" dessert pizza from Merk Bistro Italiano.

Um, yeah. I think that pizza crosses a line even for me. ... So, what's the farthest you've traveled for pizza?

I've never lived anywhere where good pizza was terribly far away, so I'm afraid I don't have a very exciting answer for this one. The most interesting, far-away place that I've ever eaten pizza was in Havana, at a place called Bim Bom, where you can get a 12-inch pie with untold amounts of cheese for something like $3. It was by no means a great pizza, but it was dirt cheap and filling.

Hmm. Havana, Cuba!?! That makes me think that it might fun to do a cubano pizza — roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles ... Crazy? Blah. Anyway, thanks for sitting down with us, Erin. It's been a pleasure.

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