Inside, Farina is a fusion of the classic and the modern with a Southwestern flair. It’s got brick walls with pictures, red wooden tables, mosaic tiles,
and the noisy din of a bohemian crowd.
They’ve got an interesting list of red and white wines exclusively from Italy including: Umbria, Apulia, Piemonte, Toscana, even Sicilia. For birra alla spina (draft beer), Farina offers hometown favorite Marble Brewery, and in bottle, Italian classics like Moretti, plus beers from England and Germany. While Italy is a wine powerhouse, it doesn’t come close to the U.S. in beer, besides I like supporting the home team, so I ordered a Marble IPA.
It’s a great beer and it only cost 5 bucks which is cheaper than I’m used to paying for a good draft beer. Marble’s IPA is summer meets winter with refreshing honey undertones and a caramel-cornish crispness with a robust roasted maltiness and assertive hops. It’s bi-seasonality paired well with my autumnal Verde salad of organic lettuces, roasted walnuts, apples, imported gorgonzola, and a champagne vinaigrette for $7.
The frisee, arugula, and endive added a nice bitterness which went well with the autumnal-crispness of a sliced granny smith. The walnuts and gorgonzola finished the salad off with a terrestrial depth of flavor. And the grilled bread was nothing short of bread nirvana – “Breadvana,” The Lord of The Bread – “One Bread to Rule Them All,” “Breadtopia”…you get the idea. It had a crispy, hard crust infused with the taste of the grill and an airy-cloud-like-chewy center drizzled with a beautiful grassy-green olive oil.
Farina’s menu has lots of veggie pizzas: Margherita, Melanzane, Funghi, and a Bianca with artichoke hearts. I’m a sucker for the heartiness of eggplant and mushrooms so the first time I went to Farina, I ordered the Melanzane which came with: marinara, eggplant, basil, oregano, mozzarella and I added New Mexican green chili peppers. You can’t beat their heat!
On a return trip to Farina, I traveled deeper into the barnyard by ordering a Funghi: mushrooms, fontina, talleggio, mozzarella, thyme, and shallot. Of course I had to add my favorite New Mexican ingredient: roasted New Mexico green chiles as well. It was $13 for the pizza + $2 for the chiles and was easily big enough for 2.
Farina makes a charred-chewy-thin crust as good as any I’ve had back East.
The Funghi was as delicious as the Melanzane I had last time but earthier due to the Criminis and green chiles plus had a slight but welcome cow-breath-like-barnyardy funk from the Taleggio. If you were paring wine with it, this pizza screamed for an earthy and fruity Pinot Noir.
I usually put those irradiated, been sitting on the table for a few years, red chili flakes on my pizza to add some heat. There was no need with the spicy New Mexican green chiles, which also added a bonus herbaceous flavor you never get from the flakes.
At $5 for a draft, $15 for my pizza and $7 for a salad, the prices aren’t outlandish like you see in some “gourmet” pizza shops. So the next time you’re in Albuquerque, stop into Farina and you be the judge whether they take the title, “Best Pizza in America.” Even a New Yohkah would have to admit, once you’ve tasted Farina, you can’t fuggetaboutit.
“Best pizza in America” is a title historically claimed by restaurants in the pizzalopolis’s of New York and Chicago. While the monarchs of the thin slice and deep dish, do pump out a plethora of perfect pizzas, Philadelphia’s coal fired pies and Napoletana’s from New Haven are also strong contenders for the tasty title. And so is a dark horse hailing from a city with an unlikely pizza pedigree, Albuquerque New Mexico’s Farina Pizzeria. With their use of local ingredients and Southwestern spin, they’re redefining Italy’s #1 import one green chile at a time.