As you know, Patti and I go out to eat not as often as we would like, but we do our share of dining out and always write a review about our dining experience.
We don't work for a newspaper or magazine that reimburses us for our meals, and neither does NewsBreak. We aren't paid by a company-owned restaurant to check on them like Friday's, nor do we get asked by owners to review their restaurant. We pick a place to dine and then write about it. We get paid by views on NewsBreak, and that's it.
I consider four key things to our dining experience and my review when reviewing a restaurant.
These each has an essential part to us, and I would figure anyone who goes out to eat, except maybe the management/owners.
Recently we had the pleasure of ordering pizza from a place in Pismo Beach that I wrote about last September. This pizza place impressed me, Patti, and our family members, who dined on three pizzas from Pizmo Cafe in downtown Pismo Beach.
After writing that article, I received some great comments, and one that stuck out was from a reader who dines at Pizmo Cafe at least once a week, according to their comment.
They even mentioned in their comment they were going to inform the owner, Nathan, about my review, so he knew our thoughts on his pizza dough which I found to be the best since I moved from New York to California.
I was so impressed with his dough, and I even suggested that some chefs in Fresno/Clovis should go there to learn how to make great dough.
Since I was six years old, I've been making dough with my grandparents in Catania, Sicily. When we moved to the states, I continued making dough, and many nights my dough was used for the bread that was served in a few of the family restaurants.
So in a way, I consider myself knowledgeable about dough and what makes a great dough.
When I tried the pizza from Pizmo Cafe in September, I was hooked on their dough. Actually, we were all hooked. It was by far, as I stated above, the best dough I've had since I moved to California in 2006.
Patti's brother and sister-in-law recently invited us to Pismo again to celebrate their wedding anniversary, and we jumped at the chance.
It was a chance to get away for a couple of days at the beach and go back to have some of that incredible pizza again. We couldn't wait.
On Friday, the day before we left, I decided to call the owner of Pizmo Cafe, introduce myself, tell him about the article, and see if he would have time on Saturday or Sunday for a quick interview.
I called the restaurant, and a woman answered, and I asked for Nathan and gave her my name.
She said my name to a person I am guessing was Nathan, but since he didn't, she went ahead and asked for my name. Which I gave her, but since he probably wouldn't know my name, he told her to tell me, "he's on a call. Could you leave me your name and a message?"
I proceeded to give her my name and tell her about the article I wrote in September, and I was hoping to stop in again and meet Nathan and possibly do an interview.
She said she would give him my message, name, and phone number and have him call me back.
Friday went by with no return phone call, and when Saturday came with still no callback, Patti and I left for Pismo with the plan to stop in at Pizmo Cafe.
When I talked to the staff on Friday, they said Nathan would be working Saturday and Sunday, so I should be able to catch him.
As we were driving down to Pismo, Patti could tell I was anxious not getting a callback since I am big about that and was trying to calm me down by saying, "it would work out. He was probably busy."
We arrived a little after lunch, and we went in, and the first thing I did was order two large pizzas. Then I asked to speak with Nathan.
I didn't want to ask for him first so that he wouldn't think we were trying to get a discount on our order; we weren't.
After I ordered and paid, I asked to speak with Nathan and was informed by his excellent staff he wasn't in yet, and they weren't sure when he would be arriving.
I gave them the article that had my name and Patti's name, and my phone number so he could reach out to us. I was still hoping to get a chance to interview him.
They brought our two pizzas out to us, and still no Nathan, so we left since we had hungry family members waiting for us.
When we arrived at the trailer and broke open the pizza boxes, everyone there just took in the aroma of a sausage, pepperoni, and fresh tomatoes pizza as well as a chicken alfredo pizza with fresh tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
They just filled the fresh air with the smell of a wonderful pizza parlor outdoors.
Then it was time for the big test, the dough. Will it be as excellent as in September, or had they gone downhill? I mean, things do happen in the restaurant business that is unforeseen. A new chef changes something, or maybe they forgot to add an ingredient. You have to be forgiving in life.
Well, that first bite told the story. The dough was just as fantastic as in September, if not better since we hadn't had it in months. The toppings were out of this world.
