Am I creating a trend for this week? Nah, not really. In sort of a follow-up from yesterday’s post, on another day, I decided to drop by Chinese Skewer King‘s (CSK) “neighbour” in terms of food carts: Ragazzi Pizza Truck. Located in the northwest corner of Burrard and Pender (on Burrard), they serve something a lot of Vancouverites look as a $1.50 snack: pizza. Given the predominance of these shops in Downtown Vancouver (for example, just drop by Pender and Seymour), you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’… Oh, wait, wrong topic. But back to question: how would a pizza cart compared to those already established already?
As seen in the picture above, one thing is pretty obvious: Ragazzi is not same lines as other food carts – instead, as their name would have suggested, it is a food truck. Because of this, the day I went, I completely overlooked it and almost ended up back to Chinese Skewer King. While I know I have navigational issues when driving (I tend to miss exits), when it comes to reading a map and navigating in the city, I don’t have that such issue. The problem that day was that I completely overlooked it because I was walking on the east side of Burrard Street, going northbound. I noticed a truck; however, I didn’t know that was Ragazzi’s truck. It took me a couple minutes (and blocks, thinking they might be somewhere else that day) that I came back and finally saw the signs.
By the time I got there, it was almost noon sharp but, in contrast to CSK, there was no queue. Of course, I couldn’t help myself wonder why. Anyway, I look at their menu and they made things simple: 4 types of pizza slices, though they did have a full pizza menu. Given their operating size, I guess it allows such dual operating mode. Add some drinks and you are pretty much good to go. In my case, one whole pizza would have been too much so I ordered two slices plus a drink.
Given Vancouver’s “green” attitude, one of the initial complains of CSK was the fact they served their skewers inside a styrofoam container. Let’s just say that they heard and, on my second visit, if you order to go, it will be served in a paper bag which is then put into a plastic bag (if you ask it to be to go). Granted, it still created some wastes but it is not styrofoam. For Ragazzi, I couldn’t help myself wonder why it was served on such container (at least this one could hold two slices). See, once again my mentality of food carts serving food that you would consume on the streets hit me. Is there anything wrong to serve it in one of those cheap flimsy cardboard plates rather than putting it in a box? At least give the option if you are eating it nearby or if it is “to go”. Then again, that brings the question of “where to eat in”? I think Vancouverites still have a lot to learn. Simply do what people in Portland do! Set up some plastic chairs outside – as show in my post of Nong’s Khao Man Gai. But enough babbling, to the pizza now.
Out of the options they had, I ordered two. I decided to go for a vegetable option (primavera) and a meat option (Prosciutto & funghi) – The other options were Rustica (Salami, Bacon, Potato, Onions) and Hawaiian. What??? I didn’t order the rustica? Well, no, for other reasons. Anyway, after making my order, it was a bit of a waiting game. At this point, I was slightly confused. Since they have only four type, I would be under the assumption they would be almost ready to serve. Of course I could be completely wrong on this one. But, it shouldn’t have taken ~5 minutes for it to be served because it wasn’t really hot either (I mean, they weren’t preparing the slices individually!). Probably I am wrong about the operation method but, at the end, it was odd regardless
Anyway, slice number one, the prosciutto and mushroom. I will have to admit, the prosciutto gave it an unique saltiness so, from that perspective, I thought it was quite good. As for the mushroom, it added some meatiness which, again is good. The only caveat to all this is that it wasn’t that warm to the taste, despite the cheese was still soft (i.e., melted and haven’t solidified back yet).
As for the vegetable one, interestingly, the bits of pesto (hence basil) could actually be tasted so, again, I am surprised at that fact. The rest of the vegetables were a bit of hit and miss, mainly because some overpowered the others (for example, artichokes). The same issue that happened to the prosciutto and mushroom happened here as well so, from that perspective on that day, it was consistent.
Now, as an additional FYI, before I ate the slices, I took a picture of the bottom. Well, no leoparding of the crust. However, despite that wasn’t there, I will give them some credit: it was thin (not necessarily as thin as, say, Ah-Beetz), which sets them apart from other places that makes them quite doughy. The texture itself was borderline crunchy, though there wasn’t that much chewiness. Now, not to the extent of a cracker but it definitely had some crispiness into it.
After eating the two slices, I had to stop for a moment and think. Would I come back? The answer I arrived was no. It goes back to what I have been saying about my concept of street food, i.e., something affordable, cheap. In the case of Ragazzi, it seems they took their whole pies, divided the price evenly by 8 and rounded up to $3 to account for the cost of operating in a cart/truck. From that perspective, I didn’t think I could say I liked it. Now, had I been to Ragazzi, the restaurant and had ordered the same, I might be impartial about it. But, as it is, I would rather go back to 2001 Flavours for slices or Ah-Beetz if for the whole pie (though Firewood, as per Mijune‘s post suggested, might be an option I am willing to try).