Palm Springs, CA - CLOSED
Crispy Smokey Pizza - Bravo
One of my favorite places for lunch, Matchbox in Palm Springs, has some of the best thin-crust pizzas this side of Italy! They tell me that the trick is a wood-fired masonry oven that heats up to over 800 degrees which gives the pizza a crisp, smoky crust. They also have a selection of fantastic appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrees, but I always gravitate when having lunch for two to split a salad and small pizza. Today, we started with a delightful salad special of sliced pickled cucumbers with an assortment of toy box tomatoes topped with micro-greens. The cucumbers are sweet, tart, and crisp and the tomatoes are tossed in a wonderful tangy herb vinaigrette.
It’s actually the perfect marriage of flavors and textures. Delish. We accompanied that with the restaurant’s signature pizza bread. Shaped like a pretzel and sprinkled with coarse salt, it is crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy (in a good way) on the inside. Served with house-made garlic herb butter, this is one of my favorite breads on the planet. For our pizza course, we shared a small pizza which Matchbox will let you mix half and half.
On one side we had their “Fire & Smoke” combination with fire roasted peppers, Spanish onion, chipotle peppers, tomato sauce, garlic puree, and smoked Gouda cheese topped before serving with fresh chopped basil. Not for the faint at heart, this pizza is spicy, but well worth the slight sweat it might bring to your brow. For our other half, we chose the “Italian Salami” recipe. Deli pepperoni, fennel salami, mortadella, marinated tomatoes, and zesty tomato sauce topped after baking with arugula and chopped marinated tomato. Fantastic. Other menu favorites include their beet salad with a goat cheese fritter and toasted pine nuts and their spicy ahi tempura rolls with fresh marinated ahi wrapped in nori and sticky rice.
Terrific. We’ve actually never been disappointed by anything on the menu and the service is really outstanding. If you’re lucky, you might have Valerie take care of you. Her friendly smile, engaging attitude, and exceptional attention make the experience just that much better. Bravo Matchbox!
FTD Takeaway – You can make your own pizza pretzel bread by rolling pizza dough into a two foot-long 3/4 inch roll and twisting it into a pretzel-like shape. Top with coarse sea salt and cook at 400 degrees in a convection oven for about 12 minutes (cooking times vary based upon the dough and over) until slightly brown on the outside. Serve with your own garlic butter which you can easily prepare by adding crushed garlic and fresh herbs to room temp salted butter. Chill slightly before serving so you can scoop out a teaspoon or two for the perfect presentation. Easy, impressive, and just plain fun to eat at your next picnic or pasta dinner!