When I ran across this article in the August 2014 edition of PMQ Pizza Magazine, it gave me the impetus to finish this post on Piecasso, where I had dinner with my family on our June vacation to Stowe, Vermont.
Granted, this is going pretty far afield for a Rochester-based pizza blog, but this is also a blog about my pizza experiences, and this was a good one.
Stowe is a ski town, but it's also a year-round tourist town. So there weren't many, if any, inexpensive places to eat nearby. We stayed at a condo with a kitchen, and some nights we cooked our own dinner. Plus we had an abundance of fresh bread thanks to my baking class at King Arthur.
But our first night in town, we had dinner at Piecasso. I had been interested in going to a wood-fired pizzeria, Pie in the Sky, but I discovered that it has gone out of business, and the storefront was vacant. So that left Piecasso as the only game in town, pizzawise.
During my weeklong stay in Vermont, I saw a lot of ads for wood-fired pizzerias. Piecasso is not one of them, but it does bill itself as offering traditional, hand-tossed, New York style pizza, as well as the fact that Travel & Leisure magazine named it one of the top pizzerias in the country.
Piecasso is a full-service restaurant serving sandwiches and pasta, but pizza is its mainstay, and it offers a broad array of pizza choices.
Patrons can get pizza by the slice, or custom design a full pie, choosing from among three crusts (white, wheat and gluten-free), four sauces, and more toppings than I care to count. And unsurprisingly, if you've spent much time in Vermont, they trumpet their use of local ingredients.
We shared a "Tree Hugger," which seems to be something of Piecasso's signature pie, topped with fresh spinach and basil, tomatoes, fresh garlic, red onions, and mozzarella.
Piecasso has the look and feel of a chain casual restaurant, which raised my suspicions about its pizza, but those suspicions were soon dispelled. This was very good pizza.
The crust was thin, not papery thin, but thick enough to have some interior chewiness. The underside was nicely browned, if not quite charred, but it was crisp and not oily.
While I love a good cheese pie, and the occasional meat lovers' pizza, sometimes a well-made veggie pie is exactly what I want.
And this was a well-made veggie pie. The spinach and basil were wilted enough to mellow them out and yield maximum flavor, and you'll never get a complaint from me about fresh garlic. A very tasty combination, and well done.
Piecasso offers quite a few other specialty pies, including eight meat-based pies. I wouldn't mind working my way through the list.
But alas, I didn't have the time. If my travels take me back that way, I'll more than likely stop again, and I recommend you do the same if you're ever in the area.
Piecasso Pizzeria & Lounge, 1899 Mountain Rd., Stowe, VT
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Bar hours: 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.