a volcano seen from an airplane

I had two really amazing pizzas in the last week and I feel they should not go undocumented.

On Saturday after going to Nahant Beach we drove back by way of Cambridge and stopped at Area Four. I thought of Area Four because the restaurant sits on an enormous lawn and has outdoor seating, two very rare accessories in Boston. Rumor among chefs in Boston is that no one has a pizza oven like Area Four. It’s a legit-blazing-stacks-of-firewood type of thing. I think their coffeeshop is pretty slick too, if you’re by yourself and don’t mind listening to hussy startup business talk from the MIT boys who go there and will be forced to sit right next to you by the community-table-style seating.

Joe ordered some murky craft beer and I ordered a Bantam cider that came in a big glass and looked like straight champagne. Made in Cambridge, local apples and honey and fizz and 6% alcohol…delicious. We split one large fennel sausage and pickled banana pepper pizza, $25. I think the tomato sauce might have been composed completely of tomatoes roasted by hand. OR SOMETHING. I kept saying “this sauce…is amazing.”  And then there was the housemade sausage. The waiter told us they make 300 lbs of it a week. The most crumbly delicious sausage, doused in fennel seeds. After you’ve had this sausage you just want to never order sausage again until you can eat there. The next day we were sitting on the Common debating whether to go eat there again for lunch. We didn’t, but maybe we will this weekend.

Then on Monday I met some girls with their kiddos over by the North End. We wanted pizza…and fortunately I remembered my friend highly recommending Galleria Umberto (actually I didn’t “remember” but I had saved the place as a bookmark on my Yelp app and looked it up, thank goodness). I’d been wanting to go for awhile but trouble is Galleria Umberto is only open for lunch, only on weekdays, and when they sell out, they close up. Since we were in the sweet spot we called ahead and sent two delegates to bring it back to the park. Now, I am a burned cheese fan. I once put just cheese on a tray, put it in the oven, burned it, and ate it. Clearly these fellows are too because this pizza was like a volcano seen from an airplane. And the dough–almost a sourdough? So proofed and thick that Lux ate it like a sandwich. Perfect for kids because they could trot off holding a square and it didn’t decompose on the way….if you’re wondering if stay at home moms in Boston just eat great food all day, yes, that is the case.

Anyway, two pizzas, one week. Can’t stop thinking about them.

11 thoughts on “a volcano seen from an airplane

  1. So. I have feelings about Area Four. It is across the street from my office, and I am actually drinking an iced coffee I got there as I type this. Their coffee is pretty good, their pastries are delicious, and their pizza is downright amazing. They often have subpar customer service (they are slower than any cafe I’ve ever been to, there are a couple of employees who are downright rude, and they once accidentally charged my friend $400 for her chai and then waited three weeks to give her a refund), and I feel like their prices are on the high end of reasonable.

    BUT. Everything tastes so good, the dining room is so sleek and lovely, and they have a couple of employees who are so cheerful they make up for the general lack of affect of everyone else. And once one of the cheerful ones gave me free cookies because it’s Friday. And that crust, and the kitchen sink salad, and . . .

    p.s. I saw your tweet. I hope today is one of the days where it is all going Very Well.

    • I love all these reflections! I would have a convoluted relationship if I worked nearby too! I do feel like I need to mention some caveats when recommending it, but as a place where you know what you want and stay safe, it’s amazing. Our waiter was totally hapless…in an adorable way.

      Thank you for the well wishes! It has been a rather good day.

  2. Area Four. I have neither been nor heard of it. I like a good pizza though. We went to Flatbread the other day and I thought of you, Natalie and I going when we just had wee babes. I do love their pizza. Is Area Four better?

    • I was just thinking of this too! What a nice time that was. I would be very hesitant to see it’s better than Flatbread. Might have to do a side-by-side tasting. I think some of the elements are better–the sauce, the sausage, maybe the cheese? But I don’t know about the crust.

  3. Galleria Umbertos is our number one favorite pizza in the neighborhood as well. Congrats on a good pick. You should also try Parziale’s Bakery – tucked around the corner from Bova’s on Prince Street (they even share ovens!), but their pizza is out of this world, too. We have a running debate about which is better. Enjoy!

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