Gallery: 8 Pizzas That Haunt My Dreams

<em>Maria's , Maria's Pizzeria, Milwaukee" title="Maria's "Special" Pizza, Maria's Pizzeria, Milwaukee" class="lazy"/>
Maria's "Special" Pizza, Maria's Pizzeria, Milwaukee

A large "special" (sausage, onions, mushroom) is so damn big I had to turn this photo sideways to shoehorn it in here. I grew up eating Maria's on trips home to see my extended family in Milwaukee, but it had been years since I last had it. This is pizza parlor pizza at its best, served up in a kooky, quirky, only-in-Milwaukee surrounding. I'd be 500 pounds from this stuff if I lived anywhere near it. Read more »

<em>Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pie,</em> Motorino, New York City
Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pie, Motorino, New York City

Motorino opened to fanfare in late 2008, but it wasn't until this year that I tried the brussels sprouts and pancetta pie. O. M. F. G. This thing is amazing. You might think, "Wha? Brussels sprouts?!" And I'm here to tell you, Yeah, brussels sprouts. Get on it. More on Motorino »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

<em>Hot Soppressata Pie,</em> Paulie Gee's Backyard Oven, Warren NJ
Hot Soppressata Pie, Paulie Gee's Backyard Oven, Warren NJ

I have pizza madman Paulie Gee to thank for turning me on to the awesomeness of hot soppressata as an alternative to pepperoni. The stuff is more porky, a little more funky, and, shaved thin, crisps up perfectly in a hot, hot oven. You might think I'm a jerk for including a pizza that's not from a pizzeria, but what do you know ... Paulie is opening his own place soon in Brooklyn. So try it for yourself there. Read more »

<em>Sausage Pizza,</em> Veloce Pizzeria, NYC
Sausage Pizza, Veloce Pizzeria, NYC

I wish I had a good photo of the sausage pie at Veloce, because it's the pizza there that I dream of. The meat it's topped with is a house-made crumbly pork sausage flavored with rosemary, sage, fennel, and fennel pollen. It's a mix that's somehow subtle yet flavor-packed—none of the herbs overpowers the others, but there's a rich, musky finish to the bite. Couple that pork with a crunchy crust with a spongy-springy interior topped by a thick tasty sauce and quality mozz and you're golden. Read more »

<em>Cherry Bomb Pepper and Sausage Pie,</em> Serious Pie, Seattle
Cherry Bomb Pepper and Sausage Pie, Serious Pie, Seattle

The Margherita pizza here didn't really do it for me, but this one was, well, uh, the bomb. (Do the kids even say that anymore? Doubtful.) I had many pizzas on my Pizza Madness 2009 road trip, but this one really stood out. Read more »

<em>Sausage and Onion Pie,</em> Emilia's Pizzeria, Berkeley CA
Sausage and Onion Pie, Emilia's Pizzeria, Berkeley CA

Whether you're a whiny New Yorker looking for familiar-tasting pizza or someone who's never set foot in the Big Apple, the pizza at Emilia's is sure to shut you up and keep you stuffing your face. This is pizza like you'd find on the East Coast, if that's your bag — and if it isn't your bag, it should be. Read more »

<em>The Rosa,</em> Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix
The Rosa, Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix

I would almost say that this was the single most transcendent pizza I ate all year, but with the company it's keeping in this roundup, that's hard to say. Still, the Rosa (red onion, Parmigianno-Reggiano, rosemary, and Arizona pistachios) is really, really freakin' A. Pistachios might sound a little weird, but you have to try this. I figured Bianco would never live up to the hype it's gotten all these years, but when I finally ate this pie, I understood that all the praise was well-deserved. And then some. More about Pizzeria Bianco »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

<em>Plain Pie,</em> Sally's Apizza, New Haven CT
Plain Pie, Sally's Apizza, New Haven CT

The "plain" pizza at legendary Sally's is just that—crust, sauce, and a light dusting of Parmesan. But what a great, great pizza. The crust is perfectly baked, crisp-chewy, and flavorful. The sauce is rich and zesty. Order a large for yourself and you can eat for days. Read more »