Fresh-off-the-grill burgers and bratwurst, baked beans, homemade potato salad and chips and dip might be the most common — and crowd-pleasing — cookout fare.
But if preparing such an elaborate spread sounds like a burden, here’s a time-saving alternative to the traditional spring and summer soiree:
Toss some sodas in the cooler and pick up a variety of gourmet pies from Sahara Pizza on the way to nearby Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, the ideal setting for a spur-of-the-moment pizza picnic.
Teresa and Patrick Cook opened the takeout pizzeria more than a year ago in the strip mall across the street from Spin Alley in Shoreline. There are six other Sahara Pizza locations scattered throughout King, Snohomish and Skagit counties.
The menu features a wide selection of traditional toppings for play-it-safe pizza puritans like myself, as well as a few more adventurous options.
“We have fresh dough made from scratch as well as our marinara sauce,” Teresa Cook said. “People tell me they love our sauce. Some think it’s a little spicy, some can really taste the garlic and some say it’s a little sweet.”
Combos include the Ultimate Sahara (sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, black olives); the all-meat Lion’s Feast (pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, salami, beef); and the vegetarian Herbivore (mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, black olives and roma tomatoes).
Of the 10 gourmet pizzas available, Cook said the most popular are the Tikki Tikki (pesto herb sauce, dijon or BBQ chicken, feta cheese, pineapple, marinated artichoke hearts and garlic); and Landmark (sundried tomato pesto sauce, spinach leaves, ricotta and Parmesan cheese, garlic and either seasoned ground beef or sausage).
Sahara’s most original creations are the Northwest Territory (pesto herb sauce, chopped walnuts, mushrooms, Washington apple slices, cinnamon, onions, garlic and gorgonzola cheese); Caribbean Crunch (sundried tomato pesto sauce, dijon or BBQ chicken, sliced almonds, tropical mango, feta cheese and garlic); and Ketchikan (pesto herb sauce, smoked salmon, cream cheese, sliced fennel, garlic and wild dill).
Prices range from $14.99 for a 12-inch gourmet pie to $20.99 for a 16-inch. Build-your-own pizzas start at $9.99 for a 12-inch.
Side dishes include angel hair or fettuccine pasta with or without meat, buffalo wings, Caesar and garden salads and breadsticks. Sahara also stocks an assortment of flavors of Dreyer’s ice cream.