Friday, January 14, 2011

Zaw Artisan Pizza and Mariposa Penguinos

Myth: I was sure that only buff male athletes ate whole large pizzas in one sitting.
Fact: I eat whole pizzas from Zaw Artisan Pizza in one sitting.
Fact which is almost too good to be true, but is true, nonetheless: I don't feel awful and overstuffed afterwards. This is not because the pizzas are skimpy, though they are intentionally thin-crusted.

If you're in the Seattle area, and you like pizza, and especially if you're on a gluten-free diet, you need to check out Zaw. Actually, if your home is within moderate driving distance of Seattle, you need to check out Zaw. They make the best pizzas that I've ever had. And the pizzas are unbaked, so if you need to pick one up on your way home from work and pop it in the oven a little later for your family, you're fine.

I did not plan to eat the first Zaw pizza that I bought (pumpkin puree, roasted pumpkin, maple syrup-caramelized onions, Isernio's spicy sausage, and mozzarella) in one setting. But once it came out of the oven, there was just no way I wasn't going to. And if I hadn't, my cat, who kept trying to grab pieces of it, would have figured out how to get into the refrigerator before I could eat the leftovers.

I don't think I need to say anything else about them, except that any restaurant that comes up with a pizza with prosciutto and arugula is taking the art of the pizza to a whole new level. And the Cowardly Apricot pizza, which I had tonight, is equally sublime.*

The only other points that I should make are that they have reasonably priced bottles of wine, and salads: and in said salads, they do not skimp on the cheese.

*Yes. I am a Romanticist, and I called a pizza sublime. Not just any pizza. Zaw pizza.


Another true story. When I was in elementary school, I sat next to two boys, Nathan Zwink and Jesse Harris, and sometimes they were jerks, and tried to flip up my skirt, and other times we got on just fine and built tunnels in the school sandbox, and dug deep enough to hit water (about 10-12"), and crafted networks of tunnels and "underground" lakes.

And in 4th grade, Nathan and I were in the same class, and seated near each other, and every day at lunch he offered to trade me his Hostess Choco Bliss for my Fruit Roll-up, and I eagerly accepted. My household was one in which Hostess products were absolutely forbidden, as was Wonderbread.** I have no idea why Nathan was so willing to trade. Was it an elementary school crush (as one friend has suggested)? Or did he simply prefer fruit roll-ups (which, I won't deny, are delicious), to Hostess products?

That daily lunchtime trade is one of few aspects of elementary school that I vividly remember. A couple of years ago, I had a chance to eat a Hostess chocolate Ding Dong, and, well, it just didn't hold up to my 4th grade memories. The Choco Bliss, I realized, was as ephemeral as the memories evoked by Proust's madeleine.

Or so I thought, before I got hold of the Penguino cream-filled chocolate cupcakes by Mariposa Bakery.***

They were so good that they led me straight to a moment of religious aporia: do Hostess cupcakes have souls, and do they believe in the transmigration of the soul?

Because if they do, then the really good Hostess cupcakes are rewarded by being reincarnated as Mariposa chocolate cupcakes. The prospect is so appealing that it almost makes me wish I were a cupcake. More than that: it makes me wish that I could be good.

Do I need to say any more? No? I didn't think so.

**(Oh, Wonderbread, how fascinated I was by your celebratory packaging; how disappointed by your spongy reality.)

*** You can get them by mail order, but they might also be in stock at your local Whole Foods, or Metropolitan Market (if you're in Seattle.)


  1. Hah! Love it. I'm going to have to think on other food reincarnations.

    I make my own pizza, and the pumpkin & maple & onion & sausage one sounds RIDICULOUSLY good. So I think I'll steal the idea. Any thoughts you might have on their spicing?

  2. Arwen, I'm pretty sure there was sage, but nothing else. I'd say the key to deliciousness is to go light on the mozzarella. I'm going to make it myself soon (it was only available in November), will let you know if I discover anything in the process.)

  3. I can see that light on mozza would help to let all those flavours through. Do let me know!