Some things just go together; Rum and coke, peanuts and Crackerjacks, pizza and beer. Which brings me to Mission Street's burger., where almost 50 draft beers are joined by even more bottled selections. All those beers, just begging for pizza. And burger. heard their cries.
The new offerings are wood-fired with dough and sauces made daily. The pizzas I enjoyed each had thin, cracker-crisp crusts, a seared edge here and there, and a hint of flavorful cheese.
We ordered burgers and pizzas at the counter, and beers at the bar. The burgers arrived quickly. French fries were dipped in ketchup, sweet potato fries in a vinegared Thousand Island-style tartar sauce. As my compadres took the final bites of their juicy sandwiches, making use of the abundant napkins, the first pizza arrived.
When I initially paired pizza and beer, I was unfamiliar with IPA, and had never seen lamb on flatbread, a combination of course that has been enjoyed in the Middle East for centuries. The Lambjoun pizza ($7.75) was an attractive display of fresh mint leaves, bits of rich ground lamb, salty feta, and sweet caramelized onion dotted with pine nuts, browned to bring out their nutty essence. The strong hops in the American Rye IPA was a perfect match.
The Pogliaghli ($7.50) arrived next, boasting baby arugula, garlic, bright sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of fresh mozzarella. Simple but stunning.
The wood oven was so busy we joked with others that they were making the graham crackers as we waited 15 minutes for our s'mores. Three graham cracker sandwiches stuffed with puffed, expertly singed marshmallows, melted chocolate, and a patch of salty bacon were lavishly drizzled with chocolate sauce. Guiltlessly gooey and lusciously messy, only soap and water could clean up this happy camper. | KP
burger., 1520 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, 425-5300. Beer and wine. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Visit burgersantacruz.com.
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