Two newish pizza joints in our Greater Seattle area, and I had the chance to visit them just couple days apart.
Passed by Humble Pie all the time in International District – couldn’t miss it as it was where the big wood-fire stood stoically by Rainier Ave.
It had a very casual, lay back, neighborhood friendly atmosphere with picnic table seating.
They grew their own chickens on site and all the ingredients for the pizzas were as organic and as local as they could get.
The bottom was very crisp thanks to the high heat wood-fire oven, and the mids of the crust remained moist and chewy; it was not as fluffy as Tutta Bella’s yet still good.
The flavors were amazing.
This was my first experience of having a BBQ pizza without BBQ sauce!
The pull pork was a little drier but it oozed out barbeque smokiness and sweet aroma that no sauce was necessary.
The pickled onions were tasty crunchy and vinegary, and the tomato sauce was just tangy enough to be a great supporting actress.
Honestly, I believe my mushroom and egg was the winner of the 2; it felt like a harmonized choir in my mouth.
At the bass and tenor, there was the strong earthy mushrooms lightly sautéed, coupled with delicious truffle oil – the flavors were deep and grounding.
At the soprano, the fresh crisp arugula was delivering its sharp and distinctive flavor.
Finally alto, the egg: it was subtle but gave the most creamy buttery texture in the mouth with the runny egg yolk.
Both pizzas came with light and great texture cheese which was perfect for my personal preference – it lightened up the pizzas in grease level and allowed the other ingredients to shine.
My only wish to Humble Pies pizzas was to have more toppings; it felt like there was too much dough.
I wanted to go to Mercato Stellina for lunch then realized a while back that they only opened for dinner.
Tucked quietly at the edge of old Bellevue downtown, Mercato Stellina had lovely outdoor seating and was opened by the folks who had Cantinetta.
It was a treat as we went with friends and got to try 4 of their pizzas: funghi, spicy salami, speck and prosciutto.
Mercato’s was the thin kind, a bit dry and hard.
I was really looking forward to the funghi with truffle oil and sage but was disappointed.
The sautéed mushrooms looked and tasted not so healthy and flavor a little strange.
The truffle oil was great but the sage addition did not work well for me.
The sharp tallegio cheese was dry and sharp which was a nice compliment to the truffle flavor.
The spicy salami was quite spicy and delicious; paired really well with the slight tart and sweet tomato sauce — but the pizza had too much cheese for my taste and was a little greasy.
My speck was probably the most exciting of the 4 pizzas.
The meat itself was dry with a lovely smoky, deep and surprisingly gamey flavor; paired with thinly sliced sweet pear, tart yet sweet balsamic vinegar and the bitter strong character of gorgonzola, it was a winning flavor combination.
We also had the baby kale salad with Italian tuna and a lovely tangy dressing; and tried our friends’ super tender meat balls which had a nice tomato sauce but the flavors inside the meatball was a little bland.
Between the 2 pizza places, personally I preferred Humble Pie — the winner of this round of pizza vs.