Top 10 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Time to Consume Pizza



Yes, I know that the title of this post is kind of silly because EVERY season is the best season to consume pizza.  So I reserve the right to change my mind next season.  But for now, here are my top 10 reasons that Fall is most definitely, positively, without a doubt the best time to indulge in pizza.

  1. Baseball: What is better than watching the World Series on a cold dark evening while enjoying a piping hot gourmet pizza and a nice cold microbrew?  (Yes, I know what the answer is for all  you  Seattle Mariners fans out there.  It would be watching the Mariners in the World Series while enjoying a piping hot gourmet pizza and a nice cold microbrew.)
  2. Football: See my previous post
  3. Fall wind storms: I actually look forward to my power going out so that I have an excuse to order a pizza.
  4. Halloween: Who the heck wants to cook dinner on Halloween? Feed those little munchkins some nice warm pizza before they go out in the cold!
  5. The end of Daylight Savings: We gain a whole hour.  What better thing to do with that hour than consume pizza?  Duh.
  6. The kids are back in school (and on a schedule):  Cooking dinner for your family is great, but so is pizza night.  It is such a great tradition to have a weekly pizza night and great reason to give the oven (and the cook) a break.
  7. Pizza lifts your spirits when it is dark and gloomy: OK- so I have not found any big scientific studies to support pizza lifting your mood, but it works for me! Next time you are feeling a little down due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD), order a pizza and I DARE you to not feel happy!  * Disclaimer- it is highly inadvisable to try this with any of those low-cost mega pizza companies.  This unscientific happiness experiment really should only be tried with a high quality Garlic Jim’s Pizza.
  8. Fall is the season for parties: There are so many reasons to throw a party this time of year.  You have sporting events, Halloween, Homecoming and of course the ever popular apple cider pressing parties.  What? You don’t do that?  Well, get yourself some apples and order a pizza!
  9. It’s Big Jimmy Season:  Garlic Jim’s is once again featuring the Big Jimmy Pizza.  It is just amazing.  Part of me wishes this pizza was available all year long, but that would be like having Christmas every day.  It’s just something so wonderful to look forward to this time of year.
  10. It just feels right!  Yes, indeed.  When the days get shorter and it’s dark outside by dinnertime, it just feels oh-so-right to say, “Hey, want to order from Garlic Jim’s?”

So there you go, I’ve given you some good reasons to order a pizza.  You can thank me later.

And don’t forget I’m on the Twitter now.  So follow me @olive4gourmet  Tweet Tweet! #pizzaseason

Ciao for now!



It’s Garlic Festival Time!


garlic festival

Many years ago, I was driving with my future husband to Santa Cruz, California late at night. As we were passing through a little town on Highway 101, an interesting aroma filled the car.  I glanced at him.  He glanced at me.  Finally after about 10 minutes of glancing and wondering, I casually said, “Do you smell something?”

Indeed he had.  “What the heck IS that?”  “It REALLY smells like garlic!”

The smell remained a mystery that evening, but while driving back the other direction a few days later in the daylight, that pungent smell led us to a sign:  Gilroy- Garlic Capital of the World!!

Mystery solved.

Gilroy, California grows lots of garlic.  As a matter of fact, its largest employer is Christopher Ranch, the supplier of Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza’s amazing  roasted garlic that adorns many of its pizzas.

Gilroy has made a name for itself not only for its garlic production, but for its garlic festival that has been held every year since 1979.  This eclectic and fun filled event has been growing each year and boasts almost every kind of garlic food that you can think of including garlic ice cream!  It lasts for three days and even has stars from the Food Network on hand.  The Gilroy Garlic Festival naturally has a Garlic Festival Queen and Queen’s court. These young ladies are judged on their talent, a personal interview, an on stage question, and of course- a garlic speech.  So start writing yours if you are garlicy kind of gal who is between the ages of 18-24 who would like to try out for this next year!

This year’s festival is July 28-30. If you are anywhere near Gilroy, just follow your nose- you will find it!

Ciao for now!






Corned Beef and…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.4-leaf-clover

I’m going to skip all the fun Irish sayings and other Irish festivity and go straight to the food.

