Tag Archives: vegan pizza

NYPD Pizza Delivers on Its Promise: The Perfect NY-Style Vegan Pizza in Phoenix!

When I moved to Phoenix 15 years ago, my ability to successfully adjust to living in this town hinged on one important thing: the need to find decent NY-style pizza. I tried many “local favorites” and determined they were all inedible. Finally, two recommendations from friends rang true: Ray’s and NYPD Pizza. Both were at least 30 minutes from where I lived at the time, but I was raised in an Italian family that regularly traveled vast distances for “good pie.” But as both restaurants expanded their footprints, I was becoming a vegan. And so, my search for the perfect NY-style pizza was rendered pointless. Or so I thought!

In July, a co-worker told me that NYPD Pizza had posted a question on its Facebook page, asking for name suggestions for their new vegan pizza, which would be made with Daiya cheese. I of course freaked out with anticipation. They said they would have it in stock in August. Despite my constant stalking and hounding of their Twitter feed and Facebook page, and calling the restaurant, no vegan pizza appeared on the menu. Finally, I gave up and stopped checking. I wrote it off as a promise unfulfilled. Until last Friday.

I was trying to decide where to have dinner on Friday night, and checking to see if Green had posted any new specials on its Facebook page. The answer was “no,” but something made me think, “I should check NYPD’s page.” To my surprise, they had announced “the Veganizza” the week before, while I was out of town!

I went to the NYPD website to get the specifics, and saw the “Gluten-Free/Vegan” menu option and became even more excited. Just be sure, I called my nearest restaurant to confirm they actually had Daiya in stock. All systems were go!

While the Veganizza wasn’t actually listed on the menu in the restaurant yet, I didn’t panic. The waiter didn’t blink when I said “16-inch Veganizza please!” But he did come back to the table once he put our order in to say, “It will be about 25 – 30 minutes,” which makes us think we got their first one…

It was worth the wait! In my eagerness to get my hands of my first slice of Veganizza, I forgot to get a picture in its pristine state.

NYPD Veganizza

The Veganizza comes default with Daiya, Roma tomatoes, fresh spinach, basil and garlic. While it lacks the fake meat found on zpizza’s Berkeley Vegan, it makes up for it with excellent flavor and the perfect NY-style crust (defined as: very thin, but firm enough to fold).

NYPD Veganizza slice

The proportions were perfect (just enough cheese and sauce) and the basil and spinach were a great combo. My only recommendations are that they should make sure the cheese goes all the way to the edge (which is always a complaint of mine with pizza – never leave a cheese gap)! And they need to cook it just a little bit more, but this seems to be an issue with restaurants that are new to cooking with Daiya – they just don’t trust the cheese! It’s okay though, because we had enough left over to cook it a little longer at home the next day. Next day pizza can’t be beat!

NYPD veganizza twice cooked

The best part is, there’s an NYPD three blocks away from my office, so the phrases “Who wants pizza for lunch?” and “Hey honey, you worked late, how about I just pick up a pizza on my way home?” have re-entered my life! However, I think “I’m going to ride the exercise bike for awhile” may need to be uttered more frequently now as well!

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Phoenix Street Food Update: Vegan Pizza and Tacos!

Now that the weather is getting a bit nicer in Phoenix, it’s time to start exploring the outdoors again – in particular outdoor vegan eats! There are days when I just sit and contemplate what I love more – vegan pizza or tacos. This is a tale of both!

I rarely get a Friday afternoon free to head down to Food Truck Friday, but I was highly motivated when I learned that the Pizza People food truck has a vegan Daiya cheese option. Quite possibly the best vegan pizza I’ve ever had was from a food truck in Portland called Pyro Pizza so I had to check  these Pizza People out!

Pizza People Food Truck

The menu was ideal – a good sized pizza for one, with a decent options of veggies.

Pizza People menu

My husband went for spinach and mushrooms, and it was a very pretty pie. I chose a green peppers and onions pizza.

Pizza People mushroom and spinach vegan pizza

Pizza People green peppers and onions vegan pizza

The crust was nice and fluffy and the red sauce tasted fresh and light. I would, however, suggest they use a little less cheese (I know that’s sacrilege coming from Daiya-obsessed me). My guess is that chefs are nervous that Daiya won’t melt so they over-do it, and the excess soggifies the pie. I saw some table-neighbors’ dairy pies that had the right ratio, so Pizza People, lighten it up a bit please and you’ll have an outstanding vegan pizza!

While we were there, we checked out the menus on the other trucks. Clearly I’m going to have to track down the Uprooted truck at a future date. Check out the menu!

Uprooted Kitchen menu

A week later, I found out Green Vegetarian was setting up a food tent at the Arizona Taco Festival, and lucky me — I won tickets by suggesting they make potato tacos! The festival was much more massive than I expected, but I’ll go to great lengths for Green’s tacos – so I was willing to battle the chaos.

