This was a really rough year. A year that most of us hope we can forget as quickly as possible, once the calendar turns to 2021. In the midst of a pandemic, few things brought me more comfort than a slice of pizza — a coping mechanism that has come in handy before, but never needed as badly as in 2020. Pizza establishments adapted. And even thrived. And while I didn’t review any places I’ve visited since March (all reviews on IDreamOfPizza have been based on pre-pandemic visits), I wanted to continue my annual tradition of highlighting the best pizza I ate in an otherwise horrible year. So here we go:
5) EGGPLANT PIE
(Bianca Rosa Eggplants, Wax Pepper, Poblano Peppers, Mozzarella, Ranch Dressing)
On the eclectic menu of David Chang’s high end East Village spot, a rotating selection of pizzas have appeared throughout the year. I only tried one and it was just delicious enough to crack my “Top 5” for the year. The kicker here? It’s served with a side of ranch dressing. It pairs great with an appetizer of their renowned cold fried chicken.
4) MUSHROOM PIE
(Mushrooms, Taleggio, Chives, Thyme, Parm, Garlic)
Lodge Baking Co.
Los Angeles, CA
This is only pie that made the list from my pre-COVID 2020 pizza adventures — a January trip to Los Angeles. Although the shakshuka is my favorite dish at this Culver City bakery, I’m a fan of their pizza too — especially this mushroom pie. Featuring a whole wheat crust — using the same whole grain flour that is used in many of the establishment’s breads — the pizza’s base is both puffy and chewy. Topped with fresh and funky mushrooms, this pie also features grated cheese along it’s exterior for a nice touch.
3) BURRRRR-ATA SLICE
(Vodka Sauce, Mozzarella, Basil, Parm, Calabrian & Long Hot Chili Oil)
Jersey City, New Jersey
If there was a year we needed slices with entire balls of burrata on them, 2020 would be it. Tony Baloney’s — with multiple locations in Northern New Jersey — is known for its over the top offerings and topping combinations. And this slice hit the spot. A load of creamy vodka sauce is the star of every bite. Until you get to that ball of burrata. It’s like a slice with a happy ending.
2) MARGHERITA CLASSICO PIE
(San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Basil, Parm)
Twin Star Orchards
New Paltz, New York
“Farm Pizza” has been a growing trend in recent years. And I can’t think of a more socially distant way to enjoy a pie than on a farm (well, maybe at home, but that’s not as fun). At Twin Star Orchards, two hours north of NYC, they crank out a handful of pies (and burgers) from April-November each year. I made multiple trips there in 2020, and my favorite pie was their most basic: a classic margherita pie, topped with high quality ingredients and cooked to perfection.
1) BIANCO PIE
(Mozzarella, Caramelized Onions, Mascarpone, Pecorino Romano, Garlic, Basil, EVOO)
Mattituck, New York
The offshoot of a mobile pizza truck, this nondescript storefront in a North Fork strip mall served up my favorite pizza of 2020. This white pie fired on all cylinders. The airy crust would have been delicious enough on its own. But throw on some cheese and onions, and every bite just melts in your mouth. The garlic and basil provided an added touch. There is a saying that every pizza is a personal pizza if you believe in yourself. Well this is one pie I didn’t want to share with anyone else in 2020.