Pizzeria da Lupo, Boulder

Anyone following the food scene in Boulder knows that we now have more phenomenal pizzerias per capita than anywhere outside of Italy.  Where did I get that statistic? I made it up, but it seems to be true lately.  In my latest taste-test of our primo-pizzerias, I went to Pizzeria da Lupo, which is located right next to Larkburger in the Village Shopping Center.  Where is that?  It’s where McGuckin’s is, silly.
Anyway, let’s get back to the pizzeria…  Walking in, this place felt like a pizzeria.  I don’t know how to describe that exactly, but there was a familiar feel to the open kitchen, small tables, and unpretentious decoration.  I could have been in a pizzeria back in Jersey as a kid.  That’s what it felt like, I suppose.
But, unlike a kid, I started with some wine…
I tried the Cinquepassi Negroamaro from Puglia, Italy.  I can’t recall ever trying this variety before, so I went for it.  Good choice.
I also really liked that they gave us a small plate with some sea salt, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, and shaved parmesan.  That is exactly what you need with pizza and it was great to have it right there to pinch some if you wanted it.  Nice touch.

We started with the shaved brussel sprout, pecorino, and walnut salad.  It was great, and I’d order it again.  I eat enough “standard” salads at home, so it’s always nice to order something different when we go out.

We also split the burrata.  I’ve realized that if I go somewhere and burrata is on the menu, I order it.  Pizzeria da Lupo serves burrata with pistachio, lemon confit, caper agrodulce, and flatbread.  As I was eating it I wished I had ordered a few servings of that for dinner.  But then… the pizza arrived.

We got two pies: I wanted the bianco, which was topped with house made mozzarella, reggiano parmesan, ricotta, and arugula.  They served the pies on cool two-tiered wire racks.  Another nice touch.

Kevin had the pancetta pie topped with bacon, caramelized onion, and scamorze cheese.  He basically said it was one of the best pies he’s eaten outside of Italy.  But, mind you… we’ve only been to northern Italy and over-indulged in northern style pizza.  Looks like we need to travel to the south for traditional Napoli pies to make an educated comparison.

And now… for the most important detail of a pizza… the crust.  Pizzeria da Lupo is doing something right because their crust is light and airy with just enough crunch and chew to make it almost addictive.  Even when I was full I went back for one more slice.  And then when we got home with left-overs I went back again for my last slice.  Come to think of it, it would be nice to have another slice right about now.
So go check them out.  Pizzeria da Lupo is new, so give them a try.  
2525 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302. 
303-396-6366
Order some pies and let me know what you think.

Olive Flatbread

Is it pizza or is it flatbread?  I don’t really know.  I think I’d call it pizza if it had one or two more ingredients on it, but this simple pizza-like flatbread was just brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with Spanish Roasted Black Olive Sea Salt (which you can find, of course, at Savory Spice Shop), some sliced olives (I got a mixed container of olives from the olive bar at Whole Foods), and some grated parmesan cheese.
So, maybe it’s a flatbread.  But, I used a pizza crust recipe…. hmmm… 
For my crust:
In a large pyrex measuring cup, mix 1 1/3 cup warm water, 1 TB yeast, and a spoon full of sugar.  Let this dissolve and sit for approximately 10 minutes.  Your yeast should get nice and frothy, which lets you know it is alive.
In your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, measure out 3 cups unbleached bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, a pinch of sea salt, and some freshly ground black pepper.  Mix this for a few seconds with the dough hook before slowly adding the liquid and a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Knead this in the mixer, adding a little more flour as needed, for 10 minutes or so until it is a nice, smooth dough ball that isn’t sticky.
Then cover the bowl- I usually put wax paper over the bowl and then cover that with a dish towel.  Place the bowl in a warm area (not a hot oven) to double in size over the next hour or so.  Then, punch it down and start rolling out crusts, or flatbreads.
I like baking my pizzas and flatbreads on a baking stone in a 425 degree oven.  They cook in no time. Enjoy!

