Piero’s PizzaVino on El Paseo in Palm Desert.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NATE ABBOTT
Frustrated by the dearth of authentic New York–style pizza in the desert, I long ago settled on the Neapolitan variety — the personal-size woodfired pizza that originated in Naples, Italy. I’ve tasted them everywhere I could find them in the Coachella Valley, noting the restaurants that nail the crisp but chewy and airy thin crust and simple ingredients: a basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, and olive oil — aka, pizza Margherita. No one in the desert does it better than Piero’s PizzaVino on El Paseo in Palm Desert and Persimmon Bistro & Wine Bar at Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Springs.
At both restaurants, I almost always go for the Margherita, the traditional choice.
But Piero’s has 21 options — 13 with red sauce, eight with white sauce — with ingredients ranging from crispy speck to a flavorful mix of ham, mushrooms, artichokes, and Kalamata olives. I sometimes order the polpette (with meatballs and peppers).
At Persimmon, where I like to find a shaded table in the museum’s sculpture garden, I’m often tempted to order the pepperoni. Be sure to ask about the pizza of the day. Owner/chef Arthur Vasquez is passionate about pizza, always innovating, and eager to please.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MOLLIE KIMBERLING
Birba in Palm Springs.
Best Use of Honey on a Pizza
Ooey-gooey honey has quietly been making its way onto cheesy pizzas around the country for a while now. (There are even multiple Reddit threads dedicated to the topic with titles like “Honey is an absolute game changer!” and “For those of you who said put honey on your pizza … thank you.”)
Here in the Coachella Valley, you can thank restaurateur Tara Lazar, founder of hospitality group F10 Creative, including Birba in Palm Springs, for making a serious squeeze of the beloved bee nectar a can’t-live-without component. Honey takes the signature tomato-and-prosciutto pie at her popular patio pizza spot in the Uptown Design District to new heights. “I really like pineapple on pizza, but my Italian husband forbids that … so honey is my second choice,” she admits. “Honey or a sweet ingredient is such a great companion to spicy; it pairs so well with the chili oil drizzled on top.” — Lizbeth Scordo