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Thursday, August 12, 2010

In Search of 'Za

Is there a better food than pizza? 

Think about it. It features all your basic food groups, you can hold it in your hand and it can include a wide variety of ingedients.  Unfortunately, at least around Metro Vancouver, there's prescious little in the way of "great" pizza.  Most uses sub standard ingredients, super thick dough making a pie that is gummy and tasteless. I rarely order in any more, relying mainly on my grill to satisfy my pizza need..

At it's very best, pizza making is an art, combining baking skills with those of charcuterie and cheese making.  The better the ingredients, the better the pie.  If you don't believe me, ask Terry at ah-Beetz in Abbotsford.  Yep, Abbotsford ... and it's well worth the drive.  Lucky for me, I've been able to make a couple stops on the way to our cabin, but I'd still drive there.  The owner, Terry lived in NYC for a few years and wanted to create high end NY Style pizza back home. ah-Beetz is the fortunate result. (Incidentaly, "ah-Beetz" is slang for "pizza." I'll let you Googler's decide if it's Sicialian or NY slang.)

The sourdough crust is where it all starts.  It's leavened with his own starter and the charring on the crust from his Garland oven (running at 700F) creates a crust with tonnes of flavour and a nice chew.  The sauce is home made from canned plum tomatoes from California, locally sourced herbs ... sweet but not sickeningly so.  It makes a nice foil for the meat: sausages made special for ah-Beetz, and cured meat made by Terry himself.  Ask him what he's got going and you may end up with a sample.  The cheese is often fresh made mozzarella, but typically Grana Padano imported from Italy.

The end result is pizza heaven.  I know it sounds cliche, but you can taste the care he puts into the product.  My only hope is that one day he'll bring his skills closer to town.  A tip if you decide to venture out to Abby for some pizza ... phone ahead, pick up your pizza and head to a nearby park for a picnic.  There's only 1 table in the restaurant anyway.

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Ah-beetz
#3 - 2664 Gladys Avenue

Abbotsford, BC

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