June 04, 2012

Best pizza ever — how could it be gluten-free? Razzi's Pizzeria

Last night, tired of eating leftover chili (delicious but way too familiar), we finally went to a restaurant people have been telling me about. Razzi's Pizzaria is an unassuming neighborhood Italian restaurant with a big difference from the usual corner bistro — it has three (color-coded!) menus. The "regular" menu, the green vegetarian/vegan menu, and the blue gluten-free menu. The weird thing is the menus are nearly identical. By comparing the GF and vegan menus, I was able to figure out how to meet both criteria — but no worries, because the waitstaff are very knowledgeable and know exactly what's what, and can advise customers about the food.

We started with small dinner salads that were supposed to be mixed greens but were iceberg lettuce, a shred of red cabbage, a thick slice of cucumber, a slice of tomato, chopped olives and shredded "cheese." Razzi's has a bunch of tasty vegan salad dressings to choose from. I chose Italian and my husband chose Caesar. But we didn't come for the salad — we came for the pizza.

I've had GF pizza from other Seattle restaurants as well as homemade GF pizza, and the restaurant pizza was just OK — nothing I really want to have again. The homemade version was exceptional, but after tasting the pizza at Razzi's, even the homemade has slipped in my ratings. We got a garden special — roasted broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms and creamy slabs of eggplant, fresh garlic, delicious tomato sauce, and mozzarella (you can choose daiya or follow your heart) on the lightest, crispiest, most delicious crust I've had in years. It was seriously good pizza that I don't think anyone would suspect was gluten-free. The sauce was perfect, too — flavorful and rich without the overwhelming taste of salt that often ruins the taste of pizza for me. The veggie toppings were generous, and covered the entire surface — not just a piece of veggie here and there. The cheese was modest and complimentary rather than big globs — just the way I like it.

from  Razzi's website
When I started telling our waitress how great the crust was, she mentioned that the GF pita bread was also delicious. The appetizer menu includes a number of  Middle Eastern specialties like hummus and baba ghannouj, accompanied by pita — something I didn't think I'd ever enjoy again in a restaurant. There are also GF versions of grinders, gyros, paninis and calzones as well as pasta dishes. Since those items also appear on the vegan menu, I think they are probably available in vegan-GF versions, too. Yikes. Although I don't eat these foods on a regular basis, it's nice to know where I can go if certain cravings pop up. It may be a while before I can try other dishes, though, because I can't stop thinking about the pizza, and will probably have to order it again!

We were too full to order dessert, but I did notice several vegan, GF choices on the menu, including cheesecake, mocha pie, and butterscotch caramel pie. (I believe the GF-vegan desserts come from Jodee's Bakery.)

There are lots of specials posted on the Razzi's Website, like free dessert on Sundays, 20% off vegan/vegetarian meals on Mondays, etc. If you live in Seattle, there are lots of good reasons to head over to Razzi's Pizzeria on Greenwood Ave.

As if I haven't given you enough reasons to rush over to Razzi's, they even have gluten-free beers! They use mostly organic, locally sourced ingredients, natural non-toxic cleaning products, and 100% recycled toilet paper in the restrooms. What more can you ask of your local family restaurant?

UPDATE: I went back to Razzi's for lunch, and had the pizza lunch special. The crust was OK, but not the crispy delight it was when we had dinner there. It reminded me of the crust I made at home. Still, it was tasty. And I noticed on the menu the crust and breads are available to take home. GF French bread, anyone?

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Chloe Coscarelli visits Seattle
I recently had the pleasure of attending a book talk and cooking demo with the effervescent winner of Cupcake Wars, Chloe Coscarelli. She was a lively and upbeat (to the max, in a good way) speaker. Chloe addressed and answered questions from an enthusiastic, packed house. We were in a charming bookshop in Fremont called Book Larder, which specializes in books about food and cooking, and hosts book talks and cooking classes. If you haven't been to the book store, you should check it out. Chloe asked one of her "people" to take a photo of her with the crowd, and I happened to be next to the one empty seat where she sat down, so I ended up appearing on her Web page (where I stole the photo). I'm printing it small because I look kind of weird, next to a shot that I took with my phone, of Chloe signing books. Yes, they gave out cupcakes and cookies to the audience, but not to me because I don't eat gluten anymore. My husband enjoyed his samples, though. In fact, he was so taken with Chloe, the cupcakes and the book shop that he purchased a copy of her cookbook, Chloe's Kitchen. We haven't had a chance to use it yet but it's very beautiful and the recipes look good.

