My mother grew up in Montreal, Quebec Canada in the thirties and forties – in one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods the city had to offer. Heck, she had Oscar Peterson’s family as neighbors no less and actually got to sit in on jam sessions – Her neighborhood also included many first generation Italian families. And they shared their homes, their food and culture with everyone and anyone with an appetite.
When pizza places start to pop up in Victoria in the mid-sixties, she used to scoff at the menu citing: “This is not pizza! I will show you what Pizza is… the way the Montreal Italian families used to make…”
Her recipe: A very special dough. Left over tomato sauce from spaghetti.
And one very, very hot wood oven… 500 degrees (F) or more if she pushed it.
I know what you are thinking: But what did she put on the pizza?
I just told you.
In August 2008, Prima Strada Pizzeria’s arrival in the Cook Street village in Victoria brings some of that original and authentic Napoli style pizza – to a neighborhood, a city no less… eager to try something other than factory style pizza. You know the kind; 35 possible toppings and a crust so soggy that it’s inedible.
Pizzeria Prima Strada has gone back to the basics; 5 or 6 different styles and each one with only a small handful of ingredients. The Napoletana for instance, has tomato, garlic, anchovies and oregano. That’s what I am talking about.
Their Pizze is baked in a wood fired oven rated at about 800 degrees (F) – while we watched, Pizza went in one or two at a time and came out in under 3 minutes. The kitchen area hummed like a hydroelectric station and the floor staff couriered the fresh baked main event to tables within seconds of its ejection from the oven. We found the floor staff to be informed, passionate and motivated towards educating the customers without being overarching. All good.
On our first visit to Prima Strada, we tried the Salsiccia Piccanta; Fennel sausage, tomato, real mozzarella and roasted bell pepper.
Watching the preparation of the pizza from start to finish is oddly appealing, highly appetizing and ultimately satisfying as it arrives at your table (or bar position as in our case…) as fresh and hot as it can possibly be.
And the first bites? Personally, the taste experience of re-living something as simple as pizza from your childhood… Well, it is a powerful thing. On any other night, I may have been crying into my beer – tears of joy of course.
My mama is now 80 years old and I think she would be proud of what Prima Strada has pulled off. For me, her opinion would speak volumes.
But decide for yourself. Pizzeria Prima Strada has salads, some simple antipasti and a small selection of dessert gelato and sorbetto. Wine pairings appear moderately conservative and tasteful for this menu (Andrea and I had beer…)
We will be back soon. real soon.