I know that it is a tradition to eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, but while some of us love corned beef, I am willing to bet that their are many out there like myself who aren’t too excited about the cooked cabbage part.  I have to admit that I am really enjoying raw cabbage lately in salads ect…, but the cooked version just doesn’t make the cut for me.

So, what do you eat with your corned beef if you aren’t a big fan of the traditional cabbage? Yep.  It’s pizza of course.

So, here’s what you do:

  1. If you haven’t done so yet, get that corned beef in the crockpot -pronto!  Remember fat side up!  If you don’t have a crockpot, here are some other options– just ignore the cabbage part.
  2. When you have less than an hour left to cook, order a Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza. I would recommend cheese or perhaps cheese and veggies.  Or maybe a Gourmet Garlic with it’s delicious pesto sauce to really get into green.
  3. If you are lucky enough to be in a delivery area that delivers beer, order a few with your pizza. Garlic Jim’s in Vancouver  WA, stocks Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter, which will taste fabulous with corned beef and pizza. However they also deliver Bud Light which, in my opinion is perfect for green food coloring!


Ciao for now!  (And may the luck of the Irish be with you)





To-Do Today: Calculate the area of your pepperoni

I have been a little hesitant to write about Pi Day which is celebrated today, March 14th, for two reasons:

First, the celebratory “days” are really starting to get out of hand. Case in point- yesterday was both National Coconut Torte Day AND National Earmuff Day. Second, I feel a little unqualified to discuss anything that has to do with math, as I have never been a very “mathy” gal  (“mathy” is in my own personal Olive Words dictionary so don’t bother to look it up). Case in point #2- I almost published this yesterday because I thought that Pi was 3.13.  I guess that explains my C in geometry.

Despite the above reasons to refrain from a gratuitous plug for a celebratory “day”, I feel that it is important to raise awareness for all those who feel that they need to eat a dessert type of pie today.

While apple pies, cherry pies and cream pies are certainly delicious, it’s  critical to remember that they aren’t your only option on Pi Day.

I would like to argue that a pizza pie is much more appropriate for Pi Day because not only is a pizza itself circular, but many toppings are as well.

So, please order yourself a pepperoni and olive pizza, get out your calculator and knock yourself out.

Ciao for now!





**It’s National Pizza Day!**


Are you ready for National  Pizza Day?  I hope so. Because it’s TODAY!

Funny thing.  I received mail today and the banks were open.  How could this be?  Is National Pizza Day really not a federal holiday?

OK- I just checked U.S. Code Title 5, Part III, Subpart E, Chapter 61, Subchapter I,-6103.

Nope.  National Pizza Day is not a federal holiday.  Guess I’ll have to write the new guy a letter about this.

Well, regardless of federal holiday status, National Pizza Day is a day to celebrate!  How about throwing a pizza party tonight?  Invite the neighbor kids or the basketball team over and surprise them with pizza tonight!  No kids available?  No problem.  How about a nice early Valentine’s dinner?  Cabernet goes great with pepperoni. Spending the night alone?  Celebrate with a nice comforting cheesy pizza (and don’t forget a pint of Ben & Jerry’s- yes, you can get that at Garlic Jim’s.)

However you decide to celebrate, just make sure that you:

  1. Order a truly gourmet and satisfying pizza- Best bet is of course Garlic Jim’s.
  2. Don’t scarf it down.  Enjoy.   Every.   Bite.
  3. While you are eating and celebrating, count in your blessings that this wonderful food was invented.

What are you waiting for?

Spit Spot!  Get moving!  Time to make your plans for pizza jubilation!

Ciao for now!




Leafy Philosophy


While waiting for my Garlic Jim’s pizza delivery this past weekend, I decided I had better start raking the leaves in my driveway for fear that the driver would not be able to navigate my pizza to me safely.  As I was raking the crispy leaves that have been falling from my Maple trees at a rapid rate for the last few days, I started pondering the miracle of life and renewal of life.  (Because that is what you do when you rake leaves- ponder life. Am I right? Or am I right??) First I recalled when these trees were tiny little Jr. Maples about 10 years earlier. The thought of actually having to rake leaves from the driveway or yard was not even imaginable back then. Then I thought about how many times I watered or fertilized these little Maple trees. Well I can count the times with my fingers- nope, I can count them on my fist because the answer is a big ZERO! Just how on earth could these little scraggly 3 foot tall trees have turned into 30 foot tall beauties that produce ginormous piles of leaves in the fall? With no help from anyone?

