Why does everything taste better when it is made fresh by real people you can interact with? Why is it that food smells better when you are in a small, locally owned café? What is it about seeing the process of preparing the food that makes it more appealing?
Maybe it is a mental process that connects you more with what you are about to eat. At Arizmendi however, I think it is commitment, love, and expertise that make the food so exquisite.
I think it is the organic, local, seasonal ingredients that are chosen especially for each item. I think it is the fact that each member of this worker-owned cooperative has a stake in making sure that each pastry, bread, and pizza is the best one served that day.
Making a decision in Arizmendi is like asking a child to choose one piece of Halloween candy. There are too many delicious options.
The safe selection is the corn-cherry scone, which is delightfully crumbly with a perfect scone to fruit ratio. However, since it was lunchtime when we finally arrived, an X-Roll, a piece of Foccocia, and half a pizza end up on our tray.
The X-Roll is best described as a savory cinnamon roll, filled with vegetables and cheese rather than icing and goo. Zucchini, onion, pasilla peppers, walnuts, lemon, and various cheeses bubble out of the rolled pastry.
The Foccocia was good, but not an item I would recommend getting on it’s own. It was very similar to a dry pizza with a brushing of tomato sauce and Swiss and asiago cheeses. It would be a great accompaniment to a salad or a dip.
The pizzas at Arizmendi are definitely the showstoppers. Made with whole milk mozzarella, their seasonal organic ingredients top a crispy sourdough thin crust. Toppings change daily so you never know what you are going to get. Don’t worry though; you are in good hands here. I have never had a pizza I did not absolutely love.
Recently, we had one topped with red onions, arugula, walnuts, and a balsamic glaze. One whole pizza was perfect for four hungry eaters. I would plan on each person having at least 2 slices as the main dish.
Warm pizza is available for the eat-in crowd, which regularly packs the joint. Those looking for a quieter dinning experience prefer to order it cold and heat it at home. I like to serve these as appetizers at dinner parties. Thinly sliced, they are a perfect pre-meal bite.
Another favorite method is to bring one on a picnic. Pack some blankets and a cooler, get a hot Arizmendi pizza to-go, and find a romantic spot at Crissy Field, Fish Ranch Road, or Dolores Park.
Arizmendi has locations in Emeryville, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Rafael so the picnic locations are endless. The Cheeseboard in Berkeley is under the same cooperative and is an equally delicious choice.
Pizza: $9.00 half, $18.00 whole
1331 9th Avenue
Between Irving and Judah
San Francisco, CA 94122
These cooperatives are independently operated. They have different days of operation, hours, products, prices, etc.
1504 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
Arizmendi San Rafael
1002 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
3265 Lakeshore Avenue
4301 San Pablo Avenue (@43rd)
1268 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA