Clicking in to the Slice inbox today, we've got an awesome, awesome review of Flatbread Company pizza up in Portland, Maine. Thanks to homeslice Dustin for dropping this cheesebomb on us!
Now, as any food patron will tell you, almost as important as the quality of the food itself is the quality of the preparation, environment, and service. Meaning, if one were to go to a restaurant that is known for great food, if the waiter or waitress is a jerk or if you see bugs all over the place, there's no way you're going to enjoy the meal as much as you would if the environment was friendly and clean.
There's no doubt that psychology pays a huge factor with enjoying anything, and eating pizza is no different. And let me say that Flatbread Company is an excellently run establishment that promotes all locally grown, organic ingredients, combined with a positive and friendly vibe (one might even say a hippie sort of vibe, meant in the whole peace and love sort of way). And these days who isn't a fan of a.) organic b.) locally grown c.) peace and love? Right? ;) Not to mention that the restaurant is located directly on the Portland waterfront, which is quite beautiful.
Moving on, when the lady and I sat down, the immediate attention-getter was the awesome wood-fired clay oven that can be seen by all. I mean, what pizza lover can't get excited by that? (no Slice reader I imagine, haha). And not only is that oven in view, but they actually have a dude literally chopping the wood right next to it! I mean, they really don't leave much to the imagination here, and that is perfectly fine by me.
So feeling hippie-ish and all, we decided to go with a nonmeat pie and ordered the Community Flatbread, which is topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms as well as various herbs—definitely a nice touch. And when the pie came to the table, our eyes were as wide as can be. I mean, taking a look at the pictures, I imagine a lot of people are now feeling the same way.
Before we consumed, however, I ordered my lady to hand me over the camera in her bag and announced to her that I had to get this pie in the hands of Slice. Photographically speaking, of course (please note that this is one of the very few and rare occasions in which I have ordered my lady to do anything. I feel justified that it was the right call, though, as I felt it my duty to spread the word to our fellow Slicers).
Anyway, the preparation, the fact that things were organic and local, the setting, etc., etc., were all great, but the fact remains, how does the actual pizza taste? And, Adam, the pizza tasted wonderful (I really want to use the wonderfully wonderful line again, but it's kind of lame to use it twice [Yes, wonderfully lame! ;) Just kiddin'. —The Mgmt.]. The sauce, the dough, the toppings—everything—just tasted great. I'm not quite polished in pizza acumen, as you can tell, so I am going to come up short with explaining the minor details that I know you find important to what makes a good pie a great pie, but since I read your site so often, I can say that the "balance" was perfect.
The two of us have never eaten an entire large pie before, but there was no problem in making this one go entirely bye-bye. I just noticed on their website that they have a few more locations, and next time I travel to New England, I might have to make a minor detour to hit up a different Flatbread. And I certainly suggest that you do the same, my dear friend.
So enjoy your weekend, Adam, and feel free to present any of this information or pictures how you seem fit. And thanks once again for your site—I effing love it!
------------------------------------------------------------ Dear Dustin, Thank you for the wonderfully wonderful review and photos. I can't tell you how happy I am to get some more intel on this place. It's funny, because longtime Slice reader Paulie Gee tipped me to Flatbread Company a couple weeks ago via email:
I saw you had a blog on American Flatbread, but I didn't find anything on Flatbread other than a comment from July. I had seen pictures of their ovens in New England as I was inviting shots into my Pizza Oven Flickr group. What I didn't realize is that I might be looking at more than one location. What really caught my interest though was when I recently spotted a very nice shot of one of their ovens and invited it to the group, assuming it was from the same place. Then I noticed that the picture was taken on Maui. It looks like a very interesting and promising chain. Especially with an expansion to Hawaii. However, maybe that's just where the owner wants to retire. Paia is a great town.
Funny how that all works out. And Paulie provided this link on Flatbread Company: http://www.inc.com/magazine/20070401/casestudy.html
Thanks again, Dustin. And thanks, too, Paulie, for putting Flatbread on my radar; I'm sure you're reading this.
Hasta la pizza, Adam
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