If you are looking for tasty local, organic, sustainable (and even gluten-free) pizza, Stone Hearth Pizza Co. is the way to go. Stone Hearth has three locations -- one in Cambridge, one in Belmont, and one in Needham, with an Allston location on the way -- and I was recently invited to the Cambridge location to sample some food and beer and learn more about Stone Hearth.
I arrived first (after tackling all the stairs at the Porter T stop) and was immediately greeted by Alex Chamberlain, who does Stone Hearth's marketing, and chef and general manager Michael Ehlenfeldt. Soon after I was joined by Daisy, Elizabeth, Emily, and Bianca.
We started the evening with generous mugs of gazpacho, and Dave Aresty poured us Cisco Summer of Lager to go along with it.
The cool gazpacho was the perfect dish on such a pleasantly warm evening.
I enjoyed this beer, but I won't even pretend I know enough about beer to really describe it. It was nice and light and to me, a good summer beer.
Along with the gazpacho and Summer of Lager, we got to sample some of the melanzana, a roasted eggplant spread with Parmesan flatbread. The flatbread is made from pizza dough stretched very thin and seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, and Parmesan. I loved it and would definitely go back for more.
Following the lighter appetizers of gazpacho and melanzana, we were served two versions of Stone Hearth's meatball poppers. The meatballs are made from locally raised beef and stuffed with fresh Vermont mozzarella.
We tried some in a spicy tomato sauce...
... and some in a creamy roasted onion and herb sauce.
Both were delicious, but I enjoyed the cream sauce more because, as you know, I'm not big on spice, and I found the cream sauce a nice change. (More often than not, meatballs are served with a tomato-based sauce.) It's made with roasted onions and creme fraiche.
With the meatball poppers, Dave offered Wachusett Green Monsta IPA.
I thought this beer had some floral notes, and when I mentioned that to those at the table, who are obviously more familiar with beer than I am, they agreed and said that it was very hoppy.
Next we were presented with three different salads. The first was called Spear me the Details and was a special that day. I was most impressed to find out that Michael had picked the asparagus for the salad himself that morning. One bite of the tender spears made it quite obvious how fresh they were. The salad also contained cashews, oranges, and a honey-orange-ginger dressing.
The Caesar salad was very good but nothing out of the ordinary. You can order it with anchovies if you like.
And I saved the best for last. This spinach and avocado salad with shaved red onion was my favorite of the three. The avocado was so fresh and ripe.
And, of course, a little Sweet Action complemented all of the salads.
This beer was described as "a harmonious balance of bitter and sweet," and I won't pretend we didn't get a little silly about the name.
While we ate our salads and enjoyed some Sweet Action, Michael asked us if we were interested in trying Stone Hearth's gluten-free crust, and we all were, so he told us he would make us a few different pizzas but not tell us which one was gluten-free.
Can you tell which one it was by looking?
|The Divine Goddess|
|Bacon & Blue|
The Divine Goddess is a white pizza with spinach, broccoli, local ricotta, and a topping of blended cheeses and Parmesan. This pizza was served on the gluten-free crust, which turned out to be my favorite crust. It was thin and chewy, and even though I eat gluten, I would definitely eat this gluten-free crust again. For those who can't eat gluten, Stone Hearth tosses all of the pizza doughs with rice flour, so there's never any regular flour in the air or the ovens.
The last pizza, the Bacon & Blue, was my favorite. Rather than just having simply bacon and blue cheese, this pizza was loaded with shredded squash and zucchini, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, provolone, and fresh basil. I think it was really the combination of smoky bacon and fresh squash that did it for me. We had this one on the whole wheat crust.
The pizzas were paired with Pretty Things' Once Upon A Time... East India Style Porter.
We all expected this porter to be on the bitter side, but it was actually pretty light and had coffee and caramel flavors. (On a side note, I'm kind of getting obsessed with the idea of just offering Pretty Things beers -- in addition to wine and liquor -- at my wedding. I still have to get Jeff behind the idea though. He thinks it's necessary to have the regular options, but I bet everyone could find a Pretty Things they like!)
No meal is complete without dessert, and we got to sample another of Stone Hearth's gluten-free offerings: flourless chocolate cake with vanilla gelato.
I loved ending the meal on this sweet, chocolatey note.
I've gotten takeout from Stone Hearth in the past and will definitely be back for more, especially after this dinner! Thanks to Elizabeth for setting this up, to Alex for organizing such a great event, and to everyone at Stone Hearth for providing us with such a great meal!
In addition to Stone Hearth's three current locations and upcoming location in Allston, you can also find their frozen and vacuum-sealed pizzas for sale at some Whole Foods locations.
Have you ever tried Stone Hearth Pizza? What about gluten-free pizza crust?
If you have a moment, please head over to my friend Alicia's blog. She's donating all of her blog revenue for June to the Western and Central MA Red Cross to help with the Tornado Relief. The more hits she gets, the more she can donate!
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