Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Sizzle Pie, Portland OR

June, 2013: On my first ever trip to the Pacific Northwest, I did some research on the best pizzas in town. I had an eye on Handsome Pizza, but my pie-eating opportunity came on a Sunday, when Handsome is not open. Apizza Scholls, maker of old-school New Haven style pie, rose to the top of the list and I made dinner plans with a colleague.
"Drugs Benedict" pizza at Sizzle Pie

On that same Sunday, I spent the morning seeing Portland on foot. I went to Voodoo Donuts, where the tourists line up, and ate a peach fritter awash with cream cheese icing and a maple-bacon donut. After that, I feared I'd never be hungry again.  Nonetheless, in early afternoon I exited Powell's City of Books (a bookstore so big, you need a map to navigate it) and my eyes fell on Sizzle Pie, across the street.

The Maple Bacon. YUM

Peach fritter could feed a family of four.

Tourists wait 45+ minutes for Voodoo Donuts

I walked over and scrutinized the by-the-slice offerings. Unlike the traditional pie I was to eat later that evening at Apizza Scholls, this was true Portlandia. Hippie-dippy, Vegan offerings, funky names and attitude abounding. When in Rome, I ate the Roman pizza.  So, as they say, do as the hipsters do: I decided to sample the pizza at this local chain.

The pies were all visually attractive, sporting a thin crust that I hoped would be crisp and tasty. I had the choice of any slice for $3.50, or a "cut" for $1.75. I learned that a cut is simply half of these rather large slices, and it was the perfect way to squeeze two different kinds into the small belly space remaining after those monster Voodoo donuts.
Two "cuts"

With a Cherry Coke, my total for two cuts came to just $5.00. My choices were the "Drugs Benedict" that included shallot and white bean "cheese," hash browns, and rosemary tofu "scramble" that did resemble scrambled eggs. It was a generous half-slice of the funkiest pie they offered. 
Drugs Benedict

To my delight, the crust was excellent. I'd compare to the best NYC slices - crisp yet chewy, and with the flavor of good fresh Italian bread.  The shallot/bean combo was a nice cheese-replacement topping; it did not taste like nor pretend to be cheese, but I enjoyed the bean paste flavor and texture. Ditto the tofu, even thought I did not detect the rosemary. The hash browns were a minor factor. This pie won't change your life, but it was astoundingly satisfying for a Vegan offering.
Red Dawn

My second cut was the "Red Dawn," with spicy pulled pork, fresh mozzarella, scrambled eggs, and cilantro.   To my dismay, it was limp and wet for more than 1/3 of its length. The counterman agreed to toss it back into the oven to re-heat and crisp up, and it made a world of difference. The pork was very picante, and the entire slice burst with powerful flavors.  Another winner.
This crust could make it anywhere, New York

Had I more time and appetite, I would have tried several of the other only-in-Portland varieties, such as the "Spiral Tap" which features caramelized onion spread, marinara, and nutritional yeast.

It was on a whim, but I'm very glad to have stopped in at Sizzle Pie (which was doing a brisk trade that drizzly Sunday). In Trenton or New Haven with conventional toppings, this would be very good but perhaps not quite destination pizza. But because it is offered in such funky but successful varieties in Portlandia style, I think it qualifies. I've never had anything like it.

The crust earns an 8.5, and the funky toppings a 9. Let's call this 8.75 and well worth your time and calories.

Sizzle Pie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. Thanks for the kind review, we've just added it to, cheers!

  2. Matt,
    Great pizza deserves recognition! Wish I could stop by for a slice today.