Brain Dump: West Coast Pizza Madness 2009, Where I Visited

View West Coast Pizza Tour in a larger map [All photographs by Adam Kuban unless noted]

I know it's taken me a while to get the lead out re this trip. I've been back in NYC for six days after 12 days total on the road (nine actual pizza-eating days among those). I figured that regular Slice readers might want the skinny on which places I visited while out west. They're above in the map, but I'll also list them below, after the jump.

What was I doing on this crazy-ass expedition? Well, Ed and I are working on a project that we'll divulge at later date. My portion of the project involved touring some specific pizzerias on the West Coast as well as Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix on my way home.

Starting on Saturday October 24 and ending on Saturday, October 30, I went to Portland, Oregon; Seattle; San Francisco; L.A.; and then Phoenix. If you didn't catch the list in my "Margherita Pizzas are Boring" post, here's the basic itinerary:



After Saturday's pizza stops, I met up with friends for a drink at Mr CB's Lounge, the bar at Country Bill's restaurant in Portland's Woodstock neighborhood. Mr. CB's is total Portland. Red vinyl booths and wood paneling that take you straight back to 1964, which is when this place opened. Think this place is unique? It is and it isn't. It's probably one of the best examples of these stuck-in-amber bars in Portland, but there are lots of others like it. [Photograph: aldenmorgan on Flickr]

10/24 (Saturday)
Ken's Artisan Pizza
Wy'east Pizza

10/25 (Sunday)
Escape from New York Pizza
Apizza Scholls
Al Forno Ferruzza



After an early lunch at Serious Pie, I figured I'd give myself some time to digest while I visited the Space Needle, where i was able to add significantly to my elongated penny collection.

10/26 (Monday)
Serious Pie
Tutta Bella
Via Tribunali

San Francisco Bay Area


I tried to do most of my in-city travel via public transit. This proved to be relatively easy in San Francisco, as I was able to take the BART train out to Oakland and Berkeley (Ashby Avenue station, above) and to the Mission District.

10/27 (Tuesday) Pizzeria Delfina Pizzaiolo Emilia's Pizzeria Flour + Water

Here's my rundown on the SF leg of my trip »

10/28 (Wednesday) A16 Pizzeria Picco

Los Angeles


Oh, boy. Remember how I said I tried to do all in-city travel by public transit. As you can imagine, L.A. threw a wrench in those plans. Big time. I had no idea there were other airports in the city that might be more convenient to my hotel. Ended up taking a very expensive cab ride on arrival. :(

10/29 (Thursday) Pizzeria Mozza Pizzeria Antica

Here's the rundown on the LA leg »



Phoenix turned out to be the easiest city to get around by public transit, at least for the purposes of this trip. There's a great new light-rail system that runs from Mesa and Tempe out east into Phoenix and up the city's Central Avenue. You can catch a free shuttle bus from the airport to the 44th Street stop and make your way into town from there. I was staying a block from the line and used it to visit Pane Bianco, Matt's Big Breakfast, and, of course, Pizzeria Bianco, all within easy walking distance of the train. There's even a great blog that explores eating options along the route: PHX Rail Food.

10/30 (Friday)
Pizzeria Bianco

Kansas City, for a Pizza-free Breather


My parents have been on me about visiting, since I hadn't been back to KC in some time. So I took some time to recuperate at the ol' homestead. No, this isn't the ol' homestead; it's a photo I took while driving around rural Kansas, enjoying the view.

10/31 At this point, I flew to Kansas City, where I visited my family and friends and ate lots of salad, fruits, vegetables, and prunes.

Seattle, Part 2


While waiting for Seattle's light-rail train at Westlake Station, I noticed that the mural across the platform had a familiar look to it. Turns out it's by Seattle native Roger Shimomura, a mentor to a friend of mine who studied under Shimomura at the University of Kansas.

11/5 (Thursday) Delancey: I had goofed on my itinerary the first time around in Seattle and was there on a Monday, one of two days when Delancey is not open. Seeing that I still had some allotted time left in my road trip, I had my trip rerouted back to Jet City and made it to this newcomer when it was actually open.

NYC: Home Sweet Home

11/5 to 11/6 (Thursday/Friday) Red eye home to Newark. You know, Newark is a royal pain in the ass if you're arriving there around 1:30 a.m. There are almost no non-taxi transit options at that hour. I was lucky to have caught the last public bus toward downtown Newark, where I jumped on the PATH to Manhattan. Wow. Downtown Newark is not where you want to be at 2 a.m. with a backpack full of digital equipment.

A Unique Trip

I know I sounded a bit whiny and maybe a bit ungrateful in the "Margherita Pizzas Are Boring" post yesterday, but I truly did cherish this trip. Even when visiting what are considered some of the best pizzerias in a given region, you're going to hit some misses along the way. It comes with the territory of expanding your pizza knowledge.

I've still got an awful lot of pizza intel to share with you, and I really wish I could have done it as it happened, but the thing is that I was traveling almost nonstop while on the road. If I wasn't actually sampling pizza, I was on a bus, train, or plane (or on foot or in a Zipcar) to the next destination.

Overall, it was a load of fun, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I met up with existing friends in some places and made some new ones along the way (including two couples from Kansas while waiting in line at Bianco). And all the cities I visited were beautiful in their own way — I only wish I had more time to explore each (and eat something there other than pizza). I'll try to wrap this stuff up in the next few days. Oh, and watch for Ed's posts about the places he visited for this project. He'll have stories about Atlanta, Philly, and New Haven for you. All in due time. All in due time.