The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Phoenix: Day 5

[Preamble: This entry is really long. Like. It has enough photos to fill five entries. If you want to skip to the section where I talk about Pizzeria Bianco, I don't blame you. But some of the stuff before then is kind of amusing. I mean, in my opinion. So. It's up to you. You can skip 60% of this entry if you want. Yeah. Yeeaaah.]

"Hey Robyn, do you want to make sweet potato pancakes?" Kimberly asked me last Thursday morning. Hell, who wouldn't? You know what making pancakes leads to? EATING PANCAKES! What a grand conclusion I have come to.

mm, batter!
The batter, it is battered

She pureed some canned sweet potato while I gathered other ingredients for pancake making. The stage was set for creating flat rounds of mildly sweet dough primarily eaten in the morning hours.


A test pancake nugget soaked up its weight in butter as it cooked/partially fried. This nugget gained our hearty approval, giving us the go-ahead to make real, non-nugget pancakes.

gonna flip it flip... flip We are making cakes of pan
The pancakes don't flip themselves

So we did.

But then we decided the circular form was a little boring. We needed a challenge. A challenge with nubs.

Poofy is being formed

So we made a Poofy pancake.

performing pancake liposuction
Chop chop

Since Poofy's arm/nub was kinda fat, pancake lipo was performed.


Just like the other pancakes, Poofy had to be flipped.


Unlike the other pancakes, Poofy had a face.

Butter butt

And at Lee Anne's insistence, a butt (okay, a tail) of butter.

But then things went a little awry...


The murdering of Poofy was a little soul-crushing.


But it had to be done. So that we could absorb his Poofy essence.

He was tasty. Especially when smothered with maple syrup.

And then we went to Sedona

After the pancake slaughtering, Lee Anne, Kimberly and I hopped into a car to head up to Sedona. Mrs. Shaffer generously offered to make the 2.5 hour drive so that we could catch a glimpse of the famous red rocks. During the trip I mainly slept, ate spicy lime-flavored Cheetos (they're good once you get past the burning), made stuff out of Sculpey and stared out the window to see the landscape go from flat and barren to flat and infested by saguaro cacti (which look pretty awesome, especially the ones that have eight arms sticking out of them because that means they're roughly 800 years old) to flat and covered with fat, dry little bushes to less flat and strewn with short tress which turned into taller trees. We took a break when we saw a sign on the road declaring that a scenic area was in our midst.

Whoa, treeees
We're not in Phoenix anymore

We pulled into a small paved area off the road to see a vast valley of trees and trees backed by flat plateaus. The brown dryness of Phoenix was gone, as were 99% of the cacti. It doesn't look like much when you're whizzing by it at 40 miles per hour, but step out of the car and step on the grass and...hey, it's pretty breathtaking. Breathtaking because there's just so much nature and because if you lose your footing the scattered chunks of rock will become embedded in the fragile skull of your rolling body until the patch of cacti at the bottom of the hill breaks your fall.

What's over theeere?

As I didn't feel physically deft enough to make my way to the bottom without accidentally doing something that would require a hospital visit, I cowardly stayed at the top. Lee Anne and Kimberly happily took my camera to record my unadventurousness in the form of my tiny body against the slightly Photoshop-enhanced sky.

I'm tiny.

Kimberly climbed up the hill to get in on my "Let's be tiny!" fun!

araghra crazy jump
Crazy jump

We jumped separately.

Weee jumpy!

We jumped arm in arm.

And even though we are currently on opposite sides of the country, we still jump together. With our souuuls. (I just totally creeped her out with that line. She's probably poking her chest bone thinking, "Is that the tingly feeling I keep getting?" That might be our souls. Or heart problems.)

We hobbled back in the car and continued our way to Sedona. It was easy to tell when we got there because the dirt went from "normal dirt color" to "patchy with red dirt" to "totally red."

two giant rock things
Whoa, it's red

That's an example of "totally red."

the dirt is red
Or this

Actually, this is a better example. Not long before this photo was taken we took a bathroom break at an outlet mall and browsed the GAP where I found a nice pair of flip flops. Now that my feet semi-matched Lee Anne's and Kimberly's, I felt a little more Arizonian.