I’m not sure of the exact scientific answer but I have a feeling it has to do with the will to survive. These little Maple trees figured out a way to stretch their roots down far enough to find water, and to raise their tiny leaves towards the sun to find nourishment. Now that they are big and healthy adult Maples, every fall at this time they suddenly become naked to the winter by losing the majestic dinner plate size leaves that they have worn for the last 6 months.

There is just so  much energy produced every spring to flower, evolve into a baby leaf, grow into an adult leaf, turn yellow, turn orange, turn brown and then fall off. Why would anything go through so much trouble every single year?

It seems like so much work.

Maybe so, but what is the other alternative? Maple trees don’t have the massive social safety net that most humans do, so they need to go through this tedious, yet amazing transformation every year to survive. When Maples lose their leaves in the winter they are able to hunker down and conserve resources so that they can survive harsh conditions. Year in and year out with no complaining. Well…. actually there were some Maples that complained in the 1970s- and it didn’t work out well for them. (If you don’t know what I am referring to, look up the song The Trees by the rock band Rush- and ponder away.)

As I wistfully raked and raked, I turned my attention to the consistency of these trees. They don’t take a year off.  And what if they did?  Well, we humans would freak out, that’s what. Part of the reason that I love living in the Pacific Northwest is the consistent change of the seasons. In the summer I look forward to the earth cooling and in the spring I look forward to the earth warming. If this were to change it would certainly throw things off. The sun rises and the sun sets, the moon is full once a month and every year at this time the World Series is played and the Seattle Mariners are not in it. With the exception of the Mariners part, our world might be pretty chaotic if these things didn’t happen.  Humans need order.  For me its hard to define why, but those leaves falling of fthe trees every year make me feel safe, content and happy.

As I stood in my driveway leaning on a rake channeling Socrates, the Garlic Jim’s  driver showed up with my favorite fall pizza,The Sicilian, I checked out my leaf pile.WP_20151018_014 Was my pile big enough to enjoy a few slices right now?  For sure.

Waiting the 20 minutes for my steaming Sicilian pizza may not be comparable to the long winter that the Maple trees must endure before they can start to come back into life again, but I can pretend it does! Savoring every bite, I thought about how lucky we humans are to have so many choices, but also how lucky we are that nature does its job for us time after time. This week if you don’t have the opportunity to rake some leaves, at least take a really good look at the beauty of the transition of the season.  Do a little pondering- it will work you up an appetite!

Ciao for now!





A Tale of the Tomato

 Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes. 


A good part of my Gourmet year and therefore my Gourmet life consists of the cultivation, care and consumption of many different varieties of tomatoes.  Early February, when the world outside is still cold and barren, I start little bitty tomato seeds in little plastic pots set in all of my south facing windows.  By March, they have transformed into tiny little seedlings that seem like it would be a miracle to produce the bounty in this picture. If it is warm enough at the end of May, the process starts to gradually transition the “teenage” plants outside for growing in the big outdoors. If our summer in Seattle is a hot one like it was this year, I will be rewarded with red, yellow and orange tomatoes by the beginning of August. And then the fun begins. This year in particular was a banner year as I was able to collect at least a colander full of beautiful heirloom tomatoes almost each day in August. Those pictured  starting from the big red tomato in the center and moving left; “Mortgage Lifter” which legend claims a farmer was able to pay off his mortgage with, “Sweet Million”, a cherry tomato with incredible fresh taste and finally “Hillbilly” the incredibly tasty orange heirloom that my favorite gourmet buddy has renamed “Hippy Dippy” and it shall forever be so.

