Pizza, Pizza!

May has a lot going for it, holidays-wise–Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s DayDance Like a Chicken Day, Wildflower Week and National Blood Pressure Month are just a few of the special celebrations hosted by the only month that rhymes with toupee. As though that weren’t enough, it’s also home to Eater’s inaugural Pizza Week, which is devoted to exposing your stomach to as many of Portland’s pizza hotspots as possible.

Several Portland eateries have gone so far as to create special pizzas in recognition of this hallowed of weeks, and Eater editor Erin DeJesus and I popped into Cheese Bar today to sample its two pizza creations–the first, a fondue-inspired pie made with both comté and raclette cheeses, caramelized onions, fat toasted walnuts and an arugula purée on a thin, chewy, flatbread-esque crust; the second, a striking arrangement of Fino in Fondo‘s Calabrese salami and Spanish pickled peppers over a golden-blistered layer of fresh, nutty Brebis cheese and a Mama Lil’s pepper purée. Both pizzas will be available through Sunday, and now that Cheese Bar‘s Steve Jones has pies in his eyes, he’s also declared every Sunday evening in May to be Pizza Night.

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(Seeing as it’s also National Salad Month, May I also recommend Cheese Bar’s spring-on-a-plate Salad #2: baby spinach, asparagus, new potatoes, spring onions and feta in a garlic confit vinaigrette. ‘Twas divine.)

Another feature of Eater Pizza Week has been interviews with some of the city’s top dough-slingers. I got to interview the lovely and exuberant Delane Blackstock of Dove Vivi fame about giant cornmeal doughballs, the beauty of mustard on pizza, and why it’s great to be Number 3 (read interview here) AND I had fun, fascinating chats with both Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty co-owner Sarah Minnick and chef Jimmy Albee, about market-to-oven pies, letting Mom Minnick chop the wood, how to request the ice cream triple-mini-scooper with authority, and why they long to exile the margherita pizza (read interview here).

The only unfortunate side effect of all this pizza exposure is that I now crave it constantly, so thank goodness May is National Bike Month too–I’m going to need to go for 50-mile rides every day so that it doesn’t also become Giant Heinie Month.