Delicious Detour

dining_dimaggiosStromboli is an island near Sicily with an active volcano that is known for spewing fireballs of lava. It is also the name of the puppeteer in Disney’s rendition of Pinocchio, which I was reminded of while visiting the Magic Kingdom. This brought to mind my favorite Stromboli, an edible masterpiece created by Tony Dimaggio Sr. On my way home from the Diridon Airport I hungrily detoured 10 miles south on Highway 87.

Dimaggio emigrated from Sicily to New York in 1958, moving later to Pennsylvania, and then to San Jose, where he opened his restaurant in 1977. Dimaggio’s was one of the stops after company softball games. In addition to Stromboli, I fondly recall pitchers of beer, garlic bread, pizza, lasagna and laughter.

Although Dimaggio’s kids now run the restaurant along with a newer one in Campbell, Tony himself was “vacationing,” as he put it, in town last week. Standing at a floured marble counter he flattened pizza dough into a perfect circle with his fingers, and then ladled his rich red sauce onto its center, slowly spiraling the spoon outward toward the rim.

A variety of toppings ($2.50) can be added to a large 16-inch cheese pizza ($12.50). The crust on a small 12-inch pie ($7.95), neither too thick nor too thin, was browned on the bottom by a fine wire mesh. Plenty of tomato sauce, thick and garlicky, was covered with still sizzling mozzarella.

But ahh, the large Stromboli ($13.50)! The 14-inch cylinder of pizza dough was covered with herbed meat tomato sauce. I started with a knobby end piece. Bands of mozzarella and American cheeses stretched from the mother ship to my plate. Inside, thin slices of ham and salami were joined by balls of spiced Italian sausage and mustard. | KP

Tony Dimaggio’s, 3852 Monterey Road (at Capitol Expressway), San Jose, (408) 629-7775. Beer and wine. Open daily from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.  Visit tonystromboli.com

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