One last thing ...
If you live in Wisconsin and you're unhappy with the political situation, please vote on June 5. Every vote counts and there's no room for complacency. (A historian's perspective.)
 

30 comments:

  1. Awesome! It much be really refreshing to have that many options so readily available to you when dining out. The pizza must really have been incredible for it to have topped yr own! And GF pita bread sounds really promising. I hope to hear about it if you ever head back for that. Very cool that they can make things low-sodium too! Did it take long for the food to arrive? They must make everything pretty fresh to order, I would think.
    I was just reading about Chloe Coscarelli yesterday. She does seem VERY friendly. I've looked at the cookbook a couple times at work; it has some incredible looking recipes.

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    1. I'm amazed at how many options there are, and how many restaurants are willing to accommodate different diets. The pizza exceeded all my expectations, and I only wish I could reproduce it at home — a new goal to work towards. It took a while for the pizza to arrive, but not so long that we started to talk about it, and it was worth the wait.

      Chloe is friendly, but she seems very genuine.

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  2. oh my gosh that pizza looks AMAZINGGGGGG!! I wish i could grab a slice through the screen! wow -- just, wow! haha...thanks for sharing!

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    1. Well, I have the same wish. The restaurant is perilously close to my house, and I feel in danger. :) I wonder if the pizza can be as good on the next visit. Only one way to find out, right?

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  3. I've been sorry to read in several of your posts lately (as I've tried to undo my delinquency) that you'd been having gluten-caused issues. I'm glad going GF has helped, but know it creates challenges. So I'm really glad you found such a great source of nearby GF vegan food! Razzi's sounds fantastic on so many levels, and that pizza doesn't just look and sound delicious, it's GORGEOUS! I've never had eggplant on pizza before. I'd love to try a slice (or two or three) of that pizza of yours, so may we please add it to our agenda when I come to visit Seattle? :-)

    Funny, I'd never heard of Chloe before last week, when somehow I ended up watching video clips of her victorious competition in the Cupcake Wars. She looks like she'd be a lot of fun, and lucky you for being in the right place at the right time! :-) I'll be curious to hear what you think of her cookbook, because her recipes have been criticized in reviews for having so many unhealthy ingredients (white flour, white sugar, lots of fat, etc).

    I sure hope the recall election goes well!!

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    1. I've been gluten-free since last August. (Ken just pointed out that I wouldn't be able to eat a breakfast burrito with you this summer, unless it's a corn tortilla.) It hasn't been much of an issue at home, but going out can be a challenge.

      I would probably have to modify a lot of the recipes (I'm used to doing that) but lots of them look really interesting. They do have more fat than I like to use, and more sugar, but there are many good ideas. We'll see.

      The recall appears really even in votes, but not in costs or donation sources. "While Barrett has received about 26 percent of his $4 million in campaign donations from outside the Badger State, Walker has drawn nearly two-thirds of his $30.5 million contributions from out of state, according to campaign filings released May 29." -Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, on the Huff Post.

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  4. First of all, thank you for encouraging people in Wisconsin to vote! Mike and I are looking forward to it tomorrow and hope it goes well. So far the state seems to be split, though, which worries us.

    Second of all, wow, can I ever see why you're so taken with that pizza! It looks fantastic in the picture, so I can just imagine how good it is. That's terrific that there's a great place you can go when you want to eat out.

    I've never heard of Chloe, but now I'll have to check her out. :)

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    1. Thank you for voting! I wish I could.

      I loved the pizza, but then I read what Rose wrote below, and I don't know what to think.

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  5. Good to read a positive review of Razzi's. We went there about 6 months ago, lured in by the vegan menu and ordered a pizza with vegan cheese...they brought us a pizza with regular non-vegan mozzarella. I told the waitress that the cheese wasn't vegan, and she insisted that it was Daiya. This cheese was not Daiya, and not FYH either, I know because I've bought and used both. We didn't eat or pay for the pizza, and just stuck with salad and pasta with red sauce. It made me very skeptical of the place.

    Here's to the recall! May Scott Walker be voted out once and for all.

