Monday, December 15, 2008

"Where Pizza is Art"

"Lunch for Henry" - Henry is Didi's cat. Apparently cats love butternut squash as well.

Pizza as an art form. This seems to be how many critics describe the ethic of pizza makers these days. But could a pizza joint in Cambridge really pay homage to the culinary icon that is pizza? AJ and Justin had raved about Veggie Planet so much, that I offered them a guest spot on thisfoodismyJAM. They never did take me up on the offer, so I knew I would have to taste this for myself.

On Saturday, we headed to Cambridge to get some veggies into our system before eating cookies and drinking hot cocoa (so what if the veggies were covered in cheese?) Veggie planet has quite the admirable mission: they use only vegetarian ingredients, support local farmers, purchase organic ingredients when possible, use organic dough from a nonprofit bakery doubling as a homeless service provider, and donate a percentage of their profits to other organizations working for social and/or environmental change. If only eating pizza could make you feel that good all the time?

Veggie Planet is tucked away in the basement of some shops. The decor doesn't exactly inspire the same awe as John Harvard's University, but I think that's the point. As AJ put it, the veggie plant vibe is like: "we're gonna make some really awesome organic pizzas, if people want to eat them that's cool, whatever". The eatery also doubles as a music venue on some evenings. Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers are coming on Dec 26th (oh how I wish I could be there). I did enjoy that effort was made to decorate the place for the holidays - festive snowlakes were hung all over the place.

A crowded house at Veggie Plant is easy to explain with the wondeful menu that is offered.

The "special of the day" - mushroom spread, butternut squash, spinach, and fontina.

Justin and AJ had experienced the wonders of butternut squash topped pizza on their previous trip. AJ agreed to split a large one, so that I could try it for myself. The "special of the day" beckoned to me as well, so I ordered a small one to split with AJ. Seriously the menu is amazing and I had difficulty choosing just two options. A large and a small is enough to feed four people. We definitely over ordered, but we were both starving so it worked out well.

The "Lunch for Henry" is topped with mashed butternut squash, goat cheese, caramalized onions, and sage. This pizza is so perfect on a wintery Boston day. The dough was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The sage and squash combination is such a classic, and the addition of crunchy caramalized onions added great texture. The goat cheese was gooey and salty which was the perfect compliment to the sweet squash. This pizza is the reason I love salty and sweet combos!

I shouldn't have worried about how the special would follow "lunch for henry", because these flavors blew me away. The mushroom puree was garlicky and earthy, providing the perfect platform for large chunks of roasted butternut squash and sauteed spinach. The nutty fontina cheese melted into the winter vegetables pulling it all together.

As I finished off my last bite of crust I felt so content. The only thing that made me sad was knowing that there is no Veggie Planet Pizza in Virginia. Seriously, it's that good.

3 out of 3 JAMs

Club Passim
47 Palmer Street, Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA


Gastronomer said...

Mmmm, edible art. I can dig that.

Raisin Canes said...

That pizza was delicious

When are you making me butternut squash pizza from scratch?????

Justin said...

6 millions jams! So many jams! Jams upon jams! Can we go there again for New Years?

Women's Bible said...

Seem to tasteful.