Daily Slice: Armenian Pizza at Royal Market & Bakery, San Francisco
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.
Often, dishes that non-Italian cultures call their 'pizza' turn out to be, well, not pizza at all. But at least the Armenian pizza they served me at Royal Market & Bakery passes a quick look-test. (It's round.)
Called lahmajun when it doesn't need to be explained to foreign consumers, these discs of flatbread have been spread with finely ground beef that tastes of paprika, cooked red pepper, and Middle Eastern spices. No cheese here, but I'm pretty sure tomato made its way into that meat as well.
The lahmajun sits piled in plastic bags behind the counter, but they'll reheat it for you on request, and this mostly revives the super-thin, soft, flatbread base. I imagine the edges would have an inviting crispness when fresh, though this hadn't survived the time on the shelf.
Royal Market also offers a treasure trove of other Eastern European and Middle Eastern specialties. For $1.25, I recommend getting yourself a lahmajun so you have something to munch as you carry home your booty of kebab, or pickles, or obscure vodka.
Royal Market & Bakery
About the author: David Kover is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and food enthusiast. He occasionally gets his tweet on at @pizzakover. Or, you can get the scoop on his nascent bagel business over at Schmendricks.com.