“I love my pizza so much,
in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that
my pizza might actually love me, in return.
I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Wikipedia describes the 2010 biographical romantic novel Eat Pray Love as “a journey around the world that becomes a quest for“…pizza. Okay, I took some literary liberties with the “pizza” thing. What author Elizabeth Gilbert was actually in pursuit of was “self-discovery.” Pizza….Self-discovery. Isn’t that pretty much the same thing? In her travels, Elizabeth went all the way to Italy to discover the art of pleasure, a significant aspect of which is the hedonistic, indulgent joy of eating pizza, pasta, gelato and other treasure troves of absolute deliciousness prepared as they can only be prepared in Bel Paese
Thankfully denizens of the Duke City don’t have to cross an ocean to partake of the joys of eating very good, if not life-altering pizza. A recent comment from Jackie suggested such pizza might be found as nearby as Edgewood, just east of the Sandia Mountains. I realize some people approach a journey beyond the Sandias with the same trepidation as the Starship Enterprise approaching the Neutral Zone, but for great pizza I would argue that even Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock would defy Federation dictates and violate the Neutral Zone Treaty. It’s only logical.
My own reason…er, excuse for not having ventured across the final frontier east of the Sandias to explore great big pizza, seek out new pork rib tips and boldly go where no restaurant critic has gone before… was that my Kim and I were looking in another galaxy. Jackie noted that the Pizza Barn in Edgewood “made the list of the 10 Best Pizza places in New Mexico by several years running, by the Best Things New Mexico website.” Not only did Pizza Barn make I Am New Mexico‘s list, it made the list at number one–the best of the top 20 New Mexico pizza joints.
Perusing I Am New Mexico further, what the site was actually evaluating was “a slice of New Mexico’s heavenly green chile pizza.” Further, I Am’s compilation of the “top 20 best pizza parlors in New Mexico” is three years old. As pizza paramours know, a lot can change in three years. Other than a picture and a Google map, the site didn’t provide any explanation as to why Pizza Barn earned such a lofty distinction. Nor did Jackie. Thankfully, my friend Captain Tuttle who visited Pizza Barn a couple of years ago remembered it as “being pretty good – the pizza anyway, as we didn’t have anything else. Good crust, just the right thickness, and cheesy.”
You don’t need the navigational skills of Starfleet’s most accomplished engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott to find Pizza Barn. All you’ve got to do is point your own shuttle craft east and get off on the Edgewood exit. You can’t miss the big red barn nestled under a canopy of pine trees. Sure, big red barns are much more common in Nebraska or Iowa, but they’re not necessarily out-of-place in New Mexico. At least not this one. Besides, it’s pretty charming. The interior is comfy and cozy with plenty of booth seating. There’s even dog-friendly outdoor seating though you probably don’t want to visit on a 43-degree day as we did.
True to the name on the marquee, pizza is the big red barn’s raison d’être though the menu also lists calzones, bread sticks, green chile bread sticks, zucchini, pork rib tips, buffalo wings, cinnamon sticks, salads and more. There are some two dozen specialty pizzas on that menu as well as a Barn special with five toppings of your choice. Both the Barn special and the cheese pizza are available in fourteen- and sixteen-inch sizes as well as a ten-inch personal pizza size. The specialty pizzas are all sixteen-inches.
Several months ago, my friend Tom Molitor, our resident walking Wikipedia and sage sommelier lamented that it “continues to be my destiny to remain on an Arthurian journey searching for the Holy Grail of BBQ – rib tips.” Neither of us knew at the time that he had but to cross the Sandias to find the ribs for which he yenned. Yes, Bob, the Pizza Barn offers an appetizer sized portion of pork rib tips, six tender, smoked, fall-off-the-bone beauties slathered in barbecue sauce. Sure, there’s a bit of cartilage to navigate around, but the rib tips themselves are quite good.
It’s impossible to know whether or not Elizabeth Gilbert would consider the Pizza Barn’s pizza a pie with which she’d have a relationship, maybe even an affair. At the very least, she’d probably enjoy a slice or three. My Kim ordered the specialty pizza named for the country which taught Elizabeth about the joys of eating–The Italiano (roasted garlic, feta cheese, Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms and sliced Roma tomatoes). In all honesty, the ingredient which prompted this particular pizza choice was the roasted garlic which she loves in quantities sufficient to ward off a family of vampires. She quickly discarded all the Roma tomatoes. The pizza is somewhere between thin and thick, crispy and soft, leaning more to the “right-sized” thickness Captain Tuttle described. My Kim, who’s not a fan of the “char is a flavor” pies so prevalent among purveyors of supermodel thin “new-age” pizza, loved the light char on The Italiano. Me, I loved that this pizza was actually better for breakfast than it was for lunch. There’s a lot to be said for pizza that tastes better the day after. It may not top my own “best pizza in New Mexico” list, but it’s reason enough to visit Edgewood again.
The Pizza Barn may be on the other side of the mountain, but it should be on the radar for everyone in their own quest for a slice of paradise.
The Pizza Barn
11 Plaza Loop
Edgewood, New Mexico
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LATEST VISIT: 23 November 2019
# OF VISITS: 1
BEST BET: The Italiano, Pork Rib Tips