Wednesday , August 5 2020

I Finally Found Some Good Pizza in St. Pete

What do you think makes a great pizza?

Most agree that the best pizzas are found in New York or New Jersey. Then there are the midwest folks who firmly believe in the deep dish version of pizza. Go to Naples in Italy and only 2 types of pizza are considered “real” pizza, the Pizza Marinara (pizza dough with red sauce, olive oil and garlic) and Pizza Margherita (a pizza invented by Raffaele Esposito made with marinara, mozzarella and basil). My mother, Francesca Esposito loves a good Pizza Margherita, and yes, her family is from Naples.
In Florida, the pizza search can become discouraging. People say it is humid here and we don’t have the same water they make dough with in New York. All of that may be true, but there are still some places that manage to crank out a good “New York style” pizza, and Tour de Pizza is one of them.
But it gets even better than that.
Matt, the owner of Tour de Pizza asserts that pizza is healthy for you. (Are you starting to love this guy yet?) In fact, he was so determined to prove pizza is healthy that he went on a 30-day pizza diet. All he ate was pizza. That’s right. No sushi, no pasta, no salads. Just pizza. And guess what? He lost weight, toned up, his cholesterol went down, his blood pressure went down and now Fox news and other news organizations want to know more. Granted, he exercised on his pizza diet. Any doctor will tell you to exercise and not rely on diet alone.
What I like about Tour de Pizza is you can look at the menu with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. There are the cheese and pepperoni pies that most of us are accustomed to, or you can order a pie with fresh spinach, artichokes and mushrooms. In fact, there are 26 different (and in some cases, unique) topping choices.
But how does it taste?
It’s about as close to a New York pie (if you get the regular cheese and pepperoni)  that you are going to find in these parts. It’s not thin, but it’s not thick. They use good cheese and I like that the pepperoni is not overwhelmingly salty. There are some times I eat pizza and it is so salty I feel like a camel in the desert the next day.
If you are not in the mood to pick your own toppings, they have some stand-bys that have become local favorites. Their Super-man pizza is topped with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green pepper, onion and black olives. The Masterpiece is barbeque sauce, cheddar  and mozzarella topped with grilled chicken and fried onions. If you really want something different, the Kailua Kona is made with mozzarella, canadian bacon, pineapple and mandarin orange.
Last night, I ate a healthier version of his pizza. The angel won out. Next time, who knows?
(Tour de Pizza is located in the Northeast Shopping Center at 4th St. and 38th Avenue N)

About elizabeth

Elizabeth Dougherty has been cooking and writing about food intensively for more than ten years. She is the fourth generation of chefs and gourmet grocers in her family with her mother, Francesca Esposito and grandmother, Carmella being major influences in her early cooking years. As a teenager, her family sent her to Europe where she became focused on French and Italian cuisine. She survived a year and half of culinary tutelage under a maniacal Swiss-German chef and is a graduate of NYIT, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations. Food Nation Radio has won two news awards for content. Broadcasting LIVE each week, nationwide, on and stations around the country.

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