The sausage, pepperoni, and fresh tomatoes just hit the taste buds the right way. Full of flavor, not dried out as I've had in the past at other pizza parlors. The meat was tender, juicy, and flavorful, as I said. I couldn't have been happier. Even my brother-in-law tried that pizza after saying he wanted the chicken alfredo only and fell in love with the mix of sausage and pepperoni.
Patti and our sister-in-law jumped on the chicken alfredo pizza with fresh tomatoes and artichoke hearts and bragged like before about the flavor of the toppings and, of course, the dough.
I'm trying to think of an excellent way to describe the dough, and all I can say is this, "the tastiest, flavorful, moist, yet fluffy pizza dough I've ever had." It's the best of the best, and you need to go to Pizmo Cafe just for that.
Now that we have the review of the food over with and the fact that Pizmo Cafe has excellent staff, at least from the ones we interacted with, we can move on to the last two essential factors I mentioned above.
Note: This was my fault. I should have asked the prices upfront and questioned the bill when I paid. Do you see any pizza on the menu priced at $48.00? I don’t!
I don't know if Nathan read my review and didn't like it, or these are the everyday prices.
When I received the bill, one pizza was $48.00, and the other was $25.00. It didn't break down which one was which, so I have to guess.
In Fresno, the range is from $19-$25, depending on the toppings. So that wasn't a shocker.
We ordered one pizza that was sausage, pepperoni, and fresh tomatoes. The other pizza was chicken alfredo with artichoke hearts and fresh tomato.
The sausage pizza was fantastic. Lots of sausage that was tangy, juicy, and tender, as well as a ton of pepperoni that had a nice bite to it and also very juicy and tender.
The fresh tomatoes were fresh, juicy, and tasty. You could tell as soon as you bit into one of the tomato pieces they were fresh, and that's a statement to the quality when tomatoes are hard to get in winter. I highly recommend this pizza.
The large chicken alfredo with artichoke hearts and fresh tomatoes had very little chicken on the pizza. When I say very little chicken, I mean very little. Patti's first slice had no chicken, which went for a couple of pieces the others tried. We finally found some diced-up chicken on about four slices.
Now I know toppings get moved around, and things shift when driving in a car, but there wasn't enough chicken on the pizza to move around. Plus, I would think that they wouldn't use diced chicken. It looked like the chicken you would get in a bag from the market or maybe a can; I hate to say.
I expected the chicken to be sliced or somewhat cut-up to pile on top of the alfredo sauce. At least that's what I thought it would be.
Note: Our pizza didn’t have chicken like this. We had chopped chicken pieces as stated above, and not many of them. Sorry I don’t have a picture of ours.
I don't think they would use diced chicken from a bag or can, but that's how this chicken looked.
The alfredo sauce was great, according to everyone that tried it, and there were enough artichoke hearts and fresh tomatoes to please everyone; it was just the lack of chicken.
What got me was the price. I'm sorry I've never paid $48.00 for a large pizza, not even in New York.
Maybe that's the cost of going to Pismo?
Now that that's over.
I have a pet peeve and will admit it. When I owned my business, I learned the hard way about not returning phone calls and not respecting people who go out of their way to help me with a review or referral.
When I first opened my business, and I thought I was the best of the best, I figured I didn't need to return phone calls unless they were essential and benefiting me. How wrong I was.
Quickly I learned that every call was necessary because sometimes you didn't know who was on the other end and how they could potentially hurt or help your business.
It cost me business at first, but as I said, I learned quickly and returned phone calls either by the end of the day or early the next so no one could say I didn't return their calls.
I also learned to respect anyone willing to refer or review my business again; you never knew how that review or referral could affect your business.
But Patti has always told me if I have nothing good to say about someone, don't say anything at all. It's something my Mother would say all the time.
So with that in mind, I have nothing more to say!
If you go to Pizmo Cafe, enjoy the pizza, but ask about pricing and don't worry about complementing the owner. Keep the compliments for the staff and chefs in the back
I hope if you ever visit Pizmo Cafe you have better luck meeting the owner than we did and you're prices are reasonable.