Nick Cage might have won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, but a real actor would've convinced audiences that -- after spending more than three days boozing/gambling/world's-oldest-professioning -- he actually wanted to stay. Now in San Diego after an astonishingly long Sin City stint, the guy behind Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria.
Blue's fronted by a pizzaiolo who spent six years working under Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina at his Bellagio restaurant Aqua, then put in a head-chef turn at Solana Beach's Blanca before taking the ultimate gamble: opening up his own spot in Encinitas' Lumberyard, where the brick oven burns only wood, and dark-stained wooden tables create a modestly rustic atmosphere designed to "let the food shine", much to the consternation of This Little Light of His. All ingredients are organic and locally sourced when possible, with mozzarella and sausage made in-house; pizzas start with 3-day fermented, hand-worked dough, and range from the simple mozz/basil/tomato sauce "Blue Ribbon", to the heartier, fennel sausage/artisan pepperoni "My Father's", to the "Signature", topped with mozz, parmigiano reggiano, ricotta, and arugula, and doused with EVOO -- which along with WWJD suggests that virgins are channeling their sexual frustration into acronyms. Starters include EVOO'D fresh burrata w/ sea salt and arugula, a CA artisan cheese plate with peperonata and black mission fig mostarda, and the sopressata/coppa molina/Tuscan/finocchiona "Tasting of Knight's Salumi", Hasselhoff's favorite food when he's not lying on the ground eating cheeseburgers.
To get your head straight, the hulking, wood-paneled bar's 7 taps will soon be pouring local favorites including revolving brews from Green Flash, Lightning, Airdale, Mission Brewery, and at least one Stone variety, plus wines that meet local, sustainable, organic, and/or biodynamic requirements -- if you can convince anyone that you care deeply about these designations, Best Actor goes to you.