Kirk is still busy, Cathy needs a day off, so Ed (from Yuma) does the food blogging here today. About a lunch that he and Tina had recently in Phoenix.
Back in 2010 when I told Tina that Chris Bianco’s Pizza Bianco had just been named the best pizza in the United States, she said, "I used to eat at his restaurant all the time when I lived in central Phoenix."
"Huh, you stood in line for 4 hours for pizza?"
The lunch menu listed a few "bar bites" for around $5, and sandwich and salad choices priced between $9 and $12. The other side of the menu had a limited selection of sodas, beers, and wines as well as the sparkling water we chose ($3):
I'm surprised I'd never run across Mountain Valley sparkling water before as it was pleasant tasting and refreshing. I also enjoyed the rustic looking tabletop.
We selected 2 sandwiches, both of which came with an interesting potato salad composed of thinly sliced potatoes, chopped apples, cabbage, shredded red cabbage, sliced red onion, and minced parsley. The mustard seeds, other spices, and light dressing gave it all kind of a central European flavor. The salad is in the foreground of this picture of the sopressata sandwich that had been Tina's favorite back in the day:
The sopressata was wonderfully matched by the aged provolone. This was not your standard waxy tasteless Italian cheese, but a full flavored partner to the sausage, dry and a little bit crumbly. The woodfired onion was a nice touch as well. My only complaint – and really my only complaint about the whole meal – was that the homemade focaccia was a little tough and chewy as if it had been baked the day before. Nonetheless it was altogether a satisfying sandwich:
In both cases the sandwiches were perfectly simple and focused – no mayo, no mustard, no catchup, no sliced tomato, no pickles; just very good basic ingredients.
Pane Bianco, 4404 N. Central, Phoenix AZ 85012; (602) 234-2100.