Sorry for the long hiatus but as Dave mentioned in the previous post I’ve been sick with some sort of stomach bug or possibly salmonella….Of the 6 people I went to Char No. 4 with, 4 of us came down with a horrendous stomach flu-like ailment. One doctor said it could possibly be salmonella poisoning and since all 4 of us got our symptoms on the exact same day that seems a likely possibility. Needless to say, I will NOT be returning to Char No. 4, which maybe isn’t fair if in fact this was the flu but it seems fishy to me.
Anyway, before I came down with the plague, I went on a road trip to New Haven for pizza. It was really more of a drive by on our way to Newport for a wedding but that’s not the point. I’ve been going to Pepe’s Pizza since I was a little kid. On random Sundays my dad would turn to me and say “want to get pizza?” which meant only one thing – Pepe’s. Sure, it may have been a 45 minute drive and a minimum hour wait in line but the pizza was always worth it. I’m sure I’m biased, having grown up eating it, but I truly think Pepe’s is some of the best pizza in the country. Luckily, my friend Kim agrees and we convinced our boyfriends that it was worth a stop at 9 PM on our way to Rhode Island. Even better, it was the first time I’d been there and had basically no wait at all. Win!
I grew up eating 2 pizzas here: the regular pie with cheese and the white clam with bacon. Even as a small child, when I wasn’t particularly fond of clams, this pizza was always what I looked forward to. It’s briny and salty and surprisingly simple but it has a major wow factor. There is nothing boring about this pizza and your taste buds will rejoice when you bite into the crisp crust with the juicy clams and the kick of the garlic. The pizzas are made in a coal-fired oven, giving the crust a nice charring on the bottom.
Their tomato pie is equally as good, if not better. Really, it all comes down to their sauce and what a sauce it is. It tastes incredibly fresh, like real tomatoes. Honestly, that’s it – it tastes like tomatoes. It doesn’t need anything else. The sauce is something to dream about. The mozzarella is good and the basil adds a little something extra but that sauce on that crust is all you need. It’s really fantastic. We actually ended up ordering their Margherita pie, which is newish, but it was just as good as their regular tomato.
There are other pizza places in New Haven that have just as a fanatical following as Pepe’s: Sally’s Apizza (started by one of Frank Pepe’s relatives) and Modern Apizza but in my mind nobody will ever beat Pepe’s.