Pauline’s Pizza celebrated 25 years in San Francisco this month. With recent posts praising the desserts here as well as tips for feeding large groups, I thought I’d add my thoughts and invite others to comment. My mother and I grabbed dinner here on July 8. We started off in the wine bar annex with a glass of Nalle Zinfandel and the charcuterie plate, reported here.
This was a first time for both of us, despite my many years in San Francisco. We started with the Green salad with breadstick, $8. Only baby lettuces plucked from one’s own kitchen garden and served within minutes could possibly be any perkier. Mom munched through the herb and cheese breadstick and considered ordering another.
Our pie order, the special vege pizza of the day: Giant red mustard greens, winter savory, muffaletta, and feta, required a long wait even at an early hour. Sitting next to the ovens, we could see how slammed the cooks were. Our waitress did a good job of keeping us posted on how much longer it would be, I suspect responding in part to the forlorn look on my mother’s face watching orders bypass our table. The $19.25 for a medium size seemed a little on the high side. However, as my very thrifty mother had concluded after trying an “expensive” pizza at Oakland’s Dopo, she pronounced this one well worth it too.
Peppery greens, fresh herbs, briny notes from the muffaletta spread, and the salty bite of the feta cheese added up to lots of deliciousness in each mouthful. And that crust! While it may look bready, it’s not at all. Golden brown, crackly, airy and light, I’d heard those descriptions and more over the years. Yet that first bite of the unique crust was still a stunner, certainly a delight to remember. Even more surprising was how well the crust held up overnight and bounced back after reheating in a skillet.
Jonathan Kauffman’s interviews with Pauline’s founder and the origin of the crust are linked below.
260 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103
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