French Bread Pizza

Sometimes dinner needs to be fast, and French Bread Pizza is a great fast fix.

What I have here is some fresh French bread, layered with thinly sliced fresh tomatoes, some sauteed yellow onion, buffalo mozzarella, and basil. Delicious.

The Best Pizza in Boulder (updated 3.12.11)

I enjoy making pizza from scratch. I plan ahead and make my dough, get some great ingredients assembled, and have fun rolling out little pies and baking them on my pizza stone. There are times when I am too busy to go through the whole pizza process, so we look towards others to supply our pies. When we first moved to Boulder (more than 5 years ago now) we’d go to Lefty’s since we live in Gunbarrel and it is close to us. We’d often bring the pizza home and put it in the oven for a while to crisp it up a bit.

Then we heard about this place called Proto’s. We gave it a try and loved it. For the past couple years we’d usually go to Proto’s for pies whenever I decided not to cook. It was a reliably delicious decision.
We hadn’t been to Proto’s in a while, and, while downtown recently, decided to give the new BOP a try. Result? A soggy bottom in the middle of the pizza by the time we got it home.
The very next week I was working at a dinner party downtown until quite late, so I planned to pick up some pizzas. We (though I state clearly here that it WAS NOT my idea) decided to try BOP once again since it was conveniently located close to the party where I was working. Result? A soggy bottom again.
I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be a pizza snob, but a soggy bottom is just totally unacceptable to me in a pizza.
So, back to my story… The soggy bottom pies led to a conversation reminiscing of Proto’s pies and how good they were. We had just eaten pizza two weekends in a row, so we weren’t about to go to Proto’s just for the hell of it. But, we recalled it fondly.
Fast forward a few weeks and we decided to try Basta, the new pizza place in the Peloton. We were pleased with Basta- they have a wood-fired oven, nice toppings, crisp crust, nice wines, etc. We had a good meal and tried to compare it to Proto’s. It had now been quite some time since eating a Proto’s pie, so we had trouble comparing. We knew Basta made good pies. That was for sure.
Fast forward another few weeks and we decided it was time to try Proto’s again. We were replacing our floors- ripped out the carpet and laid down a wood floor on a Friday night until past 10:00 pm. I showered first so I could pick up our pies and was SO EXCITED and hungry and Friday is clam pizza night, which is FANTASTIC! And then the news… Proto’s closes at 10. We called at 10:30 to place an order for pick-up. Worst. Moment. Ever.
I whipped up something… oh yeah, I remember now. Nachos.
The next day we were laying down floors and getting our place in order until 9 pm. Not too late for Proto’s! Just no clam pizza. OK. So, I picked up our pizzas, brought them home, opened the box and smiled, and took my first bite. I instantly declared it to be the best pizza I’ve had in Boulder. Hands down. Thin, crisp crust. Not too many ingredients, but good ingredients. Not too doughy. Just right. Just right.
This pizza taste-test led to a conversation with someone who had purchased a BOP pie. I warned her of the soggy bottom. We talked of Proto’s and Basta, as well as Abo’s, a place I had never frequented for a pie. The same week my friend with whom I discussed pizzas gave me a gift certificate to Abo’s. Cool… let the pizza pie challenge continue.
And so, I bought some Abo’s, brought it home, and was absolutely shocked at how big, dense, and heavy this pie was. Seriously. Big, dense, and heavy is all I can think of to describe the pie. I’m just not into that kind of pie. I don’t want that much crust and that many toppings. That’s just not enjoyable pizza to me.
The bottom line: Proto’s is the best pie. I know there are people making great pies in Boulder, like Laudisio, which is always a fabulous pie. But I’m talking here specifically about pizza places where lots of customers order pies for take out. I’m talking about places that really specialize in pizza, not gourmet restaurants that also make pizza. Proto’s wins my unofficial pizza challenge.

I need to edit this- My new fav is Pizzeria da Lupo! No doubt about that one!

Where’s your favorite place to get a pie in Boulder. Let me know. I’ll check it out and add it to my pizza challenge.
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