Honestly though, you can only stare at red rocks for so long before it gets a little old. Don't get me wrong—they're beautiful and kind of mind boggling—but we had to mix things up a bit. Shaffer style.


Jumping photos. Oh yes. I don't know if happiness can be better captured than by being temporarily suspended in air, as though gravity can be defied by propelling one's body with joy. Lee Anne is a pro at taking jumping photos, so I can't claim any photographic artistry behind these shots besides being responsible for cleaning them up in Photoshop.


Lee Anne and I are so eerily in tune that we unintentionally semi-synchronized our jumps. Oh dear.

Uh Oops, we messed up
Half jump

Some of the best photos were produced by the random tourist who wasn't quite sure when to press the shutter button for optimum jumping action. Which turned out a lot better than we thought it would; it's not every day you get photos of yourself looking like you're doing a dorky "I have to pee" dance or just looking plain dorky as a giant red protrusion of the earth looms behind you. But cute-dorky, perhaps.

We drove up a little more. Why, I don't know. But I'm hella glad that we did, for that was how we encountered the Giant Rooster.

huh wuzzat

But this was no ordinary Giant Rooster...


We escaped unharmed. Because it turned out that the Man-Eating Giant Rooster was carved out of wood.

After spending our time most unconventionally in Sedona, we headed back to Phoenix, hearts full of excitement and bellies full of mild hunger. Hunger...for pizza.

And this is where I finally eat at Pizzeria Bianco

Pizzeria Bianco
Pizzeria Bianco, glowing with godliness

Pizzeria Bianco is known by some as the best pizzeria in the country. Or the world. Or the uuuniverse. While I read a few negative comments about the pizza, for the most part I assumed those people either didn't know what they were talking about or had somehow gotten bad pizza because all the people whose opinions I care about only had words of love and admiration and a faint sense of drool triggered by memories of deliciousness to give about the restaurant.

I was a little confused upon walking towards the restaurant and its empty tables in front. Where were all the people? Wasn't there supposed to be a mob of hungry pizza lovers waiting to get in?

Bar Bianco

The mystery was quickly solved; the future Pizzeria Bianco customers are herded into the house next door (because you sure ain't gonna roam around the area to kill time) to relax during what could be a 2+ hour wait. In this cozy home that must be a remnant of what used to exist in Phoenix before 95% of it was taken down and rebuilt you can grab a drink at Bar Bianco, munch on some appetizers, or sit and do neither of the above.


So we sat outside. I'm posting this photo despite Lee Anne's feelings of distaste towards it (admittedly, this photo only captured weird expressions) because LEE ANNE IS THE CUTE and it's the only photo I have of us sitting at the table.

string of lights
String of lights

The decor of the Bianco empire has a worn out, but not run-down feeling. The string of lights looked like it could've been really old...or made to look old. I guess it couldn't have been old or else the bulbs would've popped, but whatever. In conclusion, I liked them.

A really long communal table
A table!

I guess the long communal table in between the pizzeria and the bar can also be used to wait at, but it was...quite empty. Untouched by humans. Aw. If you weren't aware, the sky is usually that clear and blue in Phoenix. It's nuts. Like the clear blue sky, which is what the sky in Phoenix looks like most of the time. Blindingly blue. "Sizzle your eyes" blue. I found that out when I stared DIRECTLY AT THE SUN.

We waited less than 30 minutes to get in since I made a reservations for my group of seven. And this is where I have to admit that I had a little bit of help from Ed to get in. To fill in those who don't know, Ed is the head honcho/boss at Serious Eats (aka the website that pays me to blog and stuff so that I can eat and stuff and fund trips to Arizona and stuff) and is well known for being a pizza aficionado. I suppose he became pretty good friends with Chris after calling his pizzeria the best in the world because Ed called up Chris to warn him that one of the Serious Eats members was a-coming (me) and gave me his cell phone number so that I could warn him again when I arrived.

So I did. I called during the golden period of time when Chris was neither making sandwiches nor pizza and after having a nice chat (because Chris is very nice...with a dash of funny wackiness) secured a table for 7PM that I wouldn't say I deserved any more than other pizza-hungry people, but...well, Ed and Chris made it happen (you can make reservations for groups of 6-10, but probably not the day before like I So it happened! And my friends and I are very thankful for it.

