Growing up mostly in suburbia (Cupertino), I constantly yearned to get away to somewhere exotic, interesting and somewhat nostalgic (Santa Cruz). Nostalgia from way back when I lived in Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz mountains where I had two pet chickens and skateboarded on the regular. Living in Cupertino, I would often get up early in the morning on take the bus to Santa Cruz, murmuring an excuse to my mom about what I would do on this service-no-school day as she rushed off to work. Packing my backpack with a grungy towel and disposable camera, I would meet my best friend in the morning mist and we'd head off to a seedy bus station in San Jose to catch the Highway 17 Express. As soon as we reached Santa Cruz, we'd make our way to Pleasure Point to peep the surfer boys, then go straight to Pleasure Pizza for what I thought to be the best pizza in the world - worlds away from the Little Caesar Pizza I was accustomed to eating at least once a week. Noway - they had pesto on their pizza! It was a pure 7th grade 90s foodie revelation!
On a recent relocation road trip, I took the husband there for a slice, trying my best not to build up expectations. We both ordered a slice of the Santa Barbara: mozzarella, parmesan, pepper jack cheese, green onions, artichoke hearts, and spinach. The slices were generously heavy with flavorful toppings just as I remembered them. The bread, slightly sweet and chewy - just perfect! Every bite was magic.
Maybe it's my 7th grade self telling me this place is still the best or maybe it's still got game after all these years. Maybe it's because I don't live anyway remotely near Santa Cruz anymore. One way or another, Pleasure Pizza will always be my favorite pizza.
4000 Portola Dr.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062