Disclosure: This meal was complimentary, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own
Earlier this week, I was invited to a Media Preview of the Life of Pie, a new restaurant at 3632 North Williams/NE Beecher Streets.
Life of Pie specializes in wood-fired pizzas, using a special Stefano Ferrara oven which so excited to be here in Portland. I mean look at that 6,900 pound, 1000 degrees F, beaming immigrant from Naples, Italy! They have a whole page of their website devoted to this proud baby!
That oven works hard with the Shepherds Grain flour dough that owner Jason Kallingal and Nick Burger have perfected after reportedly 30 batches. The oven adds a hint of char and some smoke to that dough, but not a lot of char so the base stays chewy while the crust is crispy.
The 11 inch pizza pies are topped with housemade and/or locally sourced seasonal ingredients, such as their homemade mozzarella which we saw being made right then and there at the event, or the mushrooms from the Farmers Market, Carlton Farms applewood smoked bacon, Chop salami and Mama Lil’s Peppers…
They have 8 pizzas on their menu ranging from $9-12. They also offer a menu of toppings, so those 16 ingredients can be used to mix it up to your liking, including any of the ingredients listed in the pre-tested recipes below to your own preferences, and a few extra ones such as mixed olives or anchovy.
- Chop Spicy Salami, Mama Lil’s Pepers, Goat Cheese, Honey
- Seasonal Mushrooms with Shaved Pecorino Romano and Truffle Oil
- Bacon, Goat Cheese, and Oven Roasted Leeks
- Meatball, Ricotta, and Red Onions
- Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Garlic Confit
- Marinara, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Chili Flakes
- Fennel Sausage and Mama Lil’s Peppers
- Margherita with Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil
At the tasting I was able to test a slice of the Seasonal Mushroom pizza covered in chanterelles and shitake mushrooms and finished with shaved pecorino romano and truffle oil. This was my favorite, if I had to pick one of the pizzas of the night to rank #1.
Also sampled were the Carlton Farms applewood smoked bacon layered with oven-roasted leeks, goat cheese and caramelized onions. I loved those oven-roasted leeks. Meanwhile the Fennel Sausage kicked up your average sausage pizza with Mama Lil’s Peppers and offered a great pairing of spicy with a sauce so good I could imagine drinking it. Also check out that classic Margherita with Mozzarella, Tomato, and Fresh Basil whose leaf color slowly just darkening from the pizza heat testifies to its freshness.
I was also blown away by two appetizers they offered at this media event.
The first appetizer was a perfect balance of oozy and crispy in their Aracini, risotto croquettes with ricotta and mozzarella. So often I break open an aracini to find out it was mostly an empty shell, without much substance inside. Not the case with the Life of Pie aracini, as you can see- there’s a molten cheese surprise inside.
Then there was Life of Pie’s surprise right hook: Kale & Arugula with parmesan and honey lemon vinaigrette packed an addictive punch with its light dressing that enhanced the kale and arugula and the parmesan to add texture like a breadcrumb topping of a mac and cheese- but all over your salad! I would **highly recommend** this salad. It is a very crave-able salad.
Besides the pizza pies, they also offer some simple spaghetti if you are especially craving their tangy marinara sauce, which you can dress up further with the fennel sausage or meatballs if you’d like. They also have a gluten free pasta available. As an alternative- but I recommend as an addition- to the aracini appetizer, they also have a oven roasted cauliflower gratin and meatballs that sound delightful. Dessert-wise the only option was a root beer float, but they are just a few doors down from What’s the Scoop? so I recommend finishing up with sweetness there.
Life of Pie interior combines modernity with the warmth of lots of wood and various pizza making accouterments along the walls, and seats probably about 40 something guests. When the weather warms they have a whole section that is all glass garage door walls that will open up to North Williams, which should be a great treat. Life of Pie is new and low key- I can’t describe the service since I did attend during a special event, but I hope this blog post is helpful to you anyway in seeing some of the offerings. As of now it appears there is no waiting in lines yet like some of other famous wood fired pizza places in town, so visit now!
In fact, they currently are offering an Extended Happy Hour daily 11 am-6 pm that includes a $5, 11 inch margherita pizza plus $3 beers and wines – a great deal! Now you just have to order that kale salad and invite me to join you in living a Life of Pie.
Life of Pie is currently also doing a weekly FREE pizza giveaway for a free 11″ pizza every week on their Facebook site- check out the contest app!
Which of the pizza pies would you want to order?