Santa Cruz's home of the original pizza dance has parlayed its expertise with dough and toppings into some tasty weekend brunch fare. The scent of strong coffee seemed unusual at Kianti's, but welcome on a sleepy Saturday morning. Breakfast Pizzas ($11.95/$19.95), pizza dough pastries ($6.95 to $7.95), and Scrambles and Wraps ($8.95) pair just as well with Bloody Marys ($5) and bottomless Mimosas ($10).
Four scrambles can be wrapped in a flour or whole wheat tortilla and are served with fruit, pasta salad, or chips and house-made salsa. You can also design your own scramble (or pizza) from an abbreviated list of your favorite pizza toppings.
The aroma of basil hit my nose before I could even take a bite of the Gourmet Wrap with pesto. Finely minced artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes joined finely grained scrambled eggs and bacon in the oversized burrito. A bowl overflowed with fresh fruit including grapes, melon and pineapple.
The Cherry Pizza Roll ($7.95) turned my favorite Kianti's appetizer into a sticky morning indulgence. The top of the rolled dough, browned and glossy was drizzled with cream cheese and powdered sugar frosting. Inside the tender pastry-like crust was warm cherry pie filling, and my fingers became increasingly adhesive as I dipped each of the six pieces into the ramekin of extra frosting.
I'm of the pizza school that believes that marinara does not complement every imaginable pizza topping. Apparently the staff at Kianti's agrees. The unsauced Spicy Pizza crust, with a fluffy, thick circumference, bore a light coating of mozzarella which was drizzled with beaten egg. It was topped with bits of spicy Italian sausage, slices of fresh tomato, crunchy crumbles of bacon and spicy canned jalapeños. Even after hogging the Cherry Roll, I ate the whole pie. | KP
Kianti's Pizza and Pasta Bar, 1100 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 469-4400. Full bar. Open for weekend brunch at 8 a.m. Visit kiantis.com
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