Those six little words sound pretty innocuous, but I had not eaten pizza out in over a year – between having to follow a gluten-free diet, needing to avoid dairy like it’s my job and having trouble digesting eggs, pizza can be a challenge (most gluten-free pizza crusts have eggs in them). Fortunately, I had figured out a while ago that Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza (two locations in Washington, DC) has a vegan gluten-free crust. Forgive me, dear gluten-free readers, but I cannot remember the ingredients in the vegan gluten-free crust – I called them a while back, and while I am sure the ingredients include brown rice flour and chickpeas, I cannot remember the rest. Since I avoid corn as much as possible, I doubt this crust has any cornstarch in it.
Having gotten these details out of the way, let’s discuss the pie shall we. The gluten-free crust is thin and crispy – a little less chewy than traditional New Haven Apizza which is Pete’s style for the regular, wheat-based pizzas served there. The crust reminded me of the crispy Italian wood-fired pizza I grew up eating which, from everything I have read, is closer to Roman/Lazio crust than Neapolitan crust. Semantics aside, this is good crust. It is satisfying and holds up under the toppings. No gluten-free limp pizza sadness here. When I called to discuss ingredients (I still wish I had the post-it where I took notes with the list of ingredients) I asked about cross-contamination and was told that the kitchen takes that seriously and the gluten-free crust is prepared separately and, while cooked in the same large oven, has its own little pan. I know a couple of people with Celiac’s who have eaten there and not gotten glutinized so, combined with the fact that Pete’s Apizza sounded super-gluten-friendly, I figured eating there was safe.
As you can see from the pie photos, I got tomato sauce, caramelized onions, broccoli rabe, sauteed mushrooms and, on half of the pizza, vegan cheese. Now, this is perhaps the one real downside of Pete’s Apizza. They do not use Daiya cheese (boo!) which I actually really like (despite the fact it is so not a whole food and I am so a whole food kind of person) – instead they use Teese which I have not liked when cooking with it at home. Ok, I hated Teese. Now, I still tried it for the sake of the blog – well, partially – and I also tried it because I had read that there was a new Teese that was close to Daiya and that was much better. So yes, I was really curious, plus I figured I could always pick it off if I did not like it. Now, this Teese is very likely the new Teese as it tastes far better than the original Teese. It really does look like regular mozzarella, no?
And the veggie toppings were phenomenal. The mushrooms were meaty and delicious, the caramelized onions were perfectly melty, the broccoli rabe added a touch of bitterness, and the tomato sauce – well just look at the picture. It was awesome. Pete’s really holds up to its promise of fresh,simple ingredients. Next time I will skip the Teese and just pile veggie toppings on the lovely gluten-free crust with great tomato sauce for a lovely vegan gluten-free pie, though I might try their white anchovies too (I eat mostly vegan, with very occasional fish and even more occasional grass-fed meat). But yes, next time I go to Pete’s, I am definitely skipping the vegan cheese and piling on the lovely vegan toppings. Unless of course there is Daiya to be had. The setting at the Tenleytown Friendship Heights Location is lovely as well:
It is in a cute neighborhood:
And there is an adorable coffee shop nearby:
My husband will vouch for the meat and cheese toppings if you would like to top your gluten-free pizza with those, and his review of the regular wheat-based crust was that it was quite good, especially if you go for a pie rather than individual slices. And, like all traditional pizza crust, the wheat-based crust is vegan. I loved my gluten-free pie. It was flavorful, not heavy, not greasy, and had lovely ingredients (minus the Teese). Here’s another shot of it:
I can’t wait to go back!!
General Disclosures & Disclaimers