Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pure Pizza - Uptown

This past weekend, I was super excited to wake up and see an unfamiliar sight -the sun! In celebration of the break in Charlotte's terrible weather, BFTB and I hopped on our bikes and set out on a mission to get some exercise, wrap up some errands, and find some lunch. We headed uptown and ended up at the Seventh Street Market, where we decided to check out Pure Pizza (FYI- there's a $10 for $20 deal on Yelp right now). After doing a little bit of research, I learned that Pure Pizza advocates for food that not only tastes good, but is good in all senses of the word. The website proudly states that they "incorporate a mindfulness of the environment and community in everything we do." In addition, the restaurant uses local, sustainable, and organically grown ingredients as much as possible. Combined with the fact that the Seventh Street Market is one of my new favorite places to grab some food and people-watch, Pure Pizza seemed like a winner before I even placed an order.

The Seventh Street Market... check out my mad panoramic picture-taking skills!

We were pretty hungry and settled on splitting a small Pure Country Pizza, a Prestige Farms Chicken Sandwich, and a Side Greek Salad. The cashier handed us a number and I claimed a table while BFTB skedaddled across the market to Not Just Coffee to grab one of his beloved pour over coffees.

Prestige Farms Chicken Sandwich & Side Greek Salad
Our food was delivered within a few minutes and we dug in. The Prestige Farms Chicken Sandwich consists of grilled chicken, fresh tomato, Lucky Leaf farm fresh arugula, white balsamic onions, and Boskey Acres goat cheese on toasted, house-made focaccia. I took a big bite and was, for the most part, impressed. While BFTB thought it was too much bread, I thought the focaccia was the best part of the sandwich -it was thick without being dense, moist without being too oily, and crunchy without being dried out or crumbly. As far as individual ingredients go, the exceptionally fresh arugula and the pickled-esque balsamic white onions also stuck out to me in a good way, but I was otherwise a little disappointed. The chicken was dry and lacked flavor and the goat cheese seemed a little off. Its texture was strange and it stuck to weird crevices in my mouth that I previously did not know existed. I'm gaga for goat cheese and am convinced that a little sprinkle can revive even borderline-bad meals, but it didn't help here. The sandwich as a whole was nice, but I felt that it was relying on the awesome bread as a crutch. It won't be on my re-order list, but I'm optimistic that some of their other sandwiches might be really good (the description of the day's special BLT and the Caprese Sandwich both sound drool-inducing).

Regarding our salad selection, I would first like to point out that it was me, not BFTB, that decided to order a side of vegetation. To be fair, it was accompanying a pizza and a giant sandwich, but look at me making a healthy-ish suggestion! Unfortunately, the Greek Salad was not anything to write home about. The veggies were really fresh (including the oh-so-tasty house-made, spicy, pickled peppers) and the feta was delightfully tangy, but the Greek dressing was lame. In college, one of my friends would bring her own bottle of dressing into restaurants when she wasn't a fan of a place's particular variety of ranch. Although I think dressing smuggling is pretty ridiculous on a general level, I might suggest doing the same if you want a Greek salad at Pure Pizza. Devoid of seasoning, the dressing added no flavor and tasted like my lettuce was wearing a slimy coat of straight oil. Maybe it was a bad batch, but I stuck to eating the un-dressed veggies that day and will probably avoid Pure Pizza's salads in the future.

Pure Country Pizza

As for the main event, our pizza was really, really good. BFTB and I were recently debating our favorite Charlotte-area pizza restaurants and we were both hard-pressed to think of any (especially any non-chains) that met our three requirements- (1) a delicious, light crust, (2) innovative topping combinations, and (3) a good sauce to cheese to crust ratio. Pure Pizza just might fill that void. The Pure Country Pizza consists of Bianco-DiNapoli organic tomato sauce, fresh sliced mozzarella, caramelized garlic, AB Vannoy Farms prosciutto, and hydroponic basil. As you can see in the picture, the pizza was heavily tomato-based. However, it didn't seem oversauced. I've been ordering a lot of olive oil-based pizzas recently, so the tomato sauce was a nice reminder of what I've been missing out on. The salty prosciutto was surprisingly lean and a tasty complement to the sweet sauce. I also really enjoyed the caramelized garlic gloves. While I had a hard time figuring out what made them caramelized (versus simply roasted), my confusion didn't affect my ability to enjoy their taste. The whole cloves had been cooked to a mild, sweet flavor but they were still characteristically garlicky. Hidden underneath the other toppings, finding the garlic cloves was like a little treasure hunt on top of the pizza (with two "treasures" -bites of delicious, squishy garlic and lingering, terrible breath). The creamy mozzarella was also very good and tasted mind-blowingly fresh. While the other ingredients were super, I am convinced that the carbohydrate component of this dish was the star. The sprouted grain crust was thin, almost nutty, and chewy while still being substantial enough to support the toppings. All in all, the combination of ingredients resulted in a really good pie.

It's a safe bet that I will be returning to Pure Pizza soon to try some of their other pizza options (I'm looking at you, Deconstructed Pulled Pork Pizza!). While the sandwich and salad didn't exactly blow me away, Pure Pizza pulled through on their namesake dish and I left the restaurant both full and impressed. For now, Pure Pizza gets a solid 7/10.

Pure Pizza on Urbanspoon

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