The Pig Ate My Pizza (MSP) – No He Didn’t…I DID

photo (27)I was disappointed when I heard that one of my favorite restaurants, Travail, had closed. This was an incredibly creative group of chefs that consistently amazed me with their talent. But then I discovered that they were just modifying their approach. Of course the normal order of progression is moving from crudos, braises and burgers to pizzas, it is a perfect transition. Happens all the time. I questioned by sanity during the 12 mile drive that took 40 minutes, but my desire to see what this culinary group were cooking far surpassed the movement of Mickey’s hands on my watch.

bl piggieI sat at the bar and the bartendress pushed the Cider Ham Rules pie pretty hard to all the guests but I first wanted a carnivore’s delight so the first pizza was the Piggie Pie. Normally served with a thick brioche crust, I opted for the thin-crusted alternative. The toppings included large slices of prosciutto, pepperoni and lots of sausage hidden under the cheeses. The flavors were outstanding. Each was delicious on its own with the saltiness and spiciness of the meats perfectly complementing the sweetness of the tomato sauce. Not to be outdone, the chefs at TPAMP used a cheese blend of provolone, parmesan, Asiago, and Gouda (plus one that I forgot) that created an incredibly delicious combination. But the kitchen still had a few tricks and flavors up their sleeves, they finished the pie with a little basil oil and then perked the flavors with a few baby oregano leaves. And let’s not forget the crust. It brought great flavor and texture.

bl hamWith one down and my hunger not yet fully satisfied I acquiesced and ordered the Cider Ham Rules. Fortunately the restaurant was more filled at this point and the timeframe before #2 arrived was sufficient to regain some internal space. When it arrived, it was not as expected; it was more fully covered than the Piggie Pie. Adorning this pie were compressed apples, a fried apple chip, waffle fries, oyster mushrooms, and various cuts and renditions of pork. As much as I wanted to love this version to the same degree as the first, the sweet-savory combination left the sweet as an “also-ran” component. The flavors of both renditions of the apples were completely lost and the waffle fries were a cute addition but from a taste perspective, not to my liking. The rich, deep flavors of the pulled pork, chunks of pork, hoisin sauce and oyster mushrooms were outstanding and absolutely delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed the savory aspects of this pie, but not as a sweet-savory combo.

The staff and service were still Travail quality perfection. Knowledgeable, friendly, always available for a question and were spot on in each aspect of the service. Minneapolis now has another great pizza joint (the fourth on my list), when four years ago there were none.

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