Bakersfield is a Californian city built in the San Joaquin Valley, surrounded by three different mountain ranges and bordered by the Sequoia National Forest. While that may sound idyllic, Bakersfield suffers a hot and arid desert climate with summertime temperatures frequently reaching a dehydrating 40°C or more. Winters there are mild but plagued by a phenomenon known as tule fog which is so thick you can't see a hand in front of your face, let alone find the local pizzeria.
Inclement weather didn't stop pioneers settling in the area during the days of the California gold rush in the mid-1800s. That era of illusion was followed by one of black gold when oil was discovered and even more migrants flocked to the area to take up employment in the Kern County oil fields. Italians were a minority among the many migrant nationalities that moved to Bakersfield in search of work and they soon discovered that making pizza was more prosperous than drilling for oil or panning for gold in the Kern River.
Bakersfield in California is known for its thick crust pizza. When you order a pie from most of the pizzerias in the city, unless they state otherwise on the menu, that's what you'll get. Thick crust pizzas are made in a traditional Italian style that's barely varied through the ages. Why change something when it tastes so good? There's only one answer to that particular question and that's to make it even better. Thick crust pies in Bakersfield are appetite-satisfying rounds of dough doused with herby tomato sauce and topped with a multiple combination of toppings too long to list. You name it, and you'll find it on a pizza in Bakersfield. Thick crust pies can hold their own when topped with basil pesto, chili verde, or enough Italian sausage, bacon, and steak to set up your own meat market. The pizzerias in Bakersfield are not tightfisted with their veggies either so be prepared for a proper feast when you order one.
To get the best delivery pizza in Bakersfield you should order your pie from PizzaRev on Gosford Road. Their pies take three minutes to cook in their flame-fired, stone-bed oven so you won't be waiting long before the delivery guy is pounding on the door with a box in hand. The PizzaRev pizzeria occupies a smart, red brick premises with a spacious patio. Inside is as clinically pristine as any hospital and gleaming with white marble floors and shiny stainless steel. All their dough is handmade and if the toppings on their house pizzas don't take your fancy, you can craft your own to just about any specification you like. PizzaRev's Fennel and Sausage pie is worth a try if you have a discerning palate though and so is their Bold BBQ Chicken pizza with its sweet but punchy sauce that'll give your taste buds a kick.
When you're in a hurry to pick up a pizza, not only do you need to go to a pizzeria with convenient parking, you'll want a pizza that's good. To get the best take-out pizza in Bakersfield, try Magoo's on Olive Drive. Magoo's premises have a corner position at the front of a small mall where there's a more than ample lot that's big enough to cater for a convoy let alone one car. The pizzeria's tidy external appearance continues when you walk through the door and you'll be hard put to find anything out of place. Magoo's pies are as neatly made as their premises and you can expect your pizza to be topped with precision. Your pepperoni, peppers, tomatoes, or whatever other ingredients you choose will be laid out on the dough in orderly, concentric circles and the slices cut into equal isosceles triangles. That might not make them taste any better, but they certainly look good.
There are times when a place is given a name that describes it to a T and Weedpatch certainly qualifies as one of those. Weedpatch is a dust bowl of dirt and dried-up weeds, but worth the ten-mile trek from Bakersfield to visit the historical site of the Arvin Federal Government Camp or as it's also known, the Weedpatch Camp. After taking a tour around the camp which housed migrants during the Great Depression and drought of the late 1930s, pick up a pizza on your way home from Rusty's Pizza Parlour in Lamont.
The only reason you would make the trip out to Shafter from Bakersfield is if you're taking a drive on the US 43 to pass a boring Sunday afternoon or if you'd taken a wrong turn while going somewhere else. If you do find yourself in Shafter with time on your hands, try visiting the Shafter Depot Museum before picking up a pie from Tony's Firehouse Restaurant on East Lerdo Highway. At least that way the day won't turn out to be a complete loss.
If you want to give the kids a lesson in environmental conservation, don't take them to Edison. Edison is a small city ten miles to the east of Bakersfield and the location of the Edison Oil Field. If you do go there, you'll find it to be quite a scenic area where the oil wells are surrounded by farmlands. After you've enlightened the little ones to the ways of industry and agriculture, treat them to a pie from Poker's Pizza on Morning Drive as you head back into Bakersfield.
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