Stepping out: Pickles add interest to the cheeseburger pizza

By From page B2 | March 09, 2012

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“I am not a glutton — I am an explorer of food.”

— Erma Bombeck

Papa Murphy’s Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

OK, before you ask me if I am making this up, the answer is, “No.”

Papa Murphy’s just introduced this new style of pizza last week. A couple of people who had tried it told me they weren’t too delighted with it, especially the pickles, and thought it could use some barbecue sauce.

I decided to try it myself and find out, so I drove over to the store on Fair Lane in Placerville and ordered one, took it home, baked it and tried it.

The Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza is made fresh with “burger sauce” (I was told it contained catsup and mustard, among other things), ground beef, crisp bacon pieces, diced Roma tomatoes, diced mixed onions (red and green), shredded Cheddar cheese and to top it off, dill pickle chips. Actually, it all sounds pretty good, except maybe the pickles.

I liked it. I liked it more than I thought I would. It wasn’t my favorite pizza, but it was very good. However, it isn’t good enough to stop me from eating cheeseburgers.

On the positive side, it is a lot lighter than most pizzas Papa Murphy’s makes, since it isn’t covered with a lot of sauce, cheese and spicy sausage or pepperoni, and is mostly vegetables.

On the negative side, it isn’t covered with a lot of sauce, cheese and spicy sausage or pepperoni, which, in my book, defines California pizza.

It actually tastes a lot like a cheeseburger, but with a very different texture obviously.

As for the pickles, I actually liked them a lot. They added something to it. Their dillness, which wasn’t in each bite, made the pizza more interesting.

I would buy it again, but would prefer that it was on the thinner, “deLITE” crust, rather than the regular crust.

I noticed that Papa Murphy’s also has another relatively new product, the “Mini Murph,” a pizza kit that you can assemble at home and bake. Sounds like fun for the kids.

On a similar note, my daughter told me that California Pizza Kitchen had a pizza like this not too long ago. She was told to put ranch dressing on it and fold it over into a cheeseburger pizza sandwich. I didn’t try that with this pizza, but I do have a few slices left and might think about it.

Be adventurous, try one.

“Abalone and More” at Holly’s Hill

On Saturday and Sunday, March 17 and 18, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., Holly’s Hill Vineyards, 3680 Leisure Lane in Pleasant Valley, will be holding a spring release of two wines at “Abalone and More.”

Enjoy grilled abalone paired with the 2010 Roussanne and Mario Batali’s Chicken with saffron, green olives and mint over Fettuccine, paired with the 2010 Estate Mourvedre.

Buy your tickets by Monday, March 12 at

dkcellars at Zac Jack Bistro

Thursday, March 15, will be the last of the three wine dinners in March with dkcellars at Zac Jack Bistro, 3275 Coach Lane in Cameron Park. It will be at 6:30 p.m. and should sell out fast.

The menu includes: grilled quesadilla salad with grilled scallions and cilantro pesto, paired with 2008 Sauvignon Blanc; wood fired calzone with prosciutto, bacon, tomato, onion, mushroom, smoked mozzarella and basil served with a roasted garlic marinara dipping sauce, paired with 2008 Short Bus Zinfandel; beef Wellington, a Manhattan filet wrapped in puff pastry with onion, mushroom, and spinach served with an asparagus béarnaise sauce, paired with 2007 Herbert Vineyard Zinfandel; and a sweet finish of chocolate carrot cream cheese cake.

For more information and reservations call 530-676-2969.

I attended the March 1 dinner and it was great. The food was delicious and well paired with the wines. The 2008 Short Bus Zinfandel may be my new favorite: a huge zinfandel nose, but soft on the palate with a smooth finish. As my editor would say, “Yummy delicious.”

An afternoon with chef Giovanni

Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m., join chef Giovanni for a special afternoon, with a limited number of guests, as he talks about recipes, travels, wine and the good things in life.

Throughout the afternoon, Giovanni will demonstrate different recipes and talk about them in this “free-form,” fun class. There will be lots to nibble on and you can cook if you’re inclined or sit back and enjoy the day with folks of a similar sensibility. Recipes will be included.

Please call 530-391-7084 for location and more information.

Guided painting sessions at Lava Cap Winery

Unleash your inner artist and enjoy a memorable day of sipping Lava Cap wine and painting a masterpiece at Lava Cap Winery on Saturday, March 24 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Aimee Rebmann from Creative Juices Events will offer two guided painting sessions “Glass of Red,” from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. or “Whimsical Picnic,” from 2 until 4 p.m.

No experience needed to create an amazing painting. Grab a friend or come solo and enjoy this special event.

The cost includes all art materials (16 x 20 inch canvas and acrylic paints), a special Lava Cap wine tasting and a spread of crackers and gourmet cheeses. In addition, wine by the glass or bottle and assorted gourmet deli items are also available for purchase in the tasting room.

Register on the Creative Juices Events Website at

Oakstone’s 15th anniversary celebration

This Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., Oakstone Winery, 6440 Slug Gulch Road in Fair Play, will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in the barrel room. The Wine Wheel of Fortune is back for this event, where each customer who receives the last taste from a bottle spins the wheel to see which library wine will be opened next.

In addition to some new 2009 releases, there will also be the release of Slug Gulch Red, Lot No. 26. Visitors can compare it to the last pallet of Lot No. 25.

The celebration will have some favorite gourmet snacks, including Susan’s goat cheese spread and John’s fried nuts. As always, everyone is welcome and there is no charge to attend.

For more information call 530-620-5303 or visit

El Dorado Winery Association Passport Weekends

The El Dorado Winery Association Passport Weekends are happening on two Saturdays and Sundays, April 14 and 15, and April 21 and 22. Thirty-two El Dorado County wineries will be hosting the region’s annual Passport wine and food event with plenty of luscious wine and food pairings, barrel tastings, enjoyable art and music, and fun-loving participants.

This event typically sells out each year, so you will want to line up your friends and make reservations now. For more information and tickets contact the El Dorado Winery Association at 1-800-306-3956 or visit

On this day

Birthdays to celebrate today: the first person to travel in space, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alexseyevich Gagarin (1934); Italian navigator, merchant and explorer after which America is named, Amerigo Vespucci (1451); actors Jullette Bionche (1964), Linda Florentino (1960), Marty Ingels (1936), Emmanuel Lewis (1971), Trish Van Devere (1943) and Joyce Van Patten (1934); World chess champion Robert James “Bobby” Fischer (1943); musicians Mickey Gilley (1936) and Jefferey Osborne (1948) an author Mickey Spillane (1918).

It is also the anniversary of the debut of the first Barbie doll and the death of Richard C. Adams, who faced with a shortage of paint brushes during World War II, invented the paint roller.

Doug Noble

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