Sunday, December 12, 2010

Green Pies at Organic Pizza Co.

 If you live in Colorado, you know that everyone's favorite color is green. Even nationally our humble state is known  for being environmentally friendly, so it's no surprise that businesses build their entire plan on doing something typical in a more earth-friendly way. At the same time, the dining scene has also been shaped by an organic revolution, where patrons now expect the higher echelon of ingredients and growing standards. Go to Whole Foods on any given Sunday, and chances are you will run into a slew of other folks who are willing to blind-side you for the last piece of halibut.

Now I am a Sunflower shopper myself, and it's always worth a drive to the Highlands to stock up. But I have another excuse to make my way up there- and that's for organic pies.

Organic Pizza Company has only been on the scene for a few months now, but they are doing something rather unique- making pizza from organic ingredients with a local focus, and solely from scratch. Dough and all.

When I walked in on my way home from work, I was surprised at what I saw. The place was pristine, bright and clean, and the ambience communicated simplicity and freshness. Since that's what their brand stands for, I have to give them kudos on the fully-integrated marketing.

The manager Nathan was kind enough to show me around, and told me a little bit about what they were doing. It wasn't too hard to get a full recap- the kitchen is wide open which tells me one thing: they have little to hide. Here's a behind the scenes look at Organic Pizza Co, or more simply put, take and bake on steroids:

OPC makes all of their dough in house the old school way. White and whole wheat options are available, and they roll everything fresh daily.
Not much going on in terms of dry storage or freezer space. The walk-in cooler is where it's at.
Freshly pressed dough cools, preparing for it's pizza destiny.
My order of "The Donald" being assembled on the line. Imagine my surprise when I actually saw a chef's knife being used to cut fresh toppings on the spot... Smoked duck sausage, roasted red peppers, scallions, asian pears and four cheeses with vodka sauce.

Most pizzas come with cut herbs to finish your pizza when it comes hot out of the oven, adding another level of unique freshness to the process.

"The Piedmont"- Prosciutto, asparagus, cantaloupe, and arugula over alfredo sauce and topped with their four cheese blend and a drizzle of truffle oil. Wrapped for freshness, but would it stand the time test?
 I was specifically told that most pies were intended to be consumed the night of, but that they would be fine for a day or two in the refrigerator. So I decided to put the pizzas to the test. Not only on time but also on baking strategy, as OPC suggests a few options:
- On parchment in a conventional oven
- Over stone on a gas grill

A day after: the Piedmont cooked on the rack with parchment. Held together and still tasted very fresh, but it was a little hard to transfer from the oven solely on paper.

We decided to combine OPC's recommendations, and baked "The Donald" over parchment on a pre-heated pizza stone in a conventional oven. Not only was it easier to transfer in and out, but it yielded a superior, evenly cooked product.
I could have sworn off the bat that "The Donald" would be my pie of choice any day of the week, being such a sucker for duck. It was still good, but surprisingly "The Piedmont" took the cake. Both pizzas provided a sweet and savory balance, had many layers of flavor and were still fresh even a day in.

I always have to give credit where it's due- in this case hats off to OPC for taking pizza to the next level of gourmet take-home indulging. And the cherry on top: they partner with Metro Care Ring, donating fresh produce and 10% of sales from their 'featured pizza for charity'. So on your next trip to the Highlands, make sure you stop in, give them a try, and support a good cause while you're at it. Dish It Up!

Avg Cost: Small, $8; Large, $17
A handful of salads available for $7
Second location scheduled to open in January at The Spire

Organic Pizza Company on Urbanspoon

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