As a self-proclaimed expert on all things pizza (except that Chicago deep dish “pizza”), there are certain qualities I look for in a slice of pizza. I am not claiming to be the only foodie with the same pizza criteria. However, I am the only one currently writing about Pacifica Pizza (the one on Chestnut and Sheppard in Fresno), so what I say goes.
First off, the bottom must be discussed. And by bottom, I mean crust. And by crust, I mean the bready part on the…you guessed it….BOTTOM. I have eaten plenty of pizza in my days. I grew up in New York City, where some of the best pizza in the country comes from (again, Chicago doesn’t count). They say it is something in the NYC water that makes the pizza so unique and delicious. I can’t argue with that, because I’m not a chemist (or at least Alton Brown). I am, however, somebody that knows pizza. And let me tell you something: Pacifica Pizza has just about the greatest crust I’ve tasted in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing like New York pizza. With that said, it is somewhat soft AND crispy at the same time (which tend to be the two key traits of NY pizza crust). I don’t know how those guys at Pacifica Pizza do it.
Well, I do know, but I don’t want to bore you with details.
It’s that good kind of crust, the kind that when you tear it open, “hot” comes out. Do you get my meaning? But wait! What am I talking about? I meant to talk about the bottom of the pizza, not the crust around the edges. The bottom crust (or “bo’crust,” if you’ll excuse my new addition to the English language) is something quite spectacular. Despite the thick layer of toppings (which I’ll get to in a second), it was still quite fluffy. Have you ever had pizza where the “bo-crust” is like a thin strip of leather, even though it’s not supposed to be thin crust? That is exactly what Pacifica Pizza crust is NOT like. That bo’crust on the bottom reminds you, with every bite, that you are eating quality hand-made (daily and from scratch!) pizza crust.
That’s entirely enough about the bottom. Now to the top(pings). I had a simple one item topping, and went for the classic pizza meat, pepperoni. This wasn’t some thinly sliced spicy lunch meat. It wasn’t entirely thickly sliced either, but right in between. It was sliced so that you can taste it, as well as actually feel the texture. I knew for sure that there was a slice of pepperoni in my mouth when I got hold of one.
But what’s a good pizza without a good cheese? Honestly, the cheese on ANY pizza is hard to mess up. So long as it’s melted, it’s all good. And let me tell you, this cheese was definitely melted. Melted so well and thoroughly, in fact, that the pepperoni was not about to fall off for any reason, short of some kind of highly localized pizza specific tornado (those are rare these days, and in this part of California). Neither was the sauce, which I was pleasantly surprised about. The one thing that ruins pizza for me is too much sauce. There is always the option to order it with extra sauce, of course. To me, the perfect amount of sauce is so you can taste it and know it’s there. Too much sauce is when it creates a lubricated buffer zone (kind of like Switzerland) between the bo’crust and the cheese, causing the top layer of goodness to slide off and away from my mouth. For sure, Pacifica Pizza DOES NOT do that. The cheese and toppings were firmly attached to the bo’crust, as they should be.
As for toppings, I also had some of the Heart Attack Special, which has pepperoni, Canadian bacon, salami, linguica, REAL bacon pieces, Italian sausage, and ground beef. This is truly a man’s’ pizza (or a woman, no offense was meant). Let me put it another way: remember the whole idea of a “meat lover’s” pizza? Pacifica Pizza has continued on with that tradition with the Heart Attack Special. The only thing that could have made it manlier would have been to add some hot wings on top, and maybe some rocks (because real men can eat rocks and spit gravel, or so I’ve been told).
Speaking of hot wings, I had some of those from Pacifica Pizza also. Were they hot? Hot enough, for sure. Were they the hottest wings I’ve ever had? No way. Were they delicious, meaty, and…umm…red? Of course! They were everything you would expect when you order some hot wings at a pizza place. Would I order them again? Most definitely, as they are now my new favorite wings in Fresno (since University Chicken shut down, that is). One thing that really seals the deal on wings is the ranch dressing. It needs to be somewhat thick and have that restaurant style ranch flavor. Pacifica Pizza ranch has all of that, and to make things even better, you get something like a pint (my definition of a pint may be different than yours) of it with the wings. Not like those other places where you get a little tablespoon in a plastic cup…those places need take some lessons from Pacifica Pizza.
Before I end this, I need to mention the Garlic Cheese Knots (I think that’s what they were called, they had those three words in the title…maybe “twists” instead of “knots”). If all else fails, ask for the garlic bread and they will know what you mean. Remember that crust I was talking about? Not the bo’crust, but the crust around the edge? Let’s call that ed’crust for now. Anyway, the ed’crust was fantastic, like I said, but the Garlic Cheese Knots (Twists?) are made from that same freshly made dough, then brushed with some sort of garlic and butter sauce that only God himself (or herself) could have made. In other words, it’s the best thing ever as far as I’m concerned (at least when it comes to cheesy garlic bread).
So what should you take away from all this ranting and raving about Pacifica Pizza? I don’t know, that’s for you to decide. Just remember that it’s probably one of the better, if not one of the best pizza places in Fresno. Take it from me, some guy (who you’ve never met) that really likes pizza (or at least claims to), Pacifica Pizza is the next step in pizza goodness. We can call that “piz’oodness” if we want; there is nobody to stop us.