Restaurant: Upper Crust Pizzeria, Boston, Massachusetts
So…I was in Boston…for The Boston Marathon. And you know what it means when I’m gearing up for a race. The traditional night-before-the-race gluten-free pizza. It is a must. Sure, I can do gluten-free pasta, but pizza seems to be my mojo. My magical little race-day helper. And so, this tradition has gone unchanged whenever possible.
I consulted with a good friend of mine, Julie, before heading to Boston, looking for restaurant recommendations, especially for pizza. She sent me so many different options, I was elated to see how many options were available in Boston. If you are a Celiac or gluten-free and planning on a trip to Boston, trust me…it is so easy to find something to eat there. It’s wonderful. Never before have I had so many options in one place.
With her high recommendation, and the praise of my high school friend, Lydia, it was decided that we would be noshing on Sunday night (Monday is marathon day in Boston!) at a place called Upper Crust Pizzeria. They have several locations throughout the Boston area, but as we were spending the day hiking the Freedom Trail, we decided that we’d wind our way out toward Beacon Hill and land there right around dinner time.
We actually ended up getting there sooner, rather than later, so we ducked into some candy shops and walked around the Beacon Hill area until around 5 p.m. That was when we made our way back to the little establishment and stepped inside.
It wasn’t what I was expecting. This was one tiny little establishment, indeed. In fact, the kitchen was on the far right as you enter, with one long community table in the middle of the restaurant. That was it. We lucked out in that people finished up eating by the time we ordered, so we had a place to settle in and eat. Because there was no way the pizza would make it back to the hotel and still be hot.
Cathy and I had scouted the menu prior to leaving for Boston and already knew what we were going to get. This left my friends Heather and Jenn to either have pizza by the slice or split a pizza. As Heather wanted pepperoni and Jenn does just cheese, they ended up getting two slices each.
Their slices were ginormous!! Seriously!! Holy cow. It made me more than a little concerned over how big the gluten-free pizza slices were going to be and whether Cathy and I could eat it on our own.
But, our 14-inch gluten-free pizza arrived a short time after their slices…and it looked fantastic. We ordered one of the custom pies that is a “local favorite.” It’s called Charles Street ($19.00 – the gluten-free crust is a $2 upcharge), and we had it made on the gluten-free dough. It comes topped with portabella mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and fresh garlic. For the sake of my stomach, we asked them to go light on the cheese on this pizza. And it looked absolutely fantastic when it arrived at the table. We paused long enough in our hunger to snap a picture before diving in, each peeling off a slice. The pizza is their “small” size…and it’s actually quite big…but it was perfect for 2-3 people to share. And since we hadn’t eaten much that day, it was perfect for Cathy and I to split without any help.
The Charles Street pizza at Upper Crust Pizzeria is AMAZING! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! Totally and honestly. I ate a bite on its own and immediately was all “Mmmmmm.” Like in “Mmmmmmarathon” and “Mmmmmmore please” and “Mmmmmmgoooooood!” But then, I doctored it up with some dried herbs and a little bit of red pepper flakes. My stomach fears no spice, not even before a marathon. The crust of the pizza was thin, but not a cracker crust. You could definitely tell it was white rice flour based, but it wasn’t a distracting overlying taste. In fact, the crust was one of my favorite things about this pizza. I love a good crust, but I also love to indulge in more pizza…so a thin crust is a nice thing in my book. Cathy tried a bit of Jenn’s pizza and said the gluten-free crust was even better than the original. Score!! I loved the earthiness that flavored this particular pizza. The Charles Street had this great balance of savory with a hint of sweetness from the sundried tomatoes. It was amazing. I devoured every slice. For the first time ever, I think Cathy finished her pizza just as I was polishing off mine.
I can’t say enough good things about this pizza. At first I was a little uncertain, due to the venue more than anything. I mean, one table…and no room when we arrived for us to sit and enjoy…it was a little intimidating and off-putting…but a spot cleared up and we settled in after ordering, and all of us were happy with our pizza. I would go back and eat here the next time I was in Boston, even if there wasn’t a marathon involved. Really fantastic. There were a few other signature pizzas that they make that sound absolutely amazing, so I’m definitely eager to return and give them a taste.
If you’re in Boston…and you want a great gluten-free pizza…find one of the locations for Upper Crust Pizzeria (or go to the original one, like I did, in Beacon Hill) and order up a slice of heaven in pizza form. I know I’ll be back. Oh yes, I will be back!