Real pizza has a chewy, wheaty crust that counterpoints steamy hot against crispy char. Melty cheese and rapidly cooked, fresh ingredients. Don't even point out the place unless it has a 900°F oven, preferably domed and wood-fired.
In the Bay Area? You can get a pizza that scores an A-, but for A+, you leave town.
When I was in Las Vegas two weeks ago, my friends Steve and Sue took me to Settebello, a place that's certified as "Vera Pizza Napoletana" — the real deal. This was new to me.
Vera: That's Italian for "real."
Awarded by the American Delegation of the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, the Vera Pizza badge goes only to "pizzerias who meet strict requirements that respect the tradition of the art of Neapolitan pizza making."
The pizza was — perfect.
I wished we had such a thing here. Then yesterday, I was in San Pedro Square in San Jose at lunch time. I stumbled upon the sign. Without the experience two weeks before, I would not have known it had a special meaning.
Could this be — real?
They had the certificate — there, on the wall behind the domed, wood-fired oven:
The verdict: Just as good. The one in San Jose was an exact match to the one I had in Las Vegas.
Pizza Bocca Lupo, San Pedro Square; pizzaboccalupo.com