For this week’s Foodie Files, we go to downtown Bangor’s lunchtime hot spot Giacomo’s. Owner Brett Settle bought the business from its previous owners in 2009, and since then, the cafe has been a favorite of daytime workers, shoppers and day-off relaxers. Settle has worked in restaurants most of his life, starting in his hometown of Skowhegan and moving onto other western Maine towns before settling in Bangor.
While Giacomo’s is known for its coffee and espresso and for its sandwiches — from grilled lamb or ahi tuna to diner favorites such as chicken saltimbocca — Settle added a new item to the menu last year. In the morning, there’s breakfast pizza, and from lunch onwards, pizza with loads of gourmet toppings. Settle himself is a bit of a pizza expert and offered the BDN some tips for better pizza architecture, topping placement and dough technique.
1. Make sure the dough is evenly stretched. Whether you toss it or hand stretch it, the key is to have the dough a relatively uniform thickness throughout.
2. Don’t make a crust. Pizza will make its own crust, so when you apply toppings, be sure to spread them out all the way to the edges.
3. Make sure there are toppings all over the pizza — you want a bit of each topping in every bite.
4. Put less toppings in the middle of the pizza, to avoid a gloppy, falling-apart pizza that has toppings falling off each slice.
5. Use good cheese, and use a sauce that is sweeter and spicier than regular marinara. The sauce has to compete with the toppings for your flavor attention, so it has to be bold. Or, use a pesto or chili sauce, if your toppings call for it.
6. If making a breakfast pizza, scramble eggs with salt, pepper and a little heavy cream, and make sure they’re very firm and fully cooled before chopping them up into small pieces.