I’m visiting serious foodie friends formerly of Oakland who have a farm in Mentone and they took me to their favorite place. The owner is a VPN-certified pizza cook, they have the same kind of Italian wood oven that Anthony Mangieri has at Una Pizza Napoletana in SF, and they use first-rate ingredients including local produce sourced directly from farmers (occasionally including my friends’ chiles and citrus).
We started with a Redlands Citrus Pizza with thin-sliced, peel-on oranges, ricotta salata, excellent arugula, toasted almonds, and olive oil (slice shown in photo). This was original and delicious, the only pizza I’ve ever had I would characterize as refreshing. Perfect dish for the 100-degree weather outside (though the place is of course air conditioned). This was properly scorched but tender in the classic Neapolitan style.
Also had roasted brussels sprouts with La Quercia guanciale, nice beefy carpaccio with more of that great arugula, and another pizza with mushrooms and sausage. Everything was very good in the restrained and balanced Italian style.
Small but well-curated selection of beers on tap and wines by the glass. They have cheese and charcuterie so you could treat it as a wine bar, which my friends say does not otherwise exist locally. I’m tempted to go back tomorrow to try a few more things.