The sign for the Green tent was a little more subtle than some of the others, but they seemed to be getting plenty of traffic.

Green Vegetarian's Taco Tent menu

Green was serving two types of tacos: carne asada and potato with refried beans.

Green's vegan carne asada taco

Green's potato and beans taco

Both came with a side of cabbage salad and a delicious hot sauce I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting at Green. I enjoyed the carne asada tacos, but not as much as a steak taco special I’ve had a Green before.

The potato and bean tacos were fantastic. They only thing that could have made them better was, you guessed it, a nice helping of Daiya. I now want tacos, especially these, added to the Green menu! I know they’d be a hit, because, well, I ate five of them!

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Great Beer, Plus Vegan Food Options: Angels Trumpet Ale House Is Divine

Angels Trumpet Ale House has only been open for a little over a week, but we’ve already been there twice. Our first visit was a quick pop-in to wash down a spicy dinner at neighboring Tediberto’s with a craft beer. However, the sight of vegan food options on the menu compelled us to go back for a full dining experience. I have a feeling we may become “regulars” at this place!

Since moving to town 15 years ago, I’ve trying to find a place that felt like “Phoenix” to me. Not Scottsdale, not Tempe — both of which have their own vibes — but Phoenix. For some reason, Angels Trumpet seems to tap into what makes Phoenix “Phoenix.” Look around the room and you’ll see the whole range of demographics and cultures that represent the melting pot that makes this town so unique.

Angels Trumpet bar with 31 beer taps

I guess what brings a wide variety of Phoenicians together is a love of great beer!

Angels Trumpet beer

I’m not a beer expert, but if I visit Angels Trumpet enough I could become one! Check their Facebook page for regular “on tap” updates. My fondest hope is that they are able to get Old Bisbee Brewing Company‘s Belgian Whitbier on tap.

While I wouldn’t call Angels Trumpet a “destination dining” choice for vegans, there are several menu items we herbivores can pick from. The specials for the day offered a vegan salad and a black bean hummus “Sammy” that was easily made vegan (the waitress checked with the kitchen to make sure for us).

Angels Trumpet vegan black bean hummus Sammy special

The flat bread was chewy and flavorful, and the black bean hummus and grilled veggies were as expected. Oddly enough, the herb-seasoned fries got better as they cooled off.

The Garden Pizza on the menu is straight-up vegan.

Angels Trumpet vegan garden pizza

Again, it’s not gourmet dining, but as vegan bar food, it hits the spot. I liked the sauce, and the crust was light and thin. The combo of veggies was odd (potatoes and string beans?) but worked just fine for me.

We asked the waitress to find out of the Veggieloaf listed on the menu is vegan if served without the cheese. She confirmed it with the chef, so that’s what we’ll try on our next visit. Other options look to be the salads (with no cheese) and the Nutter Sammy (with no marshmallow fluff). There may be other items that could be vegan-ized as well, but I had reached the limit of how many “can it be made vegan?” questions I wanted to ask above the roar of the crowd!

I have to give high credit to the wait staff. Although the place was packed on both visits, the service was fast and friendly. The parking seems to be their weakest link. We had to circle the area a few times to find a spot on Friday night. I’m sure FilmBar appreciates having company on the street though! 2nd St. and Roosevelt is now the place to be!

Also, I do have to say “I called it.” The menu features seasonal pop tarts for dessert. The pop tart IS the new cup cake! Unfortunately, they don’t look to be vegan… but maybe without the glaze? I’ll ask next visit!

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Phoenix Vegans: Naked Pizza Is Test Marketing Daiya Here!

Naked Pizza

Run run run to a Naked Pizza soon! Or, given that there aren’t any locations in central Phoenix yet, maybe take a bike, car or bus.

I received a friendly note that Naked Pizza is test marketing my favorite vegan cheese —  Daiya — in the Phoenix metro but it took me a few weeks to make my way to one. When I finally did, the pizza completely blew me away. Not only are their pizzas made with healthful ingredients such as probiotics and multi-grain flours, but they also taste great.

We tried the Superbiotic (but without the mushrooms) with Daiya cheese and gobbled it up so fast we burnt our mouths.

Naked Pizza vegan superbiotic pie

The dough was delicious – both light and flavorful, the wide variety of veggies tasted fresh, and they used just the right amount of Daiya to make it cheesy without being too gooie. The only downside is they aren’t really set up for dine-in (their website touts “no freak chemicals or dine-in”) and only had small tables outside. It’s still pretty hot in Phoenix and the smell of parking lot isn’t really my favorite dining ambiance.  Since it was so far away from where we live, bringing the pizza home wasn’t really an option.

Please go to Naked Pizza soon and let them know how much you loved having a vegan cheese option for your pizza so they keep it on the menu once they open new locations in Phoenix! They plan to have 12 locations open in the metro by early 2012! You can also leave a comment for them on Facebook or Tweet them your thanks.

