Njuda love me, a daily special at Pandemic Pizza, featuring basil aioli, yukon gold potatoes, red pepper emulsion, and njuda
I’ll take good news wherever I can get it these days, and if that includes from Domino’s Pizza, so be it. The pizza delivery chain, along with the company it buys pizza boxes from, recently put out a press release challenging the notion that pizza boxes can’t be recycled.
If you didn’t know that was the case, lucky you. As a concerned environmentalist in a devoted pizza lover’s body, I’ve long suffered anxiety over the prevailing wisdom that the grease pizza leaves behind renders the typical cardboard pizza box unrecyclable.
Rovino the Foodery, a gourmet Italian market and deli in East Village
Domino’s and its boxmaker want us to know that recycling technology has improved to the point lightly soiled pizza boxes can be processed back to usable form these days, and in the case the bottom half of the box gets too greasy, you can just rip off the top and recycle that.
To be sure, I took a look at the guidance provided by San Diego’s environmental services department, and sure enough, it reads: “Pizza boxes not heavily soiled with grease, cheese and food are recyclable. If the bottom is too soiled, the top might be OK to tear off and recycle.”
Pandemic Pizza has popped up within the Rovino the Foodery deli counter.
To celebrate, I did not order a Domino’s Pizza. Instead, I started checking out a tasty new pizza dealer that recently popped up inside East Village gourmet market and deli, Rovino the Foodery.
Behind the shop’s deli counter, best friends and furloughed chefs Brandon Sloan and Chris Gentile put their fine dining pedigrees to work creating what their google page calls “California Style Neapolitan Pizza”: thin crust pies made with organic Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes and typically dressed with locally sourced toppings.
A simple, yet fancy delicious pepperoni pizza
Lest you think all these pies are fancy, the plain cheese ($13), margharita ($13), and pepperoni pizzas ($15) prove how well these guys understand pizza to be an art form where simplicity excels, where ingredients and preparation shine through.
That said, they come up with something like the excellent “postponed wedding” ($16), which brings together calabrese salami, Calabrian chilis, pineapple, and ranch dressing. Though it’s a small 12 inches, I generally find the pie’s quality backs up its price tag. However, this was too good for me to share, and I wanted more.
A Pandemic Pizza specialty, the “postponed wedding,” topped with calabrese salami, Calabrian chilis, pineapple, and ranch dressing
I want more house sausage and roasted leeks; more caramelized onion with gruyere, sherry, thyme, and chives; more specials, such as the “njuda love me”, topped with thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes, red pepper emulsion, pesto ailoi, and homemade njuda, a spiced Italian pork spread.
In respect to the price though, bear in mind these guys didn’t just take advantage of a trending hashtag in naming their pop-up Pandemic Pizza. They also donate one dollar from every pizza sold to a local pandemic relief charity, usually the kind working to feed people who remain food-insecure during the pandemic recession.
It feels pretty good supporting such things while eating a few excellent pizzas. Plus, these slightly greasy pies are boxed atop butcher paper, so you can definitely recycle the boxes.