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Pizza reviews in the Seattle area.

Seattle: Wake Up and Set Your Mouth Ablaze at Mioposto Caffe e Pizzeria

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[Photographs: Adam Lindsley]

Mioposto Caffe e Pizzeria

3601 S McClellan St., Seattle, WA 98144 (map); 206-760-3400; seattle-eats.com/mioposto
Pizza style: Neapolitan-inspired, with some obvious deviations
Oven type: Wood
The skinny: A hot 'n' spicy breakfast pizza with eggs, pancetta, and a chile puree is a hit; the lunch and dinner offerings disappointed
Price: 10-inch breakfast pizza, $7.25; other pizzas $11.75 & up

Hear the word pizza and breakfast is rarely the first meal that comes to mind. The combination of tomato sauce, salty cheese, and cured meats just seems to lend itself to a lunch- or dinnertime item, but slap an egg on it, and suddenly it's completely acceptable breakfast material. Since Mioposto Caffe e Pizzeria seems to focus just as heavily on its coffee as its Italian eats, it was smart decision for them to offer something the locals could devour while sipping their lattes on rainy Seattle mornings.

If you think about it, and use your imagination a little, pizza's individual components make sense for the first meal of the day. Tomato sauce? A major component of salsa on huevos rancheros or breakfast tacos. Salty cheese? American omelets are crammed with the stuff. And cured meats? What says breakfast more than bacon?

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Mioposto's spicy bacon and egg pizza tweaks the recipe just a bit by swapping out the tomato sauce with a puree of Tutto Calabria chilies, and damn, those chilies are spicy. What a wake up call. The runny yolks of two over-easy eggs cracked over the center of the pie cut the heat just a smidge and paired well with the salty, crispy pancetta. A thin layer of mozzarella, Parmesan, and seasoned breadcrumbs finish the pie and meld everything together with a mild nuttiness.

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Too bad the crust is so bland. It's in dire need of salt, and has the flavor and complexity of toasted Wonder Bread. In retrospect, maybe that's the whole point. Thin and cracker-like on the bottom and tender around the rim, it serves only as a vehicle for the toppings. Seeing as how the chilies are eye-wateringly potent, that's not as much of a weakness as you might think. The pizza is surprisingly light despite the multiple toppings, perfect for a quick bite to get the day started with some pizzazz.

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The non-breakfast offerings don't fare so well. The crust gets cooked longer in the wood-fired oven for these afternoon and evening affairs, with char coaxed from the blistering dough, but it's still undersalted.

This is most noticeable on the Margherita. The gooey fresh mozzarella, vibrant basil, and extraordinarily bright tomato sauce (perhaps the brightest I have ever tasted) do their best to distract you from the crust's shortcomings, to no avail. It's just average, though there are certainly many worse in town.

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20110318-142946-mioposto-oven.jpgBetter purely because of the extreme boost in sodium is the Pinocchio. Only carnivores need apply. The cupped and crisp-around-the-rim pepperoni, crumbled hot Italian sausage, and thin-sliced salami is packed with salt, more than enough to hide the fact that there's none in the crust. It's all suitably meaty, though generically so. The fresh tomatoes scattered on the pie are a mistake, as they almost always are, mealy and mushy and flavorless. The chopped olives save the pie, deepening the flavors of the cured meats with a briny meatiness of their own.

The pizzas served at Mioposto for lunch and dinner aren't good enough for an earnest recommendation, but the breakfast pizza is definitely worth a visit to this quaint Mt. Baker spot. If you stumble in drowsy and half-coherent, those pureed chilies will have you wide-eyed and bushy-tailed in one bite.

About the author: Adam Lindsley is a Seattle-based novelist and the author of the pizza blog, This Is Pizza. As a contributor for both Slice and A Hamburger Today, he is contractually obligated to say he loves pizza and burgers in equal amounts. Which is to say he is a polygamist.

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