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The Parlor Pizzeria: The Crust Is So Good You Won’t Miss the Cheese

When I first moved to Phoenix 14 years ago, I thought it would be a good idea to have my hair professionally styled before an important job interview. I didn’t have a relationship with a salon yet, so I picked Salon de Venus on Camelback Rd. and 20th St. mainly because I liked the  60s “modern” look of the building. Well, I got the job, but around the same time a friend graduated from cosmetology school so I didn’t continue to frequent the salon. It eventually went out of business, and I worried about what would happen to that cool building.

Much to my delight, we started seeing renovation activity at the location about two years ago. Mysterious signs went up, and eventually we discovered that a pizza parlor was opening up.

The Parlor Pizzeria

What thrilled us even more was to discover that it wasn’t just any pizza place – The Parlor Pizzeria is a high-quality but moderately priced restaurant with fresh ingredients and delicious wood-fired pizza. The first time we went there it was because we couldn’t handle the three-hour wait at Pizzeria Bianco (which also makes an awesome cheese-less pizza). They kept the beauty parlor theme of the location too – including reusing the salon chairs!

Inside The Parlor Pizzeria

There are plenty of reviews online about how great the place is, so I’ll just focus on what I’ve found on the menu that’s vegan.

To start, order the Parlor Insalata but without the salami and feta.

The Parlor Insalata

It’s a pretty straight-forward salad but the dressing is light and flavorful, and the crispy chickpeas are a unique touch.

I also love their French fries – they are some of the best in the valley – but they come by default with a parmesan cheese coating. You can order them with “no cheese” without a problem though.

The Parlor fries

There are a handful of other appetizers that are possibly vegan without the cheese – but these are my standards.

One of the best features of The Parlor is the “build your own” pizza option. For vegans, the process is to cross through the protein and cheese options and write “no cheese” instead. And then, critically, ask for the marinara sauce instead of the pizza sauce, because the pizza sauce has cheese in it. From there you can select all sorts of fresh veggies and herbs. We normally have it with onions and bell peppers, and sometimes vine-ripe tomatoes.

The Parlor vegan pizza

The pizza dough is soft and thin, with just the right amount of slightly burnt crust bubbles. It’s perfect. The sauce is clearly fresh-made and delicious. They grow some of their own herbs and veggies out front, but I believe most everything is local and/or organic.

The whole meal usually costs us under $25 for two people, and although it isn’t Pizzeria Bianco, it’s darn close.

For more information on how The Parlor recycled the building, these two articles are great:

Phoenix New Times: The Parlor Pizzeria: Behind the Design with Aric Mei

Modern Phoenix: One Final Makeover For The Salon de Venus

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What a concept: vegan food, brought to your front door!

 

Life can be full of little inconveniences if you’re a vegan in Phoenix (or anywhere except LA I think). The day my eye caught the word “delivery” on the zpizza online menu, I did a happy dance knowing that at some level, I could rejoin the world of convenience dining. 

Having pizza delivered to your door is one of the greatest conveniences ever conceived. It ranks up there on the “OMG I am so lazy” scale with TV remote controls, self-scooping litter boxes and emailing your husband when he’s sitting on the couch right next to you. 

I heard of zpizza awhile ago, but at the time their soy cheese wasn’t vegan (aka “why bother?”). Our good friend Neil Hamburger, who is a gluten-free vegan, was in Phoenix on tour last fall with Puscifer and discovered zpizza when he wandered around downtown looking for food. When we met up with him for dinner he was raving about it, because finding gluten-free vegan food when you’re touring across the country as an opening act (aka not in control of your schedule or catering) can be highly inconvenient. 

The Berkeley Vegan is the obvious go-to, but they can make many other pies, pasta, sandwiches, salads and calzones vegan as well. Although the website doesn’t provide a listing of food ingredients/allergens (note: see update below), the manager at our local shop knows the ingredients well and is happy to guide us toward the vegan options. They of course use Daiya cheese, and I believe they use Gardein sausage-like meat. The marinara sauce is vegan, but I’m not sure about the pestos or roasted garlic sauce. The dough is vegan and can be ordered gluten free too. The balsamic vinaigrette is vegan (other dressings may be too). 

So if you live within a zpizza delivery zone, want a great vegan pizza and just don’t feel like leaving the house, go for it! Indulge yourself in the luxury of home delivery! You can even order online, eliminating the need to talk to anyone except the delivery person! Just don’t forget to put it in your own oven for a bit to give the Daiya cheese a chance to cook up well. 

Follow zpizza on Facebook and Twitter for frequent coupons/deals. 

Update: zpizza does have a list online of vegan ingredients. Silly me didn’t know it was under the FAQs instead of under “ingredients”: http://zpizza.com/about/faq#vegan-options

The Berkeley Vegan

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