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The Coast News

Menu Grows at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza

David BoylanIt’s official, I am no longer an anti-chain snob. A recent visit to Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza was the convincer. Sammy’s was founded in San Diego in 1989 by Sami Ladeki and has since expanded to 17 locations around Southern California and Las Vegas.

Most chains are becoming much more in tune with culinary trends and healthy ingredients as evidenced by Sammy’s new gluten-free menu options. The gluten-free menu, with more than 40 dishes, aims to keep ingredients fresh and light, with delicious selections that are not only low-carb and low in calories and fat, but address dining needs and health sensitivities of gluten-free guests.

Sammy’s continues to offer fresh favorites, including signature salads prepared with dressings made daily from scratch, steering clear of heavy, mayonnaise-based dressings.

Chicken dishes are prepared with all-natural, fresh and hormone-free chicken and whole wheat pasta and pizza options are available.

My recent visit included a mix of Sammy’s signature dishes and some of the new gluten-free choices.

We started with the gluten-free hummus that was served with hearts of romaine instead of bread. I loved this innovative touch and the lettuce was firm and crisp which made it perfect for scooping the hummus. I requested some of their grilled herbed flatbread just to see how they did it and was very impressed by that as well. I will definitely be borrowing their lettuce and hummus combo for a future dinner party.

Next up was tomato basil soup with shaved Romano and drizzled with herb oil. It was a great mix of ingredients that, for future reference, would be great to dip their flatbread in, or better yet a slice of pizza. Dipping in tomato soup has always been a good thing in my book.

Just as we finished the soup, the mini duck tacos arrived. They consisted of a duck filet topped with feta cheese, tomatoes, cabbage and a creamy tomato-cilantro sauce. I could have eaten 10 of them but this was a small plate extravaganza and we had a few more to go.

So how about oak roasting asparagus then topping it with shaved romano, prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar? That’s how they prepare one of my favorite vegetables and it’s as good as I’ve had it.

Mini ahi burgers with miso ginger sauce and sliced cucumber was next up and the snap of the cucumber provided a perfect contrast to the ahi. I loved this dish. The soup, duck tacos, asparagus and ahi burgers are all signature items on the menu.

After a short breather, we took on the Caprese Neapolitan pizza with roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil. Next time I may order mine well done to give the crust a bit more char, but that’s just a personal preference.

When the server suggested we try Sammy’s favorite dessert, which just so happened to be a pizza, I was a little skeptical. That changed when I took my first bite of the Feta Manouri cheese artisan thin crust pizza drizzled with orange blossom honey. Manouri is a semi-soft fresh white cheese made from the drained whey from feta production. It is similar to feta cheese but creamier and less salty. This was one of the more interesting desserts I’ve had and worth trying. Not the best choice immediately following a pizza, but would be great after just about any other entrée. I’ve heard great things about the gluten free Messy Sundae and will give that a try next time.

The menu at Sammy’s is huge and has something for just about anyone including burgers, pastas, tacos and salads. Prices range from $5.95 on the low end for soups and some appetizers and I did not see anything over $15. Sammy’s uses local, regional and organically grown produce with no artificial flavors, chemicals, preservatives or hormones. We ate at the Carlsbad location and they have other locations in North County, including Del Mar and San Marcos.

I should add that the service was top notch. Our server was educated on the large menu and had plenty of suggestions. Sammy’s also has a nice looking wine list and a good selection of local brews including Stone, Ale Smith, and Ballast Point.

Check out Sammy’s full menu and all their locations at

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