Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pizza Making Party at Pitfire Pizza

Last October, a fun time was had by all at a pizza making party at Pitfire Pizza Company in downtown Los Angeles. The event started with us arriving to tasty breadsticks. While we were munching on those, owner David Sandfield, gave us some history about pizza as well as his restaurant. For example, he told us how the name for the Margherita Pizza came to be.

Apparently, in 1889 chef Don Raffaele Esposito honored Queen Margarita with a special pizza topped with the colors of the Italian flag-tomato (red), basil (green) and mozzarella (white) and hence the name "Margarita" was formed. It is the 'base' pizza of any pizza shop worldwide.

David also gave us some background on Pitfire Pizza. He and his partner, Paul Hibler, run a company called Deluxe Motion Picture Catering, a catering company that caters to tv and movie sets. With their pizza, which they normally barbecue on grills, being one of their popular selling items, they finally decided to open up pizza restaurant in North Hollywood. Soon after, they opened a downtown LA location and just recently a location in Westwood.

Their pizza dough is handmade daily from a proprietary recipe. In fact, they trust just one baker to make their dough, and he has perfected the craft over the past eight years. Every batch is handmade and fired in a 750 degree ceramic oven. Their philosophy is to also use fresh local ingredients sourced from farmer's markets.

Soon after his talk, we went behind the line and David gave us more specific information about what his pizza dough is made up and it's not just flour and water. There's a definitely a lot more to it than that. Then we were given a demonstration of how to first shape the dough on a floured board into a "pancake" and stretch it out using our fingertips. Then it's to the air as we were taught to take the now flatter pizza dough and using our finger tips turn it like a wheel, at the same time, stretching it out even more to make it thinner. It's not as easy as it looks and unfortunately, I was all thumbs.

Afterwards, we were able to sauce our pizzas and add whatever toppings were calling to us. Of everyone in the group, I was the only one who wanted a white pizza. Instead of red sauce, my pizza dough had olive oil spread on it before I added the rest of the ingredients. A couple of us even got to put our pizzas in their 750 degree oven.

As part of the event, we also got to tour their downstairs kitchen/commissary. This downstairs kitchen is where all the dough and sauces are made for all three Pitfire Pizza locations. Chefs are there everyday at 5:30 am to start work. Those appliances were huge. We saw everything from their large sauce cooking pot to this one machine that once you put a handful of dough in it, it will shape it into perfectly sized balls of dough.

Eventually, we all sat down to a meal that included our pizza masterpieces, salad, dessert. What was cool was that no had the same exact pizza. Everyone really used different ingredients. There was even some pizza trading going on, which allowed some to do a nice sampling of what other ingredients people used for their pizza. Overall, it was a delicious way to spend a few hours.

To see all the pics, go to:

Pitfire Pizza Company
108 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Pitfire Pizza Company on Urbanspoon


Chubbypanda said...

What's with you and the all the cheesy goodness lately? My keyboard is shorting out from all the drool.

pleasurepalate said...

What can I say? I'm just a cheesehead. How about I give you a breather before I post pics of the cheese tasting I organized a while back? :)