Slice Parlor – Albuquerque, New Mexico
British soul superstar Adele recently revealed to fans in Los Angeles “I can’t eat pizza anymore guys, how bad is that?” She then proceeded to answer her own question about how bad it is: “It’s worse than Romeo And Juliet! If only Shakespeare was alive, he could write about it!” So what would cause an admitted pizza fanatic give up pizza? After having vocal surgery in 2011, she’s been advised to protect her voice and as Adele explained “because it’s got cooked tomatoes on it which are bad for your throat and give you acid reflux. How bad is that, that I can’t eat pizza, can you get over that?”
As a lifelong Catholic lacking the self-restraint to abstain from pizza for even the duration of Lent (that’s forty days for all you secularists), Adele’s perseverance prompted a bit of introspection. Just what would it take for me to give up pizza? Hmm, perhaps intense torture–such as being forced to watch an hour of The View–would do it. Nah, as a guy motivated more by the carrot than by the stick, pizza would have to be replaced by something even better, if only it existed. As with most Americans, pizza sauce runs through my veins and my blood type is P (for pizza) Positive.
In June, 2011, Duke City pizza aficionados celebrated the launch of yet another purveyor of our favorite pie. Purporting to make “the finest and most authentic New York style pizza in Albuquerque,” Slice Pizza set up shop on Central Avenue in the heart of Nob Hill. Aptly named, Slice’s slices are about the size of personal-sized pizzas at other pizzerias. Full pies come in two sizes–eighteen-inches and twenty-four inches, virtually guaranteeing you’ll be taking half a pie or more home. The menu showcases the versatility of pizza which is no longer just canvas for tomato sauce. Slice also offers pesto pizza and “white” pizza (whole-milk mozzarella and dollops of ricotta cheese), both sans tomato sauce. Gluten-free and vegetarian pies are also available.
Five years after launching its flagship Nob Hill parlor, Slice took its talents to the Northeast Heights, opening a second location on heavily trafficked Montgomery Boulevard. Situated in a converted post office, the new slice of pizza heaven can accommodate some 100 diners if you include its commodious patio. Diners who enjoy adult beverages with their pizza will appreciate the two-dozen beers on tap as well as a nice wine list. They’ll also appreciate that Slice’s next door neighbor is slated to be another instantiation of the Marble Taproom. As we don’t indulge in adult beverages when we’re driving, we got our jollies watching the wait staff jauntily traverse from table to table, their pace equaling that of the speed walkers at the Olympics.
Our introduction to a slice from Slice was in the form of a Veggie Blanco (white pizza with garlic and feta) not something we normally order (my Kim actually asked me to order a regular Blanco (white pizza with fresh garlic and Italian sausage) but my attention was focused on an Olympic event on television). Even cut in half vertically, each half of the slice is approximately the size of a slice at other pizzerias. The sparsity of the feta made us pine for the sausage we could have been enjoying had my mind been on pizza and not on the beach volleyball event.
Not solely a pizza parlor, Slice also offers three calzone options including a “build your own.” To the house calzone (homemade dough with fresh ricotta, premium mozzarella and Italian sausage), we added Canadian bacon and black olives–as well as quite a bit of saltiness. Unlike many calzones which are roughly the size of a flattened football, Slice’s version is somewhat thinner, not as puffed up. It’s roughly the size of half a standard (16″) pizza and nearly as thick as a Chicago-style pie. The sauce, which contains Parmesan cheese (a dairy-free option is also available), is rather thin and a bit on the bland side. We were able to finish only two of the four slices, leaving two for dinner. These calzones will make your calzones (Spanish for underpants) feel more than a bit tighter.
My Kim didn’t get much argument from me that the best item on the Slice menu is the gelato from Van Rixel Brothers. That could be said about almost every restaurant in which Van Rixel gelato is offered. What’s so great about this gelato? Aside from having a lower butterfat and sugar content than ice cream, texturally it’s also much denser than ice cream with a much more intense and concentrated flavor. High-quality artisan gelato retains its texture (from delicate ice crystals) for only a few days which is why great gelato is usually made on the premises or at least locally (the Van Rixel Brothers are Albuquerque-based), not shipped from afar. Two winning flavors are Venezuelan passion fruit and mango and smoked sea salt and honey caramel. If only their portion size was equal to that calzone.
Now with two locations to serve Albuquerque, Slice Parlor serves slices as big as a half moon and pies the size of Jupiter. Give Adele a month without pizza and she’d probably consume a whole pie.
9904 Montgomery, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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LATEST VISIT: 13 August 2016
# OF VISITS: 1
COST: $ – $$
BEST BET: Venezuelan Passion Fruit and Mango Gelato, Smoked Sea Salt and Honey Caramel Gelato, House Calzone