Comfort pizza

Carli serves up the pie.

Carli serves up the pie.

Photo By David Robert

Blue Moon Gourmet Pizza

Sometimes the best way to deal with uncomfortable times is to turn to comfort food, and there’s scarcely a more reassuring food product than pizza. It reminds us that the basics of American life—bread, cheese, grease, the chain pizza parlor—are all still there.

But better yet is the gourmet version of comfort food. On a recent Saturday night, I rounded up friends and co-workers Adrienne Rice, Gabriel Doss and David Robert and headed over to one of my old food haunts, Blue Moon Gourmet Pizza.

It was every bit as warm and inviting as I remembered it. We sat in the back room, which has hardwood floors, brick walls and bookshelves lined with everything from romance novels to accounting books. It was comfortably busy, but not too noisy or stifling. Friedrich Taylor, who has owned Blue Moon since 1994, says that it’s important to him to keep the atmosphere cozy. He jokes that it’s the kind of place where you can sit back and put your feet up on the table.

“We try to keep it that way, so you can come in, do what you want, take over the place [and] enjoy your pizza,” he says.

The four of us spent the first 15 minutes in total indecision, staring at our menus. We had determined that we’d go vegetarian, and we were discussing the possibilities of basil, pine nuts, pesto and both fresh and sun-dried tomatoes. When our young and friendly waitress, Molly, came to take our order, we were still reeling from all the topping choices.

Before committing to a pizza, we ordered salads—Adrienne and I had Greek salads, Gabe had a garden salad, and Dave had the Blue Moon, an oriental salad. Salad prices ranged from $2.95 for a small to $4.75 for a large. We also chose our drinks at that point: Gabe got a glass of house red wine; Adrienne, Dave and I shared a pitcher of Icky (Indian Pale Ale) for $7.95.

Although we had the option of creating a pizza from scratch, we needed guidance and ended up selecting two types of specialty pizza from the menu: We ordered a large pie ($18.55), half Sweet Basil and half Strider. The Sweet Basil half included basil, mozzarella and fresh tomatoes, and the Strider included pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, pine nuts and sausage, although we left off the sausage.

The salads were great—very leafy and flavorful—but most of us held back on the salad consumption in anticipation of the pizza. And after the pizza arrived, we didn’t take long in coming to a consensus: It rocked. The flavors were splendid, rich and savory. The crust was neither too doughy nor too thin and greasy, and it had a great flavor of its own. As Gabe said, “It’s not just there to support the toppings.”

By the end, we had eaten all but one piece of the 16-inch pie. I myself had four pieces and could feel my waistline expanding rapidly, but what the hell—I felt immensely comforted.