Monday, September 6, 2010

Review: Portland Pie Co.

After my recent post about Flatbread Company's gluten-free pizza, several people pointed me toward Portland Pie Co., which has four locations in southern Maine and New Hampshire and carries a gluten-free crust, as well as vegan cheese. This weekend I stopped for lunch at the Scarborough location, in the soulless new Cabela's shopping plaza. It had the atmosphere of any good-time shopping mall chain, but where there's gluten-free pizza, I can overlook faux-brass fixtures or a stuffed moose head over the bar.

For $1.25 each, the toppings on my 10-inch pizza were pretty scarce. I went with red sauce, Daiya vegan cheese, black olives, broccoli, and garlic.

The gluten-free crust was thin and crisp. It's not bad if you prefer Neopolitan-style pizza; I've always loved big puffy crust with bubbles. The sauce wasn't notable. While I like Daiya in moderation, here it was just too heavy, and it tasted a little like plastic. I put a lot of salt and red pepper flakes on this pizza in an attempt to make it taste like something, but in the end, it wasn't much better than a frozen Amy's Rice Crust Spinach Pizza.

Of course, as a gluten-free vegan, I'm grateful anytime a restaurant provides me with more than an undressed garden salad. Portland Pie Co. doesn't do gluten-free pizza as well as Flatbread Company, but it's another option for gluten-free, dairy-free folks who want to enjoy a meal alongside omnivorous friends. Next time, I'll probably skip the vegan cheese and spring for lots more veggie toppings.

For carrying Daiya, Portland Pie Co. earns three chickpeas for vegan-accessibility. I'd love to see more creative vegetarian sandwich choices—currently there's a hummus wrap (yawn) and a toasted cheddar and veggie option. Portland Pie Co. is worth a visit if you're trying to appease a crowd with varying tastes and dietary restrictions.

12 comments:

  1. Olives and cheeze... that looks amazing! I wish there were *anything* like this place in Canberra!

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  2. That pizza photo just made me drool on my keyboard!

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  3. Hey there! I found your review on the food map. I was under the impression that the Flatbread crust was made with spelt flour. Did that recently change? Spelt is definitely not gf, so I've never tried it. Thoughts?

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  4. jjdactyl,

    Flatbread Co. uses a crust made with rice flour and chickpea flour. No spelt!

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  5. there's still not anywhere in Santa Cruz where you can go for vegan cheeze on a pizza, and I don't think there's any spot offering GF options either, so that's pretty amazing that you have two such places!! But, that said, that's a pretty super cheapo amount of broccoli for your topping, and way too much Daiya. I actually really like Daiya, but I totally agree with you that it must always be in moderation, or even a little on the sparse side. Otherwise it gets a little slimy and weirdo.

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  6. Ah, bummer! I'm not a big fan of too much Daiya either.

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  7. We're so happy that all 3 Portland Pie locations now offer the delicious Daiya vegan cheese as a regular menu item ! The downtown Portland location is much nicer and neighborhood-like. We always felt that they didn't put quite enough Daiya on the pizzas, but that seems to be changing, thankfully. I suppose if one doesn't like it too heavy they can just request light on the cheese. Silly's on the east end also uses Daiya for their vegan pizzas, and may even have a gluten free crust, not certain. Now if only Flatbread would offer Daiya as well, we'd be in buisiness, such a nice place to eat !

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  8. I know it's a hike, but if you ever find yourself down in Boston (Commuter-rail!) definitely try Peace-o-Pie in Allston. They're all vegan and on Thursdays have heavenly gluten-free pies. Well worth the trip!

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  9. I agree with you about the Daiya. I think it is okay in moderation but gets gross if you overdo it. I tried making macaroni and cheese with it once and put in 2 cups of Daiya and we ended up throwing most of it out!

    I love that Amy's rice crust spinach pizza though. They use the vegan gourmet mozzarella and I think I actually prefer that to Daiya. It has less flavor...and with vegan cheese, less is more I think! ;)

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  10. Just an FYI, the gluten free crust at Portland Pie is not Vegan. It is made with non-fat milk.

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  11. just went to portland pie company for dinner tonight and the waitstaff informed me that while they do carry vegan cheese, all of their crusts have eggs in them. after i was eating the pizza. :(

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  12. just went to portland pie company for dinner tonight and the waitstaff informed me that while they do carry vegan cheese, all of their crusts have eggs in them. after i was eating the pizza. :(

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