Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza satisfies with a menu loaded with variety
Story and Photos By Kelley Carlson
There’s more for the eyes than just pies on the menu at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza. It’s the variety of food that sets the 18-chain restaurant apart from its competitors, according to Executive Chef Jeff Moogk. “There’s something for everybody,” he said.
The offerings, which are nearly identical at all Sammy’s locations, feature everything from sandwiches and wraps to pastas and salads and of course, pizzas, assembled with sustainable and local ingredients whenever possible. And the fare is not exclusively Italian — Asian, Mexican and American are also represented — along with the special summer Mediterranean cuisine.
At the Del Mar/Carmel Valley location, the gastronomic experience takes place in a warm atmosphere that incorporates woods, stone and copper accents. The open front patio often garners attention from passers-by with a community table that has a built-in fire pit and cushioned seats that line the perimeter.
Natural light brightens the dining room, which is filled with booths and tables. Up to a dozen people can gather at the adjacent bar to watch sports on the flat-screen TV and partake in happy hour; the beverage selections include signature cocktails and an extensive list of wines and beers from regional artisan microbreweries.
During the summer, the main patio, which runs the length of the restaurant, is a popular place for seating, especially at lunchtime and in the evening. There are potted plants and white-and-yellow striped booths; the white curtains are drawn back, so guests can observe swaying palm trees a short distance away. An awning protects patrons from the sun when it’s directly overhead, and it’s especially refreshing when there’s a gentle breeze. Songs by contemporary artists such as R.E.M. and Prince play in the background.
To commence the summer dining experience, patrons may consider selecting a light and refreshing cocktail such as the Moscow Mule, a fizzy blend of Svedka vodka, lime, St. Germain, ginger beer and ginger extract with a lemon slice.
For those who want to start with tapas, options include Oak Roasted Asparagus, blanketed with a thin slice of prosciutto and topped with pieces of romano, laying in extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar; and the Organic Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad from the Mediterranean menu, featuring cubes of watermelon on slices of tomatoes, sprinkled with feta cheese and citrus vinaigrette.
There are quite a few pizzas; one of the seasonal varieties is the Oven Roasted Tomato and Smoked Provolone Flatbread that is also topped with Kalamata olives, garlic and organic arugula. A more traditional choice is the Brie Cheese and Truffle Oil artisan thin-crust pizza, a crispy pie that also has sautéed mushrooms and parsley.
Among other popular entrees are Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad, Shrimp Angel Hair pasta, and Organic Arugula and Pear Pizza.
Kids can build their own pastas, order smaller versions of pizzas, or opt for entrees such as BBQ chicken and mini-hamburger sliders. A word search on the menu will keep them busy while they’re waiting for their orders.
Finally, for a sweet treat for all ages, Sammy’s signature dessert is the Messy Sundae, but there are other delectables, such as a half-dozen Warm Crispy Mini Doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar, and served with chocolate and raspberry sauce for dipping. It pairs well with a foamy cup of cappuccino with cinnamon. The Del Mar location also exclusively sells a cloud of cotton candy that is piled high on a 12-inch plate.
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza
Address: 12925 El Camino Real, Del Mar/Carmel Valley; 702 Pearl St., La Jolla; 8650 Genesee Ave., UTC
The Vibe: Casual, relaxed
Signature Dishes: Mini Duck Tacos, Chicken Lettuce Cups, Lobster Mac & Cheese, Wok’d Sesame Shishito Peppers, Organic Arugula and Pear Pizza, Burrata and Pesto Pizza, Red Quinoa Salad, Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad
Open Since: 1991 (Del Mar/Carmel Valley)
Patio Seating: Yes
Happy Hour: 3-6 p.m. daily (bar and patio only) (Del Mar/Carmel Valley)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Del Mar/Carmel Valley)
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.
This week: Sammy’s Chilled Roasted Vegetable Salad
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