Since I already reviewed Pizzeria Bianco on Slice, I'm not sure what to say here. I mean, I can't say what I said there any more succinctly on this page, but I could say it differently with more CAPS and BLOOAGHAGOGA and stuff if you want.

bread!!! bread

We started off with two plates of bread. Do you see the beautiful holes? Can't you feel that thin crispy crust poking the roof of your mouth? Can you taste the smooth, fruity olive oil? YES. Yes. And yes. It was awesome. Not more awesome than pizza, but definitely worth sharing with your table while you wait for your pizza.


Not ever having seen a Peugeot-made pepper grinder before, I had to take a photo of this. Did it, like, come with a car? It turns out that Peugeot makes loads of grinders, among other things. I'm not knowledgeable enough about cars to know if grinders are a natural side project for a car manufacturer, but they also make knives and power tools so they just like...making lots of stuff.

pizza man at work!
Making pizzas

Before the pizzas came I approached Chris to thank him for the seating and to give him a Slice NY shirt (the one I'm wearing in the previous photos). Yes, I had a purpose! TO DELIVER A T-SHIRT!!! So I didn't feel too useless. He stopped making pizzas for a while (I assume that's what he's usually doing, that and watching baseball on the little TV next to his pizza making station) to talk to Lee Anne and me about Rito's, his favorite Mexican spot. He said it looked way sketchy and didn't even have a sign, but their burritos were great and we should go if we want to have a burritogasm. (Not his exact words, but he was very enthusiastic, trust me.) The way he talked about Rito's or about ANY place (when I talked to him on the phone he recommended See Saw for ungodly good sushi as enthusiastically as he recommended Rito's, or vice versa) just made you wanna stop whatever you were doing (mowing the law, cooking, washing the baby), jump in a car and go there ASAP, except I stayed put because I wanted pizza.

Table o pizzas
Table o pizzas

Since there were seven of us, we ordered one of each pie. Easy, eh?


Oh, glorious margherita topped with sweet mozzarella and possibly the freshest basil I had ever tasted. Whyyyyyy. You know what I hate? When pizzerias skimp on the basil. Like they sprinkle three little baby leaves in the center and think those will impart enough basil flavor to the whole pizza. What in Most of the time the margheritas I get don't skimp that much, but they're always a leaf or two shy of having just the right amount. I think Chris used just the right amount. Not that I could quantify what the right amount is. It was just...right.

How thin is each slice?

EVERY pizza was like that. Had the perfect amount of toppings, I mean. Just enough to go with the super thin crust, the thinness of which didn't mean it lacked in flavored or awesomeness. It was bother flavorful and awesome. Flavorful with...uh, crust. Don't ask me to describe it; I haven't gathered enough pizza-describing vocabulary do that yet. All I know is that it didn't disappoint.


The crust was full of wonderful smokiness. The essence of its birth from the wood burning oven. THE BURNING. It's tasty. The burning.

You may have noticed that I'm not even attempting to make complete sentences anymore. Sometimes. It's almost 2 AM. I should stop writing soon.

No bit of crust was spared. I initially ate the topped-part of the crust and left a pile of the puffy untopped part on my plate to ingest the cheese in its gooiest state, but later ate the rest of the crust sticks. Mmmhm. CRUST, IT IS GOOD.

Rosa Wiseguy
Some pizzas

I recommend that you try every pizza, but if you can't (yeah, you probably can't), here's a run down of my favorites to the less favorited:

  1. Biancoverde - It has three kinds of cheese. Three kinds. My god, I love me some white pie and any pie that has ricotta.
  2. Wiseguy - For the one who likes meat. And roasted onion. I am quite a fan of both.
  3. Margherita - Classic. And it has that delicious basil that could bring me to tears.
  4. Rosa - Rosemary and onion and pistachio, say WUH? Wuh. Awesome, and pretty.
  5. Sonny Boy - I'd like this more if I were a fan of salami. This pizza is probably the ONLY time I would say I liked salami. There's a lot of salami on this. Yeup.
  6. Marinara - There's nothing wrong with this pizza; it gets put at the end of the list because there isn't any cheese. So for the lactard in your life...this is for them!

