Pizza Delfina

My reasons for going to San Francisco were manifold: to see the Golden Gate bridge, to eat lots of food, and–very high on the list–to meet one of my all-time favorite food bloggers, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. Heidi’s star is on the rise these days: with the release of her GORGEOUS new cookbook, Super Natural Cooking, she’s about to take the world by storm. Have you seen it yet? Held it in your hands? You really should, it’s a beautiful thing.

For our rendezvous, Heidi–who lives close to where I was staying–gave me a call Wednesday morning and invited me to join her for coffee at Tartine before lunch at Pizza Delfina. We walked over together (I knew it was her coming down the street because of the trail of 101 cookbooks she left in her wake) and had an instant rapport. We talked shop (how does she make her site so spiffy?), we talked food (Tartine’s baked goods are truly remarkable), and we talked cameras (she fixed my manual mode so it shoots now in 400. What does that mean?!)

And then it was time to mozy on over to Pizza Delfina, the more casual extension of the highly regarded restaurant Delfina. And guess who joined us? None other than Bruce Cole of the late Saute Wednesday and current editor (and owner) of Edible San Francisco. I never expected to meet Bruce and I was really glad he came: he’s really low-key and really fun.

Now, despite the gracious greeting I received on this Wednesday morning, the experience hit a bump–at least for me–after Heidi put her name on the wait list/chalkboard:


We stood outside and I said, “I wonder if they’ll know we’re out here when our name comes up?”

So I went in to ask a waitress that very question and she said, “I don’t understand what you’re saying to me.”

I said, “Will you come outside when our name is called?”

“We always tell a party when their table is ready,” she answered with such contempt that I gulped. (Read Frank Bruni’s article about restaurant attitude for a more thorough indictment of restaurant snippiness.) Anyway, that was the only blip of unhappiness I experienced at Pizza Delfina. The rest was a pleasure.

Like these olives, they were a pleasure:


Served warm, they were unlike any olives I’ve ever had. As was this spicy cauliflower:


This may have been my favorite bite of the meal: roasted cauliflower with peppers and capers and garlic, it was an assault of flavor. I took more than my share.

As for the pizza, this pizza with Hen of the Wood mushrooms was surprisingly good–


–though I liked the Pizza Margherita best (not pictured.)

Ed Levine, on the phone, advised me: “People in San Francisco will try to take you out for pizza. Don’t let them.” But these pizzas proved worthy: smartly made, smartly dressed, the crust had a good bite and the center wasn’t too greasy. Those are the pizza standards I live by, though I didn’t write the book on pizza.

Afterwards, we headed over to Bi-Rite Creamery for ice cream and it was closed! No matter–Heidi and I posed for an adorably cute picture:


Bruce headed home and Heidi and I walked back together. I realized our time together was drawing to an end, so I decided to act fast: “Heidi,” I said, “I know we’ve only known each other for a few hours–and gee, this is awful sudden–but I was wondering.” I got down on one knee. “Will your food blog marry my food blog?”

Heidi’s eyes welled up with tears. “Oh Adam,” she said. I drew a deep breath. “I have something in my eye.”

We plucked it out and Heidi hugged me goodbye, my question unanswered, as she climbed a hill back home, cookbooks scattering behind her, little bunnies singing and dancing and a broken-hearted food blogger crawling back to his computer to blog about it.

11 thoughts on “Pizza Delfina”

  1. Oh Adam, so sorry to hear that your heart has been broken, but you know it’s only in the fairy tales that blogs live happily ever after and produce lots of adorable baby blogs. At least you had a yummy lunch. That roasted cauliflower looks great. I’ve been making them a lot lately (actually, I’ve been making them just about every Friday to stave off our going out to the bar and stuffing ourselves with junk food outings). I am super geeked about the idea of putting in some super flavors like capers and peppers. Maybe some anchovies?

  2. Oh my! The folks at Delfina did not know the superpowers that were in their midst! What a meeting of the minds!

    I’m so glad you tried Delfina, they definitely make a delicious pizza and they’ll also happily put an egg on it for you (even though the egg is usually on a special of the day pizza only).

  3. I think 400 either means the shutter speed, resolution or pixels..? Hmm…but the food looks delicious!

  4. Adam, come back soon! I will show you the parrots :) They aren’t as cute as fairy tale bunnies – but I like them just the same :) We will need to coordinate outfits again as well – destiny!

    About Adam’s camera…he was telling me about trying to shoot more pictures without using flash. He was saying that alot of his pictures were blurry. So, I dialed up his ISO to 400 (the equivalent of using faster film). I also told him to shoot in AV (aperature-priority mode) allowing him to open the lens aperature by setting it to 2.8 – allowing more light in. Shooting in low light with most point-and-shoot cameras without flash can be tricky, so hopefully with some practice this will help him acheive a flash-free existence.

    sunshine and kisses, -h

  5. This New Yorker spent a few years in Berkeley, and I have to say, the pizza that the Cheese Board on Shattuck Avenue serves is beyond sublime…reasonably priced, fresh ingredients, perfect balance, but as I recall, the Cheese Board only makes it one day (Thursday?) a week, with limited varieties. I remember the lines waiting to buy it, and I also remember the pizza making the wait seem pretty minimal.

  6. The Cheese Board got the hint…they now open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. It never fails – they still have long lines, and truly the best pizza in the Bay Area!

  7. “400” is usually a film rating. For a digital cam it would be a measure of sensitivity – higher the number the lower the ambient light environment.

  8. you are indeed fortunate in having one of the few edible, not to mentioa actually Good, pizzas in the entire state of california. just be glad you didn’t grow un in chicago, then move here. *shudder*.

  9. Thanks Heidi for responding. I’m going try out more of these settings. I just bought a Canon SD800 and played around with the ISO400 last night but I think I’m in need of a TriPod, unless that’s where the other setting you mentioned comes into play – then again, by allowing more light in I would probably need a hand that doesn’t shake. :)

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