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    1. Your Razzi's story leaves me wondering. I'm pretty sure the cheese on the salad wasn't dairy mozzarella. And the cheese on the pizza tasted like FYH, which I requested. Are non-dairy cheeses getting too realistic or is the kitchen careless? Now I'm worried. The crust was amazing and I want to be able to go back there. Bethany eats there and she's never said she was given dairy cheese — maybe it was a fluke.

      Yes to the recall! He needs to go.

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    2. Probably a fluke...haven't been back there since. But maybe we'll give it another try sometime.

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    3. Update, update...we ordered delivery pizza from Razzi's tonight...definitely vegan cheese and it was pretty tasty! We didn't do GF, but it has remedied my skepticism...I think it was the night that was in it...the waitress probably didn't know the difference or something.

      Also, sorry to hear the recall results, but Dems took back the state Senate, so that's very good! Snott Walker will get his comeuppance...I'm sure of that. We have to get rid of Citizen's United ruling: Money is NOT speech!

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    4. I just had lunch at Razzi's and the crust wasn't crisp and great like the first time. It was OK, though not as wonderful.

      Yes, the election results suck except for the Senate. Snott (or Scatt, as some call him) has to be stopped. Money should definitely not be the deciding factor in elections.

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  6. Rose and Andrea, you could always order the pizza w/o the cheese - since going McDougall we never eat vegan cheese on our pizza, and we actually prefer it that way! :-)

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    1. Yeah, I prefer pizza w/o cheese too, but when you go to a place where they tout their vegan fare, you kinda just want to try it, ya know? I agree about the store bought vegan cheeses in general as well, they're not healthy, but I've bought them on a few occasions to try them out.

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    2. I like it w/o cheese too. But my thinking was like Rose's when I went there — wanted to try the whole deal. They don't put that much on. On the rare occasion when we buy vegan cheese, we use a little and the rest usually goes bad. Come to think of it, there might be a piece in the freezer that should probably be tossed. Haven't bought any in ages, but when something new comes out, we sometimes try it.

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  7. Already voted ABSENTEE :) Let's hope for the best!

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    1. Oh I hope he gets recalled. Please please please.

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  8. wow looks great! but now i am nervous reading the comment above. don't you think you would have been sick if it was dairy cheese? I would have nearly thrown up if it was i'm that sensitive. i think people would be able to tell.

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    1. I don't think dairy cheese would make me sick, though I might get sick from the thought.

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  9. Oh, I am jealous! I would love to go out to eat a pizza! No chance it can be shipped here, eh? :)

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    1. Well, they do offer free delivery, but you may be out of the delivery zone. :)

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  10. I'm not gluten-free, but that pizza looked incredible! And here I thought if I ever came to Seattle I'd simply camp out at Might O.

    Recently picked up Chloe's cookbook & I'm anxious to give it a try as well!

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  11. If the GF crust is this good, I wonder what the regular crust is like? Mighty-O is good, but there are a lot of places you'd want to go — I think you'd like Wayward vegan cafe, as well as a lot of other places, like Café Flora.

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    1. Ugh; I really need a vacation. And by vacation, I of course mean vegan-food-extravaganza a plane-ride away.

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    2. I can't believe there's anyplace with more vegan choices than NYC. Not to mention the rising number of places in nearby Philly. For a West Coast vegan-centric city, try Portland!

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  12. Wow bummer experience for Rose, I wouldn't venture back either.
    However your experience seems contrary to that and that pizza looks as a good as a NY pie. It is so great to find something delicious and vegan (and in your case gf/my case whole grain) in a local haunt. We just found a delicious deep dish stuffed pie (they only use Daiya) about a mile away. Have had it too many times and still it always blows me away.

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    1. I know. I'm not sure I'd recognize real cheese anymore — it's been so long, but the cheese I had tasted like FYH. The crust was what amazed me — best ever, including regular crust. Got to start experimenting more in my kitchen.

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  13. Wow--that is one impressive neighborhood restaurant! Amazing. I would be there waaaaay too frequently if it were near me :-)

    Are you still a WI resident? Were you able to vote by absentee ballot?

    Courtney

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    1. I went today for lunch and the crust was good, but not as crispy and great as the other night. Oh well.

      We weren't able to vote because we vote in WA now. We were bummed by not voting, and by the results.

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