As tomato season is winding to an end, I start thinking about how to get my fresh tomato fix. One of my favorite tomato vessels is of course, PIZZA. Consequently, one of the reasons that I am so in love with Garlic Jim’s pizza is the tomato sauce that is the base of so many wonderful toppings. I had a chance to ask Dwayne Northrop (being a number one fan has its perks), the founder and CEO of Garlic Jim’s, why Garlic Jim’s sauce is soooo much better than the competitors. Here is his reply:

“Well Olive, Garlic Jim’s uses what is called Fresh Packed Sauce which means it was not made from paste. You see, every Fall in Northern California, all of the tomatoes are harvested in a short period of time and the farmers need to get them from the vine to be processed in only a few hours. So…. 95% of the tomatoes are dehydrated down to paste. That means they evaporate out a lot of the water.  Then when someone like Domino’s needs sauce, they get out the paste, add a bunch of water and some spices and put the sauce in a can. Most grocery spaghetti sauce is made from paste.”

“But Garlic Jim’s sauce, on the other hand, was canned within HOURS of the tomatoes being picked. Our sauce was never evaporated down to the level of paste and water was NEVER added. All of the liquid in our sauce is from the fresh tomatoes itself!”

Garlic Jim’s sauce looked red like a tomato and smelled fresh like it was just picked.

Then Mr. Northrop challenged me to purchase can of pizza sauce from a big warehouse store (which is the same sauce that most pizza restaurants use) and meet him at my local Garlic Jim’s for a test. We opened the two sauces and sure enough the Garlic Jim’s sauce looked red like a tomato and smelled fresh like a just picked tomato (and believe me, I know that smell). The other sauce….. well let’s just say it didn’t.

Since I was already standing in a Garlic Jim’s pizza store, I asked if I could possibly make myself a little pizza (you know, for further tomato research…)  Mr. Northrop, being the super nice CEO that he is, even let me make the pizza myself so that I could really see for myself the awesomeness of this sauce.

Garlic Jim's Famous This is what I call fresh tomato on a crust.  I’m not even sure if I need cheese!

When I think of the long dark months to come with nothing but withering vines in my yard, my thoughts turn to joy and happiness at the thought of my next Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet pizza with its fresh packed goodness.

Ciao for now!


Garlic Jim's Pizza · gourmet pizza · Pizza · Uncategorized

Oh Boy! It’s that time of year!

Shaker-Sign-Big-Jimmy-32x24Ahhh, September! So many things to love about this month! So many opportunities for a Gourmet Day. Beautiful scenery, cool crisp weather, and of course bountiful food as this is, of course, harvest time.  Today I will just focus on one September activity that some people may not associate with the word Gourmet- but you better believe that Olive sure does! Football. In particular Seahawks football. Of course, those who know me well know that my first September sports choice would be baseball and the Seattle Mariners heading towards the playoffs, but alas, it looks like it was not meant to be this year- so GO HAWKS!  Fair weather fan?  Maybe….

OK- back to food.  Most people associate football with cheap beer and hot wings and not with the word Gourmet.  I would like to argue that if you are truly savoring that cheap beer, than it IS indeed Gourmet! I will be reviewing some great microbrews in future posts, but today I will be discussing the granddaddy of all football food.  PIZZA!

My favorite pizza place, Garlic Jim’s has just introduced what might be the perfect football pizza that is both hefty and sophisticated at the same time. It’s called the Big Jimmy and it is out for a limited time, although I hope they will keep it on the menu for good! What makes this pizza nearly indescribably delicious is the Roasted Garlic Tomato sauce that all of the yummy toppings sit atop. Some genius over at Garlic Jim’s decided to mix the perfect blend of their super fresh tomato sauce with smooth and flavorful garlic basil sauce.  The combination is refined and absolutely perfect for this pizza. Another genius move (and gutsy, I might add) is to combine this sophisticated sauce with big bold toppings such as salami, bacon, spicy Italian sausage and of course Garlic Jim’s famous pepperoni. Red onions and green peppers round this pizza out to make it truly a hearty meal for even the most hungry football fans.  Oh, and did I mention extra mozzarella cheese?  Well now I did.

Tomorrow around half time I will be hopefully enjoying a big Seahawks lead, but if not, I will be enjoying a slice or two (or three) of the Garlic Jim’s new Big Jimmy pizza. Good food and football.  September I love you!

Ciao for now!