One of the things I miss most about life in Northern California is Jakes Pizza. Oh, I know, with all the beauty and wonder that is the California coast, how is it I miss food most– but if you wonder that, then you’ve never had a Jakes pie.
It’s a small group of restaurants on the peninsula, and they go by Jakes, The Oasis, The Boardwalk, The Garrett, and Jakes II. That’s it. There is nowhere else you can get such gastronomical glory- these places are it- and even though they have different names, they are all owned by the same family, and have essentially the same menu.
When I met my husband, I was 16, and Jakes was my first job. I got the job because my brother’s Little League team was sponsored there, and after the games that’s where we gathered… so did every other Little League team, regardless of sponsorship. You can’t get a table in Jakes on a Saturday during baseball season.
Anyway, since we left California almost 5 years ago, we’ve lamented the lack of good pizza, and I have taken it upon myself to try and make a decent pie at home. Even though there have been some abysmal failures, having a pizza-tasting streak is still a mighty good thing, and no one has complained. But last night, I finally did it. I hit it- and oh, mothership, was it glorious!
Even though I only worked there for a while, I remember pretty much everything about making the pies- I mean how hard can it be, right? The toppings were’nt so hard- but the dough and sauce has been the trickiest. Getting the spices and consistency right took a while, and the getting the right mix of chewiness and crispiness with the crust was key.
So last night, I put together all the alchemy I’ve amassed in my five years of trial and error, and blew the doors off the oven. Glory of glories, it was (almost) perfect! The house smelled divine, the texture was good, the taste was soooooo close. If you didn’t know better, you could close your eyes and be there.
The problem is, we know better.
So, tonight, I’m giving it another shot. I think I know what I did not-quite-perfectly. The dough didn’t sit in the fridge all night- and batch #2 has, and I suspect that may be the key. I’ll let you know! Happy, happy, joy, joy, pizza, pizza, pizza!
(If you want the recipe, and you beg, I might share it!)