Man, that was all kinds of awesome. Maybe you should order every pizza, get them to go (because you can do that!) and have a pizza party. And invite me.

Yes, a chomping shot

Here I am (and Karen), destroying the pizza. Destroooooy.

Ahh yes, a group shot...

I must thank the other women who gave their stomachs to our night of pizza feasting: Kimberly, Lee Anne, Natalie, Karen and Briana (and the unpictured Hannah). We all left very happy having eating the best pizza of our lives. I seriously spent half of the dinner thinking, "OMG THIS PIZZA IS AWESOME WHY SO AWESOME?" Besides that Chris uses the freshest ingredients and perfectly proportions the toppings to the crust, which is in turn perfectly thin and cooked and whatever else it is that you do to pizza, you can taste the love. Pizza love, food love, whatever. You don't just feel it in the pizza, but in the restaurant itself, the space around it, the people who work there. It's all happy and warm and fuzzy. I hope everyone has the same experience there that I had.

I wish I sounded more enthusiastic, but I am sleepy. Can you tell? It is bed time. Time for bed. Time for sleepies. Time to attach head to pillow and coddle manatee. DAY 6 + 7, COMING SOON.


Pizzeria Bianco
623 E Adams St
Phoenix, AZ

(It's right by the huge-ass Science Center on a street you can't really drive on. Can't miss it.)


Su-Lin / August 17, 2007 6:44 AM

Your jumping photos are superb! And the blue sky...did you use a circular polarizing filter also?

Mmmm... now I want pizza for lunch but there's nowhere around here to get the good stuff.

dorie / August 17, 2007 7:00 AM

Not only does this post make me want to jump on a plane immediately so I can have Pizza Bianco pizza for breakfast (I had it once - not for breakfast! - a bunch of years ago and still dream about it), but it makes me want to have sweet potato pancakes, too!

And I wouldn't mind seeing those red rocks either.

Geggie / August 17, 2007 7:53 AM

Yes, PB is the best pizza, just about ever! And Chris didn't lead you astray on Rito's or SeaSaw either, both are divine. Glad you enjoyed your stay in Phx.

Clare / August 17, 2007 12:11 PM

Regarding the pizzas, I only have one word: DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYUM!!

They all look amazingly deliciously fabulous. BTW, You gotta get out to LA and try you some Pizzeria Mozza.

susannah / August 17, 2007 12:31 PM

how did you manage to flip the poofy pancake without breaking him?!

you guys got skills.

shukumei / August 17, 2007 1:09 PM

i can't believe how clear and blue the sky is!

you know the Food of Wrong blog you linked to? i'm very amused that most of the food on that blog is considered normal in Singapore.

roboppy / August 17, 2007 4:39 PM

Su-Lin: I didn't use a circular polarizer, but I HAVE one...that I left at home. It's photoshopping magiiic. .__.

Dorie: Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Arizona doesn't really beat Paris (you need a car to get around) but it's worth visiting. Lots of good eats! Lots of good Chinese food if you stay with the Shaffers, hehe.

Geggie: I would trust Chris with all food recommendations. OR MY LIIIFEEE...yeah.

I wanna go back!

Clare: Oh I'd love to try Mozza. Heard so many good things about it. Siigh.

Susannah: Kimberly did that; she's got SKILLZ.

shukumei: I recognize most of the stuff (YOM YOM) but that first candy doesn't sound so good.

I heart roll cake.

Bonnie / August 17, 2007 9:39 PM

I love your photos of Sedona! I love that place. So are you in NJ or not? I guess me needs to read more blog. I just started mine in June, if I figure it out, can I link to yours?

Kathy / August 17, 2007 11:51 PM

man that was an exciting post! I think my favorite part was seeing the Poofy pancakes...only you would think to do something so awesome that ! ;)

sharon / August 18, 2007 2:19 AM

the pictures and descriptions are so nice. but i am just wondering, just wondering! how is it that you're not broke or have a health condition or FAT.
good job
all this food is making me nauseous, it's a good thing

sharon / August 18, 2007 2:20 AM

the pictures and descriptions are so nice. but i am just wondering, just wondering! how is it that you're not broke or have a health condition or FAT.
good job
all this food is making me nauseous, it's a good thing

roboppy / August 18, 2007 3:43 AM

Bonnie: Yup, I'm in Jersey, but I spend most of my time in NYC. So...not much eating around these parts. You can link to my site, sure!

