Before having babies, my wife and I used to do a lot of nice things. One of those things was going to eat pizza from Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria. Since having babies, however, we have been shy to return, because while my wife and I might appreciate the subtleties of a well prepared pizza, my twin toddlers have been seen eating fruit that has fallen into the sandbox out of another kid's mouth. Suffice to say, they are not exactly impressed that Marco's is the only pizza joint in town certified by L'Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, and so if they are happy eating 99-cent tacos off of the street, who am I to drag them into a fancy pizzeria? And most of my readers probably already know how good Marco's is, so from a blogging perspective, with all those top of the town and best-of accolades, who cares what I think?
Now usually I pose that as a rhetorical question, because with my mother and wife becoming more and more underwhelmed with my repeated rants and raves about food, the real answer becomes increasingly depressing. On this occasion, however, there was an answer: The Marco's Coal Fired PR team cares what I think. They contacted me not too long ago to say how they actually liked how much I talked about my two kids on my blog. What's more, after such undue praise, they said they wanted me to come down and try Marco's new dessert "s'mores" pizza. They thought my kids would like it.
When I asked my wife if she would want to go to the pizza place of our past lives, her first question was: do we have to bring the kids? I'm not sure if we had to, but as I've reviewed before, leaving them in the car, even with the windows cracked and a can of mace to ward off the creepy people is generally frowned upon.
Once at Marco's we got right to business by ordering a couple of pizzas. The first was the simple Campania. The crust on our Campania-- and on all Marco's pizzas-- is about as close to perfect as it gets in this town, with beautiful blackened edges and burnt bubbles of crust. The rest of the pie was lovely as well, with big sprigs of fresh basil and just the right amount of bufala mozarella. To understand how much we liked this pizza as a family, here is a picture of a two-year-old boy who has stuffed a half slice of pizza in his mouth. (Stuffing too much food in one's mouth is of course, a dominant inheritable trait, and like the burp, is a compliment to any chef)
Our second pizza had prosciutto, arugula, shaved Parmesan and cherry tomatoes--all laid on top of the pizza after being taken out of the oven like they should be. The crust was equally perfect - airy, light, crispy, soft and with just the right amount of black. Classic flavors done well. Can't really ask for more.
Then it was time for the dessert pizza. Dessert pizza inevitably sounds a little gimmicky, and what came out actually looked more like an interesting combination of pâté and mushrooms than a Nutella ganache topped with shards of graham cracker dusted in powdered sugar. But the taste? It had all the flavors of a s'more plus more of that really great crust, so what wasn't to like? The 1000-plus degree heat of the Marco's pizza oven put a lovely campfire-like char on the marshmallows (which are hard to see in the photo below) and showed a creative use of the super-hot oven. It wasn't nearly as sweet as I thought it would be which I immediately appreciated, but at the same time a little more gooey marshmallow, or even some chunks of un-melted chocolate, would not have disappointed anyone at our table.
Marco's Coal Fired Pizza makes great pizza, but probably you already knew that. My kids loved Marco's too, and even though they eat frozen waffles and raisins they find under the couch, with the amount they ate, and the ferocious speed with which they ate it, I think they too appreciated the fact that they were eating some special pizza. It might be a little more expensive than your everyday pizzeria, and I've never tried their wings, salads, sandwiches, or even their non-Napoletana pies, but for a truly well-made pizza, you can't go wrong at Marco's.