Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Life of Pie: A Study in Economical Deliciousness
Continuing on our magical Happy Hour tour of PDX, Fooditka suggested we try a spot on N. Williams called Life of Pie. As the name suggests it is a pizza place, and like a lot of the restaurants around here, their happy hour special is borderline ridiculous. You get a fresh margherita pizza for $5.00 and a $3.00 pint of beer or glass of wine. The "hour" part of happy hour is a loose interpretation, as the deal is available from 11am until 6pm, so it's more like happy most of the day. Which is just fine with me because the desire for a wood-fired personal pizza and a draft beer can strike literally anytime. In fact...
Life of Pie makes a good first impression when you walk in the door. We arrived around 5:30pm, so it was very busy as the patrons were all trying to get in on the happy hour before the clock struck 6. It's a nice, roomy dining area with a lot of tables and a long bar counter to sit at, behind which sits the engine that makes this place run; the pizza oven. The glowing furnace draws your eye while you wait to place your order and then take your drink and sit down. I would categorize the decor as "Modern Rustic." Clean lines and open space with a lot of wood grain and antique pizza peels hung up everywhere, and cords of split firewood on display. And although it was bustling with a lot of hungry happy hour traffic, we still found a table right away.
Although they have a pretty extensive menu with various apps, salads, and pasta dishes we were there for one reason and one reason only. Well, two reasons if you count beer and wine.
Pizza - While pizza is a relatively simple food, it is no easy task to turn out a perfectly cooked wood fired pie with the exact right balance of char and airiness to the crust, and also nail the combination of sauce, fresh mozz, and fresh basil. Well done Life of Pie. Well done indeed. But not too well done, if you get my meaning. Just right. And the pie is large enough to satisfy, while the crust is just thin enough that you won't feel like you're about to burst five minutes after you're done.
Beer and Wine - With a selection of about 5 beers on tap, as well as a house red and white wine to choose from, you will find something that pairs well with your pizza no matter your individual taste. I personally went with the pilsner, and Fooditka had a glass of the red. Both were solid choices, and $3.00 a piece.
Service and Cost:
If I am being honest, which of course I am, the overall service left something to be desired. It's not that the people themselves were unfriendly or incompetent at all; in fact, the one woman who took our order and served us our drink and then served everyone their pizza when it was ready, and then cleared the tables and then later on brought me another beer was great. Truly she was. But the problem was that there seemed to be only one of her. If there were other people working the front of house with her, I didn't see them. So as far as the service goes, I'd have to say: understaffed. As I said, the place was very busy, because with such a great pie at such a low price and a variety of adult beverages to boot, how could it not be? Maybe another server or two during the rush would help the situation. It also took quite a while for us to get our pizza, but I'm sure some of that was the fact that every pie is made fresh to order.
As far as the cost, I said it before and I'll say it again, a perfect wood fired margherita and a craft draft for $8.00 is pretty tough to beat.
2.75 Mmmms (quarter of a point deduction for the service from the East German judge)
Life of Pie - 3632 N. Williams Ave Portland, OR 97227