The notion of a pizza topped with Mexican ingredients is not new to Philadelphia, where pizzerias like Rosario's on Wharton Street have been topping pies with everything from chicken tinga to mole for several years.
But few cooks are quite as well-prepared to deliver Mex-Italian fusion as Justino Jimenez, the Puebla-born chef who cooked for several years at Vetri, Osteria, and Amis. When Jimenez sold his Oregon Avenue taqueria in September and moved uptown to buy Logan Square Pizza (now Pizza & Cocina), the combo was a natural fit.
This corner standby behind the Franklin Institute still serves all the familiar hoagie shop-pizza parlor standbys. But about 40 percent of the menu now reflects authentic taqueria fare, and the multi-culti pizzas are an especially fun respite from a long day at the museum.
My favorite features Jimenez's signature specialty of al pastor, pork marinated in orange and guajillo salsa that roasts on a vertical gyro spit and gets sliced right onto a finished pizza, plus onions and cilantro.
The cheese and pizza sauce give the al pastor meat a different dimension that actually works. Add the slivered chunks pineapple, also traditional with al pastor, and it's reminiscent of a Hawaiian pizza, but with a Mexican flair.
- Craig LaBan
Al pastor pizza, $12.95-$16.95, Logan Square Pizza & Cocina, 161 N. 21st St., 215-496-9111; logansquarepizzangrill.com