Kathy: HAHA, I'm glad the poofy excited you. You could probably make an awesome POOFY CAKE!

Sharon: I'm not broke because I live at home/freeload off my mom. Haha...haha...hah. But after I come back from my trip to Italy in September I will probably be very broke.

As for fat/health conditions, oh, it's getting worse all the time. I'm glad I'm not asthmatic at the moment (I do have...asthma), but I've had allergies all summer. And the fat...argh. I need to slim down, but have no drive to do so. I just keep wiggling into my clothes, yeah.

Tina / August 18, 2007 7:54 AM

I love the sapphire blue sky of Sedona...sighs. It reminds me back when I visited Grand Canyon a couple of years ago. Pretty. I also love the jumping photos. It seems like you gals had a TON o' fun! :)

I WANT the PIZZA! Also the bread plate too...
I could easily imagine myself eating there at least once a week if Pizza Bianco existed in the city, which isn't a good thing but it'll make me happy.

Christina / August 18, 2007 2:41 PM

Wow. That bread is incredible, all the holes and what I'm sure was a soft, moist, but not gummy crumb! I think it's funny they serve you bread before you get the pizza, which is flat bread with topping. Sounds like a perfect dinner!

The margherita looks quite tasty, and yeah, perfect proportions of toppings to crust.

I like Poofy!

The contrast in the two photos of the red and blue is lovely.

Joanna / August 18, 2007 9:03 PM

Hey there!

Was a long time "no commentor"


but really, I enjoyed your blog and clicked on it everyday.

Am a current student at Cal and also a big foodie. If you come to the Bay Area, give me a shout and we'll head off to Chez Panisse or the French Laundry.

Keep blogging, you keep me sane. :)

roboppy / August 19, 2007 2:25 AM

Tina: I went to the Grand Canyon once! A gajillion years ago. That reminds me that I should go again.

I'm afraid of how often I'd eat at Pizzeria Bianco if I actually lived near it. ...But I don't think I could handle the wait every week, hehe.

Christina: Bread is always welcome! :D Whether in the crusty loaf for or flat pizza form.

Joanna: HAI STALKER! So glad you delurked. As for heading to Chez Panisse or the French Laundry, you shall hear from me if I'm in the area. Bwaahahahah.

Loretta: Thanks! If only the pancake knew. If it were still aliiiive...

B / August 20, 2007 6:01 PM

I've always been partial to thincrust pizzas, and I get all uppity with people who insist thick crust is the way to make them. However, in Italy, I dont' remember eating anything buy thick bouncy pizzas (not saying thin crust pizzas are 'inauthentic' oh heavens no!)
Am i wrong?
Anyways, DELICIOUS. will there ever be an end to the foods I must try?!?!? (wait, i really hope not)


Laurie / August 20, 2007 6:24 PM

You went from Phoenix to Sedona and didn't stop at Tlaquepaque? Even just so you could say "Tlaquepaque"? hee hee

Those pancakes sure looked yum. Pizza's more yum. I'm hungry...

David / August 21, 2007 2:16 PM

Poor poofy!

The old poofy cartoons are awesome. I just discovered them through your link.

Peugeot made pepper mills even before they made cars. Strange but true.

roboppy / August 21, 2007 10:20 PM

B: When I was in Italy I only remember super thin crust pizzas...except the time that I got pizza from a bus station. Which was like...totally different kind of pizza, hehe.

I LIKE ALL PIZZAS, YEAH. If they're tasty.

Laurie: Tlaquepaquewuhque?! No idea where that is, but it sounds cool. Damn.

No matter how yummy pizza and pancakes are, a combination of the two...would not.

David: I'm glad you like the comics! Cos they give me brain damaaage.

I had no idea that they started off making pepper mills. So maybe it's more weird that...they make cars. After making pepper mills. YA.

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