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.

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Neapolitan Cheese Slice. [Photographs: Jim Bonomo]

An Italian bakery in Portland is out of place. Being a frequent customer of the business next door, I've walked by DiPrima Dolci several times. Better judgement told me that (what I assumed to be) cake-frosting-filled cannoli are not worth my time. Curiosity got the best of me, however, when I learned that pizza made by honest-to-goodness Queens natives lurked inside of the mythical establishment. After almost two years of strolling by like an ignoramus, I can say with confidence that the bakers at DiPrima Dolci are slinging some solid pies.

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Plain cheese is the best way to judge pizza; a truth-teller with no distractions to mask its flaws. DiPrima Dolci's Neapolitan-style cheese slice ($2.75 cash, $3.25 credit) needed no gussying up to look amazing. 100% whole milk mozzarella imparted an intense richness to their delicately-sauced slice. The light smattering of tomato added a complimentary sweetness and very little acidity. The balance here teetered towards dairy indulgence; a pizza eater seeking out a robust savory flavor would be best served ordering a meat-topped slice. For the dairy-free, there are slabs of focaccia.

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What needs to be praised above all else here is their spectacular crust. The reason I will return to DiPrima Dolci is an inevitable craving for the holy trinity of char, crisp, and chew. I expected a mindful dough element from a bakery, but had no idea the level of maillard mastery they would bring to their crust. When I bit into one of those dark bubbles on the carbon-crusted cornicone, it brought me right back to Sally's Apizza in New Haven. There was pure magic in the way the tomato-scented cheese just tinged the pie's edge.

In addition to Neapolitan slices, DiPrima Dolci also offers daily Sicilian slices and made-to-order full pies in the reasonably priced (for Portland) range. Oh, and their cannoli is the real deal.

DiPrima Dolci Italian Bakery & Café

1936 N Killingsworth St; Portland, Oregon 97217 (map)
503-283-5936; www.diprimadolci.com

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