Baker and Banker Bakery's Focaccia Pizza
Focaccia pizza: You brace for something dense or dry, seeping oil, capped with rubbery cheese. Not at the hands of Lori Baker. At Baker and Banker Bakery ― the restaurant's two-week-old pastry shop annex ― focaccia pizza becomes a bouffant expression of technical skill. You wonder how Baker and her staff get the dough slab so airy, so filled with irregular air chambers, so elastic.
And the pizza part: tomatoes with the bright acidity of San Marzanos, a thin mantle of mozzarella that skirts any notion of goo.
John Birdsall Fluffernutter cupcake ($3.50).
Of course, ordering focaccia pizza from a pastry chef's case is sort of like opting for the salmon at a steak house. Good as it is, it'll never be as lovable as Baker's Fluffernutter cupcake, finely textured vanilla cake plugged with peanut-butter buttercream, crowned with soft, shiny meringue. It sheens your upper lip on first bite, a ballerina's tutu turned edible.
By the way, co-owner Jeff Banker says to expect sandwiches in coming weeks. Brisket on house-baked challah; others, too. "We're only getting started," he says.
Baker and Banker Bakery: 1701 Octavia (at Bush), 351-2500.